Soulful DetroitArchives - January 2009 � Chess Records Session Musicians Previous Next

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JSmith (jsmith)
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Username: jsmith

Post Number: 3234
Registered: 4-2004
Posted From: 195.93.21.9
Posted on Sunday, December 28, 2008 - 4:39 am: ��Edit PostDelete Post���Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

So now that the Funks and the Stax studio musicians have deservedly been honoured, their exploits (back in the day) documented and the guys given their props, its time (IMO) that a similar exercise be undertaken for the Chicago based guys who were regular session musicians for Chess Records.
I know the likes of Maurice White, Louis Satterfield, Sonny Thompson, Gerald Sims, etc. helped make up their number, but I have no idea who the main players were
..... OR even if different sets of musicians were used for the company's soul, blues & gospel sessions.
Anyone here shed more light on whole deserves to be honoured for the great work the session guys did for Chess.
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Mark Hunter (hollywood_h)
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Username: hollywood_h

Post Number: 158
Registered: 12-2004
Posted From: 76.117.132.168
Posted on Sunday, December 28, 2008 - 4:51 am: ��Edit PostDelete Post���Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

J Smith,

I would love to know who played on the songs from the 70's Chicago era. Chilites and all the rest. If anyone knows, post up.
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JSmith (jsmith)
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Username: jsmith

Post Number: 3235
Registered: 4-2004
Posted From: 195.93.21.9
Posted on Sunday, December 28, 2008 - 5:16 am: ��Edit PostDelete Post���Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I believe that Brunswick used a different set of guys to Chess (though there must have been some guys that worked for both outfits as studio musicians).
I think the Chicago based Okeh session guys may well have formed the backbone of the Brunswick crew.
... LIKEWISE......... who were the guys that made up the One-der-ful and Chicago based ABC soul session guys ??
-- ABC used Universal Rec Studio to cut just about all their Chicago stuff, so I guess the ABC session musicians were really the Universal Studio session guys.
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JSmith (jsmith)
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Username: jsmith

Post Number: 3236
Registered: 4-2004
Posted From: 195.93.21.9
Posted on Sunday, December 28, 2008 - 5:45 am: ��Edit PostDelete Post���Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

No doubt the following guys worked as Chess session musicians........
Phil Upchurch (guitar), Bobby Christian (vibes), Lennie Druss (flute), Richard Evans (bass), Paul Serrano (trumpet) & Odell Brown (organ).
PLUS Ramsey Lewis (when he wasn't fronting his trio in the studio or on tour) Isaac Holt (Drums) + Eldee Young (bass).
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GEETEE(HPK) (geeteehpk)
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Username: geeteehpk

Post Number: 2590
Registered: 9-2004
Posted From: 155.181.152.2
Posted on Sunday, December 28, 2008 - 7:01 am: ��Edit PostDelete Post���Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Gene Barge played sax on various Chess sessions,as well as guitarist Pete Cosey and drummer Morris Jennings.
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chess1458 (chess1458)
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Username: chess1458

Post Number: 122
Registered: 4-2008
Posted From: 216.221.203.84
Posted on Sunday, December 28, 2008 - 8:37 am: ��Edit PostDelete Post���Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I Have A Friend By The Name Of Ronnie Haig,Ronnie Went On I The Late 50's And Early 60' To Record Rockabilly.But In His First Years,57-58,He Was A Sessions Guitarist For Chess,Im Not Sure Exactly How Many Chess Singles He Played On,But The One That Sticks Out The Most Is,Im So Young/Everyday Of The Week,By The Students,Checker 902,1958.He Also Played Along With Jimmy Coe's Band,I Will Ask Ronnie How Many Other Sessions That He Did.
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FrankM (frankm)
5-Doyen
Username: frankm

Post Number: 338
Registered: 4-2004
Posted From: 86.162.48.203
Posted on Sunday, December 28, 2008 - 9:39 am: ��Edit PostDelete Post���Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Check page 74 of Chicago Soul for a list of Okeh session musicians

http://tinyurl.com/7ly57n
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Kevin Goins - KevGo (kevgo)
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Username: kevgo

Post Number: 4135
Registered: 4-2004
Posted From: 64.33.177.134
Posted on Sunday, December 28, 2008 - 2:15 pm: ��Edit PostDelete Post���Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Mark:

Carl Davis used many musicians when he arrived at Brunswick....Here were just a few the label had on staff during the 1970s (these same session folks worked on the Dakar recordings as well)...

