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Glennray Tutor
Knowbody Else specialist
Interview by Luc Brunot.
Photo credits: Glennray Tutor.
Original version of the interview published in Bands Of Dixie #111 (fourth trimester of 2016)
Glennray Tutor
For a long time, Knowbody Else's discography was limited to the one and only LP released in 1969 on Hip Records, a subsidiary of Stax, to which we didn't clearly know if we had to add or not "Early Times" released in 1974 under the Black Oak Arkansas name. 2012 saw the release of "Soldiers Of Pure Peace". Its content was the band first recordings, done by Jim Dickinson at Ardent Studios between 1967 and 1968 and never before released. This publication would have never been released without the determination of a Knowbody Else's fan, Glennray Tutor, to find those tapes. The interest of this CD is of course musical but however isn't imited to the solely listening of those unearthed archives. Indeed, it is coupled with an important documentary interest due to a high quality booklet written by Glennray Tutor. The information sources about the band being usually contradictories, quite fancifuls and full of errors, make us want to ask Glennray Tutor to tell us about Knowbody Else. Having closely known the band in the sixties and having researched its history, he's probably the best Knowbody Else connoisseur. But Glennray Tutor is also an artist - an internationally-renowned painter1 - and the interest of his answers go beyond the information they contain, it is also on the specific way, related to his artistic sensibility, he looks at other artists.
Glennray Tutor - Dream of Love. Oil on Canvas
Glennray Tutor - Dream of Love. Oil on Canvas.
Hello Glennray,
I discovered your name in the "Soldiers Of Pure Peace" booklet, released in 2012, where you talked about Knowody Else in a very interesting text. Who are you?
I was born 1950 in Kennett, Missouri and I live in Oxford, Mississippi. I am an artist. Primarily I make paintings, using oil paint and brushes. I am also a composer and a writer.
What are and what were in your youth your musical tastes?
In my youth my musical tastes were broad. Everything from classical to country to folk to rock to blues.
I played 12 string electric guitar, 6 string acoustic guitar, harmonica, and sang in various rocknroll bands in the mid 60s to early 70s. Then in mid life I learned to play the clarinet and to read music. Then later I became interested in the guitar again. I am a member of ASCAP. Most of the music I was interested in during my 20s, 30s, and 40s was classical music, predominantly Mozart, Beethoven, Bach, Handel, Rossini. From around the age of 50, I have also been much interested in pop and rock n roll. As a teenager and young adult I was much encouraged by my mother and father to pursue a career in music: playing in rock n roll bands. However, I settled on concentrating on painting as my main creative endeavor as a career.
How did you know Knowbody Else?
A girlfriend of mine named Linda Ashabranner recommended that I see/hear the band. They happened to play at my high school's Homecoming dance in late October or early November, 1966, which was the first time I heard them play, and saw them perform. The visual elements of the band's performance were as astounding as the music they made. The next time I heard them was at a dance at the reception room of a hotel in my hometown of Kennett, Missouri. This would have been probably January or February 1967. From that point on, I heard/saw them as often as possible. I introduced myself to the members during breaks, and talked with them, and thus began my friendship/relationship with them.
What was so astounding?
I had heard/seen many bands perform by the time I experienced Knowbody Else. Their sound was so far above the quality of what I had heard before, that there was no comparison. Everything was balanced, perfect, no wrong notes, everything clear. You could understand the words the singer was singing. The harmonies were amazingly sung. The music was LOUD, but clear. One could distinguish each instrument, and then at the same time hear everything being played as an ensemble.
Most of the songs they played I had heard no other band play, such as songs by the Byrds, Love, Zombies, Beatles, Them. And Knowbody Else played them immaculately. They also played several original songs, and these were amazingly fresh, original, and of the highest quality. The songs they played that other bands played (such as "Out Of Sight", "Gloria", etc.) were played with utmost perfection.
The lead singer's voice was different, unique, and he could SING. The first night I heard them play, they played a medley of such songs as "Louie Louie", "Twist And Shout", and other songs using that similar pattern. The next time I heard them play, they had phased those songs out. I had heard no other band get close to the harmonies that Knowbody Else sang. I believe every member of the band had a microphone and sang in the harmonies.
Their equipment was state of the art. I had never seen Kustom amps before. Their pa was also Kustom. Later they added the Kustom light show equipment. As I said, they were LOUD. One's insides vibrated. But nothing was distorted in their sound.
Each member had a stage style unto his own. Jim was doing splits. I'd never seen anyone do this in a band before, except James Brown. Jim was doing it in a more psychedelic way.
Knowbody Else: Artis Brewer, Jr. - Ronnie Smith - Jim Mangrum - Rick Reynolds (Kennett High School Homecoming Gala. November 1966)
Knowbody Else: Artis Brewer, Jr. - Ronnie Smith - Jim Mangrum - Rick Reynolds (Kennett High School Homecoming Gala. November 1966)
There was no goofing around with the band. There was no joking, no frivolous indications in their performances. They were completely serious about one thing: making the finest music possible. They were a rock band, but they exhibited the serious qualities one would observe when listening/watching a professional classical string quartet/quintet perform. Each member shone in a complete light of their own, playing and singing to the maximum attainable with their instrument, voice. For example, J.R. Brewer played his guitar as a master, and I in the audience could not but be absolutely absorbed with his performance. Each band member did the same. Even Ronnie Smith playing the tambourine: he did it with his own masterly style, and conquered. Put all the individual elements together and the band was overwhelming, and so very fine.
