Sunday, March 01, 2009

ROCKIN' JIMMY AND THE BROTHERS OF THE NIGHT

Alright folks, here we have a band From Tulsa OK., making Oklahoma style music before it was the mecca that it is today. These guys laid the groundwork for today's bands, like Cross Canadian Ragweed and many others. Up until about a year ago I hadn't heard of Rockin' Jimmy (Byfield). A friend in Germany that I share music back and forth with turned me onto these albums and I've been meaning to carry on the sharing for awhile now. Unfortunately I don't know a heckuva lot about Jimmy or his band so I thought the best thing to do in this instance is publish this info that I received with the albums. However I can say that if you like a laid-back groove with a bunch of tasty guitar work then there'd be a good chance that you'd dig this one as much as I do, if not more.......
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ROCKIN' JIMMY and the BROTHERS of the NIGHT Tulsa bar band which had deserved cult following. Oklahoma is home base for J. J. Cale, Elvin Bishop, Leon Russell; Eric Clapton recruited sidemen there incl. Jamie Oldaker on drums, covered 'Little Rachel' by Jimmy Byfield (b 7 Feb. '49, Tulsa) on There's One In Every Crowd '74, had top 30 USA hit 'Tulsa Time' '80. Ex-Joe Cocker roadie Peter Nicholls from UK was engineer for Russell's Shelter label, formed Pilgrim label in Tulsa, recorded local acts: Tulsa clique turned out two-disc sampler unreleased commercially, edited to single LP The Tulsa Sampler '77 (incl. track by Guava, band fronted by Byfield); another sampler The Green Album '78 incl. 'Little Rachel', others by Jim Byfield and His Band; then By The Light Of The Moon '81 was by Rockin' Jimmy and the Brothers of the Night: Byfield on vocals, Steve Hickerson on guitar, Chuck DeWalt on drums, Gary Gilmore on bass, Walt Richmond on keyboards, backing singers Jim Sweney and Debbie Campbell, electronic 'horns' on some tracks, subtle and appropriate. Gilmore had played with Cale, Taj Mahal; Richmond with Bonnie Raitt, Rick Danko, others; Campbell (from Fort Worth TX) was lead singer with LA group Buckwheat, toured with Raitt. Gilmore was replaced by Gary Cundiff on second album Rockin' Jimmy And The Brothers Of The Night '82 (quintet only): it should have been called Rockin' All Night after the first track. All songs (except Ray Charles cover 'Leave My Woman Alone' on the first LP) written or co-written by Byfield, co-writers incl. Nicholls, on second LP Hickerson, Richmond, Cundiff. Distribution problems of all small labels prevailed; Byfield, a family man, did not want to tour widely; the band was soon history but the LPs lived for a while on Sonet in UK: fine songs, Byfield's soulful tenor, rhythm section rooted in R&B (laid-back yet tense) made music with space, time, loneliness, roadhouse optimism in it, proving that there's nothing wrong with rock no matter what's on the radio. Fans treasure the LPs, feel a shock of recognition upon meeting one another, and wonder how many more good bands there were out there not recording at all. The band also played on Sweney's Didn't I Blow Your Mind? '79 on Pilgrim, Campbell's Two Hearts c'82 on Tulsa's Churchill label.
REVIEW from:
http://www.donaldclarkemusicbox.com/encyclopedia/detail.php?s=2920
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Stevey Hay & the RayVons (MySpace blog)Sunday, October 15, 2006
Rockin' Jimmy & the Brothers Of The Night...
So I switch on the Paul Jones R&B show on Radio 2 and he's talking about Rockin' Jimmy...seems he's played a track and people want to know where they can get a copy, only nothing's been re-issued on CD since the original album came out...
Two albums, actually, issued in Europe around 1982/83 on Sonet Records of Sweden . Still got them, stored away in an attic. Last heard some of the tracks when I used them on compilations I was making up (legitimately, you understand...working as music director for a 'background music' company...) to lease to a chain of American Diner styled Cafe Bars in the mid 1990s.
Rockin' Jimmy, aka Jim Byfield of Tulsa, Oklahoma, is part of the Tulsa music mafia that launched JJ Cale, Leon Russell, bassist Carl Radle, drummers Jamie Oldaker & Jimmy Karstein, organist Dick Sims, guitarist Jesse Ed Davis, and a bunch of other musicians and sidemen that starred, backed or sessioned on a huge number of critically acclaimed albums & tours of the 1970s, propagating their own laid-back but hugely influential jazz/soul/funk/country groove in the process. Eric Clapton built the other half of his career on their sound, and the mid-1990 success of country rockers The Tractors was probably their last visible manifestation outside Oklahoma.
I first heard of Rockin' Jimmy on the great Alexis Korner's Sunday evening radio show on the BBC. Intrigued, I tracked down the record...and then went to see the band when they emerged on an impossibly rare excursion outside Tulsa, at the legendary Dingwall's Dancehall in Camden Lock.
Dingwall's was virtually my local at that time - a sticky-floored late night London music biz hangout infested with musicians, management, agents, journos, low and mid-level record co execs, and over-excited civilians, in an endless melee of showcases, launches, and appearances for (generally) roots oriented bands of the moment. Times being what they were, we were inclined to get a little excitable ourselves.
Some time late in the night's proceedings, the by-now long anticipated Rockin' Jimmy, & his Brothers Of The Night, emerged from the phone boothed sized dressing room behind the stage, ambled in a laid-back manner to their positions...and sat down. A singularly un-starry looking bunch, even by the determinedly mundane standards made de rigeur by London's pub rocking scene of a year or two previous, the band had now rendered themselves entirely invisible to all but the first three rows crushed against the low stage.
They were great. Every once in a while, at a moment of high drama, the guitar totin' Rockin' Jimmy would stand up and shimmy about the stage, looking like an avuncular bank manager after a sherry too many at a family party. The rest of the band sat tight, visible briefly as audience members ebbed and jostled in front of the bandstand. Their feel was immaculate - making every tune a miracle of compressed energy and expression, wrapped up in a deceptively lazy delivery that sounded so easy, relaxed and economical that you didn't notice the complexity of the elements that went went into making it sound simple. Entranced, I found myself standing next to Alexis Korner, beaming on the edge of the dance floor, accepting handshakes and congratulations on 'his' band.
Rockin' Jimmy never came back to London, as far as I know. Tonight's the first time I've heard him mentioned on the radio in years. But most every time I'm playing bass in a band, I'm thinking about the groove, and how to place each note in the sweet spot, and make the music get up and shimmy like Rockin' Jimmy and his band did, that night in Dingwalls.


