Around 1966, after performing acappella for a couple of years, The Continentels were in a search for a band, after all, everyone else had one, so, although we always killed with our harmony, our humor, and our infectious hand-clapping, we decided that we needed a band.
Bozie and I were both students at Dunbar H.S., while Quinn went to Chaminade, He brought us together with some friends of his from school who were starting a band called the London Fog. (yes, from the raincoat.) It was fun from the jump, and we were ecstatic to finally have a band. (Sidebar; there was another brighteyed, personable young man from Chaminade who we all liked upon meeting him. He expressed an interest in singing with us, but we never got the chance to work him in. His name? Johnnie Wilder (guess he got over it and moved on huh? Our loss.) . I must confess a sense of pride in seeing a Heatwave concert
containing elements of LF&C shows, guess someone was taking notes.
We attacked our stageshows with total abandon, once we had music behind us. The Fog were great pupils of the funk that I taught them to play for us. I like to call them the AWB of the 60’s. They maintained their own identity as well, opening our shows with some Chicago or Blood, Sweat & Tears. Then we came out, suited, tuxedoed, and gowned, to slam you with some Tempts, some Aretha, or even some Linda Jones or Gene Chandler, before wearing you out with an Otis Redding or James Brown medley to take home with you! We came on stage looking like dignitaries, and left the stage looking like we’d been shot out of a cannon, emotionally and physically drained. And me usually with my pants split. But I digress……
We were ground-breakers as Dayton’s 1st fully integrated band and group, this diversity gave us the ability to kick ass on “either side of the bridge” , so to speak. (Yeah, we caught some flak for it too). We felt that if the show was good enough, People would forget about skin color, and we were right! We were accepted in black and white venues.
We also became the 1st group to have our own television show. It was in 1969. 1:00 on Saturday afternoons, and it was called “Do Your Thing“. We guest hosted many of the artists mentioned, in the DMG. The show ran for two years.
We also cut a hit single, called ‘Easy Mover’ which Loretta sang lead on, written by Brenda Lee Jones.
We did extensive tours of the east coast, enlisting many Dayton artists to fill-in as hosts on the show. (Roger, the Del-vons, the Players etc……)
Besides our club dates, we acted as openers for acts such as David Ruffin (at the Palladium, in fact!). Sam and Dave and the Bee Gees (yes, I said the Bee Gees). From the Diamond Club to the Ebony Club, It was a great, wild ride, and a part of my life that I’ll never forget, or ever regret.
Unfortunately, there is very little paraphenelia that was saved from our group. Hell, we didn’t
know we were making history, (I don’t think that anyone did at the time!). I do know that there is a picture in the Afro-American museum at Wilberforce.
I just thought of something else ; The London fog was’nt our 1st band, we did a short stint with the Fabulous Originals, Lester Mulberry, RAYMOND Mulberry and Bobby Allen. We quit in a labor dispute. We used to do Sunday afternoon matinees at the Palace theater and we found out that while we were paid $5 per show, the band was making $8! Bobby’s grandmother, Angel, handled the finances.
By John Mortimer. (RIP John. We miss you)