Presented by the Laurens County Historical Society, Dublin, Georgia. For questions and information, please contact Scott B. Thompson, Sr. at dublinhistory@yahoo.com.

Friday, June 24, 2016

THE ANCESTORS

THE ANCESTORS
Dublin Courier Herald, Jan. 21, 2003

To many kids of the 1960s, music was important.  It gave them a chance to express their feelings, their desires, and their frustrations.   Whether as musicians or as just listeners, music guided us through the happy times early in the decade and the turbulent years of the late Sixties. Some of us were content to go down to Ed Powel’s record store and pick up a 45-rpm record of our favorite artist and a popular tune.  Others joined the Dublin band to satisfy our desire to enjoy the wonderful sounds that only music can deliver.  Still others, the more talented musicians among us, formed their own bands, known collectively as garage bands, because they were usually banished to the family garage by their parents, who had failed to comprehend the quality of the  sounds emanating from their the son’s instruments.  Actually the parents of one local group were very supportive of their sons.

One such Dublin garage band was known as the Ancestors.  They were talented musicians.  By their own admission, they were somewhat zany, perhaps due in part to their early idolization of Moe, Larry, and Curly.  Tom Patterson, Edward Tanner, and Blair Tanner formed the Dublin chapter of the official Three Stooges Fan Club.  The trio collected Stooges memorabilia and emulated their idols. The boys watched television and listened to music together.  In an effort to escape the boredom of summer vacation, the boys decided to form a band in the summer of 1965.  Tom, the band’s drummer and a drummer in the school band, was the lead vocalist.   The Tanners played guitar.  The band chose their name by skimming through the dictionary.  The band had gone through a series of names, The Band, The Kitchen Sink, Peeping Tom and the Infiltrators, Big Padre and Fungus Chin, and initially, The Irish Surfers (an especially hideous name to Edward). The band was represented by the St. BEAT (Blair, Edward, Allen, Tom) Booking Agency.

The band composed many of their own songs, such as instrumental versions of “Sewer Rat,” “Instrumental Ballad of Rabbit Tooth,” and “Lumbago.”  The band
soon began playing popular songs of the day: “Gloria,” “The Land of A Thousand Dances,” and “Louie, Louie,” the standard song of any rock and roll band’s set list. The boys asked Jimmy McDonald to join the group as the lead vocalist.  After a few months, Tom and the Tanners decided to replace Jimmy with their friend Allen Tindol, who could sing and play the bass guitar.  As the band became more middle of the road in their tunes, they were asked to play at dances held in the American Legion Hall, the National Guard Armory, and the Shanty, a World War II Quonset hut converted into a teen center.   There were occasional gigs at birthday parties and churches.  I remember one such dance in the late 60s.  The social hall of First Methodist Church was filled with hundreds of teens dancing to the popular songs of the day.  It was the band’s last performance as high school students.

The band underwent a series of personnel changes in 1967 and 1968.  Allen (on guitar left) left the band to pursue his acting interests as a member of the Drama Club at Dublin High School.  He was replaced by keyboardist Lewis Smith, a fellow high school band member, whose main talent was playing the piano and organ in church (and very well, I might add).  Tom, Edward, and Blair convinced Lewis to wear a flower pot on his head, put on a Nehru jacket, and place flowers in his buzz cut hair.  The boys encouraged him to play songs such as “The Marine’s Hymn” and “Dixie,” as well as other songs which were not the usual tunes played by rock bands.  Being somewhat uneasy with the way the band was going, Lewis left the band.

When popular rock music turned to a harder beat, the band decided to use visual and audio aids in their performances to songs by the Beatles, the Who, and the
Doors.  Color wheels and strobe lights flashed while the band played.  The boys placed a bed sheet on the wall and projected home movies.  The videos were supplemented with the sounds and smells of cherry and smoke bombs.  In between songs, the band played tapes of less than well produced radio commercials.  Soon, audiences began to dwindle.