BY THE LIGHT OF THE MOON
(Released 1981)
TRACK LISTING:
Stand Back!
Slow Pace
Little Rachel
Crazy
The Wind At Your Back
Can't Jive Enough
Ragin' Storm
Leave My Woman Alone
Why Ya Doin' What You Do
Another Chance
Ride It Easy
Call On Me
THE BAND:
Jimmy Byfield - Guitars, Vocals
Stever Hickerson - Guitar
Chuck Dewalt - Drums
Gary Gilmore - Bass
Walt Richmond - Keyboards
CONTACT:
READ THIS for more information on this album.

ROCKIN' JIMMY
AND THE BROTHERS OF THE NIGHT
(Released in 1982)
TRACK LISTING:
Rockin' All Night
You Got It Made
Sugar Babe
The Beat Of My Heart
I Was Wrong
Right On Time
Angel Eyes
It's A Mystery
Mood Music
We Got Love
You Got Me (And I Got You)
THE BAND:
Jimmy Byfield - Guitars, Vocals
Steve Hickerson - Guitar
Chuck Dewalt - Drums
Gary Cundiff - Bass
Walt Richmond - Keyboards
CONTACT:
READ THIS for more information on this album.

16 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Tom,
great entry. I have had both their records since the early '80s, probably '83. It seems that the band did a concert in December, 1982, in my hometown, Hamburg, Germany, which was later broadcast nationally as a part of the "Rockpalast" series. (I missed both the concert and the TV airing, but I believe these were the reason that my record shop featured their LPs and recommended them to me. As things go, the record shop didn't survive the 80's either.)

I guess the band may have had better record sales in Germany than in the U.S, because of the publicity from their TV show. A pity they never got the same kind of recognition at home.

Wolf

Monday, March 2, 2009 at 4:13:00 AM EST  
Blogger countrymusicradiomagazine said...

Hello
how it downloaded albums?
Thank You
patrice

Tuesday, March 3, 2009 at 2:48:00 PM EST  
Blogger Tom Eckels said...

You need to read the instructions in the CONTACT part of the post and follow them.

Tc

Tuesday, March 3, 2009 at 11:07:00 PM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I too first heard the band on the great Alexis Korner show, jotted down the number etc and ordered it from the local record store in Waltham Cross. The second album soon followed.

A friend and I heard they were due to play Dingwalls.
Enjoyed the gig enormously and remember it as has been stated. After all these years I wasn't sure if I imagined them sitting down to play, thanks for clearing that up.
Outside, after the gig we met some guys who had taped the whole thing. I gave him a couple of quid and my address and a few days later the cassette arrived!
I've played it ever since.

A few weeks ago I found a few recent videos of them on You-tube and asked whether anyone knew how to contact Mr Byfield.
He e-mailed me with his address!

Tomorrow I'll post him a copy of the tape and a photocopy of the ticket. 16th April 1984 (I think it's the correct ticket).

So, that's nice.
I don't imagine he's got anything from that time over here. I reckon that tape is by now unique.

If he sends me any feed-back I'll let you all know in due course.

Cheers, Alan

Monday, March 9, 2009 at 5:33:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Tom Eckels said...

Hey Alan,

Please do let us know if you hear back. Always interesting to know what folks have been up to and what they're doing musically nowadays..

Tc

Monday, March 9, 2009 at 11:26:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous Peter Nicholls said...

