The Brothers Kingdom Band- My Crazy Life in the 70s

After returning from Viet Nam in 1970, my only skills were shooting people and playing music. With those limitations, combined with the humiliation of returning to an unsupportive America, it was impossible to find work to support my wife, Christine, and newborn son, Justin.

So, I got together with two of my brothers, Jim and John, and started a band called, The 3Cs (as in Cormiers). This was a life defining decision that would thrust us into music world of the 1970s.

After about a year of performing as a folky 'Kingston Trio' type group, we added a bass player, Bob Belair, to become more contemporary, and changed the name to The Brothers Kingdom Band. We mostly performed at colleges and pubs in New England from 1971-1978.

b2ap3_thumbnail_hazel-green-tom2.pngUnfortunately, the band was never recorded on home movies or video tape, but Christine did snap a few embarrassing photos. 

Thankfully, many of our performances were recorded in audio live by Christine from the back of the room on a reel-to-reel tape deck. The recording quality isn't Capital Records but the audio does captures the spirit of the room as well as our energy. 

When Christine and I moved a few years ago we unearthed boxes of the old tapes. Good thing because we transferred them to digital media just as they began to lose their magnetism. I am so happy we did this because now future generations can discover that their uncles were a rock stars. Yeah right!! And we get to reminisce!

I love telling these legacy stories by using the recordings because they bring back so many incredible memories (some fond and some Christine would probably rather forget). I will continue to release small playlists going forward so they are more easily consumed.

If you have headphones or earbuds they'll make a huge difference in your experience.

Don't hesitate to share! Maybe we'll finally make it! Thanks for listing and enjoy!

 


BEGINNINGS

Very few bands would dare cover Chicago with their amazing harmonies and killer horn section. At the time of this recording in 1974 our band consisted of 3 vocals by Jim, Tom and John, 2 acoustic guitars, John on rhythm and Tom on lead, and a bass guitar played by Bob Belair.

Bob was the first musician we added to the The 3 C's, which was our original name, causing us to change to The Brothers Kingdom Band. Bob played every gig with BK. He is an accomplished jazz guitarist who took up the bass to add bottom to the band. 

We loved Chicago's harmonies and felt we could do them justice in this classic song. We thought it might be unique to try Beginnings with acoustic guitars and the audience loved it. So this became one of our most requested songs. Listen to the incredible note Jim sings at the end. 

The picture was taken at Hazel Green's Pub in 1973.

 


THE BEACH BOYS

Who didn't like the harmonies of the Beach Boys? We sure did, which is why performed this medley of three classics. It's hard to believe there were no drums or electric guitars in our band at the time of this recording. Somehow, two acoustic guitars, a bass and three vocals ( the beach boys had four), rocked the house.

 


OLD MAN

Johnny loved Neil Young and he performs this CSNY classic beautifully. The band added drummer Wayne Frazier, a high school friend of Tom's. This gave us new dimensions to explore with electric guitars blended with acoustic. 

This picture was take in 1973 at Brothers 2 Pub in North Conway, NH. 

 


SUITE JUDY BLUE EYES

This Crosby, Still, Nash & Young iconic song was one of the most challenging we ever performed. Not only did we have to pull off the harmonies with only three vocals vs. four for CSNY, but we are obviously not in the same league as their musicianship. Since no other cover band we knew at the time had the vocals to attempt this song, we hoped our harmonies would be good enough to excuse the lack of musical talent. 

As it turned out, audiences loved it! So we saved it for the last set, sometimes the finale or even an encore. Plus we really loved playing and singing this, and wish we could do it today. 

This photo was taken at Little John's Pub. Don't look at my expanded bell bottom jeans. Urrhhhggg!

 


SUNLIGHT

I included this awesome Jesse Colin Young tune in this playlist because it is one of my favorite vocal performances by Jim. The song is so beautiful and he sings the heck out of it. Once again, I am amazed at how big a sound we had without a big band. This was recorded live with only the four of us. Makes me well up with pride! I miss this era. Where have all the flowers gone?

More to come....

Virtual Immortality
Chapter 6 - What do you remember about your childh...
 

Comments 2

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Ray Zukowski (website) on Sunday, 16 July 2017 22:56

Tom, what a joy in going back in time with you. Your music and stories allowed me to share your experiences in a very special way. As you have encouraged me so many times since we met at RootsTech 2014 in SLC to get busy saving my memories. Nothing demonstrates this better or adds greater encouragement to me than to enjoy your saved memories. Great job Tom, keep them coming. Who knows, maybe Hollywood some day...

Tom, what a joy in going back in time with you. Your music and stories allowed me to share your experiences in a very special way. As you have encouraged me so many times since we met at RootsTech 2014 in SLC to get busy saving my memories. Nothing demonstrates this better or adds greater encouragement to me than to enjoy your saved memories. Great job Tom, keep them coming. Who knows, maybe Hollywood some day...
Dick Pellek (website) on Thursday, 24 August 2017 12:34

I sure do admire musical talent...and risk takers...and innovators.

I sure do admire musical talent...and risk takers...and innovators.