I should also add this to why they were so out of the ordinary for a band. Three of the members (Keith, Ronnie, and Danny) had the longest hair I had ever seen on a male. They were like some from the middle ages! And the other three members were starting to grow their hair longer than the Beatles! This was a revelation! I had never conceived of such a thing before! My hair at the time was a modest length just like the Beatles. Knowbody Else were growing their hair out like the 3 Muskateers.
One could not go to public school in the USA at the time with hair that grew over one's ears. You would be expelled. So when I looked at the band I thought about these things. This added to my wonderment about the band.
When I first listened to Knowbody Else, another thing that impressed me greatly was that they were not doing the band thing as a side line. They had already decided that they were going to devote the rest of their lives to making music in their band. All the other bands I was familiar with were doing it as a side line, as a way to supplement income, or just for fun. Whenever they finished high school, or college, they knew they would be doing other things for their careers. In the case of Knowbody Else, all the band members except J.R. had dropped out of high school, so they could devote ALL their time to perfecting their music/performance. J.R.'s father was giving them a house on his farmland in which to live, and his stipulation was that J.R. must complete and graduate from high school. Which he did. This is why his hair was not grown out like the other members of the band, until he completed high school, in about 1967.
My girlfriend who told me about the band in the first place said that one of the things that impressed her about the band was that they gave everything all else up to dedicate themselves to their art.
They concentrated on their art, and all else was secondary, not important. Everyday they practiced. They devoted their lives to their music. Eating pop corn when there was nothing else to eat. Drinking water and being happy with it. This really made an impression on me. I realized that if one wanted to achieve artistic accomplishment, then one would need to sacrifice everything to the endeavor. This is the most important thing that I have learned. And this is why I have been able to achieve what I have with my art in my lifetime.
Knowbody Else: Danny Reynolds - Keith McCann (top; behind drum kit) - Artis Brewer, Jr. - Ronnie Smith (in hat) (American Legion Hut, Kennett, Missouri. April 1967)
Knowbody Else: Danny Reynolds - Keith McCann (top; behind drum kit) - Artis Brewer, Jr. - Ronnie Smith (in hat)
(American Legion Hut, Kennett, Missouri. April 1967)
You know very well Knowbody Else but Black Oak Arkansas?
I know little about Black Oak Arkansas. I heard them in concert during the first year following the release of their first album. They were fantastic. Just a phenomenally kick ass band. I don't think any band has been better. I bought their albums, and listened with pleasure. I lost touch with the band members as the years passed. I always thought the band should have been better appreciated. In the early 1990s I travelled to hear them play in a little tavern in Missouri, and they simply blew the place away. Absolutely superb in every way. There were at the most 15 people in the audience. The place was a rundown joint about the size of a couple of hotel rooms. Black Oak Arkansas played as though they were playing for an audience of thousands. Their sound was perfect, enticing, clear, with not one wrong note.
For me, the band Knowbody Else and the band Black Oak Arkansas are two different bands, with two different sounds, and styles. One band is not particularly better than the other. Both bands are the best a band can be. It is simply that they are two different bands, with different styles. Sometimes there are echoes in the music of Black Oak Arkansas that reminds one of Knowbody Else's music. But these sounds are only echoes.
For myself, I prefer the music of Knowbody Else. (Including the music on the Hip recording the Knowbody Else, and on the album "Early Times", minus the steel guitar!)
You're a songwriter, Were you already writing at the time and did you consider to compose for Knowbody Else?
I was writing songs at that time, but I was not writing songs with Knowbody Else in mind. I simply listened to and visually enjoyed Knowbody Else, and nothing else was considered.
You talked about friendship. Did you meet sometimes the members beside the concerts? Were you closer with a few of them?
I was not really friends with the band members. I talked to them in between their breaks, when they were playing for a dance/concert. I doubt that we ever even exchanged name identities. They were very much aloof. Very difficult to connect with on a human to human level. Yet, we did have some conversations which resulted with gained information. But these were never easy conversations.
I wanted to be friends with them...because I understood what they were attempting and I myself was also doing with my painting and writing, at such a young age and in such an impoverished cultural place in the world in which one would never guess that such a creative entity could become a reality. And I understood what an exceptional effort was involved to do what we were intent on doing to achieve such a masterpiece in that place we were in. But the band members were almost impossible to engage in in an equal exchange of conversation. They were way ahead of the rest of us.
Was Jim Dandy the Knowbody Else leader as in Black Oak Arkansas?
Yes, Jim Mangrum was definitely the leader of the band. A very absolute personality. He was the most powerful individual in the band, followed by Rick Reynolds, then J.R. Brewer, then Keith McCann. The others were simply members,without much individual power.
I have to say that Jim Mangrum was the most powerful part of Knowbody Else (as well as Black Oak Arkansas.) Followed very closely by Rick Reynolds. They are almost equally on the same level. Reynolds is the genius with the songwriting and the music. Jim is the genius with the voice and the master as the lead personality in front of the rest of the band.
Knowbody Else - Soldiers Of Pure Peace
Thus, you wrote the booklet of "Soldiers Of Pure Peace": how were you involved in the project?
