From S.O.U.N.D. Back Dobie Gray
April 9, 1966
by Mark Guerrero
On April 9, 1966, my second teenage band, the Men From S.O.U.N.D.
backed up Dobie Gray at the Big Union Hall on 49th Street
in the City of Vernon, California, which was one of the main
venues for East L.A. bands to play in the mid-sixties.
I know the date because I still have the flyer. Dobie
Gray, born Lawrence Darrow Brown, at the time was still riding
high on the success of his hit record, "The In Crowd,"
which had peaked at number 13 on the national charts in January
of 1965. I don't remember how we were selected to back
him up out of all the bands playing that night, but that's
what happened. The Men From S.O.U.N.D. ranged in age
from about 15 to 18 years of age, so we were quite overwhelmed
that we were backing an artist of his stature. He even
came to our rehearsal during the week in the daytime.
Dobie showed up by himself at the small rehearsal hall in
Montebello we had rented. He was very nice to us and
easy to work with. It was amazing because we were so
young and certainly not in his league. On the big night,
we did our set and then Dobie Gray was introduced by the MC.
I can only remember two of the songs we did, Marvin Gaye's
"Hitch Hike" and, of course, "The In Crowd."
We got through the short set without a hitch that I can recall.
He was well received by the mostly Chicano teenage crowd and
we must have done at least an adequate job because he certainly
could have decided not to use us after he had rehearsed with
us. It was a great and memorable experience for all
of us in the band. In
1973, Dobie Gray had another major success with "Drift
Away," which has become a rock classic and covered many
times by other artists. ("Drift Away" by Dobie
Gray peaked at number 5 on the national charts in March of
happy to report that Dobie Gray is still around and going
strong. A new version of "Drift Away" recently
came out (2002) on a album called "No Stranger To Shame"
by Uncle Cracker, a Detroit singer/songwriter who first achieved
success as a writer/producer with Kid Rock. Dobie appears
with Uncle Cracker on the record and video of the song and
still looks and sounds great. The song and video are
currently getting airplay in 2003. I wish Dobie Gray
continued good health and success not only because he's a
great r&b singer and songwriter, but because he treated
a group of teenage Chicano musicians with class and dignity
at a time when he was a star with a major hit on the charts.
See Flyer and
Richard Morin, Ernie
Richard Mojarro, and Mark Guerrero
Rosas to the left of Richard Morin out of frame)
Richard Morin, DobieGray,
Ernie Hernandez, and Richard Mojarro