2016 Inductees

 

2016 Inductees
Billy Bob & The Belaires Charlie & The Stingrays King Alex & The Untouchables Mark Selby & The Sluggers
Marva Whitney Roger Walls Sawdust Charley South of the Tracks
The Fabulous Apostles Thumbs
Dick & Jay Wayne Rouse Orin Friesen

Directors Award:
Dick & Jay
Wayne Rouse

Bob Hapgood Award:
Orin Friesen

Billy Bob & The Belaires
Billy Bob & The Belaires, Beloit, KS

Billy Bob and the Belaires began in the early 1970’s in Beloit, KS. During the 20 plus years they were together they played in various venues in central Kansas, western Kansas, and southern Nebraska. The played a great variety of Rock and Roll, a little blues, and some country.

Charlie & The Stingrays
Charlie & The Stingrays, Kansas City

Charlie and the Stingrays were born in 1985 while lead singer Charlie Stendebach was working at United Entertainment as a booking agent and an assistant in the recording studio. After being out of a band and off the road for a year he had been listening to a couple of acts in town who performed 60s & 70s material and thought “what if a band did all dance songs from that era and as close to the original recordings as possible?” With original members, Chris Moore (drums), Greg Murphy (guitar), Chris Jones (keys and guitar), and John Talbot (bass) they found out. Playing consistently in many of the area top venues and events, Charlie and the Stingrays lasted 30 years and played nearly 2800 shows. The band had many wonderful years sharing the stage with acts like The Doobie Brothers, Peter Frampton, Edgar Winter, Eddie Money, Blood Sweat & Tears, The Guess Who, The Romantics, Mitch Ryder, Sweet, BadFinger and many others. On June 7, 1999 Charlie and the Stingrays were inducted to the Kansas City American Bandstand Walk of Fame by owner Dick Clark. During their final year in 2015 the band played their 30th Anniversary Party in May, a Farewell Show in St Joseph (where 3 original members were from) in July, and then the last show August 29, which was an outdoor party with 600 friends in attendance.

King Alex & The Untouchables
King Alex & The Untouchables, Kansas City

King Alex Littlejohn was one of the greatest pure blues singers ever to perform. Born in 1934 he was raised in Faraday, Louisiana where he was childhood friends with Jerry Lee Lewis, Mickey Gilley and Jimmy Swaggert. As a teenager, he moved to Kansas City where he lived in the 18th and Vine district,. Inspired by that thriving music scene, he learned to play bass and sing the blues, in the process recorded a number of singles for regional labels. He also worked with numerous famous bluesmen, including B.B. King. King Alex had been recording his original songs since 1959. In 1996 he played the Blues Estafette in Utrecht, The Netherlands. There, he signed with Black Magic Records and released the CD “Hot As A Coffeepot”. King Alex returned to Europe for a three week tour in 2002. After this tour, King Alex decided to cut a greatest hits CD, “The Cream Of King Alex”, covering over forty years of his song writing. Alex’s rich vocals are complimented by his powerful band, The Untouchables, featuring Robert Locke on drums and vocals, Bart Colliver on organ and piano, Tony Shaffer on guitar, Dana Smith on tenor saxophone and Steve Shoemaker on trombone and harmonica. For more information on King Alex, check out the feature article on him in Living Blues Magazine issue 157 volume 32 no.3 May-June 2001.

Mark Selby & The Sluggers
Mark Selby & The Sluggers, Salina

Mark Selby & the Sluggers was a band known for rock, ragtime, r&b, classical, some country, and an assortment of other music styles. The 3-piece band consisting of Mark on guitar/vocals, Craig Balderston bass/vocals and Mike Ward drums. The group started in 1988, and played together for four years. Branching out, they always called Salina, KS their home, but enjoyed many Midwest tours over several states while together. Mark Selby received degrees in music composition and classical guitar from Fort Hays State University. Eventually moving to Nashville, he played guitar on recording sessions for artists such as Kenny Rogers, Wynonna Judd, Johnny Reid, Keni Thomas, and Jimmy Hall. However, Selby is perhaps best known for the number of songs that he co-wrote with the blues-rock artist Kenny Wayne Shepherd, which includes the #1 single “Blue on Black”. Selby also collaborated with his wife Tia Sillers on the #1 song “There’s Your Trouble”, which was recorded by the Dixie Chicks, and won the band their first Grammy Award for Best Country Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal in 1999.