Well, I'm fascinated and more than a little honoured. I am the one and the same Peter Nicholls who produced these alums back in the early '80's. Your discograhy is pretty complete, but there is one you missed. The last record I made in Tulsa before moving on to an entirely different career was with Henry McCullough - originally of Joe Cocker's Greaseband and more lately the guitarist with Wings. I made a country album with Henry and some of the Bros o' the Night and a few other Tulsa folk, and it came out really well. If you can find it (it was only released in Germany) check out "Can't Help Falling in Love" and you'll lknow where UB40 got the idea from.

Sunday, May 3, 2009 at 3:27:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I too have both of the albums on Sonet. Shame they've never made it to CD, as they are both terrific albums. Needs someone to put them out as a 2 on 1 or something similar. Great stuff. Steve.

Monday, May 25, 2009 at 5:43:00 PM EDT  
Blogger richard said...

i have send an email,but no reply from Tom Eckels.
Anybodycan give me links for this 2 releases.

@mail:
rnguyenngocanh@gmail.com

1000 thanks

Wednesday, June 3, 2009 at 7:53:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Steve P. said...

Here's another dedicated Rockin' Jimmy fan. I too was at Dingwalls – was it really 1984?? I recall the band testing their mikes after the first song or two, presumably to check the balance. Jim asked one of them, Walt I think it was: "Can I hear you OK?" To which Walt replied slowly and clearly into his mike: "Yes." That summed up their economy. I have treasured the two vinyl albums and they are now in my computer so's to save playing them to death even more. Reading all your comments, I too have mused on phrases like 'bank manager' and 'laid back yet tense'. So it is all very satisfying to know that I'm not the only person to hold a torch for the Brothers of the Night for so long.
All best – Steve

Monday, June 22, 2009 at 11:26:00 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

And another fan here! I too heard Rockin' Jimmy and the band on the Alexis Korner show, and went straight out to buy the album. Followed up with the second album. Both LP's still treasured in my collection. I love that lazy groove, the ringing tuned snare on the first album particularly, the whole understated ease of the music. If there was any justice, they should have been massive but they were probably too tasteful, too good, too cool, and too laid back. (Or maybe it's in the name - check out Rockin' Jimmy Crimmins. Fabulous guitarist, generally in the Robben Ford bag, made a superb album several years ago called Keepin It Real but nothing since!) Anyway, glad to see a snippet of them on Youtube from 2008, but how I wish they'd put out some more material or play in the UK!! Somehow I doubt it. Regards, Bob.

Sunday, July 12, 2009 at 6:46:00 PM EDT  
Blogger richard said...

Hi Steve,
Any chance to have links for this 2 records?
1000 thanks
rnguyenngocanh@gmail.com

Tuesday, September 22, 2009 at 11:34:00 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello chaps, I'm miffed to have to report that Rockin' never saw fit to even send me a line of thanks for the tape.

I guess he's deluged with them every day of the week, eh?

Thursday, October 8, 2009 at 5:05:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Rockin' Jimmy was always an eclectic and vibrant performer. I lived in Tulsa and played guitar for a band called 'TULSA' in the mid 70's. I heard Jim play many times and was never not pleased. By the way, anyone have a contact number for Peter Nicholls who posted earlier. He produced a project I was involved with and would like to re-connect with him.
Tom McCullough

Thursday, December 3, 2009 at 11:00:00 PM EST  
Anonymous Rod K said...

Hi - As writer of the reminiscence of the Rockin' Jimmy Dingwalls gig on my (then) band blog on myspace, I was amazed by the subsequent reverberations in cyberworld...Gary Cundiff, bass player with the band on that night, tracked me down via Facebook to enquire if I was the author, explaining that my piece had been picked up on this blog. Good to hear my experience of the gig corroborated from other sources!

To continue the Tulsa music theme, I've just discovered (via Spotify) the great 2005 release "Mad Dods & Okies", a star-studded (in a good way) celebration of Okie/Tulsa music & grooves, supervised by master drummer Jamie Oldaker. See http://www.jamieoldaker.com for more. Best to y'all - Rod Kennard.

Sunday, December 13, 2009 at 4:50:00 PM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can't give updates on all of the Brothers of the Night, but my real brother is Steve Hickerson, the lead guitarist of the group, and I can update you on him. He still lives in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and still plays guitar. After the Brothers of the Night disbanded shortly after their second album was released, Steve started his own business in Tulsa. It's called Guitar Technical Services. He provides service and repair for fretted instruments. You can find his business on Facebook under GTS Tulsa. He has played with other Tulsa musicians through the years in clubs here in Tulsa. Currently, he is a member of a band called The Luxtones. I have posted some clips of them on YouTube. Here is one of them: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t00ZUtHWsj8

Melinda

Wednesday, January 28, 2015 at 12:45:00 PM EST  
Blogger Tom Eckels said...

Melinda!

Thank you for stopping by with that great info.

I checked out the Facebook page right away and there is a lot of good stuff on there. I'll be spending some time reading all your brother's post on their to be sure.

If you remember anything else you want to share feel free to drop in anytime and educate us as much as you can.
It's wonderful to see an actual, legitimate comment come down the pipe. Really appreciate you stopping by, hope you do from time to time.

Tom

Thursday, January 29, 2015 at 12:55:00 AM EST  

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