Gerald Sims - guitar
Bernard Reed - bass
Quinton Joseph - drums
Floyd Morris - piano
Thomas Washington (Tom Tom 84) - piano (on several Chi-Lites' recordings he arranged)
Cliff Davis - vibes (brother of Carl)
Willie Henderson - Saxophones

Kevin Goins - KevGo

(Message edited by kevgo on December 28, 2008)
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Kevin Goins - KevGo (kevgo)
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Username: kevgo

Post Number: 4136
Registered: 4-2004
Posted From: 64.33.177.134
Posted on Sunday, December 28, 2008 - 2:21 pm: ��Edit PostDelete Post���Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

JSmith:
Burgess Gardner also played trumpet on many Chess sessions (including Billy Stewart's Summertime) and the late George "Paco" Patterson was one of the sax men besides Don Myrick.
Kevin Goins - KevGo
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Robb_K (robb_k)
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Username: robb_k

Post Number: 9595
Registered: 4-2004
Posted From: 66.81.122.205
Posted on Sunday, December 28, 2008 - 9:09 pm: ��Edit PostDelete Post���Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I thought most of those musicians (most of the best Chicago musicians) free-lanced, and worked for many different producers and labels. Despite running ABC's Chicago production since 1962, I think Johnny Pate moonlighted for lots of labels. Gerald Sims and Eugene Record worked mostly for Carl Davis, but moonlighted before 1966. Burgess Gardner free-lanced with a lot of labels. I thought that even many of the Chess musicians didn't have an exclusive contract.
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Kevin Goins - KevGo (kevgo)
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Username: kevgo

Post Number: 4150
Registered: 4-2004
Posted From: 69.4.123.31
Posted on Sunday, December 28, 2008 - 9:25 pm: ��Edit PostDelete Post���Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Robb:
Maurice White mentioned in liner notes for EW&F's boxed set that he was a staff musician for Chess. The late Roquel Billy Davis (Chess' A&R director) confirmed this when I spoke with him about the Chicago music scene many years ago. Even Carl Davis admitted to me that when he had Maurice play drums on Walter Jackson's "It's All Over", he had Maurice come in after his shift at Chess so that Leonard & Phil wouldn't catch wind.
Kevin Goins - KevGo
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Pshark (pshark)
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Username: pshark

Post Number: 1449
Registered: 1-2007
Posted From: 99.55.160.6
Posted on Sunday, December 28, 2008 - 9:33 pm: ��Edit PostDelete Post���Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Do yourself a favor and get this dvd:



http://www.amazon.com/Martin-Scorsese-Presents-Blues-Godfathers/dp/B0001ZMXJA
Make sure your able to watch region 1 dvds
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soulwally (soulwally)
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Username: soulwally

Post Number: 1159
Registered: 1-2005
Posted From: 207.138.98.253
Posted on Monday, December 29, 2008 - 7:57 am: ��Edit PostDelete Post���Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

The organ, drum and guitar sound was pretty distinctive on many 60s Chess sides, such as those by Billy Stewart, the Knight Brothers, the Radiants et al.
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bobby_king (bobby_king)
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Username: bobby_king

Post Number: 855
Registered: 11-2004
Posted From: 64.12.116.18
Posted on Monday, December 29, 2008 - 9:09 am: ��Edit PostDelete Post���Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

There was a guitarist named Cash McCall that played on a bunch of Chess stuff, some Etta James records and other things. He also played with Willie Dixon when Willie did gigs of his own. I played a bunch of gigs with Cash some years back, he was living in Memphis. He still owned Willie Dixon's old van and that's what we traveled to gigs in :-)
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imnokid (imnokid)
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Username: imnokid

Post Number: 331
Registered: 10-2004
Posted From: 69.248.174.193
Posted on Monday, December 29, 2008 - 11:40 am: ��Edit PostDelete Post���Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I have always loved the house band on the checker gospel records. Back in 2001 I got the following info from the southern soul list
Thanx to Rob Bowman, I was put in touch with Engineer Malcolm Chisolm.
Here is the band
Phil Upchurch - BASS!
Cash McCall - Guitar
Morris Jennings - Drums
Elsa (He couldn't remember her last name) - Hammond organ
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Chi Drummer (chidrummer)
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Username: chidrummer

Post Number: 3034
Registered: 5-2004
Posted From: 68.20.201.244
Posted on Monday, December 29, 2008 - 12:18 pm: ��Edit PostDelete Post���Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Willie "Big Eyes" Smith played drums on most of the Muddy Waters tracks and tons of others at Chess.