I wanted to so desperately to hear those first songs by Knowbody Else again. I learned that there might be existing tapes of the songs. So I started a life long endeavor to find those tapes. I started looking in about 1968 or 1969, and continued to look until around 2000. I became friends with Jim Dickinson, who had originally recorded the songs. At first, he thought the tapes had been destroyed in storage. But as our friendship continued I learned that maybe the tapes still existed. Finally, Jim Dickinson found the tapes (but not all of them) and made a CD of the recordings for me. All I wanted then was simply to hear the music again. Which I did, with absolute pleasure. Then, about two or three years later, I played the CD for my friend Erik Lindgren, who was visiting me in Oxford. He liked the music so much that he asked me if he could release it on his label Arf Arf. And so, this is how it all finally came to fruition. Just a long long hanging with it until it finally was a reality. Like digging for treasure until everyone gives up, except you. And you keep digging and knowing you will dig as deep and as long as it takes to get to the treasure. Which I finally did, after a forty plus year enterprise.
If not for me and my obsession to again hear the music of Knowbody Else, the public would never have been given the opportunity to hear what the band Knowbody Else sounded like playing their original songs, as recorded by Jim Dickinson. The world would only have known the sound of the band Black Oak Arkansas. Personally, I think it would have been a great loss to music history had this music not have been released, as it now has been done on Arf!Arf!
About the information featured in the text, you had alreadyall the information to write the text when came the proposal to release the session on Arf Arf?
Yes, I already had all the information about Knowbody Else at the time Arf!Arf! decided to release it as a cd and booklet. Of course it took about a year and a half to work out the permission from Dickinson's estate to do the cd, locate the actual original tapes in the files of Jim Dickinson's archives, tapes, etc. (His son, Luther, found the actual original tapes; and this is what the cd is made from.) Mastering of the tapes. Correlating the photos, and essay. Designing the booklet and cd. etc. Whenever it became a reality that there would be a future cd on Arf!Arf!, I told Mangrum and Reynolds, and they wouldn't talk to me again about it, or give any information to me regarding anything to do with the songs, the time, not anything.
Is the painting on the CD "Soldiers Of Pure Peace" by you?
The painting in "Soldiers Of Pure Peace" is actually a colored marker painting by Rick Reynolds, which he did on the back of one of the posters nailed to a telephone pole advertising the coming dance performance. It is in the archives of Rickie Copeland.
Do you know if some other unpublished sessions tapes exist?
I do not know of any other recordings that exist of the band Knowbody Else.
Jim Dickinson told me that he recorded two cover songs that were intended to be used on the album, "Soldiers Of Pure Peace". These were "Baby Let Me Follow You Down", by Bob Dylan, after his recording on his first album, Bob Dylan.
"Eleanor Rigby", by the Beatles, after their recording on the album, "Revolver".
These tapes seem to have been lost.
There were also two other original songs that Dickinson recorded, titles unknown (although one of them was probably entitled "Soldiers Of Pure Peace"). These also have been lost. These songs were also intended to be used on the album. So there would have been a total of 14 songs, had the other four survived. (The other original song, title unknown, was about a pirate. The title may have been Hyman Galileo".)
Feeling High (The psychedelic Sound Of Memphis)
Are there some Knowbody Else live recordings?
There are two live recordings of the band Knowbody Else that I know about. Both were recorded at an even in Memphis, honoring Stax records. One of the songs is among the tracks on the CD "Feeling High the Psychedelic Sound Of Memphis", a compilation by Alec Paleo, on the label Big Beat. A cd that I highly recommend that you acquire. It's probably available through BOMP! The accompanying booklet is also fantastic.
About "Feeling High", the booklet uncludes one of your photos. Are you more involved?
With "Feeling Highé I was only involved in that I let them use a photo of mine of the band. Oh, I did correct one detail in the interview with Dickinson about Brewer's guitar.
Let's talk now about the history of Knowbody Else. We can read a lot of different versions of the Knowbody Else begining. The most common year for thtat is 1965 but 1963 is also used. I have selected two versions. The first comes from the Encyclopedia of Arkansas History And Culture that seems quite credible here for the Jim Dandy page2:
"Beginning around 1963 - with boyhood friends Rickie Lee Reynolds, J. R. Brewer, and Keith McCann - Mangrum formed a rock and roll band, which, in his words, was «self-taught, loud and raw.» After acquiring their sound equipment from Monette High School, where Mangrum was a sophomore in 1964, they were charged with eight area burglaries and sentenced in absentia to eight eight-year terms at Tucker Prison Farm, with the sentence later suspended. Mangrum left school, and he and the group headed for Craighead County's back woods.
According to Mangrum, the first place they rehearsed was in a bean elevator at a cotton gin near Black Oak. They called themselves the Knowbody Else at that time, winning a devoted local following by performing at nearby venues such as Reynolds Park in Paragould (Greene County). They moved to Memphis, Tennessee, where they recorded an album for Stax called The Knowbody Else, but the recording did not sell well. They then moved to New Orleans, Louisiana, and finally California."
The second is the Wikipedia version, that is quite surprising and mainly interested by the troubles with the law:
"The Knowbody Else, was formed in 1963 by some "high school pals" living in the area around Black Oak, Arkansas. Original members included Ronnie "Chicky Hawk" Smith (vocals), Rickie Lee (alternately "Ricochet" or "Risky") Reynolds (guitar), Stanley "Goober Grin" Knight (guitar), Harvey "Burley" Jett (guitar), Pat "Dirty" Daugherty (bass), and Wayne "Squeezebox" Evans (drums). At some point the band and Ronnie "Chicky Hawk" Smith agreed that a mutual friend named James "Jim Dandy" Mangrum would make a better front man, while Smith agreed that he himself would make a better stage production manager.