Marva Whitney
Marva Whitney, Kansas City

This KC funk singer is considered by many enthusiasts to be one of the rawest and brassiest music divas. Her performing career began at the age of three with her family’s gospel group. After singing with the KC band Tommy & the Derbys, Marva began singing with James Brown in the late 1960s. Her recording of “It’s My Thing” reached the R&B top 20. Her recordings have been “sampled” many times since 1990. In December 2009 Whitney collapsed onstage in front of thousands of fans in Australia. She was diagnosed as having suffered a stroke. The rest of her tour was cancelled, and she had been recovering at home In Kansas City. After making a partial recovery and performing again in 2010, Whitney succumbed from complications due to pneumonia in 2012. She was 68.

Roger Walls
Roger Walls, Rose Hill

A Wichita based Country Rock band formed in 1976, the group worked with KFDI- FM Radio on many special promotions, as well as self-booking, and working with the Great Plains Booking Agency in Lawrence, Ks. Maintaining a strong local fan base while simultaneously developing a regional following, the band spent many years logging countless miles playing roadhouses, bars and ballrooms all around Kansas, Colorado and Nebraska. It was not uncommon for many die-hard Wichita fans to travel several hundred miles to attend the band’s out-of-town gigs. In addition to the regular road work, Sawdust Charley opened for such luminaries as Asleep At The Wheel, The Earl Scruggs Review, and The Ozark Mountain Daredevils. Relocating to Los Angeles in 1978, the band played many high profile performances, including The Troubadour, before disbanding in 1979.

Sawdust Charley
Sawdust Charley, Wichita

A Wichita based Country Rock band formed in 1976, the group worked with KFDI- FM Radio on many special promotions, as well as self-booking, and working with the Great Plains Booking Agency in Lawrence, Ks. Maintaining a strong local fan base while simultaneously developing a regional following, the band spent many years logging countless miles playing roadhouses, bars and ballrooms all around Kansas, Colorado and Nebraska. It was not uncommon for many die-hard Wichita fans to travel several hundred miles to attend the band’s out-of-town gigs. In addition to the regular road work, Sawdust Charley opened for such luminaries as Asleep At The Wheel, The Earl Scruggs Review, and The Ozark Mountain Daredevils. Relocating to Los Angeles in 1978, the band played many high profile performances, including The Troubadour, before disbanding in 1979.

South of the Tracks
South of the Tracks, Manhattan

The core of the band, then called Hickory Wind, was formed in 1972 by Clay Center players Otto Marten (keys, strings), Arn Christensen (drums), Craig ‘Stranger’ Terry (guitar), Robert ‘Duck’ Fordyce (sound engineer/manager) and Longford native Johnny Briggs (pedal steel). The band added Charlie Robie (singer/songwriter), Kansas City, moved to K.C. for a year in 1973, added Steve Spake (bass), Kansas City, then returned to North Central Kansas. — In 1975, Otto, Stranger, Johnny and Duck reorganized as ‘South of the Tracks’ (SOTT), adding Tom Bolton (drums), Manhattan, who played with Pott County Pork and Bean Band, and Kent Howard (bass), Osawatomie, formerly with Green River Ordinance and Friar Tuck and the Monks. The following years welcomed other players: Craig McLaughlin (PR), Manhattan, Charla Bevan-Jones (vocals, guitar), Salina, Jimmy Louis (vocals, guitar), Osawatomie and Ardie Dean (drums), Hiawatha, IA. — South of the Tracks operated out of Manattan, becoming one of several popular Country Rock groups touring Kansas in the 70s. Like most regional bands, SOTT opened for national touring acts coming through Kansas, while averaging up to 250 performances each year. The band’s last gig was New Year’s Eve, 1978 at the Clay Center National Guard Armory. No one could ever accuse SOTT of not being thankful for their fan base, rarely missing a chance to interact into the many dawns of the day after “coming to your town.” — All the players of SOTT remain professional or semi-professional musicians.