JSmith, I can confirm Bobby Christian's work with Chess, as well as practically every other studio in Chicago, Milwaukee and Detroit. I was one of his last students before he died and I still have some of the charts he wrote out in those days. Bobby used to tell me some great stories about how much commercial and session work there used to be in Chicago from the 40's to the late 60's.
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Kevin Goins - KevGo (kevgo)
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Username: kevgo

Post Number: 4154
Registered: 4-2004
Posted From: 69.4.123.31
Posted on Monday, December 29, 2008 - 4:14 pm: ��Edit PostDelete Post���Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Chi:
When folks such as Carl Davis, Richard Pegue and Charles Colbert Jr (American Breed, Rufus) weren't doing their "regular gigs", they did a lot of commercial work for the advertising industry as well as jingles for radio & TV.

Chess' A&R director Roquel Billy Davis was probably the most successful in this area - in 1968 he went from the recording industry to Young & Rubicam's ad firm and created some of the industries' most memorable work (such as the Coca-Cola jingle "I'd Like To Teach The World To Sing" with Roger Cook & Roger Greenway).

Kevin Goins - KevGo
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JSmith (jsmith)
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Username: jsmith

Post Number: 3237
Registered: 4-2004
Posted From: 195.93.21.9
Posted on Monday, December 29, 2008 - 4:21 pm: ��Edit PostDelete Post���Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Many thanks to everyone for their informative input.
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Bob Olhsson (bob_olhsson)
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Username: bob_olhsson

Post Number: 728
Registered: 4-2004
Posted From: 74.179.17.78
Posted on Monday, December 29, 2008 - 5:29 pm: ��Edit PostDelete Post���Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Detroit, Nashville and Memphis were really satellites of the Chicago recording scene.

There was New York and there was Chicago between the 1920s and the early 1960s.
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Kevin Goins - KevGo (kevgo)
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Username: kevgo

Post Number: 4157
Registered: 4-2004
Posted From: 64.33.177.134
Posted on Monday, December 29, 2008 - 7:47 pm: ��Edit PostDelete Post���Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I believe it, Bob! The Windy City has a rich history regarding the music biz and other related industries, especially advertising.
Kevin Goins - KevGo
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Bob Olhsson (bob_olhsson)
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Username: bob_olhsson

Post Number: 732
Registered: 4-2004
Posted From: 74.179.17.78
Posted on Tuesday, December 30, 2008 - 12:32 am: ��Edit PostDelete Post���Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Advertising was invented in Chicago as was virtually everything that is done on radio and television to this day.

And that's not to mention country & western (originally called "hillbilly") music and rhythm & blues (originally called "race") music.
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JSmith (jsmith)
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Username: jsmith

Post Number: 3238
Registered: 4-2004
Posted From: 195.93.21.9
Posted on Tuesday, December 30, 2008 - 1:53 am: ��Edit PostDelete Post���Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I got in touch with Phil Upchurch and he sent me this reply...........
The musicians that were on staff (at Chess) when I joined them in '67 were Gene Barge - Producer and saxophone, Morris Jennings - Drums, L Satterfield (deceased) - trombone & bass.
I did a lot of the bass as well as guitar, Pete Cozy was a regular, Cash McCall - guitar.
I can't remember any others.
...what instrument did Pete Cozy play ??
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GEETEE(HPK) (geeteehpk)
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Username: geeteehpk

Post Number: 2596
Registered: 9-2004
Posted From: 155.181.152.2
Posted on Tuesday, December 30, 2008 - 2:18 am: ��Edit PostDelete Post���Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Pete Cosey is a guitarist. He later played with Miles Davis,along with percussionist Mtume and bassist Micheal Henderson,in the seventies.
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mike s (mike_s)
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Username: mike_s

Post Number: 1395
Registered: 4-2004
Posted From: 195.93.21.9
Posted on Tuesday, December 30, 2008 - 11:43 am: ��Edit PostDelete Post���Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

According to Rob Bowman in Chicago Soul, many of the musicians Carl D used at Brunswick were the same as at Okeh:
Phil Upchurch, John Bishop, Danny Leake, Byron Gregory on guitar; Bernard Reed on bass; Quinton Joseph on drums; Floyd Morris and Tennyson Stephens on keyboards; Bobby Christian on vibes. Cliff Davis and Sonny Seals played sax. Gerald Sims played guitar on sessions for those two labels as well as Chess.
Also used at Okeh were Danny Reed, Kermit Chandler and Billy Butler (guitar). Davis also used Louis Satterfield on bass and infrequently Maurice White on drums for Okeh.
At Chess, White, Satterfield and Sims were joined by Pete Cosey and Bryce Robertson (guitar); Sonny Thompson (organ/piano); Raynard Miner and Leonard Caston (piano). Morris Jennings was also used on drums.
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Kevin Goins - KevGo (kevgo)
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Username: kevgo

Post Number: 4166
Registered: 4-2004
Posted From: 69.4.123.31
Posted on Tuesday, December 30, 2008 - 5:26 pm: ��Edit PostDelete Post���Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Mike:
Carl pared down the session folks to a few (see my original post) when he formed Dakar Records in 1968 while doing A&R for Brunswick because he wanted a steady crew of musicians on a weekly payroll. This crew eventually went on to work on the Brunswick sessions when the label went independent in 1970.

