The Unity Bluegrass Band was a band based in the Chicagoland area from the early 70's to the mid 80's. I was a member (Stand-up Bass player) from 1977 to 1979. At that time, to my knowledge, there were not many Bluegrass bands with African American members. Throughout that time it went from its beginnings as a Jug/Folk Band, to a more traditional Bluegrass Band, to a more *progressive* organization that performed Bluegrass, Country, Rock, Folk, and Jazz. Anyone who had the pleasure of hearing us will remember the energy we created, the music, which was always uplifting, and the jokes... Oh the Jokes. We used to go from one *groaner* to the next, to the next, sometimes forgetting we were supposed to be playing music, but we always made sure everyone had a good time.
As time moves forward I will be editing this site, adding pictures, recordings, information, stories and anything else that comes to mind. Feel free to come back often as I will be making changes (hopefully for the better) to this site.
I have made a new addition to the Website. Thanks to the efforts or Doug Minard and David Bragman I have added some fresh (not new) music. You will find a performance from April 22, 1978 that was recorded at the Old Fire Station #3in Evanston, IL. This was recorded about 6 weeks before we turned professional. This was the core group I was associated with members Haydn Mohr, David Neidig, David Bragman, Mark Harries and myself. This was the full performance (3 sets) which also included many GROANERs and bad, horrible jokes that made us infamous. An added treasure found here is the only (known) recording of yours truly singing "Adrian's Song" with the band (this is my website so if I wish to give myself a plug I would say I'm more than entitled to that. <LOL>).
It's been a while since I have made any changes to this site but today I have finished updating it. Look around and enjoy the new scenery. I suspect I will continue to make other changes but in the meantime this is how things are going to look.
Enjoy! and feel free to send me feedback.
Greetings friends. I know its been a while since I have made any changes to this site. About a month ago I completed the second of 2 hips replacements and I am finally being weaned from the pain meds, so now I have the energy (and focus) to get some things accomplished. I have gone through all the LINKS on both the Links Page and the African American Bluegrass Pageand removed the dead-links as well as added a few new links. Some folks have brought up Green Lake to me on Facebook recently (and even heard from a member, who will remain nameless at this point). As far as I know, there is no plans to get together for Green Lake this year (next year being the tentative plan to reunite again) but if that changes you will DEFINITELY read it here first.
Well Folks, its been a while since I have done anything here. Nancy and I are currently moving back into the lower level of our house for the 3rd time in 4 years (gotta love these annual Hundred-Year Rain Storms). In putting stuff back I ran across a photo taken during Unity's Trip to Yellowstone back in 1978. I have posted it here if you want to go take a peek at it directly. Other than that have a great holiday season.
We are back up again finally!!!
Back on Memorial Day we had a storm come through and there was a major lightening strike about 3 doors down from our house. The result of that lightening strike was that we lost this Web Server, a PC, 2 ports on our Wi-Fi router, 2 ports on our cable modem, the Ethernet port on Nancy's laptop, the waterbed heater, the garage door opener and our upright freezer! To top things off I ordered parts to get the server back up and I ordered a new CPU from one place and the motherboard and memory from another place. Unfortunately the place I ordered the motherboard from instead of shipping out the "In-Stock" parts within "24 BUSINESS hours" it did not get shipped until 16 days after I placed the order. I was NOT to happy so if anyone wants to know you should AVOID PCMarketUSA, www.pcmarketusa.com as they have turned out to be THE WORST COMPANY I have ever dealt with when is came to ordering PC parts. But now everything is back up and running.
Happy New Year everyone. I finally have the recordings posted from our Saturday Night Concert at the 50th Anniversary Green Lake Bahá'í Conference. Posted are Hi and Low resolution video and Audio only files. The Video are in Mpeg Format and the Audio is in MP3 format. You will find the files on the Downloadpage.
I was just sent a link reviewing Unity Bluegrass Band's Reunion at the Green Lake Baha'i Conference. The title of it is "The Unity Bluegrass Band - 'Getting Around Tuit' again". Guess people liked us *G*.
Didn't start out this way but I ended up doing a bit of house cleaning and while in the throes of it I ended up adding a picture of one of the incarnations of the Unity Band. You will find it on the9 Years of Unity page. Also added my reminiscences of the Green Lake Bahá'í Conference titled The Reunion of Unity. Added pictures for Dave Rohling and Jackson Blanchard, made notes on photos and memorabilia. Basically I've made a lot of changes so look around and enjoy!
Just added a link to SCHU-MAN Studios which is David Bragman's Recording Studio.
If your have not had a chance to look around you will notice that the website has had a slight makeover. I redesigned the navigation so you can get everywhere from anywhere. This should make getting around a great deal easier. Enjoy!
Posted a picture of the original Unity Band from back in 1973. The members in this photo include Mark Harries, Janie Fryee, Cindi Crampton, John Woodall, and Haydn Mohr.
I'm home from one of the best weekends I have had in MANY YEARS. The Unity Bluegrass Reunion was a success and I had a wonderful time seeing the guys. Those where were able to make it to Green Lake was Doug and Pia Minard, Richard Staller (who became a new Grand Dad last week), David Neidig, David Bragman, Janie Fryee, her husband Vern Knapp, me and my best half Nancy (who was like a giddy school girl, excited at our performing over the weekend). We got to catch up on what we have been doing and after this weekend there seems to be some interest in us possibly getting together on other occasions to perform. I'm not saying it will happen, but from the sound of things, folks do seem to be interested in the possibilities. Stay tuned for future details.
