DON CORNELIUS MIGHT HAVE INTROED
THEM AS THE "WAY ABOVE AVERAGE
BLACK AND WHITE BAND!"
THEY WERE THE GREAT...
Welcome back. For the last week-and-a-half we've been checking in and checking out The Soul Clinic, the edgy R&B band from York, Pennsylvania.
I was thrilled when the guys consented to this their first interview in 43 years and agreed to tell all, uncut and uncensored, right here on Shady Dell Music & Memories.
I'd like to begin today's round by reminding you that horns were making hits in the late sixties. Horns were featured in many popular soul, R&B, funk, pop and progressive rock recordings. Here's an excellent example, the Carolina Beach Music sound of the blue-eyed soul band The O'kaysions.
"Girl Watcher" - The O'Kaysions (September 1968,
highest chart position #5
S.D. KNIGHT: In previous segments we got to know a few of the members of The Soul Clinic. Now it's time to learn a thing or two about the band's lead singer, Tony Scott, who passed away several years ago. In newspaper articles published in the sixties there was apparently some confusion over Tony's age. One of them stated that Soul Clinic personnel ranged in age from 15 to 25. Rick Dillman, having joined at age 14 1/2 you were the baby in the band. When I look at pictures of Tony I get the impression that he was a lot older than 25. Please set the record straight. How old was Tony Scott?
------------------ Tony Scott
RICK DILLMAN: Tony was 40-ish.
LARRY SMITH: We didn't want to freak people out
by telling them Tony's real age!
MIKE EADS: Tony was definitely older than 25 and I think
he was in his early 40's already.
S.D. KNIGHT: A band made up of seven high school and college age guys and a lead singer in his 40s is a rather unusual formation. Where did Tony Scott come from and
how did he become part of The Soul Clinic?
Tony's real name was Willie
Drummond.. but to avoid
confusion we can continue to
refer to him as Tony Scott.
Tony was a total hedonist.
He had a habit of stretching
the truth and saying things
for shock effect. Anything
that could improve his
mystique he would put
forward as fact.
S.D. KNIGHT: Any truth to the rumor that Tony Scott was "The Fifth Beatle"? Don't answer that!
RICK DILLMAN: Tony once told me he sang backup for
Little Richard. Dick Gayman (manager of The Epics) said
Tony came into town with the York Fair, singing with the
Black Girl strip side show. I actually saw him playing guitar
to a large black stripper singing "Give Me Money". I had
snuck in to see the girls. lol. Imagine being a 14-16 yr old
and dealing with all these oddities, coming to terms with
maturation, sexuality, etc. and being in close proximity to
Tony's goings on...lol..Pretty cool huh...haha. A real life
education on the fly. Coming of age with the girls, the
notoriety, the access... way cool.
I've had both Dick Gayman
and Barry Shultz tell me that
Tony came from Canada and
was traveling with the Girly
Show band appearing at fairs
& carnivals. Others thought
he came from down south.
Tony decided to stay in York
because of a woman, of
course, named JOAN. He
moved in with her and some-
time after, got a job at the
Cole Steel plant in York. That's where he met Dick Gayman
who also worked there. They would go to lunch sometimes
and they would talk music. Although Tony was quite the
womanizer, Joan always took him back. As I mentioned in
Monday's segment, Dick Gayman and Jeff Hildebrand are the
guys most likely responsible for drafting Tony into an early
version of The Epics which evolved into The Soul Clinic.
I remember Tony singing
in a pre-Epics band called
The King Cobras. I played
guitar for them for a while
and Jeff Hildebrand was
on drums. It only lasted
about six months and we
only had one or two gigs.
S.D. KNIGHT: Okay, guys, back to our timeline. When we
left off it was December 1967. Trumpet player Rick Dillman had joined The Soul Clinic the month before and the guys savored the experience of talking shop with David Ruffin of the Temptations in a limo at Lehigh University. Where else did The Clinic play in the final days of 1967?
LARRY SMITH: We were back at Altland's Soul Ranch on
December 23rd 1967. That Christmas performance was
significant because pictures taken of the band show our
updated lineup with new member Rick Dillman among us.
Rick is seen below on the right end of the back row.
The guy in the brown V-neck is Mike Leash, our former
trombonist, who had joined the Air Force and was back
home on leave. Mike came to see us play at Altland's
Ranch and had some pics taken with us. As we said before,
when Mike left for the service in the fall of 1966, Clark Miller
joined the band as trombone player and singer.
S.D. KNIGHT: It is now my pleasure to welcome Mike Leash to the conversation. Mike, what memories spring to mind when you think about your years playing trombone in the band that was then known as The Epics but is now fondly remembered by one and all as The Soul Clinic?
When I think back to my
Soul Clinic days, I have
immediate visions of Tony's
impeccable "do"; his awe-
some performance of
"You Waited Too Long"
by the Five Stairsteps;
a lot more practice sessions
than gigs; and a great group
of guys who loved R&B.
"You Waited Too Long" - Five Stairsteps & Cubie
(June 1966, highest chart position #94)
S.D. KNIGHT: How did you get started as a musician, Mike?