The Fabulous Apostles
The Fabulous Apostles, Wichita

The Fabulous Apostles started out like most 60’s bands, as 4-pc. Beatles imitators. Jay Leach, Greg Fuson, and two others got together in the summer of 1964 as The Apostles. The Apostles were just one of the many bands from the early 60’s that added the word “fabulous” to their names, patterning after The Fabulous Flippers, especially bands who had added horns and taken on an R&B sound. The bands lineup was leader Jay Leach on lead gtr. and vocals, Greg Fuson on drums, Randy Loveland on trumpet, Vern Harris on bass, Gregg Harris on Hammond organ and Chris Leason on sax. Jim Reardon & Associates of Hays, who had the band playing a wide circuit of dates from Canada to Mexico managed the Apostles. In 1968, a record with the Fab. Apostles name on it was released on the Shana label, featuring a catchy horn band sound with “You Don’t Know Like I Know” and the flipside a heavy fuzz guitar-laden rocker called “Dark Horse Blues”, after The Dark Horse Inn in Hays, KS, a frequent venue for the band.

Thumbs
Thumbs, Lawrence

Bored with what was happening musically in the mid-Seventies, Thumbs got together to play cool songs no one else was playing. Almost immediately, they also began writing songs that united influences as disparate as Bob Dylan, Van Morrison, and the Velvet Underground, combining them with garage-rock and the emerging energy of punk. Building an audience of the cool and disaffected, the band released its debut album in 1980, garnering reviews from Rolling Stone and winning over critics from Berkeley to London. The house band of a Kansas rock revolution, Thumbs opened shows for the likes of the Police, XTC, Iggy Pop, and the Sir Douglas Quintet. Their second album, “No Price on Earth” added fans from Musician Magazine to Mikal Gilmore. Thumbs continued to rock audiences in Kansas and Kansas City through 1985, closing their story with “Jericho,” a beautiful addition to “Fresh Sounds From The Midwest, Vol. 3”. Thumbs music and attitude were seminal to the independent rock scene that developed in Kansas during the 1980s. Their independent do it yourself spirit inspired a generation of young rockers.

Dick & Jay
Dick & Jay, Kansas CIty

From 1974 through 1984, Dick Wilson and Jay Cooper became the most famous DJ tandem in Kansas City radio history. Their unique interplay, dialogue, sense of humor, and antics both on and off the air helped to insure a loyal fan base throughout the greater Kansas City listening area and beyond. Being the first DJ duo to be inducted into The Kansas Music Hall of Fame will only add further to their legendary status.

Wayne Rouse
Wayne Rouse, Manhattan

Starting as a promoter in Hayes, KS during the late 70’s, Rouse has produced hundreds of shows, both in KS and nationally as well, working with major name acts in both Country and Pop music. Wayne founded Country Stampede, a 3 day Manhattan music fest which is celebrating its 21st year. Wayne Rouse was inducted into the KS Fairs & Festivals Hall of Fame in the 1990’s.

Orin Friesen
Orin Friesen, BandCity

This year’s Bob Hapgood Award winner, Orin Friesen grew up on a farm near York, NE. Starting in jr. high, he began making his own ham radio sets. Listening to The Grand Old Opry in particular helped him develop an early fascination with both radio programs and cowboys. In 1966, Friesen moved to Kansas, where he attended Wichita State University. In 2015, Friesen was inducted into The Kansas Cowboy Hall of Fame, celebrating a 50 year career as a cowboy entertainer, musician, and radio personality. As leader of the Prairie Rose Rangers, he’s had his own radio program since 1973. “Bluegrass From The Rockin’ Banjo Ranch” can still be heard on radio station KFDI.