IBHOF Class of 2014

The Central Iowa Blues Society is pleased to announce the Iowa Blues Hall of Fame Class of 2014: Dwight Dario, Tommy Gordon, Robert “One-Man” Johnson & Philip “Bunky” Marlow.

Dwight Dario – Drummer and New Jersey native Dwight Dario first came to Iowa in 1974 where he spent time playing in the Mother Blues Band, the 3rd Street Sliders with Bo Ramsey, the Rocket 88s, the Little Red Rooster Band, Bob Reidy’s Chicago Blues Show with Johnny Littlejohn and in a duo with fellow Hall of Famer Joe Price.  Dwight left Iowa in 1984 and after a brief stint in Arizona with Texas Red & the Hartbreakers (where he played with Hans Olson and Janiva Magness) he settled in the Twin Cities. He spent 5 years with Blues Deluxe with R.J. Mischo, during which he was named Best Blues Drummer by the Minnesota Music Association in 1988, 1989 & 1990, and then 14 years with the Big George Jackson Blues Band, with whom he toured Europe 12 times.  Dwight moved to Des Moines in 2011 and has since played with the likes of Heath Alan, the Soul Searchers, Bob Pace, Matt Woods, and Rob Lumbard.  You can catch him on the 2nd and 4th Saturdays of the month at the new home of the IBHOF, the Hawkeye Elks Club, playing with Cook the Biscuits, and very soon his photo will grace the walls there too.

Tommy Gordon – Des Moines native Tommy Gordon began playing the drums in 5th grade.  As a senior at Urbandale High, and then as a freshman at Grandview, Tommy would frequent the Saturday jams at the Empire Room on Center Street, befriending house band drummer Gene Jackson, who allowed him to sit in, playing along with Ron McClain, Eddie Leeper and Ronnie Brewer.  While at Grand View, Tommy was invited by some high school friends who had a band to tag along as they went to IGL Studios by Lake Okoboji for a recording session.  During a break in the session, Tommy got his first big break.  He was showiing the band’s drummer an unusual backbeat fill from James Brown’s “I Feel Good” and the sound engineers were paying attention.  After the session, they offered Tommy a job as a studio drummer.  A year later, Tommy formed R&B group The Bag with singer and trumpet player Rusty Davis, moving to Chicago and touring extensively.  During a several-week stint at Jerome’s Lounge in Boston, Tommy took to the scene there so much that when the band left to return to Chicago, Tommy stayed for the next three years,  In 1969 he returned to Des Moines to resume his college at Grandview, but after only a few weeks, a call came from the Fabulous Flippers, a soul group from Kansas, for an audition for a gig they were playing at the Val Air and college ceded to the road once again.  Tommy also spent tme in the early 70s with the Cavaliers and with Chase, with whom he recorded their Pure Music album along with Dartanyan Brown, leaving the group to return to Des Moines only 8 months before the plane crash which took the lives of Bill Chase, Wally Yohn, John Emma and Walter Clark.  After spending time playing with Ella Ruth Piggee at the Black Playboy Club and with Sam Salomone, John Lewis & Randy Ward at Greenjeans, Tommy left Iowa for Florida in the early 80s where he had an electrical business and played blues and jazz casuals until 2000, when a serious leg injury in a motorcycle accident took away his ability to play.  Tommy now lives in Livingston, Texas.

Robert “One-Man” Johnson – Wisconsin native Robert Johnson received his first guitar at age 12 and taught himself from an old chord book.  In 1958 he formed a band, the Debonaires, with 3 high school friends.  During the 60s he also spent time with the Freedom Singers and The Last Fair Deal.  In 1966, inspired by a performance by Jesse “Lone Cat” Fuller, Robert began practicing the simultaneous playing of guitar, harmonica, hi-hat cymbals and a homemade 12 string bass “foot piano.”  In 1970, he began touring nationally as Robert “One-Man” Johnson and has been touring ever since.  In 1972 he married his wife, Margery, an Iowa City native, and they settled and continue to live there, also spending summers at their lake cabin in Minnesota, when not on the road.  Robert was honored in 1981 by Insider Magazine in Minneapolis as Male Soloist of the Year.  He has released 10 albums on his own Housedog Music label between 1976 and 2013 and has appeared on “A Prairie Home Companion” 5 times.  Over the past 40 years he has performed at clubs and festivals all over the U.S., as well as in Istanbul, Shanghai, Bangkok & Nagoya, and was featured in Heads, Hands and Feet: a Book of One-Man Bands by Dave Harris.

Philip “Bunky” Marlow – Bancroft, Iowa native Phil Marlow started playing saxophone in 6th grade.  By his 2nd day of 9th grade he was playing in a 4-piece band called Let’s Boogie as a guitarist.  After high school, he spent some time with the Mike Day Orchestra, a 24-piece big band with a 600 tune repertoire playing saxes and clarinets, once serving as the band for Bob Hope at a Des Moines benefit for Mamie Eisenhower, as well as with a polka band (Bunky calls it “the strangest and better playing gigs I ever had”),  before teaming up with Rob Lumbard in 1979.  The next year Phil and Rob joined the Wapsi River Band,  In 1981, on a dare from Rob, Phil sits in with Luther Allison and soon after was hired.  He traveled with Luther the rest of that year, being let go on New Years Eve at So’s Your Mother because the band was headed to Europe and he wasn’t in the budget.  That time had been valuable,though, as Bunky got to play with the likes of Mitch Ryder & the Wheels, James Cotton’s Band, Albert Collins, Lonnie Brooks, Buddy Guy, Koko Taylor and Robert Jr. Lockwood.  In 1982 he joined the Blue Band, playing with them full-time until 1986 and then occasionally until 2009.  Since 1990 Phil has played here and there, recorded an album as the Bunky Marlow Band, and has a couple upcoming projects in the works.

CIBS would like to congratulate the new inductees and to thank the Iowa blues community for all the input received in the nomination process.  The IBHOF committee, in addition to selecting the 2014 class, has compiled an impressive list of candidates for future consideration as well.

The induction ceremony for the 2014 Class will take place during the Winter Blues Fest on Friday, January 30th.  The inductees will be backed up by Sumpin Doo and following the induction ceremony the evening will be headlined by Lil Ed & the Blues Imperials.  The complete line up and advance ticket information for the Winter Blues Fest will be available in next month’s issue of the Blues Crier.