To bring the band back into the mainstream of Dublin teenagers, Allen was convinced to return to the band, if only temporarily.  Randy Stinson’s effervescent popularity garnered the band good gigs, in which each member could earn as much as thirty or forty bucks a night. Johnny Fountain replaced Allen as a vocalist and on bass.  Michael Harrell, whose sole interest appeared to be the music of Steppenwolf, joined the band as a keyboardist for a short time.   Before the end of the year, Allen Tindol returned to the band again.  He was joined by Johnny’s Fountain’s cousin, Bobby Fountain.  The song list changed again to cover versions of hits by the Rolling Stones, Blood, Sweat, and Tears, the Hollies, Wilson Picket, and Three Dog Night.  Among the favorite songs was the instrumental, “The Horse,” a popular high school band song, which is still played by bands today.

The band listed as their most memorable performance a weekend dance at the American Legion in 1970, which was highlighted by a perfect bass performance by Johnny Fountain, an exquisite rendition of the Beatle’s “It’s For You” by Johnny, Bobby, and Allen, riveting guitar playing by the Tanners, and Credence Clearwater like vocals by drummer Tom Patterson, who sung “Proud Mary” in Spanish.  Wayne Fatum joined the band from time to time displaying his talent for hamboning and whistling to “Dock of the Bay.”  The worst performance, well, it had to been the Christmas Dance at Wrightsville High School in 1968.  Edward, dressed in a Santa suit, agitated the students with chants of “Ho Ho Ho Chi Minh,” an unpopular stunt at the height of the Vietnam War.   Teachers chaperoning the event asked the band to turn off their strobe lights because it hurt their eyes. Students asked the band to stop showing their home movies because, “they came to dance and not to watch movies.”

By the end of the 1960s, the older members of the band had graduated from high school.  In August of 1973, the Tom, Allen, the Tanner brothers, and the Fountain cousins reunited for one final performance at Teen Town, a building formerly occupied by Churchwell’s on West Jackson Street. The event was attended by fifteen people at most.  Despite the fact the members decided they had played well together, it became the band’s final performance. Band founder Edward Tanner recalled that they were not beloved, nor did they try to be.  They did their own thing, and did it well. They liked to have fun, like the times they painted a peace symbol on the Tastee Freeze or slogans in the high school parking lot.   The boys got a big kick out of stuffing wet newspapers in the tail pipes of the certain teachers’ vehicles.

After the band disbanded, Edward, singing and playing guitar under the stage name of “Mr. Vegas,”  and Blair, then on keyboards,  formed another band, Cruis-o-matic.  The new band was an oldies band operating out of the Atlanta area.  In 1977, Cruis-o-matic opened for groups such as the Cars, the Ramones, and Cher. Before they disbanded at the end of the 80s, the band played an average of two hundred shows per year in the first half of the decade, sharing the stage with such acts as the B-52s, the Temptations, and George Thoroughgood.


THE CRUIS-O-MATIC


The band members remain friends today (2003).  Tom is a journalist and curator lives in North Carolina. He is currently working on publishing his late brother Hunter’s novel.  Edward practices law in Atlanta, where his brother Blair works as a physical therapist. Allen is a physician who practices in Dublin.  Lewis Smith also lives in Atlanta, where he works as a computer specialist.  Bobby Fountain, the second physician in the group, practices medicine in Forsyth.  Johnny Fountain, the only remaining member of the group still playing in a band, lives in Dublin.  To learn more about the band, log on to their web site at http://theancestors.com/index.htm   where you can view pictures of the band and listen to clips of their music, including clips of some of the music of the Dublin Fighting Irish Band. On the band’s former web site at www.myfirstband.com, Randy Stinson is listed as an emergency contact for his daughter’s Girl Scout troop.


THE RETURN OF THE DUKES OF YORK AND THE ANCESTORS.
Dublin Courier Herald, April 2012 


Those graduates of Dublin High School of the late 60s and early 70s were taken back more than four decades in time at the Dublin Country Club last Saturday Night. Surviving members of local garage bands, The Dukes of York and The Ancestors, reunited in Dublin for the first time in more than forty years to play the same music which teenagers danced to in the 1960s in places like the old high school gym, the American Legion Hall, the Shanty, and the social hall of First United Methodist Church.   The evening was the culmination of the DHS Journey Class of the 1970s Journey Reunion.

 
The Dukes of York, 2012
Photo by Johnny W. Warren


          One of the founders of "The Dukes of York" was Dr. Van Haywood, (right on picture on left)  an Augusta dentist and father of Dave Haywood, guitarist of Lady Antebellum. Haywood joined with drummer Ricky Hayes, bass guitarist Jerry Pinholster and lead guitarist Charles Lee to form the band, "The Malibus of Ricky Hayes."