Kevin Goins - KevGo
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JSmith (jsmith)
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Username: jsmith

Post Number: 3247
Registered: 4-2004
Posted From: 86.136.248.167
Posted on Wednesday, December 31, 2008 - 3:06 am: ��Edit PostDelete Post���Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

So back to the original theme of this post............
... I think that there would be genuine interest from the public & from the musicians involved in a small group of the Chess session guys doing a 'Funk Bros' and putting on some live shows (with guest singers along I would think).
How would one go about sorting out such a project ??
I guess it was the guy who put the Funks together for 'Standin In The Shadows' that organised their initial live performances.
I'm sure no one would disagree that the Chess guys also deserve their 'ten minutes' in the spotlight playing the likes of "Rescue Me", "Sitting In The Park", "Wang Dang Doodle", "Voice Your Choice", "Temptation Bout To Get Me", "Who's Cheatin Who", "I Had A Talk With my Man", etc. (mind you would they be able to legitimately play the stuff -- such as Laura Lee's -- that was cut down south, I guess not).
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daddyacey (daddyacey)
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Username: daddyacey

Post Number: 1850
Registered: 11-2005
Posted From: 64.12.116.18
Posted on Wednesday, December 31, 2008 - 3:07 am: ��Edit PostDelete Post���Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I'm just reading the book from the link. Good stuff. I may be trying to get that book.
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Kevin Goins - KevGo (kevgo)
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Username: kevgo

Post Number: 4168
Registered: 4-2004
Posted From: 69.4.123.31
Posted on Wednesday, December 31, 2008 - 4:25 am: ��Edit PostDelete Post���Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

JSmith:
I would definitely support a "Chess Reunion", especially since I feel that Chicago has been overlooked as a central city for soul music.

Many folks who played on those legendary records are still around (Maurice White, Phil Upchurch, Burgess Gardner) and quite a few still live in Chicago. Sadly, there are those who are no longer with us (Louis Satterfield, Don Myrick, George "Paco" Patterson, Minnie Riperton). It's just a matter of rounding up those who are still with us and seeing if magic can be made.

I would suggest the following....

1) Find someone who knows where just about everyone is (Thomas Washington - Tom Tom 84 - was my main contact when I was doing biz in Chicago).

2) State your purpose - and be clear (these folks do not like wasting time; if you tell them what the goal is and be consise, they may be cooperative).

3) Do not limit the focus to Chess Records (like Philly & Detroit, these folks played on a LOT of sessions for a LOT of companies - Okeh, Vee-Jay, Brunswick, the Leaners' group of labels; make sure these other places get recognition).

4) Find as many of the original arrangers as possible (they may still have the charts for these classics so transposing is not an issue). Tom Tom arranged "Get On Up" & "Oh Girl" while Sonny Sanders helped producer Carl Davis with many Brunswick hits. These guys I know are alive & well and living in Chicago. Sadly, Chess' Charles Stepney is deceased but his work can be transposed.

5) Make it worth their while (round up PBS or T.J. Lubinsky, an interested record label such as Universal Music Group - who own the Chess masters - and lots of publicity; not only give these guys recognition, put some dollars in their pockets!).

Good luck and may the soul be with you!

Kevin Goins - KevGo
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Phil (phil)
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Username: phil

Post Number: 1352
Registered: 4-2004
Posted From: 91.172.101.67
Posted on Wednesday, December 31, 2008 - 5:13 am: ��Edit PostDelete Post���Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Daddyacey, "Chicago Soul" is an essential reading !


lo
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BankHouseDave (bankhousedave)
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Username: bankhousedave

Post Number: 4551
Registered: 4-2004
Posted From: 195.93.21.9
Posted on Wednesday, December 31, 2008 - 5:32 am: ��Edit PostDelete Post���Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Gene Barge was on Soul Deep a while back. I think he had a lot to do with getting the musicians together for the sessions.

