Jack of Diamonds

Band members                             Related acts

  line up 1 (1977-81)

- Dave Derr -- vocals, guitar, keyboards

- Chip Eanes -- keyboards

- Bill Larsen - bass

- Ed Shockley -- vocals, drums, percussion, keyboards

- Dave Siebert -- lead guitar, vocals, percussion (replaced 

  Keith Mack)


  line up 3 (1981)

- Dave Derr -- vocals, guitar, keyboards

NEW - Andy King -- vocals, bass (replaced Bill Larsen)

- Ed Shockley -- vocals, drums, percussion, keyboards

- Dave Siebert -- lead guitar, vocals, percussion


  supporting musicians:

- Ray Barnett -- keyboards

- John Hedges -- bass, backing vocals

- Pete Mayforth -- sax

- Ken Tonge -- synthesizers




- Cries (Ed Shockley)

- The Reminders (Ed Shockley)

- Stone Balloon (Ed Shockley)

- Vinyl Shockley (Keith Mack and Ed Shockley)





Genre: rock

Rating: 3 stars ***

Title:  Dodge City

Company: Ransom

Catalog: BS 143

Country/State: Delaware

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: includes bonus single

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 5989

Price: $40.00


Every year there are hundreds of bands that make a living playing up and down the Atlantic coast.  One that made a late-1970s/early-1980s stab at it was Delaware's Jack of Diamonds.  With a line-up featuring rhythm guitarist Dave Derr, bassist Andy King, drummer Ed Shockley and lead guitarist Dave Siebert, they were a popular mid-Atlantic beach attraction.  Released in 1981, I imagine their sole album was recorded with the prime goal of having a product to sell at their shows.


If you've ever spent any time at the beach, then chances are you've seen dozens of bands like Jack of Diamonds.  They weren't your traditional beach music (aka shag) band and since they playing their own material (mostly written by guitarist Derr), you couldn't exactly label them a cover band, but their repertoire was certainly reminiscent of a host of better known late-1970s/early-1980s bands.  Ambrosia, Doobie Brothers, Journey, Pablo Cruise, Steely Dan, Styx - all of those 1970s AOR bands you either loved or hated with a passion were reflected in the mix.  In fact that spot-the-influence factor has always been one of the things that made 1981's "Dodge City" so much fun to play.  To give credit where deserved, these guys were actually quite good and I'd be willing to bet that if you were in a certain demographic (early-40s to mid-50s) is you heard them on a Saturday evening with three of four beers in you, they would be even better.  On the other hand, if you were looking for something full of original ideas ... well don't bother.  In the interests of full disclosure, I actually saw them once at Dewey Beach's Ruddertown.  While the memories are hazy, I remember they were quite good and quite loud.  Call it a fun summer album that should strike a chord with the late-1970s crowd.


"Dodge City" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Dodge City   (Ed Shockley) - 6:57   rating: *** stars

With its funky white boy swagger (yes I'm using the term loosely), the title track's always reminded me a bit of Wild Cherry.  Mindless fun that's way better after a couple of beers.

2.) I Can Stand the Cold   (Dave Derr) - 3:35   rating: *** stars

Radio friendly in a mid-1970s AOR fashion, 'I Can Stand the Cold' sounded like a blend of Pablo Cruise and Ambrosia.  Great if you liked either of those bands, not so promising if you weren't a fan.   

3.) Can't Give It Up   (Dave Derr) - 5:28   rating: **** stars

'Can't Give It Up' was the blue-eyed soul song that Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes were always looking for ...  Fantastic melody with some great harmony vocals.  Easily one of the album's best performances, even if the mid-section 'concert' sound effects were cheesy.

4.) South of the Border   (Ed Shockley) - 3:14  rating: ** stars

With its Caribbean lilt (steel drums), 'South of the Border' sounded like a Pablo Cruise outtake.  AOR background music ...   


(side 2)
1.) Comatose Kids   (Dave Derr) - 8:34   rating: **** stars

'Comatose Kids' started side two with a dollop of Steely Dan-meets-West Side Story ...  Yeah, all of the Becker-Fagen ingredients were present; pseudo-jazzy moves, ominous feeling, and even a non-too-subtle nods to life on the margins.  I'm a big Dan fan so this one struck me as another one worth hearing.  

2.) Hope To See Her Again   (Dave Derr) - 4:42  rating: ** stars

The first couple of times I heard it 'Hope To See Her Again' made about as much impression on me as a toothpaste commercial.  Mind you this isn't a great song by any stretch of the imagination, but it was worth hearing for a couple of reasons, including the band's sterling harmony vocals and for sporting one of the lamest voice box guitar solos you'll ever hear. 

3.) Swimmin'    (David Derr) - 5:32   rating: *** stars 

Another slice of Wild Cherry-styled white boy funk, 'Swimmin'' was one of the more commercial numbers on the album.   It was also tapped as a single, though I don't know if it was released earlier in the band's career, or in conjunction with the album.   



- 'Swimmin'' b/w 'Swimmin' (Part 2)' (Ransom catalog BS-101 A/B)


YouTube has a live performance of the tune - the sound and video quality aren;t great and there's no information on when, or where it was filmed: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=weHiTN7GTBc 





4.) Who Wants To Know   (Dave Derr) - 4:22   rating: *** stars 

'Who Wants To Know' was a slighter heavier rock number than the rest of the album.   John Hedges bass line was the most interesting facet of the song; particularly since it sounded exactly like the pounding riff in Frankie Goes To Hollywood's 'Relax'.    

- 5.) Dodge City Reprise   (Ed Shockley) -1:04  rating: ** stars

'Dodge City Reprise' was nothing more than a minute of filler ...    



At least one reference notes there is a second album - 1982's "Jack of Diamonds Live at the Stone Balloon" and a second single 'Siren'.  Damn if I've ever seen copies.

The band reunited in 2011 and began playing occasional local dates.







Jack Of Diamonds Ransom 101 Swimmin’ and Swimmin’ Pt. 2 EX