"We are learning, as has every generation passing before us, that memories gain value when those who make them leave us."COURTNEY HAYDENBEAVERTEETH
John Rainey Adkins, Charlie Silva, Frank Tanton, David AdkinsKenneth Griffith
[courtesy of Frank Tanton http://www.myspace.com/thebopcats
, Frank Tanton, Charlie Silva, David Adkins, John Rainey Adkins
[courtesy of Frank Tanton http://www.myspace.com/thebopcats
John Rainey Adkins, KENNETH GRIFFITH, Frank Tanton, David Adkins, Charlie Silva
[courtesy of Frank Tanton http://www.myspace.com/thebopcats]
L-R Larry Holmes, Frank Tanton, George Cheshire, Kenneth Griffith, Lamar Alley.
This was the house-band for the Flamingo Club in Dothan back in 1972.
[courtesy of Frank Tanton http://www.myspace.com/thebopcats]
I'm sad to say, my old friend, and fellow musician, Kenneth Griffith, passed away today at his home in Dothan... When Kenneth didn't show up for our "Monday Night Jam Session", Carl Adams, and Mitch Goodson went to his house and discovered his body... They said he appeared to have died peacefully in his sleep... I met Kenneth in High School and we played together in several bands over the years... Kenneth was a gentle soul with a sharp wit, and tremendous talent... He will be missed...
I just got word tonight that Kenneth Griffith died today. He was an incredible bassist and I don't think he ever had one enemy in this world. Kenneth was the bass player in Beaverteeth before I joined the group---I think Claude Bell took the spot when he quit, and I took over when Claude quit. Kenneth played a fretless bass and did it exquisitely. I tried to play it once and put it down after less than a minute.
When Kenneth decided to quit music, he talked to me about it. He said he wanted to go to college and be a farm agent, and he said some of our musician buddies were laughing and giving him a hard time about it. I told him to do it. I told him most of us would end up in a cardboard box down by the railroad track and he would end up with a retirement package that would make our eyes bleed.
He was several years younger than me, but I hope he got to enjoy some of that before today.
From : Kenneth Griffith
Sent : Sunday, February 26, 2006 1:28 PM
Subject : A year in the life
I'm enjoying reading you blog and looking at the great pictures. I never have found a copy of that first Atlanta Rhythm Section album on CD. Rodney Justo probably knows where some are, but I don't know how to get in touch with him.http://www.atlantarhythmsection.com/
Some of the things you've posted recently reminded me of things in my past. If you'll indulge me for a few moments I'll tell you about it.
I was barely 19 in the fall of 1970 when my parents took me to the Greyhound bus station in downtown Dothan where I boarded a bus for Muscle Shoals. A job was waiting for me there as the staff bassist in a little second-tier studio named "Widget." The studio was not far down the street from Muscle Shoal Sounds studio. The house band at Widget was to work on projects for the studio plus cut demo tracks with the Muscle Shoals Horns, which was then comprised of Harrison Calloway, Ronnie Eades, and Harvey Thompson. In my time there I recorded a fair amount of material that never saw the light of day as far as I know, and remember recording one demo for Harrison Calloway that was later recorded by Z.Z Hill. Joe Cocker and Leon Russell were recording at MSS while I was at Widget. I didn't meet Eddie Hinton but he was there, and I heard he had recently sold his Lincoln to pay for strings to be put on his record. I met all the Swampers: Barry Beckett, Roger Hawkins, Jimmy Johnson, and Roger Hawkins. I also met Donnie Fritz, whose grand piano was used on a lot of Widget recordings. There was also buzz in MS about a band from Florida that had recently been there but had move on: Lynyrd Skynyrd. They were still a few years away from hitting it big.http://www.great-music.net/wyker.htm[wwwwwwwwwwyker & Court Pickett also recorded at WIDGET.-ed.]
Despite being at the fringe of all these great things, Muscle Shoals was very cold for a boy who'd grown up in the milder weather of the Wiregrass, and I got homesick. When David Adkins called me in the spring and told me that he and John Rainey were putting together a new band that would also be the staff band for Playground Studio in Valparaiso, I was ready to come home. That band became the original Beaver Teeth. The lineup was David Adkins on drums and vocals, Lamar Alley on vocals and guitar, Larry Shell on vocals and guitar, John Rainey Adkins on guitar and vocals, and me playing my Hofner bass. Larry Shell was a great singer/songwriter who later went on to some success as a song publisher in Nashville. Beaver Teeth was named by John Rainey because of Larry's prominent buck teeth. That was a good band, and was to my thinking the most unique of the several Beaver Teeth incarnations, though later versions of the group may have been better. I recorded quite a few sessions at Playground Studios with Larry, David, and John Rainey. That was a great time for me, but it didn't last. Late that summer when I just turned 20, Larry and Lamar left the band. We had made a couple of trips up to Atlanta to see the new studio Buddy Buie was building in Doraville. Me being on the chubby side, several people thought it would be a good idea for me to see Dr. Rankin, whose office was in the building housing the Buie/Cochran offices and the old Mastersound studio, where the Classics IV and Candymen had recorded. Actually a lot of hits of the late 60's came out of that Mastersound Studio. (One aside about Playground Studios in Valparaiso, Findley Duncan operated that studio for years, and he had old tapes of the Allman brothers (just the brothers, not the band) when they'd recorded there.)
