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The Van Dykes (Annapolis)

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There were a number of groups that took the name of the Van Dykes. The most famous one was the one from Texas that recorded great soul sides for Mala back in the 60's. Others were groups from Brooklyn (King / Deluxe) and New Haven, CT (Green Sea) but there was a fourth one that cut for Atlantic Records.

This post deals with the soul outfit from Annapolis, Maryland that only got to make one record; “Stupidity” being the 45's A side which was released by Atlantic back in 1962. In recent times this cut has been featured on 2 different CD collections; 'Right Now (Atlantic Club Soul & Deep Cuts)' plus 'Let's Soul Dance (Black Dance Crazes 1957 -1962)'. Why should I be interested in the details of an outfit that only got to cut one record over 50 years ago. Well lots of groups had long and successful lives even though they never really made much impact recording wise. The Van Dykes are one such band as in the Annaplois / Baltimore area they were a major force for around a 10 year period. Their 45 actually did well locally, gaining extensive airplay on WEBB and actually charting on WWIN, then the top local pop radio station (where it peaked at No.11). However it is for their live work that they are really remembered.

The Van Dykes were at their most popular in the Annapolis & Baltimore area from the late 1950s to the late 1960s. During that time, not only did they get to record for Atlantic Records (in 1962) but they played numerous live gigs at venues such as Carr's Beach, Sparrow's Beach and the Dixie Ballroom at Gwynn Oak Park (just outside Baltimore). They even got to perform on the old Buddy Dean TV Show broadcast by Baltimore's WJZ-TV station, which was the show that inspired the 'Hairspray' movies. In fact the movies writer / director & producer John Waters recalls watching the group perform in the early to mid 60's. The band was largely a family based affair that grew out of two earlier outfits both of whom came together at Bates High School, Annapolis. The five strong Organoes singing group consisted of Albert & Lonnie Brown, Calvin Offer, Harvey Ennis and Walter Randall. The second teaming was the Van Dykes Combo who's members were Roland, Bill, John & Alvin Brown, William Jones and Joe Gidwick with femme vocalist Pat Wynn (both line-ups dating from December 1954).

Roland Brown said about the Van Dykes "The group started life back around 1953 and I became a part of it in about 1954. It started with Reginald Harris, Lionel Thomas and some more young fellows that were at the time attending Bates High School. They had the idea for a band, got together like some other youngsters, and in '54, when I picked it up, we just kept on playing". The band's line-up continued to evolve and by 1962 the line-up was Calvin Offer (lead singer), Lonnie Brown (keyboards), Roland Brown (drums) Albert Brown (sax), Delbert Puschert (sax) and John Bryant (trombone), John Coates (guitar) and Joe Wood (base). Roland Brown acted as their manager and got them many bookings at top local venues. For a number of years, they backed up acts appearing on shows at Carr's Beach (located just south of Annapolis). They acted in a similar role for a big soul revue held in mid August 1966 at Baltimore's Civic Center (DJ Rockin Robin's 4th Anniversary Show – see ad).

Around 1990 they decided to come back together for a few shows and they continued to play reunions through till at least 2014. For these shows, their line-up featured brothers Albert Brown, Roland Brown, Bill Brown and Lonnie Brown plus Delbert Puschert, John Bryant and John Coates with either Calvin Offer or Jobo Brown handling lead vocal duties. So a band that only enjoyed one 45 release continued to exist many years after all but a few fans had long forgotten about them. The strange thing is, that for an outfit of talented musicians that played all their own instruments, there is a lot of doubt if they even played on their own recordings for Atlantic.

See article on them here ............  http://www.capitalgazette.com/news/ph-ac-cn-van-dykes-1113-20141113-story.html




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A youtube clip of them performing in recent times (2011) ............



And an ad for a gig they undertook at Carr's Beach in May 66 .........


Can anyone confirm if the backing track used on their version of "Stupidity" is infact the same one as used on Solomon Burke's version ? If so, that only leaves the cut "King Of Fools" that they could have played on. 


Edited by Roburt

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An old radio ad for shows held at Carr's Beach ...........


....... and the newspaper ad that goes with it (pity they didn't have a pic of Tammi Terrell) ....................



Edited by Roburt

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