Saturday, June 05, 2004


Subject: What's Kesey Got To Do Wid Da Chukker?

I was partying in my bedroom at the house on 8th Street back in '73
and this guy at the party started looking at my Ann Charters book,
Kerouac. He opened it up to the pictures and pointed to Neal Cassady
and said, "That's my Dad." I will never forget the glow I felt when
I first realized I was with John Allen Cassady (He was named "John"
after Jack Kerouac and "Allen" after Allen Ginsberg.)
John had come to Tuscaloosa and opened an alternative movie
theatre on University Boulevard near Johnny's Restaurant. Here's an
interview where he mentions working as the projectionist here in

What is here is only a sample of the conversations I saved --
many of them were interesting but not relevant enough to include in
the "real" interview. Like this exchange, which took place after
John and I discovered we were both into Marx Brothers movies:

John: Duck Soup is my favorite. A buddy and I opened an alternative
cinema in a college town in '72 and showed all of them as well as
W.C. Fields, Laurel and Hardy, etc. Two shows per night for a week;
I saw them all 14 times each and know every line.
Me: That's great. My favorite was prob. Horsefeathers, like when
Groucho is in the canoe with Thelma Todd and she says "will big
strong man give icky baby the bad little football signals?" and he
says "Was that you or the duck? Because if it was you I'm going to
finish the ride with the duck?"

John: And then he sings "Everyone Says 'I Love You'" while
accompanying himself on guitar, at which he was quite proficient, a
leftover from their old vaudeville acts. He used surprisingly
sophisticated diminished chords as passing phrases in that
arrangement (not that I studied it or anything) and of course
finishes by throwing the guitar into the lake, argh! But showing
future Pete Townshends how it's done. Chico's version of the song
had a great line: "The great big mosquito and-a he sting you" (had
to have been there). Zeppo turned it into a torch ballad, and of
course Harpo ripped it up on the harp. Horsefeathers was indeed a
classic I had (almost) forgotten.

I don't know if anybody will fully believe this, but I knew all
about those diminished chords.

Anyway, I remember seeing John at the Chukker but he says he
doesn't remember it but he does remember the girl he picked up at my
party on 8th St. I'm pretty sure it was Betty Boswell.(Sorry, Craig)

When Kesey got inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, he
asked John to drive the bus because "Neal wasn't available to do the

Kesey also hired John to drive the Bus through England in 2000
when Channel 4 sponsored the "Searching For Merlin" Tour.

After Kesey spoke at the University with Leary in the early 90s,
Kesey partied at Tracy Priest's house on Audubon. Babbs says that
Kesey had fond memories of Tuscaloosa. Kesey actually played a video
of John's father at the party on Audubon. Babbs says that Kesey had
a big BAMA bumper sticker on the front of his desk on the day he

Anyway, if any of ya'll remember that long haired blond guy who
was the projectionist at the movie theatre where "Last Tango In
Paris" was banned, it was John Cassady, the man who inherited the
job of driving Further.

And another thing. The Summer of '04 will be the 40th anniversary
of the famous road trip described by Tom Wolfe in "The Electric Kool-
Aid Acid Test". They came through Mobile because Babbs had been
stationed at Pensacola before he shipped out for 'Nam to fly Marine

In honor of the publication of the two new Kesey books, I tuned up
my weblog for kesey.


Hey folks:

See if we can't get some publicity for the 40th anniversary of the arrival of the bus named FURTHER in Alabama. Will be glad to forward links to many current articles concerning this important anniversary. Check out

The 16mm. film of the Pranksters swimming at the Colored Beach at Lake Ponchartrain has been preserved on the "Looking For a Cool Place" video.

Alabama had quite a "Midsummer's Night Dream" when Kesey and his Merry Band rolled across the Mississippi line on about June 21, 1964. Impressions of Alabama are included in Tom Wolfe's THE ELECTRIC KOOL-AID ACID TEST.

Publicity concerning Kesey, Cassady and the Merry Pranksters trip through the Deep South in the summer of '64 produced by the New Orleans, Biloxi/Gulfport, Mobile and Pensacola media would be appropriate this month.

Please feel free to forward this to anyone.

All progress will be published at "Cuba, Alabama"



Began construction on a couple of new blogs

I am gathering more information concerning music that has its roots in the Tri-State area around Dothan. Check out Wilbur Walton Jr. and 24 Hours of Lonliness

Hey Buddy- Remember listening to Wilbur at the Old Dutch on Sunday afternoons

Tuesday, June 01, 2004

Robert Nix, drummer for the Candymen

Alison Heafner, singer/songwriter who has Robert Nix on her side

Check out more pictures of her and Robert on her website

Sunday, May 30, 2004

Date: Mon, 09 Dec 2002 16:48:23 -0600
From: Richard Burke III
Subject: hoyhoy: Firstly and Lastly.

Hoys in numerosity,
Got a rock, gonna' see how many fowls I can eliminate with one chunk.

First concert, Roy Orbison and the Candymen, 1964, Houston County Farm
Center, National Peanut Festival, Dothan, Al. The Candymen opened the show
with a number they learned on tour in Britain from their opening act, Ticket
to Ride by the Beatles. At tour completion in Australia, the Candymen and
Roy were opening for the Beatles. Oh, Pretty Woman was doing good for Roy.
The Candymen's lead Guitar player was Dothan's own John Rainey Adkins, God
Rest His Soul, a great guy, John Rainey later taught his brother David and
me how to play Black Bird from the Double white album.

