Donald's Encyclopedia of Popular Music
ROCKIN' JIMMY and the BROTHERS of the NIGHT
Tulsa bar band which had deserved cult following. Oklahoma is home base for J. J. Cale, Elvin Bishop, Leon Russell; Eric Clapton recruited sidemen there incl. Jamie Oldaker on drums, covered 'Little Rachel' by Jimmy Byfield (b 7 Feb. '49, Tulsa) on There's One In Every Crowd '74, had top 30 USA hit 'Tulsa Time' '80. Ex-Joe Cocker roadie Peter Nicholls from UK was engineer for Russell's Shelter label, formed Pilgrim label in Tulsa, recorded local acts: Tulsa clique turned out two-disc sampler unreleased commercially, edited to single LP The Tulsa Sampler '77 (incl. track by Guava, band fronted by Byfield); another sampler The Green Album '78 incl. 'Little Rachel', others by Jim Byfield and His Band; then By The Light Of The Moon '81 was by Rockin' Jimmy and the Brothers of the Night: Byfield on vocals, Steve Hickerson on guitar, Chuck DeWalt on drums, Gary Gilmore on bass, Walt Richmond on keyboards, backing singers Jim Sweney and Debbie Campbell, electronic 'horns' on some tracks, subtle and appropriate. Gilmore had played with Cale, Taj Mahal; Richmond with Bonnie Raitt, Rick Danko, others; Campbell (from Fort Worth TX) was lead singer with LA group Buckwheat, toured with Raitt. Gilmore was replaced by Gary Cundiff on second album Rockin' Jimmy And The Brothers Of The Night '82 (quintet only): it should have been called Rockin' All Night after the first track. All songs (except Ray Charles cover 'Leave My Woman Alone' on the first LP) written or co-written by Byfield, co-writers incl. Nicholls, on second LP Hickerson, Richmond, Cundiff. Distribution problems of all small labels prevailed; Byfield, a family man, did not want to tour widely; the band was soon history but the LPs lived for a while on Sonet in UK: fine songs, Byfield's soulful tenor, rhythm section rooted in R&B (laid-back yet tense) made music with space, time, loneliness, roadhouse optimism in it, proving that there's nothing wrong with rock no matter what's on the radio. Fans treasure the LPs, feel a shock of recognition upon meeting one another, and wonder how many more good bands there were out there not recording at all. The band also played on Sweney's Didn't I Blow Your Mind? '79 on Pilgrim, Campbell's Two Hearts c'82 on Tulsa's Churchill label.