Redbone


Band members                              Related acts

  line up 1 (1968-72)

- Tony Bellamy -- guitar, backing vocals
- Pete DePoe (aka Last Walking Bear) -- drums, percussion,

   backing vocals
- Lolly Vegas (RIP 2010) -- vocals, guitar, keyboards
- Pat Vegas -- vocals, bass, guitar, keyboards, backing vocals 

 

  line up 2 (1972-73)

- Tony Bellamy -- guitar, backing vocals
NEW -
Arturo Perez -- vocals, drums (replaced Pete DePoe)
- Lolly Vegas (RIP 2010) -- vocals, guitar, keyboards
- Pat Vegas -- vocals, bass, guitar, keyboards, backing vocals

 

  line up 3 (1973-75)

- Tony Bellamy -- guitar, backing vocals
NEW - Butch Rillera -- vocals, drums (replaced
Arturo Perez)
- Lolly Vegas (RIP 2010) -- vocals, guitar, keyboards
- Pat Vegas -- vocals, bass, guitar, keyboards, backing vocals

 

  supporting musicians (1974)

- Ronnie Barron -- percussion

- Gordon DeWitty -- piano

- John Fiore -- background vocals

- Michael Freda --background vocals

- Terry Furlong -- slide guitar

- Chipper Laverone -- percussion

- David Oliver -- background vocals

- Red Rhodes -- steel guitar

 

  line up 4 (1977)

NEW- Aloisio Aguiar -- keyboards, percussion
- Lolly Vegas (RIP 2010) -- vocals, guitar, keyboards
- Pat Vegas -- vocals, bass, guitar, keyboards, backing vocals

NEW - Eddie Summers -- drums, percussion (replaced Butch Rillera)

 

  line up 5 (2005)

- Tony Bellamy -- guitar, backing vocals
- Lolly Vegas (RIP 2010) -- vocals, guitar, keyboards
- Pat Vegas -- vocals, bass, guitar, keyboards, backing vocals

 

 

 

 

- The Avantis (Pat and Lolly Vegas)
- Pat and Lolly Vegas
- Sharks (Pat and Lolly Vegas) 

- Pat Vegas (solo efforts)


 

Genre: rock

Rating: *** (3 stars)

Title:  Redbone

Company: Epic

Catalog: EGP 501

Year: 1970

Country/State: 

Grade (cover/record): VG/VG+

Comments: double album, gatefold sleeve (our copy has less ring wear than that shown in the picture)

Available: 1

Catalog ID: not yet listed

Price: $25.00

 

Having recorded a series of early-'60s surf singles as members of The Avantis, The Sharks and under their own names (see separate entries), by mid-'60s brothers Lolly and Pat Vegas has attracted minor attention as sessions players and songwriters. Among their efforts, the duo enjoyed limited success penning "Nicki Hokey" for P.J. Proby. Playing clubs as a duo, in 1968 the brothers hooked up with guitarist Tony Bellamy and drummer Pete DePoe to form Redbone.

Signed to Epic which was more than willing to capitalize on the band's Indian heritage, the group's 1970 self-titled debut exhibited the quartet's unique hybrid of soul and swamp rock influences. Demonstrating considerable faith in their new signing, Epic even agreed to finance a double album, 16 track effort as their debut. Highlighted by pseudo-swamp rockish material such as " Crazy Cajun Cakewalk Band", "Prehistoric Rhythm" and "(I Can't) Handle It", "Redbone" underscored the Vegas' credits as songwriters and instrumentalists. Unfortunately, while Lolly had an interesting, sloshed voice, Pat had a limited and frequently flat delivery. Moreover, stretched over four sides, a surprising amount of the Vegas' material proved dull and plodding. The inclusion of four extended, jazzy instrumentals (" Jambone", "Suite Mode", "I'm a Man" and "Things Go Better ...") didn't help matters. Probably the best tracks were the poppy "Promise I Won't Let It Show" and their version of "Nicki Hokey". In spite of strong reviews and a large promotional campaign by Epic (the company deserved special criticism for promoting the band as the country's first Indian rock band ... ), the set failed to chart. (The album was originally released with a gatefold sleeve.)

