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The Penetrations, page 4

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country road
This photo is one from the professional shoot by Gary Brown in 1973.  I borrowed the duds I'm wearing here - which I subsequently bought - from John Wilhite's clothes boutique.  Plaid bellbottoms, dude!
Playing at
                Potter's Lake
Here's the band playing at Potter's Lake on the K.U. campus, in front of our bus.  This must have been Spring or Summer of 1973 because a) Darrell's crutches are visible at the lower right corner, b) Brad's playing a Fender Rhodes, and c) we were using one of the Shure Vocal Master columns as a monitor, meaning we had already acquired our JBL "scoops" as main speakers.
On stage at the
                Red Baron
Becky, Andy, and most of Bud's drums, on stage at the Red Baron in 1972.
Becky, Bud, and
                Andy at the Red Dog
Becky, Bud, and Andy on stage at the Red Dog.  This has to be "late" Penetrations 'cause I had my hair in a shag cut.  I like this photo for the composition, angle, and lighting.

Becky singing
                      on campus
We get a break, of sorts.

In the Summer of '73, Michael Duby was in Kansas's fine penal institution at Hutchinson, and we didn't really know how, or want to do, the work of booking gigs.

Steve Dahl, a successful booking agent and formerly a horn player in the Red Dogs, happened to catch an outdoor gig we did on the K.U. campus.  Perhaps influenced by something he may or may not have smoked, Steve thought we were ready for his increased attention (he told me this a few years later when he was the primary booking agent for the Billy Spears Band).

Here's Becky singing outdoors on the K.U. campus, must have been Fall of '73.  I believe this was the gig where Steve Dahl heard us.  Two things to notice: 

One is John Lomas in the background, leaning against the bus. John  was playing with Michael Duby's band "Polio" at the  time and would later become one of the Used Parts.

The other is Becky's "Big Eat 73" button.  The Big Eat was something of a tradition among  local hippies for a few years, a mini-mini-Woodstock on Robbie Schall's farm.  Substances were consumed.  Becky would later marry Robbie when she came back from Oakland, have a child, and divorce him.  Robbie died in the early 1980s from a gunshot wound.

Steve Dahl worked for Mid Continent Entertainment, the "big dog" among booking agencies in Lawrence.  Mid Continent was the agency started by John Brown, who had handled the Fabulous Flippers, the Red Dogs, Rising Suns, the Blue Things, etc., in the late sixties.  Steve knew of us and had heard us before, but for some reason something clicked for him in hearing us at that particular time and place.  He began to get us some gigs, but they were a little different from what we were used to.  He sent us to bars in Omaha and Lincoln, where we were expected to dress up a little more and play a little more contemporary music.  We bought ourselves used tuxedoes with pink ruffled shirts.

Bud in tux
Andy in tux
Darrell in tux
Buddy, Andy, and Darrell before a gig in our cheesy tuxes.

The narrative continues

Becky and I weren't getting along too well.  Brad and Darrell, despite mutual respect, had always had a tendency to squabble, and were getting tired of musical disagreements between them.  The gigs from Steve Dahl were bringing us a little more money, but we weren't having a lot of fun playing them.

Michael Duby, after he got out of prison, spent more time with his band, Polio, which included John Lomas and John Wilhite.  That was okay with us, but it means that his primary energies were not focused on our well-being.

In late '73, we decided to play without Darrell for some reason and look for another guitarist in the meantime.  The band without Darrell played a little more sophisticated and subdued, but having a Fender Rhodes as the only lead instrument was, well, limiting.  We split up shortly thereafter.

Although all good things must come to an end, the decision to fire Darrell was, in retrospect, a mistake which undoubtedly hastened our demise.  Darrell had his limitations, as do we all, and the arguments between him and Brad were maddening; but, his guitar playing was a key component of our energy.  Without it, we were simply not as exciting to our audiences or to ourselves.

Brad, Bud, and I played a couple of gigs as "The La Paloma Trio."

Becky got together with keyboardist Alan Klebanoff (whom I'd gone to religious school with as a kid in Wichita!) and drummer John Rockefeller; Darrell and I joined them for some rehearsals and a gig at the K.U. Student Union. We called ourselves the Penetrations, but it was in name only. 

Becky went on to sing in Oakland, come back,  join a permutation of Tide,
get married to Robbie Schall, and have a son.  Darrell - at the urging of Alan Klebanoff - applied to and was accepted into the Berklee School of Music in Boston, where he is now an instructor, arranger, and composer.  Brad eventually moved to Seattle, where he now tunes pianos and loves playing Irish music on the accordion.  I think Buddy just took a break.

Love for Sale - the Cole Porter song, fast jazzy swing. 

Crazy Feeling - an Etta James ballad, done just right..

Chickenpox - Booker T. and the MGs, solid funky once past the beginning.  Darrell shows off his wah-wah and some jazzy playing, seventies style.

I Brought It All on Myself - an early Little Richard tune.  Sounds like we're a little fuzzy on the arrangement, but Lee McBee adds blues harp on this one.

Right Hand Blues - nice ditty by Brad Reynolds concerning ... masturbation.

Mama, He Treats Your Daughter Mean - by Ruth Brown.  It's fast!

I Fall to Pieces - Patsy Cline.  Becky does a good job once past the first line.

Chain of Fools - Aretha, of course.  This sounds so much more seventies than earlier Penetrations!  Maybe it's the damn Fender Rhodes and wah-wah.

Rock My Baby Right - our last song, a jump blues arrangement by Darrell.  Lee McBee sits in.

Mushy speech and bumper-sticker giveaway.
The Last gig.

The Penetrations reunited for one more gig, at Minsky's, in 1974, before Darrell, Brad, and Becky left for other parts. 

Darrell went to Boston to study at Berklee.
Becky went to Oakland, CA.  Brad went to Seattle. 

Buddy was on the road with the show band he had left the Lee Stover Trio for, so ex-Tide drummer Steve Hall sat in  - with  ONE rehearsal - and did a fine job. 

Bud's high harmonies were sorely missed. 

Mushy speeches were made, and the Penetrations were history.

These recordings show a group of musicians that had lost some youthful energy but were individually much more skilled and seasoned than when they began the Penetrations two and a half years earlier.

Looking back - 40 years ago - I have to laugh at the way we were and a lot of what we did.  
But it's really amazing how much we learned in just a couple of years!
For illustration:  If you've listened to "Love for Sale" from the set above, click here to listen to a very early Penetrations recording.
You will hear just how far we progressed in such a short time.

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Copyright 2006, 2013 by Andy Curry