2017 Inductees

 

2017 Inductees
The Smart Brothers Band Stone Wall Samuel Ramey Elk River Biscuit & Gravy Band
Caribe Bill Bergman Allan Bell Trampled Under Foot

Directors Award:
Allan Bell

Directors Award:
Caribe

Bob Hapgood Award:
Samuel Ramey

The Smart Brothers Band
The Smart Brothers Band, Wichita

Smart’s Palace, a night club owned by the Smart family, was the epicenter of the Wichita Kansas Soul scene between 1963 and 1975. The Smart Brothers (there were eight of them) formed The Smart Brothers Band, and held court there. Touring acts such as James Brown and Aretha Franklin would often sit in with the group. By all accounts, their shows were animated and wild affairs, featuring front men John and Leroy Smart. Popping handstands and jumping from table to table in the club while soloing were just a few of the acrobatics featured in a typical show. At the heart of the organization was Dick Smart. As bassist, club and record store owner, DJ, Promoter, and all around businessman, he also formed Solo Records. Recordings for the label, featuring various Smart Brothers band lineups, are featured on the 2009 Numero Records CD compilation “Eccentric Soul: Smart’s Palace”.

Stone Wall
Stone Wall, Kansas City

Formed in the late summer of 1968, and lasting until 1976, Stone Wall was the premier “power trio” in KC music history. The first incarnation of the band included drummer Ken Mairs (The Chontels, 19th Century Sound Affair), bassist /vocalist Greg Whitfield, and guitarist/vocalist Allen Blasco. The Place in Westport was a recurring gig, but the band made their major league debut, Marshall stacks and all, at “The Fun Fair” in June of 1969, Municipal Auditorium, alongside Steve Miller, Strawberry Alarm Clock, Brewer and Shipley, The Cowsills, etc., all of whom were at the dawn of their careers. The next incarnation of the band had Roy “Leroy” Cline on drums and percussion, and Rick Bacus on bass and woodwinds (KMHoF 2012 inductee with Morningstar). This version of the band did the infamous Volker Park concert on Easter Sunday of 1971, which was filmed, and is immortalized on YouTube. They were also one of the first groups to do “unplugged” acoustic sets. The final and longest lasting version of Stone Wall (5 years) had Alan “Kid” Cohen on bass/vocals (later with Missouri) and Peter Jacobs on drums. That’s the group that opened for, among others, Brownsville Station at Memorial Hall, and Ted Nugent at Pershing Auditorium (20,000 people) in Lincoln, NE. An unreleased Stone Wall recording from 1969 is currently available as part of the 2014 Numero Records CD compilation “Local Customs: Cavern Sound”.

Samuel Ramey
Samuel Ramey, Colby

This opera singer from Colby, KS is considered one of the finest basso cant ante singers of our time. He’s admired for his range and versatility, with the bel canto technique to sing Handel, Mozart and Rossini, as well as the power to handle the dramatic roles of Verdi & Puccini. His career took off when he sang with the NY Metropolitan Opera. When he lived in Chicago, Ramey was on the faculty at Roosevelt University’s Chicago College of Performing Arts, and gave over fifty performances a year. He now resides in Wichita, where he is a professor at Wichita State University, and still tours when his schedule permits.

Elk River Biscuit & Gravy Band
Elk River Biscuit & Gravy Band, Emporia

Formed in 1975, the band termed itself as Progressive Country, but with roots in a wide range of music including Classic Country, Bluegrass, Western Swing, and even a little Rock & Roll. Their emphasis was on music people liked to dance to, listen to, and just plain enjoy. Always a great band to see live, they toured the western, mid-western, and southern states, developing a large fan base wherever they played. They appeared with, or opened for, Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Johnny Paycheck, Billie Spears, Leon Russell, and others. Their album “Eat It Up” is a fine blend of original music and stellar arrangements of cover songs. Lynn Whitney of The Great Plains Gazette wrote: “These Elk River guys are musical mechanics. They’ll take an old beat up song that barely limps along, pull it apart, and put it back together with a new piece here and there. Suddenly, it’s a real “trucker” of a tune- cruisin’ down the highway sweet, strong, and better than new!” All members of the band continue playing to this day, in different groups and venues.

Caribe
Caribe, Lawrence

Originating in Lawrence in the early 1980’s, the group’s interesting take on a Salsa/Calypso sound got them notice in the greater KC/ Lawrence area and beyond. Caribe band members include musician/songwriters Bunny Rodina (Vocals, Percussion, Cuatro) Bob Augelli (Vocals, Drums, Timbales) Fernando Reynoso (Conga, Percussion) Eric Goolsby (Vocals, Bass) Willy Skate (Trumpet, Trombone, Saxophones) Michael Helton (Vocals, Saxophones, Flute, Guitar), and Vaughn Cowden(Vocals, Keyboards). Surviving members of Caribe continue to be active musicians, and still get together for occasional reunions. They have a self-titled CD from 1991, consisting entirely of original material composed by the band members..

Bill Bergman
Bill Bergman, Kansas City

Bill got his start in the 1970’s with a KC group named Justus before moving to Los Angeles, where he continued his career in earnest. As a founding member of the popular Soul band Jack Mack and the Heart Attack, and known for his legendary solo on Glenn Frey’s “You Belong To The City” (1985), the KC-bred saxman became a fixture in the “Quiet Storm”/Contemporary Jazz format with both the CD “Midnight Sax” (which Jazziz Magazine later named one of the ten most influential Smooth Jazz albums) and its popular follow-up “Bill Bergman and the Metro Jets”. For further information, visit Bill’s website at www.billbergmanmusic.com

Allan Bell
Allan Bell, Kansas City

In 1963, Allan Bell Founded America’s Best Attractions (ABA), a state and union licensed theatrical and music agency headquartered in North Kansas City, MO. A trained lawyer, Bell served as owner, operator and bookkeeper of ABA, personally booking gigs and managing artists through the agency. ABA handled a large variety of local, regional and national talent: singers, bands, musicians, orchestras, dancers, burlesque performers, magicians, puppeteers, comedians, speakers, circus, and animal acts. Allan Bell Charters (the travel affiliate of ABA) was established in 1970, and handled business and organization charters to worldwide destinations.

Trampled Under Foot
Trampled Under Foot, BandCity

An American Soul/Blues and Blues/Rock band, TUF was formed in KC, MO in 2000. The original trio consisted of siblings Danielle, Nick, and Kris Schnebelen (bass, guitar, and drums respectively). Their father, Bob, played guitar with a KC band named Little Eva & The Works, and his children grew up on jam sessions his band would host. As a young teen, before she ever played an instrument, Danielle was an incredible vocalist. Her brothers sing as well, adding that “family sound” to their vocals. Once together, their self-titled debut album was released in 2006, followed by “The Philadelphia Sessions” in 2007. Trampled Under Foot won the International Blues Challenge in 2008, after which they released “ Live At Nottoden Blues Festival” in 2010 and “Wrong Side Of The Blues” in 2011. Their 2013 album, “Badlands” reached number one on the US Billboard Top Blues Albums Chart. That same album won ‘Contemporary Blues Album of the Year” at the 2014 Blues Music Awards. Danielle also won ‘Best Instrumentalist- Bassist Category’ at that ceremony, where the band additionally was nominated for ‘Band of the Year’.