The band's first PA system was stolen from Monette High School. The group then cleaned out an old galvanized grain bin on the edge of town and began blasting out ear-piercing sounds that echoed their special blend of music that came from rock, gospel, country and blues influences. Members of the group were subsequently charged in absentia with grand larceny and sentenced to 26 years at the Tucker Prison Farm, a sentence that was later suspended. This led to their retreat to the hills of rural north-central Arkansas where they lived off the land and refined their musical style. They also lived in Long Beach, Mississippi and played at the local Lobe theater/dance hall and the short-lived venue, "The Black Rainbow." Some of their influences during this time were the Beatles and the Byrds.
The Knowbody Else moved to Memphis, Tennessee in 1969 and signed a record deal with Stax Records. Their self-titled debut album was largely ignored by the public. During this time the band became interested in psychedelia and Eastern spiritualism which, combined with their Southern Baptist upbringing, contributed to their sound.
The Knowbody Else LP
What do you think of this two versions? In the booklet of "Soldiers Of Pure Peace", you talk about a birth by the collapse of two bands from Monette, Arkansas, the Surf and the Epsilons.
First of all, WOW, those accounts are full of error. Instead of "What is wrong with this picture?", we should ask, "What is right with this picture?"
Each group that Mangrum and Reynolds played with before forming The Epsilons were short lasting. Never playing a real venue. Reynolds and Mangrum talked to each other at a battle of the bands, where each of their bands (each band's first public performance) were playing. Mangrum told Reynolds that neither band was any good, but he and Reynolds were good musicians, and should start their own band together. The Epsilons resulted, then quickly within weeks, changed their name to Knowbody Else. They practiced at their parents' residences, until they all moved to Brewer's parents' empty farmhouse. They may have considered practicing in a grain bin, but to my knowledge never did (remember, those places do not have electricity available). The theft of the pa system from the school did actually take place. However, Mangrum, Reynolds, and whoever else was involved (perhaps Ronnie Smith) were not in serious danger from the "crime". In fact it was Mangrum's father who reported to the authorities who the thieves were. He wanted to teach Mangrum a lesson in morality/ethics. The pa system was a terrible piece of equipment, and would consequently never have been used by the band. They were given a suspended sentence -- they were all under age when the event happened -- but there was never a question about their truly going to jail, or to prison (or, more accurately, to re-form school, since they were minors). The school got the equipment returned to them. The "thieves" apologized, and that was that. The theft was put on record, though. And this actually helped Reynolds and Mangrum avoid being considered for the draft for the Viet Nam War (which may have been a motivating factor in stealing the PA in the first place.).
The band did not go to the "woods/hills" until they became Black Oak Arkansas. Then they bought an old motel compound in the Ozarks and used it for their headquarters. Remember: Northeast Arkansas is among the flattest areas in the world.
One of the first places that the band practiced was on the front porch of Mangrum's parents' house. The neighbors, Mangrum's sister remembered in a interview, enjoyed the music, and some came outside to listen. They also early on practiced at Reynold's parents' house, which had once been a store. Also they practiced in the backroom of a store on a highway in Manilla, Arkansas, owned by Brewer's parents. Not long after using Brewer's parents' abandoned farmhouse as a home and practice place, the band moved to Jonesboro Arkansas, and rented an old victorian house, where they all lived together, and also practiced in.
When was born Knowbody Else?
I would put the date that Knowbody Else formed as a band as late 1965 or early 1966
First they were the Surfs. The Surfs were instrumental only, no singing. Jim Mangrum played the drums. Then the Epsilons were formed. This would have been in mid-to-late 1965.
Their first "bass" was a saxophone player! When they played on stage, occasionally the saxophonist would need to clean the spittle from his instrument, and would sling it on the floor boards. This repulsed Jim, and he fired the saxophonist. In one week the band had a booking to play at a high school dance. Somewhat panicked, Rick went to his brother Danny and asked would he join their band as the bass player. Danny said he would. "But there are two problems," Danny, with concern, told Rick. "What are the problems?" Rick asked. "One: I don't have a bass guitar and I don't have an amplifier." "Problem solved," said Rick. "We'll supply you with a bass guitar and an amplifier. Now, what's the second problem?" Danny took a deep breath and said, "I don't know how to play a bass guitar." Rick drew a picture of the bass guitar fretboard, showing every note on every string at every fret. "Memorize that," he told Danny. Then he wrote out the lyrics to the songs they played, and noted where and when Danny should play each note. They set up a music stand in front of Danny loaded with the pages of music notation so he could follow accordingly. For the first few weeks with the band, that is the way he played at gigs.
When they changed the name to Knowbody Else, Artis Brewer and Keith McCann were already with the band. The Epsilons consisted of: Jim Mangrum, Rick Reynolds, Danny Reynolds, Ronnie Smith, Keith McCann, and Artis Brewer, as did the first incarnation of Knowbody Else.
Then the Epsilons were formed. This would have been in mid-to-late 1965.
When they changed the name to Knowbody Else, Artis Brewer and Keith McCann were already with the band. The Epsilons consisted of: Jim Mangrum, Rick Reynolds, Danny Reynolds, Ronnie Smith, Keith McCann, and Artis Brewer, as did the first incarnation of Knowbody Else.
Knowbody Else: Danny Reynolds - Keith McCann (top, playing drums) - Artis Brewer, Jr. - Ronnie Smith - Jim Mangrum (American Legion Hut, Kennett, Missouri. April 1967)
Knowbody Else: Danny Reynolds - Keith McCann (top, playing drums) - Artis Brewer, Jr. - Ronnie Smith - Jim Mangrum
(American Legion Hut, Kennett, Missouri. April 1967).
