A retrospective on our band in the California Fifties, Sixties and Seventies


It all seems so long ago now. Washington Park, a little island of trees, bushes, and benches right smack in the middle of our "turf". Our little piece of Cincinnati that we protected to the hilt. If you didn't live there, you didn't hang there without being a friend, or a relative of someone who did. It was the hub of everything we held sacred. No matter what happened at home between family members, or how bad your school day went, it all went away when you entered the "park".

It was only about the size of a good city block, but it seemed a lot bigger back in the days. It's where you and your best girl (at the time) would lay under a tree in the warm grass, and pledge never ending love. Never ending meaning it might get you through a night of heavy breathing, or a possible "score". No commitments, although it is the place where I met my main girl, and wife of almost forty years now. My best friend Ray White saw her first, But Ray has had three, or four wives since. He let the best slip through his fingers, but that’s another story. The park was a kind of youth center, with dances,(hops) on week nights, a community pool, and hoop courts. I remember the big "O", Oscar Robinson coming to the park to shoot ball with the older jock's that hung out. The park was a magical place, a place where at night the tree's would sing. After the sun went down, and lovers picked their favorite spot to do a little heavy making out, you could hear harmony coming from different areas in the woods. It was so cool. Bits and pieces of newly forming, and sometimes shattered remnants of vocal groups were always trying someone new out. The groups would fade into the tree's to rehearse a new tune, or work on their dance routines.

There were all girl groups, mixed girl and guy groups. Some good groups, and some bad groups. Music, it was all about the music. Our idols were jock's like Allen Freed, Wolfman Jack, and John R out of Chi town. We knew that we had a good chance to make it to the big time, because we watched others do it. We watched people like the Isley Bro's "break out". The Students with their hit "So Young". Lonnie Mack with Memphis. It was happening all around us. There was one giant hurdle to get over in order to "Break out" of the pack. You had to have something to offer, something different, something to make you the talk of the streets. At the time, summer of '59 I think , we, (The Legends) were the group to rule Washington Park. The members of this smooth vocal group, with the coordinated dance routines were, J. T. Sears,(lead vocals), Joe Patterson,(bass),Ray White,(vocals, and guitar),Bobby Jackson,(tenor),and myself,(lead vocals, and anything else I could reach).Other groups would come from all over the city, and we would have these sing off's. Sometimes the park would sponsor these things. The good thing to come out of all of this, is this was the perfect vehicle at the time to showcase the good talent of Cincinnati. During some of these sing offs, groups would wheel, deal and sometimes steal members of established groups, trying to build the perfect vocal group.
The problem with this method was loyalty was lost. You needed loyalty, and that chemistry to make it work. You had to be friends. I believe that every project that I've been involved with, that lasted anytime at all, was based on friendships, as much as talent. I think about those Washington park days, and the talent coming out of that small part of Cincinnati. The funny thing about it all was, everybody in that old neighborhood wanted to sing, and did sing, some just took it further. They just didn't want to do anything else in life but entertain.

Back to Mac & The Casinos

 !  No Regrets except ...

If I have any regrets, it's dragging my family all over this country to do something that I loved doing. I met a good woman in Washington park, who in her own rights comes from a talented music family, and my daughter is good drummer with a up and coming "new wave gospel group".

Think it's in the blood??

2011 Stark Naked & the Car Thieves
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