2015 Inductees

 

2015 Inductees
Gary Winston Apple The Benders Priscilla Bowman Dan Crary
Dan Falley Liverpool - A Tribute To The Beatles Lonnie Ray Band ProtoKaw
Vic Damon Coon-Sanders Original Nighthawk Orchestra Kenny Starr

Directors Award:
Vic Damon

Directors Award:
Coon-Sanders Original Nighthawk Orchestra

Bob Hapgood Award:
Kenny Starr

Gary Winston Apple
Gary Winston Apple, Kansas City

Throughout the late sixties and early to mid-seventies, Gary Apple performed as the lead vocalist, drummer and song-writer for a number of bands including Appletree and Speakeasy. After releasing his debut solo album, “A Musical Tribute to the Last of the Great Toadstool Madonnas” in 1974, the group name was changed to “The Gary Apple Band.” By now, Gary was fronting the band on vocals, guitar, and keyboards. His song “Shoot ’em Up, Cowboy” garnered a record deal with Monument Records, and spent 9 weeks on Record World’s singles chart, despite the fact that Monument’s distribution deal with Phonogram ended the week after it was released. This single was from his Monument album, “The First One’s Free”. He recorded an album, “Sessions” for Mad Dog Records in 1980-81, but the label went bankrupt before mixing was completed. It was finished and released in 2000. After a lengthy hiatus from music between 1985 and 1999, he returned to music, and switched to his middle name of Winston. Since returning to music, Winston Apple has released 11 more albums (for a total of 14). He is in the process of recording album number 15 at this time.

The Benders
The Benders, Wichita

The Benders first brought their very unique brand of 50’s and 60’s music, humor and pompadour hairstyles to midwestern stages in 1985, and have toured constantly ever since. At one point, the board members of the Kansas Fairs and Festivals Association declared them the “Number One Fair and Festival Band” in the state, due to the band’s overwhelming popularity in this market. The band continues to perform 100-plus dates a year at events and casinos all over the midwest.

Priscilla Bowman
Priscilla Bowman, Kansas City

Priscilla Bowman was an American Jazz and R&B singer who had a #1 single on Billboard’s R&B chart in 1955 as the lead singer with Jay McShann’s band. The song, “Hands Off” was co-written by McShann and Bowman, and has since become a classic. She was born in Kansas City, and was called the city’s “Original Rock’ n Roll Mama”. She joined “Jay McShann’s Orchestra” in the early 1950’s. In 1955, the band signed to Vee-Jay records, and Bowman recorded two sessions with them. One of the songs, “Hands Off’ became a hit, staying at #1 for three weeks in December of 1955. The single was notable as the last to hit #1 on the R&B charts without making the Billboard Hot 100. She recorded a number of follow-ups as a solo. In 1958, she was the first to record the song “A Rockin’ Good Way” (with uncredited vocal group The Spaniels). The song was co-written by Brook Benton, who subsequently recorded it with Dina Washington, and had a major Pop hit in 1960. Bowman continued to record and make personal appearances, some with Jay McShann, through the late 1970’s. A compilation of her recordings, “An Original Rock & Roll Mama” was released in 1986. Priscilla Bowman died from lung cancer in 1988. She was 60 years old.

Dan Crary
Dan Crary, Kansas City

Dan was born in Kansas City, KS and has been performing since 1960. He is considered an innovator in the Bluegrass flat picking guitar style, and wrote a popular column in Frets Magazine in the 1980’s. He has performed with Bluegrass Alliance, BCH (Berline, Crary & Hickman), Sundance, and California. He tours occasionally with Beppe Gametta, as well as with his band Thunderation (Steve Spurgin and Martin Stevens).

Dan Falley
Dan Falley, Topeka

Along with his diverse musical tastes, friends and fellow musicians describe Falley as someone who could play his guitar with anyone, leading many of the Sunday night jam sessions at the Celtic Fox for the past three years. Dan died in a car accident north of Topeka on January 6, 2008. The mood of the day was somber, given the passing of a man many had called friend and who had influenced the Topeka music scene since the late 60s. As folks poured in and the musical intensity swelled, it became apparent there was good to be drawn from misfortune. Why couldn’t the Topeka music community come together annually to create inspirational music and provide for an opportunity for local players to get to enjoy each other’s company? When planning started for Jam4Dan II, it was decided scholarships would be the best way to memorialise Dan’s immense influence on hundreds of guitar students over four decades. To date, dozens of bands have offered their talents; hundreds and hundreds of fans have enjoyed the scene that only a special event can offer; and over $15,000 has been given away to deserving young musicians in the form of free lessons that stretched from two to six months.