"Redbone" track listing:
1.) Little Girl (Lolly Vegas) - 3:54
2.) Chance To See (Pat Vegas) - 4:33
3.) Red and Blue (Lolly Vegas) - 2:41
4.) Suite Mode (instrumental) (Pat Vegas - Lolly Vegas - R.A. Bellamy - Pete DePoe) - 6:17
5.) (I Can't) Handle It (Lolly Vegas) - 5:35
6.) I'm a Man (instrumental) (Pat Vegas) - 2:57
7.) Danse Calenda (Pat Vegas - Lolly Vegas) - 2:41
8.) Things Go Better ... (instrumental) (Pat Vegas - Lolly Vegas - R.A. Bellamy - Pete DePoe) - 7:40
9.) Crazy Cajun Cakewalk Band (Pat Vegas - Lolly Vegas - J. Ford) - 3:06
10.) Prehistoric Rhythm (Lolly Vegas) - 3:50
11.) Niki Hokey (Pat Vegas - Lolly Vegas - J. Ford) - 3:17
12.) Promise I Won't Let It Show (Pat Vegas) - 3:06
13.) Minor Seven Heaven (Lolly Vegas) - 4:17
14.) Night Comes Down (Lolly Vegas) - 3:53
15.) Tennessee Girl (Lolly Vegas) - 2:37
16.) Rebecca (Lolly Vegas) - 3:02
17.) Jambone (instrumental) (Pat Vegas - Lolly Vegas - R.A. Bellamy - 
Pete DePoe) - 8:06

 

 

 


Genre: rock

Rating: *** (3 stars)

Title:  Potlatch

Company: Epic

Catalog:  E-30109

Year: 1971

Country/State: 

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: minor ring, edge and corner wear

Available: 2

Catalog ID: not yet listed

Price: $8.00

 

With the Vegas again providing virtually all of the material (Bellamy co-writing one track), 1971's "Potlatch" proved far tighter and focused. Co-produced by Lolly and Pete Welding, the collection found the band taking stabs at a wide variety of genres, including sappy MOR ballads ("Who Can Say?"), meltdown psychedelics ("Without Reservations") and social relevance ("Alcatraz" and "Chant:13th Hour"). While the material occasionally bogged down in amidst ill-defined arrangements and lyrical pretense, for the most part these guys wanted to rock. Propelled by Lolly's slinky voice and Pat's distinctive wah wah guitar, material such as the hit single "Maggie", "Light As a Feather" (sounding like a CCR outtake), "Judgement Day" and "Bad News Ain't No News At All" demonstrated these guys were at their best when working a funk-rock groove. Propelled by favorable reviews (in the midst of the Alcatraz siege, what critic was about to cast dispersions on a band composed of native Americans ...), the parent album provided the band with their first taste of commercial success, ultimately reaching #99.

"Potlatch" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Maggie (Lolly Vegas) - 5:06
2.) Light As a Feather (Pat Vegas) - 1:56
3.) Who Can Say? (Lolly Vegas) - 2:50
4.) Judgement Day (Lolly Vegas) - 2:39
5.) Without Reservation (instrumental) (Lolly Vegas) - 4:13

(side 2)

1.) Chant: 13th Hour (Pat Vegas - Lolly Vegas - R.A. Bellamy) - 5:36
2.) Alcatraz (Pat Vegas) - 2:47
3.) Drinkin' and Blo (Pat Vegas) - 2:17
4.) Bad News Ain't No New At All (Pat Vegas) - 2:12
5.) New Blue Sermonette (Pat Vegas) - 3:35

 

 

 

 


Genre: rock

Rating: *** (3 stars)

Title:  Already Here

Company: Epic

Catalog:  KE-31598

Year: 1973

Country/State: 

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: gatefold sleeve

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 1296

Price: $9.00

 