JS: As well as leading his own combo and doing guitar duties, Phil Upchurch played a lot more bass than he is often credited for. I seem to remember he was behind the Tempts on a Live in London album.
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chess1458 (chess1458)
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Username: chess1458

Post Number: 130
Registered: 4-2008
Posted From: 216.221.203.84
Posted on Wednesday, December 31, 2008 - 11:27 am: ��Edit PostDelete Post���Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Is Gene Barge Still Around?

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Kevin Goins - KevGo (kevgo)
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Username: kevgo

Post Number: 4169
Registered: 4-2004
Posted From: 69.4.123.31
Posted on Wednesday, December 31, 2008 - 1:34 pm: ��Edit PostDelete Post���Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Phil Upchurch played bass on the Impressions' "We're A Winner".
Kevin Goins - KevGo
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Steve (steve_litos)
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Username: steve_litos

Post Number: 355
Registered: 4-2004
Posted From: 209.100.86.4
Posted on Wednesday, December 31, 2008 - 1:52 pm: ��Edit PostDelete Post���Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I think the "guys" got together for a one-off reunion a few years ago at Bluesfest or something like that. Anyways I thought it was in Grant Park and city (Chicago)sponsored. I'm thinking 2001-02.
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GEETEE(HPK) (geeteehpk)
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Username: geeteehpk

Post Number: 2601
Registered: 9-2004
Posted From: 75.22.203.103
Posted on Wednesday, December 31, 2008 - 2:31 pm: ��Edit PostDelete Post���Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

chess1458,
Gene Barge is still alive and playing music.
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chess1458 (chess1458)
4-Laureate
Username: chess1458

Post Number: 132
Registered: 4-2008
Posted From: 216.221.203.84
Posted on Wednesday, December 31, 2008 - 4:46 pm: ��Edit PostDelete Post���Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Thanks For The Info GEETEE
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JSmith (jsmith)
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Username: jsmith

Post Number: 3252
Registered: 4-2004
Posted From: 195.93.21.9
Posted on Wednesday, December 31, 2008 - 5:21 pm: ��Edit PostDelete Post���Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Hasn't Gene acted in a few TV shows & movies over the last 30 years......

In 1977 he was in Stony Island & then Code of Silence with Chuck Norris (I can't stand Chuck's movies -- they're the biggest load of bilge since John Wayne was movies), Above the Law and Under Siege with Steven Segal, The Package with Gene Hackman, and The Fugitive with Harrison Ford.
In 1982 the TV series included "The Blues", "Godfathers and Sons" (in 2003) and more recently (2006) he appeared with Kevin Costner in "the Guardian" (2006).
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JSmith (jsmith)
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Username: jsmith

Post Number: 3253
Registered: 4-2004
Posted From: 195.93.21.9
Posted on Wednesday, December 31, 2008 - 5:22 pm: ��Edit PostDelete Post���Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

that should have read.......
I can't stand Chuck's movies -- they're the biggest load of bilge since John Wayne WAR movies
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BankHouseDave (bankhousedave)
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Username: bankhousedave

Post Number: 4555
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Posted From: 195.93.21.9
Posted on Wednesday, December 31, 2008 - 5:26 pm: ��Edit PostDelete Post���Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I didn't know Gene was an actor JS, but I think he is still with us, to answer the question above.
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JSmith (jsmith)
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Username: jsmith

Post Number: 3254
Registered: 4-2004
Posted From: 195.93.21.9
Posted on Wednesday, December 31, 2008 - 5:36 pm: ��Edit PostDelete Post���Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Wasn�t he also involved with the �Save The Children� concert (& film) -- the documentary chronicling the acts that appeared during Jesse Jackson's Operation PUSH exposition held in 1972 in Chicago.
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michael r. lee shue (mikey)
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Username: mikey

Post Number: 2015
Registered: 11-2004
Posted From: 70.50.183.90
Posted on Wednesday, December 31, 2008 - 7:22 pm: ��Edit PostDelete Post���Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Gene Barge is at the ripe age of 82.I would love to listen to an extensive interview with Big Daddy Gene Barge.
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GEETEE(HPK) (geeteehpk)
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Username: geeteehpk

Post Number: 2603
Registered: 9-2004
Posted From: 75.22.203.103
Posted on Thursday, January 01, 2009 - 12:01 am: ��Edit PostDelete Post���Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Gene still plays at Operation Push every week.
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JSmith (jsmith)
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Username: jsmith

Post Number: 3261
Registered: 4-2004
Posted From: 195.93.21.9
Posted on Thursday, January 01, 2009 - 5:50 am: ��Edit PostDelete Post���Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Cadillac Records was voted No.10 top film of 2008 by the BBC's film expert.
Do any of the musicians (not singers) featured in the film get name checks ?? (I guess not as that would really ram home that its all about Chess Records really).

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