Monday, March 02, 2009

The Solar Eclipse

Way back in May of last year, I published a 2 part, rambling, stream of consciousness post that started out talking about New Jersey and my Silver Surfer tie and wound up with a nostalgic reminiscence of a KICK ASS band from my high school days.

But apparently, some of my facts were a little fuzzy. Not surprising since I was pretty fucking stoned on all of that weed and hashish being brought back from Vietnam and Thailand by our returning veterans.

Well, today I got SCHOOLED by someone who has a much clearer memory of those days.

I received an email from none other than Lisa Crawford, the actual drummer for The Solar Eclipse who I completely dissed by not mentioning her at all in my original post. She sets the facts straight!

She's an awesome lady and I am publishing her original email here (only slightly enhanced by some pictures and such), with her permission.

Thanks Lisa! Great to hear from you!

"You are incorrect about Randy Grayson being the drummer for the Solar Eclipse. I was the drummer for the Solar Eclipse when you would have been listening to us do "Vehicle" by the Ides of March.

[NOTE FROM XO: Yeah, if you listen to the words it's kind of a douchey song about a predatory child molester, but goddamn that horn section kicks ass! That is all]

I was actually the group's second drummer from 1968 to May of 1971 when I graduated from Lawson HS and went off to college at CMSU in Warrensburg to pursue my degree in music education.

The group's first drummer---very briefly---was Jimmy Carroll now deceased. He wanted to do other activities in school so I replaced him.

I was the one who could do massively long drum solos on "I'm A Man" by Chicago Transit Authority and "TNUC" by Grand Funk Railroad etc. also "Soul Sacrifice" by Santana as in Woodstock.

We were a regional group playing in Missouri, Kansas and Iowa. And we were definitely not your average little garage band. We played music that we liked not necessarily what people always thought they wanted to hear but by the end of the night all they wanted was more of what we were giving them.

We did about a 15-20 minute James Brown medley to end the night where Remon(Randy) Grayson would go out front and do just about every dance step ever invented during the soul/funk music days. Remon was an entertainer not just a musician.

We were very heavily influenced by soul, blues and jazz. And yes, our horn section could jam!!! JT Lynn as you refer to him was just Tom Lynn then. Martha, his sister, played bass in the group. Their father was the JT Lynn listed on our business cards. He was our manager.

Jimmy Dykes was the youngest member of the group. I believe he was in the 7th or 8th grade in 1968 when I joined the group. Jimmy was basically a child prodigy on the guitar. I can remember seeing him play at talent shows in Excelsior Springs when he was about 6 years old.

The original Solar Eclipse consisted of:

Jimmy Dykes---guitar and vocals, and guitar showman
Martha Lynn---bass and vocals
Tom Lynn---sax, vocals, percussion, flute
Remon Grayson---sax, vocals, percussion and entertainer extraordinaire
Lisa Crawford----drums

In 1970 we added:
Bill Hankins---trumpet, percussion
Gene Craig--Hammond organ, trombone, vocals

After graduation from high school in 1971 three of us left the group to pursue college degrees:

Lisa Crawford
Gene Craig
Bill Hankins

I was replaced on drums by Gary Butler who now plays (Ringo) with the Beatles tribute band Liverpool.

Gene Craig was replaced on keyboard by Robert Paddock who became Martha's first husband also.

I cannot recall the name of the next trumpet player but do know that he was later killed in an auto accident. Lee Watkins then replaced him. The group evolved into just Eclipse then.

Looking back on this group, we were just dammed good for a bunch of kids. I also believe we influenced a lot of people to become more accepting of black music and culture even though Remon was the only black member of the group.

When we would go into some of the little redneck towns we played in sometimes we just weren't quite sure how we'd be accepted but it didn't matter to us. As I said before, at the end of the night they just wanted more.

We were like our own little family. We always prayed before each gig that we would do a good show and entertain everyone. The most import thing to us was the interaction between the band and the audience. There was a great deal of improv and jamming at every show.

Our parents were all very supportive of the group. We practiced and played so much that we didn't have any time left to get into trouble like most of our HS friends.

In recent years, Remon has become a very good drummer.

Thanks for your mention of the Solar Eclipse. I am so happy that anyone remembers us. We were just on the cutting edge of music then. We were playing stuff that no one else was doing.

All of us from the original group and the additional musicians we added in 1970 are still living. Robert Paddock is deceased now. We are somewhat spread out but I am certain that we all still share a common bond and still think of ourselves as musical siblings.

Thank you so very much!!!!

Lisa "Grace" Crawford
Private Percussion/Drum Instructor
Liberty, MO"


Happy In Bag said...

Nice work, freak.

Xavier Onassis said...

High Praise from you sir! High Praise indeed! :)

I wish you could have heard this band. They would have blown you away!

All in high school except Jimmy who was in junior high. All had talent oozing out of every pore.

They were highly disciplined, professional, working, touring, regional band with paid gigs.
And I'm not exaggerating when I say they were "James Brown TIGHT"!

Just amazing.

Happy In Bag said...

I believe you, XO. Besides, any band with a female drummer is automatically awesome.

Martha Lynn said...

Hi, ran across this post last night--was so much fun to see that The Solar Eclipse still has fans!! this is Martha the bass player.
Lisa was so accurate in all her info, just to fill in a bit, the trumpet player was Ed Hamm from KC. He died in an accident when his band's truck slid on some ice coming back from a gig. He was only 20 or so.
My brother, J.T. Lynn is still playing music in Branson. He's with Doug Gabriel show and also another (really good) show the Magnificent 7.
My first husband, Robert, was the keyboard player for the group--a VERY gifted musician-- moved to Eureka Springs, AR in 81, played music down there til his death at the young age of 43, had a heart attack.
I no longer play music, unless you count singing in a church choir. My compadres were the gifted ones, I basically thumped out the bass lines, danced around and looked cute!
After Solar Eclipse broke up, we reformed a 5 pc band called Eclipse, and then for about 5 years we had a really terrific band called Backtalk.