March 30, 2017

The heavy sounds of Stone Wall

Greg Whitfield, (from left) Ken Mairs and Allen Blasco of Stone Wall at the Fun Fair, Municipal Auditorium, June 1969.

Greg Whitfield, (from left) Ken Mairs and Allen Blasco of Stone Wall at the Fun Fair, Municipal Auditorium, June 1969.

If the Classmen (clean-cut brothers, managed by their father) were Kansas City’s equivalent to the Beach Boys and the Chesmann its Beatles, Stone Wall could be likened to Kansas City’s Cream or Led Zeppelin.

A power trio with roots in the blues, Stone Wall was led by singer-guitarist Allen Blasco in combination with three different rhythm sections (1968-76).

Allen Blasco of The Clergymen at the Hullaballoo Scene club, March 1968.

Allen Blasco of The Clergymen at the Hullaballoo Scene club, March 1968.

As a young teen (1965-68), Blasco led The Clergymen, whose ever-changing array of musicians included Ray Goldsich, later to become known as radio personality Ray Dunaway. They were good enough to headline the Hullaballoo Scene club, a spinoff from the 1965-66 NBC television show that opened in 1967 on 85th Street just east of Prospect Avenue.

Stone Wall played many times at the summer Sunday Volker Park love-ins of the 1970s.

Stone Wall played many times at the summer Sunday Volker Park love-ins of the 1970s.

But with the coming of Hendrix, Cream and Blue Cheer, 17-year-old Blasco wanted to emulate that heavier sound, and he had the chops and the equipment to do it. He and his band mates (Ken Mairs, drums, Greg Whitfield, bass, v.1; Lee Cline, d, Rick Bacus, b, v. 2; Pete Jacobs, d, Alan Cohen, b, v.3) played venues ranging from Volker Park love-ins (there’s a great YouTube video here) to Municipal Auditorium, as part of then-future Cowtown Ballroom impresario Stan Plesser’s June 1969 Fun Fair.

Short-lived Aquarius attracted top-name local bands.

Short-lived Aquarius attracted top-name local bands.

While Stone Wall gigged all around town and at such outlying venues as St. Joe’s Frog Hop Ballroom and The Jolly Troll in Holton, Kan., they struggled to create original songs and thus interest from major record labels.

Blasco went on to form and/or play with such bands as Neon Blue and the reformed Riverrock.

Comments

  1. Katie Pratt Puhr says:

    Stonewall was hard rocking well talented young group in the 60s and 70s. Alan Blasco formally of the clergyman has since proved himself quite a musician and now is in the Kansas City rock ‘n roll Hall of Fame.. The talented Blasco has going on to neon blue and many other accomplishments remembering the times it Voelcker park bring back much happiness and joy for all of the Kansas City youth.

  2. Are there any recording on the site, I’d love to hear the sounds of these groups. Wow Stone wall was a favorite of mine. Ed Ogden

  3. to anybody who remembers or attended that Easter Volker Park event, was that 1971 or 1972? hahahaha, I was in the front row with the guitar player from our little band. 400% zoom and I can make out some facial features.

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  1. […] stuff.” I Heart Local Music profiles the Regrets. KC Rock History looks back on “The heavy sounds of Stone Wall.” The Larryville Chronicles recap this past weekend’s goings-on, which included Cowboy […]

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