Liverpool - A Tribute To The Beatles
Liverpool – A Tribute To The Beatles, Lenexa

Liverpool, A tribute to The Beatles, has performed for literally tens of thousands of Beatles fans sacross the nation since their inception in 1990. Rolling Stone Magazine has recognized them as one of the top tribute acts in the nation for their attention to detail, costuming, authentic vintage stage gear, and most importantly, their sound. The band holds attendance records at dozens of major festivals, especially in their home town of Kansas City, and throughout the the midwest. 2010 KMHoF inductee Jimmy Bond (with Plain Jane) was a founding member of Liverpool.

Lonnie Ray Band
Lonnie Ray Band, Lawrence

Lonnie Ray and Debbie Fugett met in 1965 in Lawrence, KS. They will be celebrating their forty third wedding anniversary in March of 2015. In the early 70’s they attended the University of Pacific in Stockton, CA. Both majoring in music. At night they would be playing gigs, doing Jazz and Top 40. They played with KMHoF inductee Billy Spears for 2 years during the early 70’s. They spent 15 years playing in 46 states with a music agency out of Miami, FL. Coming off the road in 1986, they started jams at the Jazzhaus in Lawrence, and The Point in Kansas City. They’ve held a jam at various regional venues virtually every week since. They continue to play upwards of 200 dates a year in KC and the surrounding area, focusing on the blues, and crowd favorites. The couple has spent virtually their whole lives together making beautiful music, and encouraging others to do the same.

ProtoKaw
ProtoKaw, Topeka

First formed in 1970, the band eventually called Kansas went through three transformations. The sound of the band changed over time, along with group members. The band the world knows as Kansas is transformation number three. Proto Kaw is the reformed and re-named second version. Beginning in 1971, “Kansas II” as they were called then, played mostly original material by composer/guitarist Kerry Livgren. When this group failed to get a recording deal, they disbanded. Kerry went with a group out of St. Joe, MO called White Clover, which together with him, became the Kansas that got a record deal, and set the world on fire. During the ensuing 30 years, the members of “Kansas II” assumed various non-musical careers. Around 2004, they reunited with Livgren, becoming Proto Kaw. Four CD’s and over 15 years later, they’re still going strong.

Vic Damon
Vic Damon, Kansas City

A pioneer in recording science, in 1933 Vic founded Damon Transcription Laboratoty in KC, Mo, operating out of the Midland Building at 1221 Baltimore. Later, as Damon Recording Studios, he moved to 117 W 14th St. where he continued doing busineess until his retirement in 1973. He was also and engineer for KC radio station WHB. During his long career, Damon recorded many notable acts, including Tommy Douglas, Julia Lee, The Scamps, Jay McShann, Marilyn Maye and The Blue Things. Damon’s greatest commercial success was “My Happiness”, recorded by Jon and Sondra Steele at his Midland Building studio on 12/10/47. The record was produced by 2008 KMHoF inductee Lou Blasco, with lyrics by his wife Betty Peterson Blasco, also a 2008 inductee. The melody to the song was by another KC native, Borney Bergantime. Released in 1948 on his self named Damon label, the reord went multi-platinum, and five years later became the first song ever recoreded by Elvis Presley. Major labels CApitol anfd Decca frequesntly used Damon as a recording engineer, and he also provided recording services for advertising agnecies, church groups, and civic organizations. Vic Damon died 2/20/74 at age 73.

Coon-Sanders Original Nighthawk Orchestra
Coon-Sanders Original Nighthawk Orchestra, Kansas City

Founded in 1919 as the Coon-Sanders Novelty Orchestra by drummer Carleton Coon and pianist Joe Sanders, this was the first Kansas City jazz band to achieve national recognition, which it acquired through national radio broadacasts. The Orchestra began braodcasting in 1922 on clear channel WDAF, which could be received throughout the country. Performing out of the Muhelebach Hotel, they took the name Nighthawks because they broadcast late at night. Fans were encouraged to send in requests by letter, telephone, or telegram. They were so popular that Western Union set up a ticker tape on the bandstand so that telegrams could be acknowledged during the broadacast. By 1925, they were having hits on RCA Records with songs like “Flamin’ Mamie” and “Nighthawk Blues”, and toured outside KC with extended stays in both Chicago and New York. In 1932, at the height of their popularity, Carleton Coon died from a jaw infection, effectively ending the band’s long and successful run.

Kenny Starr
Kenny Starr

Recording for MCA Records between 1973-78, Starr charted thirteen singles and one studio album. His recording of “The Blind Man in the Bleachers” reached #2 on the Billboard Country Singles chart, and #58 on the Billboard Hot 100 Pop charts. The album from which it was taken charted #12 on Billboard’s Country album charts. The single went to #1 on the country charts in Canada. For many years, Starr was a guitarist in Loretta Lynn’s touring band, The Coal Miners. He had a great career as a Nashville session guitarist, playing for famous names and on many hit records. He was alao co-host of the morning edition fo Nashville Now during the 90’s.