The Rhythm Knights


  1. Putting the “Missing Pieces” together (no, not the name of another band) . . . Really . . . Trying to piece everything together and make some sense of it all.
    I have spent the past 40 plus years headed in a different direction, all the while humming and strumming with the urge to go back to my real love . . . Music. I kicked around with some garage bands back in 63, 64, 65 and 66 while I went to school at Merced High. My first stab at it was with a guitar player at a party, me on bass, then with some other guys . . . Buzzy Buttles (Bass), Brain Bahr (Drums), Russell Walsh (Keyboard) and me . . . Roger Henry (Rythm and Lead). We weren’t very good but we did bring the house down at our Sophomore School Assembly with songs of the time like Booker T and the MG’s “Green Onions”. We spent a few more months practicing but we only played local friends parties and never made any money. The following year (my Junior Year) I had played Quarterback on the Frosh and Frosh/Soph football team and became well acquainted with Jeff Sanders, his brother Jim and another guy Andy Daniels who played drums in the Merced High School Band. My older brother Del Henry had played football at Merced High as Varsity Quarterback during the year that the two schools, El Capitan and Merced High, merged into one (1962-63). Del had been playing bass in a band named the Rhythm Knights during his Senior year while he was earning his scholarship to Berkley. The Band also played Merced High School after game dances, the American Legion Hall, the Merced County Fair and most all of the same venues that were popular at the time. The band consisted of Gary Boyer (Drums), Sammy Smart (Keyboards), Eddie Rodriquez (Lead Guitar) and Del Henry (Bass) all of whom were very good. An occasional Saxist would join them from time to time. They were an Instrumental Group but occasionally Sammy Smart would belt out some lyrics. After graduation Del left for College and I think that is when Buzzy Buttles became their Bass player. Del formed a Promotion Company with some of his Berkley buddies and returned to Merced with a show that Headlined at the Fairgrounds with “Country Joe and the Fish” and the Headlights (the Light show company that provided the Light Show for the Ed Sullivan Show when Jefferson Airplane performed). VJ had the Doors and I believe the “Strawberry Alarm Clock” at the American Legion Hall the same night. Somewhere in the mix I played bass and sang a few tunes with a group named The Morelocks. My old group who had changed their name to “Crystal Syphon” shared the billing with “Country Joe and the Fish”. I was there and helped with the promotion. I believe that was in April of ’67 and I went into the Navy in October of ’67.

  2. Oh, I forgot . . . That group named the “Doors” were unknown at the time and “The Strawberry Alarm Clock” had just released a single, “Incense and Peppermint” . . . “Country Joe and the Fish” and I believe “The Grass Roots” were accompanied by the local group who had changed their name from the Morlocks to “Crystal Syphon”. My recall on that was the “Country Joe and The Fish” concert sold out while the no name group “The Doors” had fewer than a handful of ticket sales. Things were a bit of a blur for me at the time as I knew I was headed for Vietnam within a few months.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s