The Ramblers promo shotWhen the tennis and guitar playing Terrell brothers, Tommy and Eddie along with classmate Chris Covey found a junior high school drummer, Johnny Robinson, to play music back in 1961, little did they know that over 40 years later the music and the friendship would continue well into a new millennium.

It was decided that the eldest, Eddie, would be the bass player, and Tommy would play rhythm guitar. Fellow Ramsey High School classmate, Van Veenschoten joined in to round out the group and play lead guitar. The group named themselves THE RAMBLERS, and began playing for high school functions and fraternities and sororities in the Birmingham area.

Sometime in 1965, the group recorded another record at Boutwell Recording Studio, "Come Back, Come Back," written by keyboardist, Chip Sanders. The record experienced moderate success in the Alabama area, but college priorities prevented the group from properly promoting the record. Ed Boutwell, Birmingham recording pioneer, continued to use The Ramblers as back up musicians on many recording sessions at his studio.

Throughout this period, local radio station "Sock Hops" gained popularity amongst the Birmingham teenage population, and The Ramblers worked with local personality DUKE RUMORE of WYDE radio at his DUKE'S sock hop at the Ensley National Guard Armory, as well as DAVE RODDY, from WSGN Radio at the Aporto Armory, across town.

Other groups playing this circuit at the time included "Bo Reyolds and the Premiers," whose local hit "Hell Yeah" was promoted unabashedly by "The Duke." Roddy, on the other hand, leaned toward "Beach Music" and brought "The Swingin' Medallions" and The Tams tp Birmingham almost weekly one particular summer. The Ramblers were the backup band of choice for singers passing through like Bobby Goldsboro or Billy Joe Royal.

As a "special added attraction" The Ramblers added a new set, featuring "Little John," Chip's kid brother... 11-year-old John Lee Sanders, who sang and played harmonica. Although very politically incorrect in these days, the group would black "Little John's" face with a burned cork, and the radio stations billed him as "Birmingham's answer to Little Stevie Wonder!" John Lee Sanders, now a successful song writer, performer and composer in the Bay Area of California for the last 20 years has worked with Long John Baldry, Starship, Paul Williams, Linda Arnold, and other popular entertainers. See: John's 2005 hit, Foreclosure On The House of Love, recorded by Marcia Ball was a finalist for Blues Song Of The Year. Ramblers in 1965

As 1966 -1967 came along, the world began to change. The war was escalating in Viet Nam, students were protesting, and The Rambler's music began to change as well… inspired by the psychedelic sounds coming out of the west coast.

The Ramblers found a new sound with a young female vocalist, Vicki Hallman, and added Jefferson Airplane, Linda Ronstadt and other female artist covers to their repertoire. After a brief marriage to drummer, Johnny Robinson, Vicki continued her career in Nashville as a member of Buck Owens and the Buckaroos group and as a permanent cast member of the long running TV series, Hee-Haw. During their respective intermittent absences the group stayed together, with Terrell brother, Eddie, rejoining the group, along with a variety of substitute and fill-in players. As the sixties came to a close, one by one, the group began to graduate from college, get married and begin careers other than music.

All the members of the group initially took jobs in Birmingham so that the band was able to stay together, but soon, the pressures of new careers, new wives, and even children began to put a strain on the group. "I don't remember us ever officially deciding to break up. I just recall playing in a little town somewhere in South Alabama. We all brought our wives. It was a fun weekend. I remember staying in some "Bates Motel" place and we all went swimming in their pool. That's the last band job I can recall, but there may have been others," said Sanders.

Johnny Robinson, who had tried to hold things together began touring with a new group, The Homestead Act, and subsequently moved to California to help his new wife start a music career. Chris moved away to seek his fortune, Chip moved near Memphis to start an insurance agency, and Tommy became a bank examiner for the Treasury Department.

Tragically, Van Veenschoten, husband, father, and successful young insurance executive, was killed in the prime of life in a motorcycle accident near his home in Crestline, Al, while still in mid-twenties. The Ramblers were history, or so they thought. They stayed in touch with one another and by 1978 all of the remaining members of the group were thinking the same thing. They wanted to play again.

The Ramblers"I got a call from Tommy out of the blue one night," says Sanders. "He said he had a new house with a music room in the basement and that he'd been talking with Johnny. He wanted to know if I'd like to come over to Birmingham for a little 'Rambler Reunion.' Four hundred or so showed up to hear The Rambler Reunion Band in 1979. They were a little rough around the edges but the magic was still there. Although meant to be a one-time thing, the Rambler Reunion Band was soon being invited to play class reunions, golf tournaments, wedding receptions, birthday parties and more. There was a 2nd Reunion, and then, a third.

John Livingston, an extremely talented singer and keyboardist, and an attorney in Birmingham, began substituting for Chip Sanders, who had trouble making all the engagements since he lived out of state, and now plays and sings regularly with The Ramblers. You can hear his great vocals on the CD below, or on songs featured in this website.

The Rambler Reunion Band recently celebrated entering their 5th decade by recording a new compact disc, which is available at engagements, or through their website.

Source: Official Website


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