Thursday, November 3, 2022

Richie Deran, Dave Parkinson & Pontiac Records (Canton)

Richie Deran and the New Tones put out just one record, "Little Willie" b/w "Girl And A Hot Rod."   The single was released by the Pontiac Record Company of Canton, Illinois in late 1959.

Deran, who wrote and sang both songs, was from Burlington, Iowa.  Most of the members of the New Tones were also from the Burlington-area including Don Bowman on guitar, Larry Gustin on guitar and Bob Baldridge on drums.  The one exception was saxophone player Dave Parkinson who was from Canton, Illinois.

According to a 2012 article in the Canton Daily Ledger, the Pontiac Record Company was owned by Canton businessman Jim Aloian.  The Deran record appears to have been the label's only release.

A few color variations of the single exist as well as reproductions and bootlegs.

Not long after the release of the single, Deran joined Gary Stites on tour.  Stites, who was from Colorado and had recorded for the Carlton label, had performed in Burlington on New Years Eve 1959.

Together they were billed as "Rock and Roll Stars from Dick Clark's American Bandstand."  The New Tones served as the backing band for both singers on the tour.  

An article written at the time mentioned that the tour would take them to 600(!) cities across the nation.  Despite the claim only a handful of dates in central and southern Illinois could be identified.

Feb 19, 1960:  Canton High School (Canton)
Feb 22, 1960:  Illinois State Normal University Ballroom (Normal)
Feb 24, 1960:  Illinois Theater (Jacksonville)
Mar 2, 1960:  Granada Theatre (Mt. Vernon)
Mar 3, 1960:  Orpheum Theater (Marion)

By April, the tour had come to a halt.  Deran continued to perform with the New Tones around Iowa over the next few years.   A 1961 article lists the members of the group as Joe Coleman on rhythm guitar and Terry Hiensly on lead guitar (both of Burlington) along with Baldridge and Parkinson.  By 1963, Warren Wunnenberg had replaced Baldridge on the drums.

Deran, whose real name was Korschgen, appears to have left his music career behind shortly afterward.  In the early 60's he opened Richard's Upholstery in Burlington which he owned and operated for more than 40 years.

Parkinson (with sax) to the left of JB
As for Dave Parkinson, the group's saxophonist, his long musical journey was only just beginning in the early 1960's.   Most notably, Parkinson went on to play and record with James Brown, Bobby Byrd, Hank Ballard and others as a member of The Dapps in Cincinnati.  Back in Illinois, Parkinson would later be known as the leader of Dave and the Dynamics.

A detailed history of The Dapps that includes an interview with Parkinson can be found on the blog Zero To 180.   In it Parkinson mentioned another legendary musician from Canton, bassist Tim Drummond, who played with Brown around the same time before going on to work with Neil Young, Bob Dylan and many many others.

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