photo courtesy of http://paulcochran.com
The '77 version of BEAVERTEETH
L TO R: Jeff Cheshire, David Adkins, Rodney Justo, Larry Hunter, Mike Turner, John Rainey Adkins
On one trip to Atlanta, I remember cutting a couple of songs for Wilbur Walton when Studio One was new. David played drums, Paul Goddard, the great ARS bass player, played rhythm guitar, I played bass, and I think Dean Daughtry played piano. I bet Wilbur still has those tapes.
After Larry and Lamar left Beaver Teeth, David moved to guitar, Frank Tanton was added on keyboards, and Charlie Silva came in on drums and lead vocals. Charlie was a great drummer and singer, but his biggest talent was that he could do something called the "helicopter" with a certain part of his anatomy. This also made him quite popular with the ladies. That version of Beaver Teeth only lasted a couple of months, but we did record some sessions at Studio One, with Ronnie Hammond as the engineer. Frank and I then left the band. I was replaced by Jack Lane, who had to have been the best bass player in the world--he was phenomenal. Clark Craits took over the keyboard job. Jack Lane was the bass player for several months, and when he left Jimmie Dean, another really great bass player took over that job, keeping the bass chair for several years.
After I left Beaver Teeth, I played with almost every band in Dothan: Norman Andrews and the Concrete Bubble, Wilbur Walton, Jr. and Blackhawk (we played one summer at the Hang Out in PC), Strawdawg, MG and the Capers. In my mid-twenties I went off to school at Auburn to study agronomy and have never played professionally again, though I still play and try to keep up my chops.
This is a long letter, and somewhat self-indulgent, but my life has crossed that of a lot of the people's whose stories you've been posting here, and I think I may have filled in a few details.
Thanks for reading. I still wish I could find that ARS CD!
Text of BEAVERTEETH press kit put together by Dothan's DEAN ATTRACTIONS:If you took five top studio musicians from Georgia, Florida and Alabama, what would you have? A sound that's sharp as beaver teeth.And that's what they're called...Beaver Teeth
This unique group was bred by years of studio work and show tours. They have worked with Bobby Goldsboro, Billy Joe Royal, Roy Orbison, The Classics IV and others.
The NOW sound of the group is reflected through blues and ballads of the past, heavy rock, commercial pop, as well as much original material.
The well known John Rainey Adkins was formerly lead guitarist for the very popular Candy Men, Roy Orbison back-up band. Since then, he has been doing studio work in Atlanta, Ga. and Valparaiso, Fla. Having been successful as writer also, John Rainey has to be one of the most skillful and devoted musicians around.
David Adkins, John Rainey's little brother, plays practically any instrument. David is featured as the drummer for the group. Also a studio musician at Playground Studios at Valparaiso. David's versatility is one of the main factors that contributes to the amazing sounds of Beaver Teeth.
The bass guitarist, Kenneth Griffith
, comes to the group from a recording studio in Muscle Shoals, Alabama.
The multi-talented Lamar Alley, began playing at the age of six. Lamar sings and helps with the guitar work.
Larry Shell plays rhythm guitar, piano and performs vocals for the group. With a voice and writing ability to compliment, Larry has had several records of his own, as well as years of studio work in Valparaiso, Fla.
Beaver Teeth, promoted exclusively by DEAN ATTRACTIONS, has the experience and versatility needed to perform all of today's music. Their sharp sound is guaranteed to satisfy!
for more information contact:
301 North Cherokee Avenue
Dothan, Alabama 36301
Phone 205/ 794-4719From:
Re: "Cuba, Alabama" Solicits Your Feedback Before Composing Tonight's Post!
Sun, 26 Feb 2006 16:10:16 -0500
Kenneth, it's great to hear from you.(I guess it's called hearing,even though I'm reading)
I found a copy of the original ARS on CD in California recently.( I had another one that I bought on the internet but I gave it to someone) if you'll send me your address I'll burn you a copy.
By the way it's kinda' crazy that you no longer play.I have memories of you being an OUTSTANDING player.
It was surprising that you built my letter into an entire blog; that was a nice thing to do.
It was great to see the replies from Jimmy and Rodney too. I’d forgotten about the part about playing for Farley Taylor’s radio program. I haven’t seen Jimmy in several years, but he always reminds me about that “Little Kenny Griffith” bit. I only played with the “Taylor Mades” for a few months. Farley always “Brought it all back.” People would tell me what a crook Farley was, but he always was honest with me. He paid me exactly what he said he would when he said he would.
Anyway, I’d better not go off writing another long letter. If you can get my address to Rodney and thank him for his nice comment about me I will really appreciate it. Here’s my address if he will burn me the CD:
If you will, please pass my email address on to Jimmy. I’d love to get a note from him.
