Thanks for tuning in.... As the tracks play - by scrolling down each song is briefly explained as memorable times in my rock 'n' roll inspired music diary:
In that reflective light - "Earth is Calling began transmitting its hopeful message into my imagination while gazing out from the top of Glastonbury Tor in southern England early one morning in 1971. A panoramic view that I later learned overlooked King Arthur's fabled Isle of Avalon and Camelot (as depicted in accompanying picture). As the theme song to the "Earth is Calling" reality based television series I'm currently helping write and produce this song remains the focus of my day-to-day efforts.
"Cry in the Night" is homemade demo of my favorite song brother Dan wrote. And that's sayin' a lot 'cause Danny was truly a gifted musician, singer, songwriter. He wrote this song in the early 80's with lyrics that could not be more tuned into the science fiction laced, sometimes wonderful and also seriously weird, chaotic times we are passing through in 2019. In the context of passing through time & space, Danny wasn't issuing a prayer and instead having a serious conversation with God. As recollected in this home recording of Dan's imagined conversation.
"Danny's Guitar", is another homemade recording featuring chords and lyrics that appeared while playing one of Danny's acoustic guitars a couple months after he headed to the heavenly rock 'n' roll hall of fame on Dec. 23,1994. The accompanying picture captured my kid brother with Shep long before we headed to Hollywood to live out our teenage dreams of playing Rock 'n' Roll music in thr City of Angels In the 60's. As fate would have it we did get to live out a few of those dreams
Including Danny writing an instrumental for The Ventures in 1963, "Diamond Head", that became the first million-selling record in Japanese history and Liberty Records asking me to form a touring version of The T-Bones, originally a studio musician recording that went on to become a million selling single in the Spring of 1966 called "No Matter What Shape". After 2-years and over a hundred thousand miles touring we called it quits after a tour of Japan in the Fall of 1967.
Unexpectedly in 1968 I got an acting role filmed in Spain and ended up moving to London in 1970. In the meantime, with Danny on lead vocal backed by Joe Frank Carollo and Tommy Reynolds from the last version of The T-Bones, Hamilton, Joe Frank & Reynolds was born. The first single, "Don't Pull Your Love Out", reached No. 4 in Billboard in 1971. After Tommy left the band and H, JF & R evaporated into thin air, in 1973 Dan came to London with a new keyboard player, Alan Dennison, and we spent a year working on lots of songs.
Out of that effort the next song, "Fallin' In Love", appeared. Eventually leading to another record deal. As I was content to work from behind the scenes - Dennison replaced Reynolds, Joe Frank once again tagged along for the ride and voila! Another Dan written, produced & performed segment of Soft Rock history reached No. 1 on the Billboard charts in the summer of 1975.
Skipping forward to the 90's - after Dan proved to be an amazing music talent and I proved to be a pretty good support system, toward the end of Dan's life in 1993 we were recording our first album as 'The Hamilton Brothers'. After writing and working on a lot of songs the next track, "Santa Monica Nights", ended up being the last recording Dan sang lead as our teenage dream evaporated into what might have been. The picture features the last version of the T-Bones with me on left, Joe Frank, Dan, and Tommy on the right.
"Heads You Win, Tails I Lose", with me on lead vocal and Dan doing the harmony would have been the 'B' side of the "Santa Monica Nights" single we had planned to release before Dan became to ill to go on. The picture caught me at one of our long ago Hamilton Brother gigs.
"Hollywood" is another homemade recording recalling what tinsel town became for the Hamilton Brothers. Having spent our teen years in the 1950's growing up in a small town American Graffiti Pacific Northwest setting called the Wenatchee Valley listening to KMEL, the local Top 40 Rock 'n' Roll radio station.
"Baby's Song" is an early 90's demo I recorded for our Hamilton Bros. album. Oh well, we never gave up trying to make dollars and sense out of the music business. Never did but.... it seemed like a good idea at the time.
"When Tami Married Marc", is a song I've only performed once - at my beloved daughter Tami's wedding in September 1995. Looking thru a satchel of cassettes & CD's a few days ago, to my delight I found a cassette recording I thought I had lost. So thankfully 24-years later in September 2019 I've re-dedicated this heartfelt wedding song to Tami, Marc (both with birthdays in September) and my beyond amazing grandkids Ben, Neve and Keira.
"More Love" is a recent home recording dedicated to my grandchildren (accompanying picture illustrates the best time of my life). As a born again optimist this song expresses my hope that one day sooner than later humanity will conscientiously evolve beyond the primitive political, religious battlefields we have ignorantly passed on to our children throughout our war infested history.
The last track is the first record I made in Hollywood in 1962 disguised as a guy called Shane. A name chosen by and record produced by my music mentor Bob Bogle. Before heading off to the heavenly rock 'n' roll hall of fame in 2009, as a founding member of The Ventures Bob's guitar playing left us with classic instruments like "Walk Don't Run", "Perfidia" and "Hawaii Five-0". Inspiring thousands of guitar players while The Ventures went on to become the biggest selling instrumental band in history. Dedicating this 60's R&R ballad to the Eastmont High Class of 1960. Gordy Parkhill, who keeps our annual class reunions happening, drew a smile when he made it the theme of our 50-year class reunion. Talk about time flying by....
I had the good fortune to know and work with some talented musicians in my 60's sojourn into the rock 'n' roll world including The Ventures, The Beach Boys, Crazy Horse (Neil Youngs band), 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 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, including 'Don't Pull Your Love' in 1971 and 'Fallin' in Love'' in 1975.
Before the H, JF & R heyday began in 1971 I had signed a solo record deal with United Artists Records and moved to London, England, 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 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 Playboy 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 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/chemistry world was last thing I would have ever imagined myself getting passionately involved in my Rock 'n' Roll daze.
But...., that's exactly where my 21st Century wanderlust, 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 beginning to help our present over radiated world, it will continue to provide lifesaving solution for my grandchildren's world. Basically, if living out our teenage dreams is predicated on riding out learning curves, who could ask for more. More about this work at www.ecoc3.org / www.ceramiccement.com