I had some correspondence (on Facebook) with a founding member of the old Unity Band (the predecessor of Unity Bluegrass Band) John Woodall. In our correspondence he gives the story how they got started. I am going to post the messages now titled "The Origin of Unity Band".
If you check out the Memorabilia Section you will find a lot more items there thanks to David Neidig. He sent me all the papers, posters, etc. that he had for my to scan and then post. Enjoy!
I was at a Bahá'í Summer School and in conversation with a friend was told that Haydn Mohr has a Web Site. The URL is www.CowboyHay.com. In it he is a 19th Century character from the gold rush in California. I recommend visiting it.
Added a picture to Doug Minard's profile page. Added a picture to Haydn Mohr's profile page. Added several pictures to9 Years of Unity page illustrating the personnel changes throughout the years.
GREEN LAKE NEWS!!! 6/20/09
Because of old age and injuries of others, Richard Staller will be joining Unity Bluegrass Band on guitar. The members who are scheduled to perform are David Neidig, David Bragman, David Rohling (Hmmm, maybe we WILL have to rename the band "THE DAVE BAND"), Mark Harries, Doug Minard, Adrian McKee and Richard Staller. Janie Frye will be joining us in the audience.
Added a link for Arnold Shultz on the Afro-Bluegrass page. Arnold had quite an influence on the music and guitar styles of Kentucky having mentored Bill Monroe and influencing Merle Travis in developing his style of guitar playing.
Must be a slow day. To see the future home of Unity Bluegrass click here.
Its 60 degrees out and I got the Spring Cleaning Bug. Since I am sitting at Starbucks in Charleston, Ill. about the only thing I could clean was Unity, so I rewrote some of the text, changed around some of the links on the Links Page. And while I was there I decided to copy the link for David Neidig's band and for Doug Minard's band to that page as well. Then while doing that I added some text to several of the links that held special meaning to me, which in turn started me adding a remembrance to the Guitar Works link, telling of the *GREAT* "Doc" Terry. You should go check it out.
I FINALLY found the CD that Dave Bragman made for me of "Getting Around TUIT" so I have now ripped it and it is available for download at a higher sampling rate than the other copy that I have. Both the high and low res. versions are available for download.
Added a photo of yours truly as he looked in 1976 when he was, of all things, a Bluegrass Bassist (come on guys, send me your pics from the album shoot).
Also added a link in Afro-Bluegrass to an Bulletin Board Post that referenced me. (found it again after loosing track of it several years ago)
Finally updated the picture for Dave Bragman(sorry it took so long Dave). I also added in the Memorabilia section more pictures of Dave performing around the Windy City.
Added Performance tracks from Glenview 1976performance, including *groaners* to give you the feel of being in the audience. So grab your tomatoes, oranges and other throwing paraphernalia and be ready to listen to a performance of the Unity Bluegrass Band.
Added Airtime information for Dave Bragman's Radio Shows on WLUW
Am sitting at Janie Fryee's house right now. We are here for Karen's 50th Birthday party and I decided to do some personnel updates on the site. You can now find more extensive information on what your favorite UBB membershave been up to. I also saw Mark Harries last night and he brought along a collections of UBB pictures. I hope to talk him out of several to add to the Web Site. Wish me luck.
Added a few things today. With Help from Dave Bragman I have uploaded music from UBB's tape "On Our Way" plus three tracks he had from a couple of gigs. The first are 2 tracks from Brookfield Zoo and 1 track from Charlotte's Web. Also if you have your speakers on you should be hearing a sound bite from Dave & Earl's Breakdown, the theme song from UBB.
Just uploaded the rest of "Getting Around Tuit"and compressed the intro music down to a little over 100k for faster downloading. I also decided to add this part so you can always be aware of changes to the Web Site.
In going through some things I discovered a paper Dave Neidig passed out that tells the story of the first 9 years of UBB. I have included it here (with a few minor changes, sorry Dave). Also included with this package is a list of gigs the band did over the years so I have included that up to 1980. I will be adding the rest of it soon.
The Unity Bluegrass Band is scheduled for a Reunion Weekend at the Green Lake Bahá'í Conference. The dates are August 28 - 30, 2009 in Green Lake, Wis. The Unity Bluegrass Band has not performed there since 1977. As of now it looks like most of the members from that performance will be there (plus a few additional folks). More to come!!!
GREEN LAKE NEWS!!! 7/29/09
Heard from the Green Lake Committee and received our performance schedule. We will be performing twice while there, both on Saturday. We will be playing the Coffee House at 1:30pm and the Main Stage at 8:25pm on Saturday night.
FINAL ROLE CALL!!! 8/23/09
Haydn will not be there because he'd rather play Grandpa at a family Gathering than to come play Bluegrass. So far those who will be there will be David Neidig, David Bragman, David Rohling (these 3 guys were formerly known as the "Dave Band"), Doug Minard, and Richard Staller (who is a new Grandpa as of yesterday). Janie Fryee will be our *OFFICIAL GROUPIE* And I'm still thinking of whether I will show up for this or not <LOL>.