Thanks for tuning in. While it's distracting to read this written section and listen to the songs, when & if time permits hopefully in reading you will understand why I'm dedicating this site to my brother Danny's memory and our Hamilton Brothers journey. With each song reflecting another page in our rock 'n' roll inspired music diary. A music journey I'll kick off with the last two songs Danny and I recorded in the mid-90's as a couple of small-town kids from East Wenatchee, Washington who decided to live out our rock 'n' roll dreams in Hollywood in the 60's. And amazingly through the ups and downs we did get to live out a few of our dreams, for awhile.
With three decades of band on the run tales to tell in 1993 we decided to record our first album as 'The Hamilton Brothers'. With the first track, "Santa Monica Nights" ending up being the last song Dan sang lead on as our teenage dreams unexpectedly evaporated into what might have been. While we were producing the album I got a call Dan was in emergency care in a N. Hollywood hospital. Everything changed - with Dan valiantly spending the next year trying to recover from a rare condition called Cushing's Disease. After a few months in intensive care and a respite care facility Dan was allowed to return to his N. Hollywood home where I stayed with him throughout most of 1994. In the Fall of '94 and even though he was still weak and struggling, in our need to secure another recording contract i.e. make a living, Dan hobbled into a N. Hollywood recording studio and amazingly did this "Santa Monica Nights" vocal in one take (literally one take?).
With these heartfelt memories recorded, a few months later he had a relapse and sadly in the early hours of Dec. 23, 1994 Danny moved on to the heavenly rock 'n' roll hall of fame. The accompanying picture, with me on the left, Joe Frank, Danny, and Tommy Reynolds on the right captures the touring band 'The T-Bones' we formed in the mid-60's as we headed to Japan where an instrumental written by Dan for The Ventures, "Diamond Head", had become Japan's first million selling record in 1963. Along with a couple of T-Bones Japanese top 10 hits in 1967.
The next track, "Heads You Win, Tails I Lose", I wrote in the late 80's. Finally recording it in 93' for our long envisioned Hamilton Bros. album. With Dan singing harmony to my lead vocal. While in hindsight, the last song Danny and I would sing on (the picture caught me rockin' out at one of our long ago Hamilton Brother gigs) Also, I need to give due credit to Mike Wagner, back in those days a multi-talented Spokane WA. based musician, arranger, recording engineer.
With these latter year memories shared, onward to a couple of the 1970's multi-million selling gold records that Danny created, sang, and performed backed by Joe, Tommy, and later on Alan. When The T-Bones disbanded in 1967 Dan & I went back to working S.Cal./Vegas clubs as the Hamilton Bros. until I was unexpectedly asked to do a film acting role in Spain. And after that, and again somewhat to my surprise, I ended up living London, England for the next 20-years while Danny, Joe & Tommy (with me helping from behind the scenes) formed Hamilton, Joe Frank & Reynolds. And the first single the regrouped T-Bones released with Dan on lead vocal, "Don't Pull Your Love", hit the top of the charts in 1971. The picture is Danny, Joe Frank, and Tommy Reynolds.
When no more big time hits followed Tommy exited H, JF & R in the Fall of 1972 and a 2-year lull hit the fan. Then one day in the Spring of '74' Danny called me in London and said he'd met a knockout keyboard player, Alan Dennison. As times were getting tough I set up a 4-track home recording system and brought Dan and Alan to London where we spent the next few months working on lots of songs. And from that determined effort the next song "Fallin' in Love" appeared and eventually became the next gold record. Hitting No. 1 on the Billboard charts in 1975. With Dan once again blowing everyone away as the lead singer and songwriter, Alan on keyboards, and Joe Frank climbing back onboard for another bass playing ride.