The band reorganized and added Steve Scarborough on keyboards and Mike Warren on drums. The band was a regular at dances at the National Guard and at after football game parties at the American Legion Post No. 17 on North Jefferson.  The "Dukes of York" were all talented musicians and most of the members played in Dublin's highly heralded, "Dixie Irish Band."







Reuniting for the evening were Van Haywood, Mike Warren and Jerry Scarborough, who were joined by Dr. Allen Tindol, who stood in for deceased members Charles Lee and Jerry Pinholster.

"What memories to reunite with the remaining members of the band," Dr. Haywood commented in remembering the days when the highly successful band played in venues around Georgia and Florida, opening for many popular singing groups of the day.

"It was great to make music with Steve and Mike after almost 45 years," Haywood said.

The magic of the moment hit Haywood with the band's first selection.  "It took me back in time when we started to play 'Hang On Sloopy,'" commented Haywood on Facebook.


Drummer Mike Warren saw the performance as a wonderful experience. "It was miraculous to see Van and Steve and to play on stage with them for the first time since 1969," said Warren, a writer and passionate politophile.

"The greatest achievement of mankind is the music we make," Warren commented. "And, I was lucky enough to be a part of it," he added.

"Van, Michael and I had great time playing for you guys but we were really rusty and had not met up until Saturday," commented  Dukes of York guitarist Steve Scarborough.  Scarborough, a design engineer for Confluence Watersports, thanked Edward Tanner and Cruis-O-Matic for helping them through a few tunes for old times sake.

           The Ancestors, highly talented members of the Dublin's vaunted Dixie Irish Marching Band, were formed  in the summer of 1965 by Green Acres neighbors Tom Patterson, Edward Tanner and Blair Tanner, who were joined in 1966 by Allen Tindol.  Allen, now a physician and professor at Emory University's Winship Cancer Institute,  left the band  and was replaced by singing bassist Johnny Fountain. Lewis Smith, a talented church organist, joined the band who brought an all new facet to the band's performances.

The Ancestors added a new keyboardist, Mike Harrell, a fanatic fan of the group Steppenwolf. Allen, a former Dublin physician  rejoined the band for a third time, from 1969 until its demise in 1970, as a featured vocalist, along with Johnny Fountain's cousin, Bobby Fountain. The band played songs by Spirit, Blood, Sweat, and Tears, Three Dog Night, The Hollies, Wilson Pickett, The Beatles, and Rolling Stones during this final era.


          Edward Tanner, an Atlanta attorney,  is still performing today with his group, Cruis-O-Matic, which he formed in the summer of 1977.  Edward's brother, Blair Tanner, joined Cruis-O-Matic on
keyboards for the evening.

The finale of the evening's festivities came when the Tanners, joined with Tom Patterson and Allen Tindol in the first local performance of the Ancestors since their last main one in 1970. Before their performance, Tom Patterson said, "We got together this afternoon in a house just like they used too back in the Sixties."


Allen Tindol 


"The guys loved it," said Edward Tanner, who was deeply touched by how nice the crowd
was to the band.

           "I always just wanted to have fun," said Tanner in commenting about his music and how much fun it was to return to Dublin to play for some of his classmates.

         To Blair Tanner, a physical therapist,  the evening was "priceless."  "It was an even greater day than I expected." Tanner commented about playing in the same band as he played in at  the 1967 DHS Coronation dance.

"This probably ranks right up there with one of the best nights of my life!  The guys were amazing and we love them for bringing back us to our best times," commented event organizer Peggy Hood Pridgen.

"Legendary is the only word, I can think of," commented Beth Bussell Robinson of the DHS Class of 1971.

After the show as he was driving back to his North Carolina home, Tom Patterson, an accomplished drummer turned accomplished journalist and curator,  reflected back on the evening. "We followed each other pretty well and I was pleasantly surprised at how well it went, especially since I hadn't played a drum set in over ten years," Patterson concluded.





The evening of April 28 was not just another Saturday night. For many magic moments, it was a magic carpet ride back in time  to 1967 to the "Summer of Love" and to a time when music was the soundtrack of our lives.

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