Thanks a lot, Robert. I check your blog every morning and enjoy reading it. And even though I did get that degree from Auburn, I enjoy the Bama stuff too.
The first time I ever saw Kenneth Griffith
play was in an old radio studio above
Hugo Griggs Carpet Store
about a block east the old Houston Hotel
that a lot of bands used for practice. I don't remember who all was in the band, but I believe Lamar Alley was the guitar player and Wayne Paulk was the singer. They did a hell of a rendition of "Kansas City." The year may have been 1968 or 69 or 70?????I remember Kenneth playing around with a fretless bass.
I had never seen a rock & roller play bass like that. Prior to that, I had only heard Jaco Pastorius, a Brazilian jazz musician in Flora Purim's band play fretless.It was almost like hearing someone play a slide bass, only with fingers doing the slide rather than a steel or a bottle.A really haunting sound.
Kenneth was a hell of a bassplayer.
I sent you an email the other day, but I’m not sure it ever went to anywhere you could see it. I’m the Kenneth Griffith
who’s in several of the pictures that Frank Tanton sent you and that you posted on your blog. I was an original member of Beaverteeth and Strawdog. I also played with Wilbur in a group called Blackhawk in the early seventies, and I played with Mitch Goodson and the Kapers in the mid-seventies.
As a charter member of Beaverteeth, I got to spend time at Studio One in Doraville when Buddy Buie was building the studio and putting the ARS together. At that time Rodney Justo was the singer, and Ronnie Hammond was an assistant engineer. They also had a great saxophone player who was one of the writers of ‘Spookie.’ I’ve forgotten his name, but he never became a member of the group. All that was pretty impressive stuff for someone like me.
Anyway, I’m trying to find a CD of the first Atlanta Rhythm Section album. My old vinyl copy is too worn out for me to make my own copy. I see where Buddy Bui posts to your blog, maybe you could put my request out there and someone will know where I can get a copy.
Thanks for the help. I bookmarked your blog, so you can count me as a regular visitor from now on.
Good to hear from you, Daddy Mack!
Maybe the Memory Cell or The Nix or the notorious Perry from Abbeville will be able to help you get a CD of that Frist ARS abblum.
You may not remember me but when you see me you will.
I used to hang around Jerry Wise's Studio on the Circle during the summer with Burke back in the day and I remember you being one genuinely friendly cat!
The SPAMMER FROM BAMMER now shoots out your request and maybe someone will be able to get you that first ARS album on CD!
I appreciate your emails and your blogs. I have to agree that it would be great if Alabama schools included courses on Alabama history. I’m not crazy about all this “global perspective” crud. Teach the students Alabama and American history, and make sure they learn about two of the best things that a bunch of dead white men ever gave the world: the American Republic and the U.S. Constitution.
What could be more global than a nation dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal?Kenneth Griffith
He doesn't have it exactly right about Georgia Pines
John Rainey wasn't there when we cut the song at Fred Foster's studio in Nashville.
We did cut a version of Georgia Pines in Beaverteeth. That is Charlie singing @ http://myspace.com/adkinsjohnrainey
I know we recorded it once up in Birmingham
and we may have cut it again down at Playground in Florida
, because Jim Lancaster has the tracks on it.
P.S. RIGHT ON!!!!, KENNETH GRIFFITH!
Re: Flashbacks From "The Dirty Bird" With Young Junior's Own Frank Tanton
Sun, 13 Feb 2005 11:22:45 -0500
Of course I remember Frank, although I can't say that I could pick him out of a lineup almost 35 years later.
I think that they recorded "Georgia Pines","Happy Tonight",and another original song at that session.
I remember John Rainey,David and I commenting how Charley sounded a little "dated" on the third song.
Kenneth Griffith was a really good bass player and if I recall correctly, an excellent student at, I think, George Wallace Jr. (or Community)College
Re: Jim Hodges On Dothan Bands
Sun, 18 Sep 2005 19:30:54 -0500
Strawdog was a hot band... Lamar Alley and George Cheshire on guitars, Frank Tanton on keys, Kenneth Griffith
on bass, and little Larry Holmes on drums. We were the house band at the Flamingo Club in Dothan 71-72...
I think Robert Dean may still have the old promotional pictures of the band that were taken in the club's nasty-ass bathroom...
Frank TantonNORTHWEST FLORIDA
The citizens of Zero, Northwest Florida mourn the passing of Kenneth Griffith.
As acting mayor of Zero,
I propose that ALL flags fly at half staff this week in honor of Kenneth Griffith.
"Until one is committed,
there is hesitance,
the chance to draw back,
always ineffectiveness concerning all acts of initiative (and creation).
There is one elementary truth, the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself then Providence moves too.
All sorts of things occur to help one that would never have otherwise occurred.
A whole stream of events issue from the decision, rousing in one's favor all matter of unforeseen incidents, meetings and material assistance, which no man would have dreamed could have come his way.
Whatever you can do or dream, you can begin it.
Boldness has genius, power and magic in it. Begin now". ...Goethe