1972's "Already Here' was released in the wake of a personnel change that saw original drummer Pete DePoe quit in the wake of his father's unexpected death.  He was quickly replaced by Arturo Perez.  Musically the album found the band shifting their sound away from the commercial Cajun-rock moves that had made them radio favorites.  With the exception of 'Condition Your Condition', 'Fiat-Do'. and an energetic remake of Leiber and Stoller's 'Poison Ivy' the rest of the album was far more varied and experimental that previous studio sets.    'Power (Prelude To a Means)' was a decent radio-friendly ballad, while 'Speakeasy' found the band trying their hand at country.  The title track was an even bigger change in direction with the band dipping their collective toes into Jeff Beck-styled jazz-rock fusion.  The results were certainly interesting, but not the place for a casual fan or a curious listener to start.


"Potlatch" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Fait-Do  (Pat Vegas - Lolly Vegas) - 2:36

Yeah, Epic released it as a single, but to my ears it sounded like a subpar attempt to jump on the Sly and the Family Stone bandwagon.   Kind of a mindless funk tune without a great deal going for it.   YouTube has a black and white promo clip for the tune: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HkRlLVcKGrc   rating: ** stars

2.) Motivation  (Pat Vegas - Tony.Bellamy - Lolly Vegas) -2:13

'Motivation' was one of the album's  more interesting tunes, mixing some punchy horn charts with a driving rock base.   Nice harmony vocals on this one.  rating: **** stars

3.) Power (Prelude To a Means)  (Pat Vegas) - 4:29

'Power (Prelude To a Means)' was a pretty, if somewhat over-orchestrated ballad that highlighted Tony Bellamy's wah wah guitar and Lolly's nifty voice.  He's always reminded me a bit of John Fogerty.  Apparently a carry over from earlier recording sessions, the song featured original drummer DePoe.    Would have made a nice single.   rating: **** stars

5.) Speakeasy  (Lolly Vegas) - 3:50

Hum, I Wasn't expecting a country-tinged number  ...   thoughtful lyrics, but the melody wasn't particularly memorable.   rating: ** stars

5.) Condition Your Condition  (Pat Vegas - Tony Bellamy - Lolly Vegas) - 2:51

'Condition Your Condition' was one of the few tunes that carried over their earlier Cajun-rock.  Nice rocker and one of the album highlights.  rating: *** stars

(side 2)

1.) Where Is Your Heart   (Lolly Vegas) - 3:05

My favorite tune, in spite of the hackneyed orchestration,  'Where Is Your Heart' was a soulful ballad that got better as it went along.   Lolly had such a cool voice.     rating: **** stars 

2.) Good Enough for Jesus   (Pat Vegas) - 2:37

Another country-influenced tune, Pat explained 'Good Enough for Jesus' as being inspired by audience responses to their long hair and counter-culture appeareance.   rating: *** stars

3.) Poison Ivy   (Jerry Leiber - Mike Stoller) - 3:00

Probably the album's biggest surprise, anyone who grew up with The Coasters' version of 'Poison Ivy' was likely to find Redbone's funkified cover quite different.   I can certain remember being surprised by the tune the first time I heard it on the radio.   Very nice and one of the album highlights.    YouTube has a clip of the band lip-synching the tune for French TV: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UcgLkSm3tO4    rating: **** stars

4.) Already Here (Brujo)   (Lolly Vegas) - 9:21

To my ears the title track came off as an overly long slice of jazz-rock fusion.  Yeah, Jeff Beck might have been proud of the performance, but stretched out over nine minutes Tony Bellamy's discohordant guitar and the rest of the jam quickly became tiring.   Not sure if 'Brujo' has a unique meaning in the Indian languages, but in Spanish I think it translates as sorcerer, or witch doctor.   rating: *** stars

 

The album spun off a pair of international 45s.  In the States the singles were:

 

- 1972's 'Fais-Do' b/w 'Fais-Do'  (Epic catalog number 5-10910)

- 1972's 'Poison Ivy' b/w 'Condition Your Condition)  (Epic catalog number 5-10946)

 

Only 70, Lolly Vegas died of lung cancer in March 2010.

 

 

 

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