Do you have info about the kind off music they played at the time?
The music that early Knowbody Else played was all the popular tunes of the day. "Gloria". "Twist and Shout". "Louie Louie". "Out of Sight" (James Brown), "House of the Rising Sun", "Satisfaction", etc. Then, very quickly in their evolving they did away with the top 10 song list, and started playing less popular/known tunes... they began playing songs by the Byrds, Love, Them, Bob Dylan, The Beatles, Beau Brummels, Jefferson Airplane, etc., as well as incorporating their own original songs into the play list.
In the chronology, When Danny replaced the sax player?
In the chronology, Danny replaced the sax player while the band was still The Epsilons, just before they renamed themselves Knowbody Else.
Had the Surf a longer existence than the Epsilons?
The Surfs were only together a very short time. A very insignificant band. Really more like a few guys getting together and jamming.
Is known the reason of why rhe Epsilons decided to quickly change their name? And why this choice of Knowbody Else?
I don't know how either the name The Epsilons or Knowbody Else originated
You notice that the band name was Knowbody Else and not The Knowbody Else and that the difference is not without importance. But the band name became later The Knowbody Else. When was the «The» added?
It was very important when they first formed the band that the article not be used when referring to the group. Knowbody Else. "Here they are. The band that is somewhat different. Please welcome Knowbody Else!!" Never "the Knowbody Else." Honestly, when the Stax album was released I was disappointed when I saw how the title read: The Knowbody Else. I suppose the record company thought it was more sellable that way. By that time, the band was becoming very concerned about "making it", and were willing to compromise some of their earlier principles. This willingness to compromise is the reason that McCann quit the band, as well as shortly thereafter, Artis Brewer. Especially in the case of Brewer. He did not want to change their name to Black Oak Arkansas, among other complaints he had.
Maybe were recorded some demo or some concerts?
No demos, or recordings from those years.
What do you know of the period late 1965/early 1966 to spring 67?
The band Knowbody Else finally occurred sometime in 1965, and by the end of that year the line up was Mangrum, Reynolds, Brewer, McCann, Smith, and Danny Reynolds. The band went through the year 1966 practicing, playing in different towns, developing their sound and performance, playing a lot of different pop songs. By the end of the year they had become a very tight, polished band. They became even better as the year 1967 progressed. This is the year in which they recorded most of the album of songs entitled "Soldiers of Pure Peace". This is the year in which Smith and Danny were replaced with Jett and Daugherty.
Knowbody Else: Artis Brewer, Jr. - Keith McCann - Jim Mangrum - Pat Daugherty (American Legion Hut, Paragould, Arkansas, October 1967)
Knowbody Else: Artis Brewer, Jr. - Keith McCann - Jim Mangrum - Pat Daugherty (American Legion Hut, Paragould, Arkansas, October 1967).
"Flying Horse Of Louisiana", the live song by Knowbody Else from the anthology "Feeling High" has something special and I thought of your description of their music. Does the disc reflect their live performances?
The disc does reflect their live performance ("Flying Horse of Louisiana"), except it lacks the huge VOLUME of sound their live performances had, as well as lacking the visual aspects of their performance -- which were extremely significant elements.
I was meaning to their studio recordings, like "Soldiers Of Pure Peace".
The recordings for "Soldiers Of Pure Peace" reflect their live performance pretty accurately -- if one turns up the volume to your disc player! Also the disc live recording is pretty accurate as well in presenting the sound of the band when playing live. The volume in all cases must be turned up to almost overbearing level for the listener to have a full and accurate idea of what they sounded like in live performance.
You write that the band sounded loudly, "so loudly that the ears would be ringing the next day". Yes?
Yes, the band played LOUD. The loudest band I ever heard in the 1960s.
About the covers, were it close from the orignals or with inovating changes?
No, they did not play innovative interpretations of cover songs. The songs sounded very accurate to the originals, such as "Eight Miles High", "Get Together", "All Day And All Of The Night", "Memphis Blues Again", etc.
How was it decided to record this Ardent session?
They went to Ardent because they were desperate to record their music. All the other studios had turned them down, because they played so loudly that the recording engineers didn't know how to record their music technically. Dickinson happened to hear the band playing live in West Memphis one night, and introduced himself. When they informed him that they had original songs to record but no other studio knew how to record them, Dickinson said, "Well, I know how to do it. And I will record your music!"
The songs for the album "Soldiers Of Pure Peace" were recorded by Jim Dickinson at Ardent Studios in Memphis, TN approximately from spring of 1967 to the spring of 1968.
Fall 1967 come Harvey Jett and Pat Daugherty in the band. Pat Daugherty replace Danny. How was he hired?
Danny did not want to play with the band any longer. He wanted to go to California, be a hippie and pursue his interests in visual art. Pat, as I remember, was from either Jonesboro, Arkansas, or West Memphis, Arkansas. He had been in several minor bands, as had all the band members, earlier. He knew Mangrum and Rick, and they asked him to join the band Knowbody Else. He was and is an excellent bass guitarist, and he brought a higher level of professional sound to the band when he became a member.
Jim Mangrum - Scott Tutor (Glennray Tutor's brother) - Pat Daugherty (1968)
Jim Mangrum - Scott Tutor (Glennray Tutor's brother) - Pat Daugherty (1968).
Harvey Jett replaced Ronnie Smith. What Ronnie did after his departure known? (Did he continue to play music?
