2008 Inductees

2008 Inductees
Ann Brewer & The Flames The Classman Big Al Downing The Fabulous Four
Friar Tuck & the Monks Garry Mac & the Mac Truque Pat Metheney Chet Nichols
Beth Scalet The Soul Express Lou and Betty Blasco Bill Post

Directors Award:
Lou & Betty Blasco

Bob Hapgood Award:
Bill Post

2008 Induction Ceremony: story and photos

 

Ann Brewer & the Flames

One of the first female vocalists and bandleaders to affect the rock ‘n’ roll music scene in Kansas, Ann was equally at ease singing rockabilly or covering the latest James Brown hit. She later moved to Las Vegas, where she found success until damage to her vocal cords ended her singing career. She now lives in California.

 

The Classmen

The harmonies of this group led by the Dimmel brothers made them local favorites in Kansas City and across the Midwest. Their old records bring big bucks these days online from collectors around the world. Their song “Graduation Goodbye” still gets radio airplay each spring.

 


Big Al Downing

In a career that stretched from the late ’50s until he died in 2005, Big Al had hits on the pop, soul, disco and country charts.

 


The Fabulous Four

A band best remembered for their vocal harmonies, they played in Kansas City clubs and beyond from the early ’60s until just a few months ago.

 

Friar Tuck & the Monks

Out of the Western plains, this band moved to Emporia at one point and found the same success it had enjoyed at home. The band was popular at dances all across Kansas.

 


Garry Mac & the Mac Truque

This popular rhythm and blues band released an album on Capitol Records back in 1969, which featured a hot horn section and the searing hot lead vocals of Dani Gregory. Some of the guys are still playing.

 

Pat Metheny

When he played a Wichita jazz festival as a 14-year-old, he surprised a lot of people. He’s no longer a surprise but one of the top jazz guitarists in the world. Metheny has won 17 Grammys in categories from rock to New Age.

 

Chet Nichols

This singer-songwriter, who eventually went home to Chicago, was a part of the Good Karma stable of acts in Kansas City, touring with Brewer & Shipley, the Ozark Mountain Daredevils and Danny Cox, before recording his first album for Kama Sutra Records. Since then he has continued to record, written a novel and acted in many movies and TV shows.

 

Beth Scalet

This folk and blues singer moved first to Lawrence, then to Kansas City, building a solid reputation for her songwriting and crystal-clear vocals. She has cut back on her live performing in recent years but continues to write and record.

 

The Soul Express

One of the best of the many horn bands in Kansas back in the 1960s, this band was at the top of the heap in Hays. They toured extensively and always drew large crowds. Several veterans of the band continue to perform across the country.

 

Lou & Betty Blasco, 2008 Directors Award

This couple was a big part of the Kansas City music scene for many years, with a music publishing company and a record label, and as songwriters. “My Happiness” was written by Betty Blasco and Borney Bergantine, and became one of the most popular songs in the country in 1948. At least six different acts hit the charts with it that year, and Connie Francis took it to No. 2 on the Billboard chart in 1959. The song has been recorded by hundreds of different artists, and it’s also recognized as the very first song ever recorded by Elvis Presley in 1953.

 

Bill Post, 2008 Bob Hapgood Award

Songwriter Bill Post is the first winner of this award, named for the 2006 Hall of Fame inductee and founding member of the Hall of Fame board of directors, who died last year. Post’s career began during World War II, when he entertained troops in India and Burma before starting his own publishing firm in Los Angeles. He and his first wife, Doree, wrote and recorded many songs for several major labels, and more than 100 of their songs have been recorded by other artists.

Connie Stevens had a huge hit with their song “Sixteen Reasons” in 1960. “Song for Young Love” was a hit for the Lettermen the same year. Eddie Cochran recorded “Weekend,” and Country Music Hall of Famer Don Robertson recorded “Life Goes On.”

After Doree’s death in 1961, Bill returned to Kansas, where he continued to write and record. His farm near Arkansas City has been turned into a musical museum that has drawn thousands of visitors.