The next song, "Danny's Guitar", is a home recorded brotherly love tribute to the best singer, songwriter I've ever known. With chords & lyrics that appeared while playing one of Dan's acoustic guitars a couple months after he headed back to heaven in the early hours of Dec. 23, 1994. The picture is Dan and our childhood buddy Shep. Okay, moving on with another recent homemade recording,"If The World is a Stage" , somewhat memorializing my shift in 1968 when I moved from music making to movie making and living in Europe.
With Dan and the band climbing the charts in the 70's - the next tracks are numbered amongst my solo recordings including, "Automated Lovers", "Love Attack", "Millions", recorded in London in the mid-80's with Tony Macroni. Literally the most amazing all round musician, singer, arranger, co-producer I have ever worked with. I recorded the next three tracks, "Your Sweet Love", "How Do You Know", "Talk To Me", in the mid-90's in Spokane with the help of Mike Wagner. All intended for the never-to-be Hamilton Brothers' album.
The next homemade recording, "Cry in the Night", is my favorite of all of Danny's songs. While few have heard it, he wrote this song in the early 80's from the perspective of a small town kid looking at the City of Angels with homeless people, families & children suffering horrible poverty surrounded by glamour driven wealth. With lyrics that could not be more tuned into the divisive,, chaotic, pandemic laced times we're moving through in 2023. By the way, Dan was not issuing a prayer and instead posing serious questions to God.
Following on from Danny's thought provoking questions to God I found myself posing my own earth bound thoughts while writing the next song "The Devil's Last Ride". Which appeared after watching the horrendous Twin Towers collapsing on the daily news and seeing the enclosed 'Devil's' face appear in the smoke (enlarge pic via no. 14 ---- link). A horrible day forever reminding us that humanity's insanity is sadly and seriously not a thing of the past. Inclusive of the present 'evilly' perpetrated Ukrainian war! While in spite of the insanity continuing to be perpetrated by a few evil individuals masquerading as so- leaders I continue to believe we the people i.e. the innocent bystanders, are destined to learn from our hard-earned it had to get worse to get better learning curve and move into the biblical predicted 1000-years of peacefully better times. "Starting 'right now'!
Okay, with those learning on the run questions posed, onward to my ultimate hope-filled songwriting effort. "Earth is Calling" began transmitting its inspiring message early one morning as I gazed at the world from the top of Glastonbury Tor in Southern England. A panoramic view I later learned overlooks King Arthur's fabled Isle of Avalon and Camelot (as depicted in picture). A living earth concept that never went away! I did this recording in London in 1989 while I'm in the process of recording a new version as the theme for an upcoming "Earth is Calling" web series I'm hoping to one day soon produce (check out www.earthiscalling.org).
"And We Talked" is another hope laced song I wrote & recorded in London in 1989 echoing our never-ending humanitarian need for a hope-driven time when everyone is provided kindness, love, & forgiveness. Inclusive of creating self-sufficient homes and communities where everyone, especially families in need, can live comfortable lives irrespective of financial / income status. (check out www.EcocC3.org)
The next track "Happy-Go-Lucky" was also recorded in London in the mid-80's 'I think', but for the life of me I can't remember where, exactly when, and with whom.
Staying on the positive side of life; "Baby's Song" is a song I wrote and co-produced in Spokane with Mike Wagner for our Hamilton Bros. album. Even though Danny didn't get to add his vocals, to this day a special song as my children and grandchildren are my life. And onward to the best years of my life.
"When Tami Married Marc" is a family devoted song I've only performed once at my beloved daughter Tami's wedding in September 1995. And thankfully 27-years later I'm re-dedicating this heartfelt wedding song to Tami, Marc, and my beyond amazing grandkids Ben, Neve, and Keira.
I'll wrap up my music memory journey with "More Love" a song expressing what everyone needs more of. The picture is my beloved grandkids when they began teaching what life is really all about, loving and being loved by our children and family. Onward....
I've had the good fortune to know and work with some talented musicians within my 60's sojourn into the rock 'n' roll world. Including The Ventures, The Beach Boys, Glen Campbell, Crazy Horse (Neil Young's band), Tim Hardin, Leon Russell, David Gates (Bread), Pat and Lolly Vegas (Redbone), and Darrel Dragon (Captain and Tenielle), to name a few.