Ronnie also wanted to quit the band and go to California with Danny. Ronnie simply wanted to be a hippie. He couldn't play the organ, or the tambourine very well. Mangrum wanted him in the band because of the way he looked (he had the longest hair) and because he could dance well/interestingly as he performed. Later he returned from California and became a roadie (handling the equipment set up, take down) for Black Oak Arkansas. Yes, his role in Knowbody Else was only playing tambourine, and a little bit of organ. Only on stage.
And how came Harvey Jett - who is from Kentucky - in the band? And why? They already add two guitar players; was it to have an organ on stage?
Harvey was from West Memphis at the time. I don't know what his story is as to how he knew Mangrum and Rick. When he first took Ronnie's place in the band, he only played the organ. Later he also began playing guitar, 3rd guitar. He was a much better guitar player than organist. But he was a tremendously better organ player than Ronnie.
I really don't know why he became a member of the band at all. Because he did not play the 3rd guitar in the beginning, after his joining the band. Maybe it was because nearly every band at that time included an organ player, and consequently.
What role for Pat and Harvey at Ardent sessions?
Based on what Rick told me in interviews, Danny did not play bass on any of the recordings. When the band first began recording with Dickinson Danny was still playing bass. He was not adept enough on the bass to achieve what the band wanted, so Rick Reynolds played the bass parts, when needed. He is the bass player on the very earliest recorded tracks. Then Pat Daugherty joined the band as bass player. He is the bass player on nearly all the tracks. If one is familiar with Pat's playing style/technique one can easily determine when he is playing bass on the recordings.
Pat plays bass on most of the songs on the album.
Harvey Jett would have been involved with the recordings, but I do not know if he actually played the organ on any recording. I know he did not contribute any guitar playing for the recordings. He did play an additional third guitar in some of their performances.
What is the story after theses sessions?
Spring 1968, Knowbody Else leave the Northeast Arkansas area and go to New Orleans. They are working to complete the recording of the songs for the album "Soldiers Of Pure Peace". They are returning to Memphis for these sessions, working with Jim Dickinson, at Ardent Recording Studios. Everyone expects the album to be released that summer or fall, 1968. It does not happen.
Spring 1969, Knowbody Else returns from New Orleans to the Northeast Arkansas area. Something has gone wrong with the release of the album "Soldiers Of Pure Peace". The copyrights have been mis-handled by their manager, Butch Stone, perhaps. No one seems sure about what exactly happened, but because of copyright mis-handling the album has been abandoned, and the songs for that album have been replaced with new songs. These new songs will make up the albums "the Knowbody Else" and "Early Times".
Knowbody Else concert poster, 1968
Also, when they return from New Orleans, Keith McCann has quit the band, and Sam Schattenberg has replaced him. McCann left the band in probably late 1968. He did continue to play drums in several bands through the years following
Before Knowbody Else went to New Orleans, one of the things I noticed about the members of the band was that none of them openly drank alcohol, or smoked cannabis. This really made an impression on me. They were determined that nothing would negatively affect or undermine their performance. When they returned in the spring 1969, this attitude had changed.
Through 1969 and part of 1970 the band plays mostly in the same general area: Northeast Arkansas, and Memphis, Tennessee, and many different towns/venues in Mississippi, Arkansas, and Louisiana. I think they were living in Memphis during this time period. But may have been living in various places, with family, in Northeast Arkansas.
Summer 1970, the band moves to the West Coast of California, concentrating on the area of Los Angeles.
Fall 1970, J.R. Brewer quits the band and returns home to Manila, Arkansas. Enrolls in the English program at the Arkansas State College in Jonesboro, Arkansas. That fall and into the year 1971 he plays in various formations of bands. Mainly in a band called Saint Francis Blues. This band has a horn section: trumpet, saxophone. It would be very very interesting to hear songs that this band made, all written by Brewer. Nothing was ever recorded, as far as I know. J.R. Brewer also wrote some songs for "Soldiers Of Pure Peace". I could never get the factual information regarding exactly which songs, but I do know that he wrote "White, Mix And Smith".
He drops out of college and begins managing his family's farm properties, and also goes to work at a factory near Manilla which builds air brakes for 18 wheeler trucks.
Fall 1970, into the spring of 1971, recording begins and continues for songs that will eventually make up the album, "Black Oak Arkansas".
When were recorded the unfinished sessions done for the second Stax album (finished later by Black Oak Arkansas as "Early Times")
The songs on "Early Times" were recorded in 1969 and 1970 after the songs on the Stax album, "the Knowbody Else", were recorded, and the album released - except for the song "No One And The Sun"3 (written by Rick Reynolds), which was part of this first Stax album. As far as the information I have regarding those recordings, they were all finished at that time, and were not further developed4. Some of them were released as 45s, such as "Let Us Pray"/"Someone Something" (both songs by J.R. Brewer.). I did have the "Let Us Pray/Someone Something" 45rpm. I lost it somewhere along the way. However, both songs are the same as the ones with the same names on the "Early Times" CD.
There is at least one other song recorded at Stax by the same line up that was released on a 45, but mysteriously does not appear on "Early Times", entitled "King's Row" (it would have been recorded in 1970).
"King's Row" was one of the last (if not the very last) song that Knowbody Else recorded (released as the 45rpm) before J.R. quit the band and the band turned into Black Oak Arkansas5.
I was lucky in that I heard all the songs on both albums played live several times!
Most of the original songs that Knowbody Else performed were written by either Artis ("J.R.") Brewer or Rick Reynolds. Rick and J.R. never shared songwriter credits.
