Rock James Gang

Source: Alabama Music Hall of Fame


wilbur walton jrIn October, 1964, songwriter/record producer Buddy Buie, who was manager of Roy Orbison's backup band The Candymen (originally known as The Webs, which included Bobby Goldsboro as singer) put together a group which he named The James Gang. The band was made up of Wilbur Walton, Jr. and Jimmy Dean from a second version of The Webs that Buddy managed, and Fred Guarino, Bubba Lathem, and Johnny Mulkey, from another of his groups, The Ramrods of Birmingham.

That winter, the group released a couple of songs on United Artists' Ascot label which did well in several markets, hitting big in Birmingham and around the South. A session followed at Fred Foster Studio in Nashville, where the group recorded a Buddy Buie/John Rainey Adkins song, "Georgia Pines". The song did well in the south, the midwest, and several western markets. "The Right String Baby But The Wrong Yo-Yo", written by William "Piano Red" Perryman, became another regional hit for the group. Other hits included the Northern Soul fave “24 Hours of Loneliness”.

The James Gang signed with the Bill Lowery Agency in Atlanta, which was already booking many other southern acts, including Billy Joe Royal, Joe South, Tommy Roe, The Candymen, The Tams, and The Roemans. Wilbur and the James Gang also toured with and backed up artists John Lee Hooker and Jimmy Reed, The New Beats, The Everly Brothers and Many more.

The exact number of 45 releases from the James Gang is unknown but there are at least 25 documented. Wilbur Walton Jr. and The James Gang are prominently featured in Greg Haynes’ book entitled “The Heeey Baby Days of Beach Music”.

Wilbur Walton Jr. has taken the stage for the first time in 35 years with the James Gang featuring David Adkins. On his new Playground Records release “Mr. Redbud” he presents 4 NEW songs that give the listener a small glimpse the “Strange Gang” existence. Wilbur’s undeniably unique and immediately identifiable baritone voice along with the lyrically expressionistic Alabama rock guitar and classic southern piano of David Adkins define this record. It’s timeless! Wilbur was a undeniable Rock Star in 1963 as he is NOW in 2008.

David Adkins and his legendary brother, guitarist John Rainey Adkins were members of the first Playground Rhythm Section and played on countless records and recordings in music of all genres.

Source: http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/wilburwaltonjr


the james gang

History of The James Gang

In October, 1964, songwriter/record producer Buddy Buie, who was manager of Roy Orbison's backup band The Candymen (originally known as The Webs, which included Bobby Goldsboro as singer) put together a second group which he named The James Gang. The band was made up of Wilbur Walton, Jr. and me (Jimmy Dean) from a second version of The Webs that Buddy managed, and Fred Guarino, Bubba Lathem, and Johnny Mulkey, from another of his groups, The Ramrods of Birmingham.

That winter, the group released a couple of songs on United Artists' Ascot label which did well in several markets, hitting big in Birmingham and around the South. A session followed at Fred Foster Studio in Nashville, where the group recorded a Buddy Buie/John Rainey Adkins song, "Georgia Pines". The song did well in the south, the midwest, and several western markets.

The James Gang signed with the Bill Lowery Agency in Atlanta, which was already booking many other southern acts, including Billy Joe Royal, Joe South, Tommy Roe, The Candymen, The Tams, and The Roemans. Buddy and his business partner, Paul Cochran, moved to Atlanta and partnered with Lowery.

The James Gang began recording at MasterSound Studio, located in the same building as the Lowery Agency, cutting several songs. One of them, "The Right String Baby But The Wrong Yo-Yo", written by William "Piano Red" Perryman, became another regional hit for the group. The group toured until fall of 1967, when bookings began to thin. At that point the original group broke up. Wilbur continued to play the James Gang jobs that came into the agency by picking up various musicians for the dates.

In 1969, Wilbur convinced Fred Guarino and me to rejoin him on the road. Marvin Taylor, formerly with the K-otics, was the guitarist. As a four-piece group, we played what was left of the dying hop market and college fraternities but time had moved on. Buddy was focusing on putting together another group, made up of some members of The Candymen and The Classics Four, which became the Atlanta Rhythm Section. He was also involved in opening his own studio in Atlanta, Studio One. Another group up north had taken our name and was having nationwide hits. In 1970, we gave it up.

By this time, John Rainey Adkins, founding member of The Webs (later The Candymen) had returned to Dothan, Alabama and started a band he called Beaverteeth. I was freelancing as a commercial artist when he asked me to join the group in May, 1972. I did, and a year later, Rodney Justo, formerly lead singer of the Candymen and the first lead singer of the Atlanta Rhythm Section, called and said B. J. Thomas, who he was now working with, needed a back up band. As Beaverteeth, we (John Rainey Adkins, David Adkins, Charlie Silva, Rodney Justo and I) worked with B. J. for several years in the seventies.

As far as I know, Wilbur never worked with another band, though he still considers himself in the music business. Some of his songs still get airplay in Europe. Johnny Mulkey stayed in music, working for a while as bass player for Joe South. Fred and Bubba never got back involved with music. Fred passed away in 2006.

Jimmy Dean bass player, The James Gang

Source: http://southerngaragebands.com/JamesGang.html


Reverbnation:  http://www.reverbnation.com/wilburwaltonjr

More info:

Video: Wilbur Walton Jr. and the James Gang/ Georgia Pines http://youtu.be/8YpVtW4cKvo

Video: Cold Turkey, Tennessee - Wilbur Walton Jr. & The Strangers (9-10-2010) http://youtu.be/W32n6AJKeTU

Video: NS KTF 205 Wilbur Walton Jr Twenty Four Hours Of Loneliness http://youtu.be/eODN234mVQc

Walton back after almost 40 years By Ben Windham Tusk Writer May 23, 2008 http://www.tuscaloosanews.com/article/20080523/TUSK02/278636859/-1/tusk02


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