As a sometimes session musician in the mid-sixties Liberty Records producer Joe Saraceno asked me to form a touring band in Nov. 1965 called The T-Bones to promote an instrumental record, "No Matter What Shape', that was actually recorded by the hot Hollywood session players of those times, later known as the Wrecking Crew. Hey, for starving musicians trying to make a living playing music, why not? I asked my brother Dan to play lead guitar along with three other LA session guys and to our amazement this TV jingle inspired single reached No. 3 in Billboard's Top 100 in March, 1966.
The officially sanctioned, pseudo T-Bones toured non-stop over the next couple of years and went through several personnel changes before settling into a line-up that included Tommy Reynolds, Joe Frank Carollo, Danny and me. On our third T-Bones album, 'Everyone's Gone to the Moon', we were finally allowed to record and include the vocal/harmony sound we had polished on the road. Although our 1967 Autumn tour of Japan marked the end of the road for the T-Bones, two-years of non-stop touring established a group vocal sound that went on minus me (with brother Dan on lead vocals) to enjoy a few more hit singles as Hamilton, Joe Frank and Reynolds, with 'Don't Pull Your Love Out' becoming a gold record in 1971, and 'Fallin' in Love" hitting No. 1 on the Billboard charts in 1975.
Before the H, JF & R heyday began in 1971, in 1968 I was offered a film acting role in Madrid, Spain that led to moving to London, England and signing a solo record deal with United Artists Records, while I continued to help Dan from behind the scenes. When the first version of H, JF & R broke up Dan came to London in 1973 with a new piano player, Alan Dennison, where we spent about a year writing and demoing new songs. One of the songs Dan wrote during that time was "Fallin' in Love". As popular as that song proved to be we spent a year and half shopping it to the music biz with zero results. And then through a strange, i.e. unexpected, set of circumstances, Playboy Records (basically a joke label) agreed to release it in the summer of 1975 and 9-weeks later it was No. 1 on the Billboard charts. Over the next couple of years what remained of Playboy Records (who eventually declared bankruptcy) released a couple more single's and album's but no more big hits appeared while Dan & Joe carried on doing gigs into the late-80s.
In 1990 I moved back to the States, settling in our Hamilton family hometown of Spokane, Washington where I got involved with a local recording studio. In the spring of 1993 I reunited with Dan in LA, determined to record our first album as The Hamilton Brothers. While we were writing material and doing demos for this long awaited project Dan's health began to fail and one night in late '93' he landed in intensive care, where he remained for several months. Eventually he was diagnosed with a rare adrenal gland condition known as Cushing's Disease. After a year-long, courageous, hopeful struggle Danny passed away in the early morning hours of December 23, 1994, at the age of 48. And once again everything changed.
Since the mid-nineties I've made my home in Seattle, where I enjoy the blessing of being close to my children and grandchildren. While I continue to dabble in music I'm equally fascinated with the creation of superior quality, eco-safe ceramic cement products and the invention / patenting of X-Rok, a chemically-bonded ceramic cement radiation-shielding concrete. While the material science world was the last thing I would have ever imagined myself getting passionately involved in back in my Rock 'n' Roll daze...., that's exactly where my 21st Century wonderlust, i.e. curiosity, led.
And it's great. I don't really know what I'm doing, which is not unusual, while I've ended up receiving the highest level U.S. Government testing results, including shielding nuclear radiation, and a growing list of world patents. So, what the heck! And the best part, X-Rok is not only ready to help our present over radiated world, it will continue to provide lifesaving solution for my grandchildren's world. Basically in looking back I've come to think, if living out our teenage dreams is predicated on riding out learning curves, who could ask for more. More about my X-Rok 'n' roll adventure at www.ecoc3.org / www.ceramiccement.com.