A Classic 70s Show Band

Here is a regional touring band from Skokie, Illinois, on an album from around 1970.  They probably sold a lot of these while they were playing hotel lounges in Illinois, Iowa and the Twin Cities.  Putting these guys in perspective relative to my own life, they could have played my parent’s wedding.  I couldn’t find a date anywhere on this album but given the pop covers they include, I’d guess it was 1969 or 70, unless they were a little behind the times already.

They were led by Dave Perry who plays guitar and saxophone.  His twin brother Dick is the bass player.  They have great matching suits.

This is probably just a small selection of the repertoire, but it shows a lot of variety.  They do a jazzy “Pink Panther Theme” followed by a surprisingly funky “Green Green Grass of Home” (You could learn something from these guys, Mr. Jones).

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I wonder what kind of places these guys played that led them to rehearse a lively “Malaguena”.  Dave plays a pretty sharp Spanish guitar and the band sounds like a lounge version of Charlie Haden’s Liberation Music Orchestra.  Actually, the big finish is more “Speedy Gonzalez” than anything else.

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The best thing on this record is Dave Perry’s original composition, “Something New”.  I’ll bet it was a good show-opener.

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After a little looking around I found a comment by Terry Diers, the drummer.  Dave Perry passed away several years ago and Dick Perry had become an ordained minister.  Dave Major and the Minors played together for at least a decade and added an additional horn player at some point.  This is not the only record they made.

It must have been a lot easier to be a show band back then, if only because you probably had to know a lot fewer songs to play hotels and weddings.  Not it seems like the list of must-play numbers must be longer and change more often.  They’re also lucky, because a “Youtube” video of their act probably wouldn’t be flattering.

While we’re on the subject of great old show bands, here’s another group that could have played your wedding in 1970.  Here’s the Sandpipers (No, not the “Guantanamera” Sandpipers) playing Nat Adderley’s “Work Song”:

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I think its going to be private press week on the Hymie’s blog.  Private press is a term that gets used a lot in online sales to make a record sound rarer than it really is, but a lot of amateur records are worth very little even though they’re very enjoyable.  Check back for some more fun titles – I’ve got my favorite planned for tomorrow.

4 comments

  1. JoAnn Arndt’s avatar

    I was so glad to findthis website as I had not thought of them for a long but was listening to the letterman and thought of them. In my previous life I went to seethem everytime they were in the Chicago land area. We also made the trip to Iowa to see them. Do you have any idea where Dick is a minister at? And what about the rest of the group? I am going to have to pull all of albums. The entertainment today is nothing like this now. I would love to see all of their albums put on one cd.

  2. Lisa Sharp (Walston)’s avatar

    Hi, I basically grew up at the New Inn in Okoboji, IA and remember Dave Major and the Minors. It is so awesome to see his music out here. One of my sister’s freinds had the honor of being onstage with Tom Fox during the show.

  3. John Rochmann’s avatar

    I saw Dave Major and the Minors several times perform live. There were 5 guys in the band, all of which sang and played multiple instruments (sometimes at once). They were a highly skilled and talent band.

    It is too bad that there aren’t more lounge acts like that around anymore. D.J.s have sort of taken over that market.

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