Garrett Harris 10 a.m., Aug. 16
Esse & the Showmen
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Influences: The Kingsmen
Esse & the Showmen was an early 1960s R&B band fronted by Nate Jones (aka Esse) and featuring Chuck Taylor (guitar), Buddy Bonimo (bass), Danny Guevera (horns), and Glen Ducette (piano), with a rotating selection of drummers that sometimes found the band performing with dual kits.
"I was the worst guitar player around," recalls Chuck Taylor online, "but I could somehow work out all the horn parts and get the right chord progressions figured out close enough, so I wasn't thrown out."
Their single covering "Ooh Poo Pah Do" b/w their original song "Rude" (Datone Records), produced by Currie & Irvin, was recorded in 1963 live at El Cajon's Valley High School, where rock critic Lester Bangs would also attend. "The record came about because we all went up to Pomona CA and impersonated the Kingsmen a couple nights. We learned every song on the Kingsmen album from "Louie Louie" and all their other songs. That was the deal. Do the Kingsmen show and get a free recording."
The band never took off, however. "The popularity of the Beatles ruined it for most of the big show bands playing R&B," says Taylor.