by member Tom Dickinson
Some time in 1966, I was hanging out at my best friends house, Larry and Earl, when a mutual friend named Mark knocks on the door. He comes in with these two guys named Vinnie (Manniello) and Bruce and says they're looking for somebody to jam with. We went over to my house and jammed in my parents cellar for a couple of hours, no vocals. We all had a great time. Two days later they drove in from Freehold in Vinnie's cool Buick Riviera convertible, picked me up, and we went back to Freehold to jam in the Garage where Vinnie's employer parked his trucks. Another really good jam with no vocals. Vinnie really wanted to put a band together, but I guess Bruce wasn't interested.
I joined the Shadows probably in the Spring of '67, I remember it was warm and I was not yet driving. You've got to question (bass player)Tom Cron on this a little though, because I seem to have two memories going on here. There was also a point in time when the Shadows were made up of Tom Cron, Richie Holmes, Buddy Norris and me. And I remember the the first day we got together. Tom and Richie and I hit it off really well and got together to play each other some music. I played the Butterfield East-West, they turned me on to Cream's first album. Holy shit! You guys like the Blues! This is great! We quit the Shadows.
I went on to the Shadows and the Odyssey, that broke up due to college for the drummer, and moved out of my house and into an apartment on 4th ave in Asbury, next to the bowling alley, with Tom Cron and Larry. Then one day, after 2 years, Vinnie Manniello shows up (1970). He said he was going to an audition but told the band he wouldn't come unless he could bring his guitarist (me). I said ok and went with him. This is where we met Bo (Bill Ross). It was ok, but there were too many guitartists and Bo was the only one I could stand, and I declined to join. The next day Bo shows up at my place and says I don't know what you're doing, but if you put a band together, I'd like to be in it. The beginning of a beautiful relationship. I've never played so well with anyone as I did with Bo. We always seemed to be on the same page together, the interaction just flowed. To this day I wish I could find someone else to play with who gelled the same way.
Now somewhere along this time Vinnie says I got this keyboard player (Bob Alfano) and I say I got this bass player (Tom Cron) and how about Bo? We got together on a Saturday and jammed, had a whole mess of fun. Allie said he had this solo instrumental and played it for us, about a seven minute tune. We decided to record it and everybody took a copy home to work out parts to it. This was so amazing. We got together the following Saturday, set up, counted off, and played Allie's tune as a band, all the way through without stopping. Everyone had a different concept that they developed as a result of working at home, out of contact with the other players, and it just worked! I'll never forget it. And that was the original and only line up of Sunny Jim.
Sunny Jim traveled once to Richmond to do an outside gig (with the Bruce Springsteen Band ). I can't tell you the date but it was with some version of Bruce's big band. I remember somebody telling me that Vini Lopez got mad at one of the horn players and smacked him in the mouth and they thought he might not be able to play. Also, I don't know how much you could possibly remember about our repertoire, but we had this one tune where we sang the pledge of allegiance in the middle followed by a clarinet solo by Bo and then I fired off a bomb with the synth (I had a synth in '72). I remember it coming out of Tinker's PA and bouncing off the buildings, boy we were wierd!
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