The high school gym in Eau Claire, Wisconsin: November 11, 1964

found at

November 11, 1964

From a Robert Christgau column: December '67...

The day when a group could walk into a record company singing last year's top ten and expect to get past the receptionist has passed. "You don't write your own material!" today's receptionist is trained to sneer. "Whatsamatter, you think we're some commercial outfit? You're not creative. Get out."

This problem has been solved neatly by five musicians called the Candymen, who backed Roy Orbison for years before going on alone. For various good reasons they got to a club in New York with two original songs. So they opened their act with a letter-perfect version of "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band," followed by "With a Little Help from My Friends."

Followed by "Gimme Some Lovin'," almost as good as Stevie Winwood.

Followed by "Good Vibrations," which is more than the Beach Boys can do.

Followed by "Thunderball."

Their ambition is to step on stage some night and do all of Sgt. Pepper live, with every studio effect pat. They may succeed. Meanwhile, they are writing their own ma-teerial.

From an interview with Neil Young

I interviewed Roy Orbison just before his death and he told me you'd approached him once and told him that after seeing a gig in Winnipeg when you were a teenager you'd decided to become a Professional musician. Is that true?

"Oh absolutely yeah! This was years ago - '62 maybe. I saw him in Winnipeg, saw him all over the place that year. Got to talk to him once outside a gig. He was coming out of his motor-home with his backing band the Candymen. That had a profound effect on my life. I always loved Roy. I looked up to the way he was, admired the way he handled himself. That aloofness he had influenced me profoundly. It was the way he carried himself, y'know, with this benign dignity... His music was always more important than the media. It wasn't a fashion statement. It wasn't about being in the right place at the right time making the right moves. That didn't matter to Roy. Just like it doesn't matter to me.

"Anyway I've always put a piece of Roy Orbison on every album I've made. His influence is on so many of my songs... I even had his photograph on the sleeve of Tonight's The Night for no reason, really. Just recognizing his presence. There's a big Orbison tribute song on Eldorado called Don't Cry. That's totally me under the Roy Orbison... spell. When I wrote it and recorded it I was thinking 'Roy Orbison meets trash metal' ( laughs). Seriously." wrote:
Dear Robert,

Thanks for the email. We'll pass it along to Bobby.

By the way, in the photo with John Rainey Adkins and the beer, the guy on the left is Bill Gilmore.


La Rana Productions

Bill Gilmore received his first amount of fame around 1965, touring as bass
player for Roy Orbison's CANDYMEN. The band also went on to record two
albums on their own for ABC Records. In 1969, Bill joined the Classics IV
to replace the founding bassist Walter Eaton after he was injured in a car crash in May of 1969. Gilmore became popular for co-writing the Billy Joe Royal smash "Cherry Hill Park"
with long-time friend, Robert Nix in 1970.

He remained with Dennis through 1975, when they signed off from their MGM record contract and management deal, making him the only other person other than Eaton to be with Yost's group for the longest period of time. His talent and contributions towards the band earned him the reputation of being one of the finest musicians around.

Bill will never be forgotten.

Gilmore is third from left and Buddie Buie is on the right.

"...I know who most of the musicians are that you dedicated the CD to,
except who are John Adkins & Billy Gilmore?"
Shawn is friends of these deceased musicians families who were members of Roy Orbison's backup group "The Candymen". Both played on his hit "Pretty Woman", and both had success as songwriters; Gilmore's big hit was "Cherry Hill Park" for Billy Joe Royal, both wrote a fair amount of songs for the groups of the Atlanta '60s scene.

Instruments: Lead Guitar
Date of Birth: December 31, 1941
Place of Birth: Dothan, Alabama

John Rainey Adkins was born December 31, 1941 in Dothan, Alabama. Growing up in the 1950's, John Rainey was influenced by the early rock ‘n roll classics of Elvis, Jerry Lee Lewis, Ricky Nelson and others.
Soon after picking up the guitar, in his early teens, John formed the group "The Webs" and made some early recordings at Ed Boutwells studio in Birmingham. This helped launch the career of a shy singer whom John had hired named Bobby Goldsboro.

Appearing at the "National Peanut Festival" in the late 60's in Dothan, "The Webs" got the opportunity to backup Roy Orbison in his show. Roy was so impressed he hired the boys on the spot as his touring band "The Candymen".

John Rainey played lead guitar with Roy for 7 years touring the world and opening for such acts as The Beatles, The Hollies and The Yardbirds. John played the now famous lick on Roy's biggest hit "Pretty Woman". He also appeared on network television shows such as The Ed Sullivan Show, Shindig and others.

After leaving Roy, John and The Candymen struck out on their own and gained the respect of their professional peers as a "Musicians Band" by doing flawless reproductions live on stage from "Sgt. Peppers" to Tom Jones. John Rainey and The Candymen (which would later spawn members of the hit groups Classic IV and The Atlanta Rhythm Section) dazzled audiences at Steve Paul's "The Scene" in New York City. These nightclub sets included jam sessions with Jimi Hendrix Band, The Young Rascals, John Entwistle and others.

John Rainey also wrote or co-wrote most of the material on The Candymen's two LPs including "Georgia Pines" with Buddy Buie.

In the 1970's John once again toured the U.S. and abroad playing guitar behind B.J. Thomas. During this time he also appeared on network television on The Dinah Shore Show and The Midnight Special.

After being influential in the musical careers of so many, John Rainey had settled down to concentrate on his song writing and being a devoted father and grandfather. John had just finished co-writing "Shenandoah's" first single and was signed with Tree Publishing at the time of his death at age 47.