MIKE LEASH: Growing up in a musical family I started
playing trumpet in second grade, and was later forced to
baritone because there were too many trumpet players.
Having never seen a baritone in a soul band, I switched
to valve trombone during high school. While I missed the
glory days of the Soul Clinic due to a 4 year stint in the
Air Force, it certainly was an experience that ignited my
passion to make music my life.
S.D. KNIGHT: Thanks for being here, Mike. I'm going to ask you to tell us about your post-Clinic music career later on so please stick around! Continuing now with our Epic Odyssey, the year 1967 came to a close with a Soul Clinic gig at the Sunny Club in Camp Hill.
A poster listing the club's December 1967 entertainment schedule reveals that The Clinic played December 30th in
a show headlined by The Fantastic Johnny C.
(Caution: audio comes in hot! Turn down loudness.)
"Got What You Need" The Fantastic Johnny C
(Feb. 1968, highest chart position #56 Hot 100/#32 R&B)
S.D. KNIGHT: Mike Eads, what memories do you have of playing The Sunny Club?
MIKE EADS: We played the 'Sunny Club' on numerous
occasions and backed up several national acts there.
I remember doing Billy Stewart ('Summer-time').
RICK DILLMAN: The last time we played the Sunny Club
we drew almost 1000 kids and after the show the owner
refused to pay us. We went to the Musicians Union for help
and nothing ever came of it. It was one of our best
performances, marred by bad management.
S.D. KNIGHT: The timeline now moves forward to 1968, a breakthrough year for The Soul Clinic. Let's take a look at a hand written list of show times for The Clinic and three other acts. Where did that show take place and who is Twila?
LARRY SMITH: That show was for Strayer Junior College
in Washington, D.C. on Saturday, January 20, 1968. Rick
Terlazzo was attending there at the time and the school
asked him to book us and some other acts. They told him
how much money was budgeted and Rick went to our
agent and sax player, Bob Hubbard, from Harrisburg.
That's who wrote that set list! Twila Howard was a singer
who at one time had an act called Twila and the Twilights
which included Jeff Hildebrand on drums. At the Strayer
show Bob Hubbard was promoting Twila and he backed
her up on sax with our rhythm section.
As you can see from the entry in my old date book above,
"Don't Be Sore at Me" - The Parliaments (November 1967,
uncharted B side of "All Your Goodies Are Gone")
Strayer was located just
two blocks from the
White House on 14th St.
The Homecoming Dance
where The Soul Clinic
played was held at the
Willard Hotel which was
also two blocks from the
White House, only on
LARRY SMITH: On February 3rd, 1968, a couple of weeks
after the Strayer show, we opened for the Artistics at
West York High School.
"This Heart of Mine" - The Artistics (January 1966,
highest chart position #115 Hot 100/#25 R&B)
S.D. KNIGHT: West York High School was one of the many local venues The Soul Clinic played in 1968. I caught one of your shows at York College in March of that year while I was home from Penn State on spring break. As I pulled into the parking lot of the college that night, WSBA was playing the new one by Arthur Conley.
"Funky Street" - Arthur Conley (March/April 1968,
highest chart position #14)
LARRY SMITH: Good memory! That York College concert
took place Saturday March 18th. We also played there
Saturday May 11th (York County Youth Council affair),
a private gig. The year before, on May 5, 1967, we
played a 24 minute set at what was then York Junior
College. It was a "Battle of the Bands", but we were
paid $300.00 total. Hey, that was 1967 $$!! Ya know??
Then, Saturday November 18th, 1967, we were back for
S.D. KNIGHT: We now come to a major milestone in the history of The Soul Clinic... the making of your record.
Rick Terlazzo, how did that opportunity come about?
RICK TERLAZZO: Someone from the Bay Sound label
out of Baltimore heard us play "So Sharp" on stage and
liked it. They brought us in and we recorded it with
producer/engineer George Massenburg who went on
to record many well known acts. He also invented the
parametric equalizer around 1970 and is still involved
in the music industry.
S.D. KNIGHT: Do you remember which venue you were playing when the Bay Sound rep discovered you?
LARRY SMITH: I'm not sure about this. Even back then,
as young as we were, we weren't suckers. You don't
believe every guy who comes up and says "We're gonna
make a record for you."! So I don't remember where.
S.D. KNIGHT: On what date were the two sides of your single recorded and when was it released?
LARRY SMITH: Both sides were recorded at Bay Sound
Studios in Baltimore, MD, on Friday March 29, 1968.
The 45 was released on Monday May 6, 1968.
S.D. KNIGHT: What do you remember about the Bay Sound recording session?
RICK DILLMAN: We brought in another trumpet player to
double the trumpets and also a baritone sax player. So we
had two trumpets, two saxes, and one valve trombone.
I remember having a lot of trouble getting all of us in tune.