What was the line-up?
Brewer plays six string guitar on ALL the Stax recordings. Pat Daugherty played bass on all of the Stax recordings. Any organ input is by Harvey Jett. ALL 12 string work is by Rick Reynolds.
I do not know who the drummer was for those Knowbody Else Stax recordings. Some of the drumming could have been Keith McCann's. But I'm pretty sure Sam Schattenberg was the drummer on those Stax "Early Times" recordings.
You will notice that a steel guitar is present in the recordings on both albums "The Knowbody Else" and "Early Times". In their performances, the band never used a steel guitar. This must have been added as a suggestion by an executive at Stax. I don't know who is playing the steel guitar. I think it really takes away from the band's true sound, though. It should not have been added the recordings, in my opinion.
Wwhat do you think about the result?
In my opinion, for the album "The Knowbody Else" the steel guitar should not have been overdubbed on the recordings. This really warps the perception of the listener as to what the band actually sounded like. This was a BIG mistake for the album. The songs would all have been major additions to their repertoire otherwise.
Knowbody Else/Black Oak Arkansas - Early Times
Stanley Knight is a steel guitar player (there is a lot of steel guitar on the first Black Oak Arkansas album). Maybe it is him who play s on "the Knowbody Else" tracks? (as member or guest). Do you think it's possible? He was from Arkansas and grew up in Jonseboro, Ark like Pat daugherty. He played in local bands like the Esquires and as I read they met regularly Knowbody Else but the band actually disbanded 19666. In 1968, Stanley Knight began to play with the Tuesday Blues, another local band. Their history is available on Internet7.
"Stanley Knight and Scott Snellgrove had been playing music together since they were 12 years old. They became friends after Knight called up Snellgrove and asked if he could teach him how to play guitar. Within a year Snellgrove moved from guitar to bass. When the Esquires broke up in 1966, Knight joined the Knowbody Else, the group that became Black Oak Arkansas a few years later. At a show in McCrory, Arkansas, Knight threw his Gibson SG into the air and the guitar landed on its headstock and broke into three pieces. With the Vietnam War draft looming and minus one guitar, Knight went to college in Jonesboro and quit the group after a few months. Knight then joined Our Gang playing bass. Snellgrove enlisted Knight's help in working on band arrangements for the Tuesday Blues and he traveled with the group to Atlantic City. When Mann left, the clear choice was Knight for lead guitar."
"Jim "Dandy" Mangrum formed the Knowbody Else in the mid-1960s around the time of the Esquires. Mangrum and company would hang out at Esquires shows and were good friends with Snellgrove and Knight. As noted above, Knight played with the Knowbody Else for a short time years before. By 1970, the Knowbody Else had released an LP on Hip Records, a subsidiary of Stax out of Memphis. Since then the group had moved to California and forged Black Oak Arkansas. Snellgrove and Knight were hanging out one day when Mangrum called looking for both of them. There had been a shakeup in the lineup of Black Oak Arkansas and he asked Snellgrove and Knight to join the band. It was the opportunity of a lifetime. Snellgrove's girlfriend was pregnant and he decided that it was best for him to stay behind. Knight on the other hand had no obligations and decided to leave the Tuesday Blues to join Black Oak Arkansas."
For some unknown reason there is a lot of wrong information concerning Knowbody Else and their recordings. No where in any of the interviews that I had with the band members did anyone mention that Stanley Knight was the 6 string lead guitarist before J.R. Brewer. However, there was much jamming around in the beginning, as reported, with various guys playing in various formations. And it is possible that at some point Stanley set in with some of the various ensembles. I can say with certainty, from first hand experience, that in September, 1966 J.R. Brewer was playing full time with the band.
About Stanley playing the steel guitar on those Stax recordings. My feeling is that he did not. Although I cannot state that as a definite fact. Someone should know who played the steel guitar on the recordings. It would be a good thing to know who indeed did play the steel guitar on those recordings. And even more importantly, WHY?!


Date Event Line-up
Second part of 1965 Birth of the Epsilons. Jim Mangrum (vocals), Rick Reynolds (12 string guitar), Ronnie Smith (tambourine, organ), Keith McCann (drums), Artis Brewer Jr. (6 string guitar), a sax player.
Just before the change nameDanny Reynolds replace the sax player. Jim Mangrum (vocals), Rick Reynolds (12 string guitar), Ronnie Smith (tambourine, organ), Keith McCann (drums), Artis Brewer Jr. (6 string guitar), Danny Reynolds (bass)
Late 1965 (or early 1966) Knowbody Else birth. Jim Mangrum (vocals), Rick Reynolds (12 string guitar), Ronnie Smith (tambourine, organ), Keith McCann (drums), Artis Brewer Jr. (6 string guitar), Danny Reynolds (bass)
From spring 1967 Ardent Studios sessions in Memphis.
(Most of the songs will be released in 2012 on the "Soldiers Of Pure Peace" CD and, for two songs, on the "Feeling High" anthology.)
Jim Mangrum (vocals), Rick Reynolds (12 string guitar and bass on the very earliest recorded tracks), Keith McCann (drums), Artis Brewer Jr. (6 string guitar)
Fall of 67 Pat Daugherty and Harvey Jett replace Danny Reynolds and Ronnie Smith. Jim Mangrum (vocals), Rick Reynolds (12 string guitar), Keith McCann (drums), Artis Brewer Jr. (6 string guitar), Pat Daugherty (bass), Harvey Jett (organ. Later: guitar)
Spring of 1968 The band leaves the Northeast Arkansas area and goes to New Orleans.