Larry had some kind of a squeak in his bass drum pedal
that none of us could hear. The engineer kept stopping us
to try to find the squeak, finally oiling the pedal. We got
the music recorded pretty quickly after that, maybe three
takes each. Then we all went into the control room for
Tony to record the vocal track. First he insisted on the
lights being turned way off, then up a little for mood and
then he sat down on a stool and said he wasn't going to
sing. We said WHAT??? He said he would only sing if
his name was on the writing credits for the B side song
"No One Loves Me Anymore." We had agreed to only
put Mike and Ted on the song credits but Tony threw
a hissy fit. We finally had to agree and that's how Tony's
name got on the record. Tony had a bad case of LSD...
(Lead Singer's Disease) lol.
That's right. Ted Saxon
and I wrote the B side
song "No One Loves
Me Anymore." Tony
had nothing to do with
it other than maybe
change a word or two
..... literally. He pulled
the old .. "lead singer
ego trip"... on us at the
last minute. He insisted
his name go on it as co-
writer or he wouldn't sing it in the studio. Guess he figured
he'd get some royalty money that way, not to mention his
ego bolstered. But Ted nor I ever got a dime for it.
Needless to say, neither did Tony.
RICK DILLMAN: As I remember it we wrote the tune
"No One Loves Me Anymore" collectively. Most every-
one in the band contributed. The writing of the tune was
a group effort after Mike and Ted wrote the chord
structure. They came up with the chording and the feel
of the song. Clark, Bruce and I wrote the horn parts
together during one practice session. Bruce wrote the
lyrics on the spot that same day. Larry and I dispute
who wrote the drum break but I can assure you that
I did...haha.. He was struggling with finding something
suitable and I came up with the bump bump ba bump..
lol.. Rick T helped us with the harmony for the horn parts
also. We put the tune together during one practice in
Clark's basement where we always rehearsed.
S.D. KNIGHT: Let's get a first hand account from the man himself, Clark Miller. Welcome to the interview, Clark! Tell us what you remember about those Soul Clinic practice sessions at your home.
The Clinic used to practice
at my house in East York
because we had a large
basement where we could
bring all the gear. The house
was in a quiet suburban
parked on the street.
Everyone had driveways
and well-manicured lawns.
You always knew when the
band was practicing because cars would line the street and
all sorts of unsavory looking characters would be wandering
The basement was cool because it had access to the
outside at ground level, so we could sneak in and out
without my mom (everyone knew Doris) knowing about
it, or so we thought. It also had a pool table and a fridge
with a lighted 6 foot long sign above the table displaying
“Soul Clinic” that someone made in art class.
So, during breaks in practice, we’d all place our bets
on the table, hoist a few beers, and let loose our inner
pool sharks. The music would get quite loud in that
confined space and we just kept turning up the volume,
but no matter how loud we made it, it could not drown
out the thump thump thump of my mom’s high heels as
she was marching down the basement stairs fuming
with righteous indignation that we had invaded her
peaceful abode. And she would start her tirade in
grand fashion, not to the band, but to me, with me
looking totally embarrassed in front of my friends.
Fortunately, she was easily charmed, and one thing
that we had in the band was an abundance of charm.
------------ Rick "The Face" Terlazzo
I think Terlazzo was her favorite because he was so good
looking, and she was always a sucker for a pretty face.
------------ Larry "The Pacifier" Smith
And Larry, with his gift of gab, could pacify a charging
elephant, so in the end, she backed off, having felt not
a wall of resistance, but a warm embrace of the band.
Thank God, because I would have blown my stack!
And then there was my little punk brother Mike always
hanging out getting in the way, but kind of a band mascot.
I think he tried every form of intoxicant in existence by
the time he was 14. Where did he get this stuff?
Ah, hey, you know musicians…
S.D. KNIGHT: Great story, thanks Clark! Alright, all that practicing paid off when The Soul Clinic went to the studio and waxed a record. It's time to hear the funky sound you cats were puttin' down, beginning with killer bee side of the single!
"No One Loves Me Anymore" - The Soul Clinic
(May 1968, B side of "So Sharp")
Now let's turn our attention to the better known A side of that Soul Clinic 45. "So Sharp" is a cover of a record released in July of 1967 by Dyke and the Blazers, a Buffalo R&B/Funk group. "So Sharp" by Dyke and the Blazers grazed the top 40 on the R&B chart but merely bubbled under the Hot 100, never climbing above #130.
Dyke and the Blazers are best known for their hit record "Funky Broadway" which cracked the top 20 R&B, reached
its zenith at #65 on the pop chart, and earned a spot on
my list of the 200 Greatest Hits of the Shady Dell at #79.
"Funky Broadway" - Dyke & the Blazers (April 1967,
highest chart position #65 Hot 100/#17 R&B)
Less than four years after the release of "Funky Broadway," lead singer Dyke Christian was shot to death at age 28.
We've waited long enough! It's time to hear the energetic cover of "So Sharp" recorded and released 44 years ago by The Soul Clinic. This record is currently selling for $75 USED on eBay. I'm glad I still have my copy!
Let's get some
and give it up
The Soul Clinic (May 1968)
did the band perform?
to a frenzied female fan?