1968 The band is working to complete the recording of the songs for the "Soldiers Of Pure Peace" album project.
Knowbody Else is returning to Memphis for these sessions at Ardent Studios.
The album release is excpected for summer or fall 1968.
Jim Mangrum (vocals), Rick Reynolds (12 string guitar), Keith McCann (drums), Artis Brewer Jr. (6 string guitar), Pat Daugherty (bass on nearly all the tracks.), Harvey Jett (organ?)
Mid-summer of 1968 The project of the "Soldiers Of Pure Peace" album is abandonned.
The band writes new tunes. Most of the songs on "the Knowbody Else" LP and "Early Times" were written here.
Probably late 1968 Sam Schattenberg replaces Keith McCann. Jim Mangrum (vocals), Rick Reynolds (12 string guitar), Artis Brewer Jr. (6 string guitar), Pat Daugherty (bass), Harvey Jett (organ, guitar), Sam Schattenberg (drums)
Spring 1969 Knowbody Else returns from New Orleans to the Northeast Arkansas area.
1969 Recording deal for two albums with Stax Records.
May 1969 Live recording of the song "Flying Horse Of Louisiana" in Memphis during Stax's Getting It Together promotional weekend.
(The song will appear on the "Feeling High" anthology.)
Jim Mangrum (vocals), Rick Reynolds (12 string guitar), Artis Brewer Jr. (6 string guitar), Pat Daugherty (bass), Harvey Jett (guitar), Sam Schattenberg (drums)
1969 Recording sessions with the new songs.
(The songs will appear on "The Knowbody Else" LP. The exactly same version of one of it, "No One And The Sun", will also be used for "Early Times".)
Jim Mangrum (vocals), Rick Reynolds (12 string guitar), Artis Brewer Jr. (6 string guitar), Pat Daugherty (bass), Harvey Jett (organ), Sam Schattenberg (drums. Some of the drumming could have been done by Keith McCann)
1969 "The Knowbody Else" LP release.
1969 and 1970 Recording sesssions.
(The songs will appear on "Early Times".)
Jim Mangrum (vocals), Rick Reynolds (12 string guitar), Artis Brewer Jr. (6 string guitar), Pat Daugherty (bass), Harvey Jett (organ), Sam Schattenberg (drums, pretty sure)
October of 1969 Release of the 45 RPM "Let Us Pray" / "Someone Something".
(Songs same version will appear on "Early Times".)
January of 1970 Release of the 45 RPM "King's Row" / "Older Than Grandpa" with Black Oak Arkansas as band name.
(Same version of "Older Than Grandpa" will appear on "Early Times".)
Early summer of 1970 The band moves to California.
Summer of 1970 Artis Brewer Jr. leaves the band. Jim Mangrum (vocals), Rick Reynolds (12 string guitar), Pat Daugherty (bass), Harvey Jett (organ, guitar), Sam Schattenberg (drums), Stanley Knight?
From fall of 1970, to the spring of 1971 Recording begins and continues for songs that will eventually make up the album, "Black Oak Arkansas". Jim Mangrum (vocals, washboard), Rick Reynolds (12 string guitar), Pat Daugherty (bass), Harvey Jett (lead guitar, piano, banjo), Stanley Knight (lead and steel guItar, organ), Wayne Evans (drums)
1973 Additionnal sessions by the current Black Oak arkansas line-up for the "Early Times" songs8.
1974"Early Times" release with Black Oak Arkansas as band name.
2012 "Soldiers Of Pure Peace" CD and "Feeling High" anthology releases.
1 Glennray Tutor is a painter from the Photorealism art movement. His paintings can be seen and are collected all over the world..
2 The page about Black Oak Arkansas in the same Encyclopedia talks about a beginning in 1965!
3 Glennray Tutor: "No One And The Sun" was recorded in early 69. Jim Mangrum is playing the wooden flute-like instrument."
4 Asked by email about this matter, Rick Reynolds, answered "Luc, the album was finished in 1973. We were about to put out another album on Atlantic Records, but our deal with Stax was that if they let us to go to Atlantic we had to come back and finish the second Knowody Else album whenever they asked us to. I wrote about 75% of the "Early Times" album, and I always thought that it was a real great album. All the basic tracks for "Early times" were done in the late sixties. We came into the studio in Memphis in 1973 and finished up all of the over dubs on the album plus we added Tommy Aldridge on drums. Tommy wasn't in the band in the original Knowbody Else days. C'est la vie!"
5 Actually, this 45 rpm seems to have been recorded in California and was released January 1970 using Black Oak Arkansas as band name. It was released by the Enterprise label, another Stax subsidiary. After that Glennray Tutor told me about this "King's Row", I went looking for it. I found two copies, and I sent one of it to Glennray Tutor. He wrote to me: "This was the first time I ever heard this. I never heard them play it live."
8Glennray Tutor wrote later after the interview: "All the songs on the album "Early Times" appear exactly as they were first recorded. I personally do not believe the band went back into a studio and added to the songs.
In the spring of 1969 I heard the band Knowbody Else play (playing live several times) ALL the songs that later appeared on the album "Early Times".
One of their best songs, "When I'm Gone", really suffers from the arrangement with the steel guitar as recorded. I heard them play this song several times at live venues, and there was NO steel guitar in the arrangement/performance. And performed without the steel guitar, the song was complete pure Knowbody Else magic."
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