Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Chuck Barr and the Playboys on Barclay

Chuck Barr and the Playboys
10137 ~ Espanie'l

Clyde & Chuck with the Playboys
10138 ~ My Lonely Guitar


Orwigsburg, PA

Chuck Barr, 1999

"We did a lot of hoedowns back then," he said of his group Chuck Barr and the Blue Mountain Playboys. But I'd sneak a rockabilly song in there once in a while."

Locally we had Bill Haley and his Comets and "Rock Around the Clock," Barr said. "He was from Chester, so he played up there a lot. He only had the one song, though. He really couldn't sing."

Barr got deeper into rock and roll by establishing a "hop" at the Fieldhouse in Hamburg. By that time he was fronting a group called Chuck Barr and the Playboys. "We had the hop every Sunday night, he said. And we were also at the Route 83 roller rink, the Fleetwood Grande, the Kutztown Armory... we were all over the place. The Playboys also played the clubs on Penn Street including the Melody Bar and Oasis. He remembers that rock and roll wasn't always accepted by the other musicians who played the same venues. They hated us, he said. "They were more jazz fellows and we were rockabilly. They didn't like our music at all. They were musicians and we were three chords and hammer away."

Barr's own musical tastes were developing and he was more of a fan of Carl Perkins than Elvis Presley. "I just thought Perkins was the better artist," he said " Elvis didn't impress me". He and the Playboys cut a record at the home of Clay Barclay (a record-producer whiz kid at 16) as the '50s ended. I wrote a three-chord song called "Joe Botch " he said. And we recorded it at Clay Barclay's house. His father had bought him a tape recorder so that's where we went to record it. We were around the microphone and the drummer was in the closet. ...

From an (edited) article published by the Reading Eagle on August 30 ,1999.

Ronald G. "Chuck" Barr, 77, died Friday surrounded by his loving family at his home in Hamburg.

Born in Hamburg, he was a son of the late Joseph and Florence Barr.

At the age of 17, he joined the Marine Corps and served in a tank battalion in Korea in 1951-52.

He worked at Hamburg Plow Works and later became a painter, most recently at the Hamburg Center, until his retirement.

Music was his great joy. He began with country western music, playing with several local bands. He moved on to rock 'n' roll, with the Rockabillies and then the Playboys. Loss of hearing curtailed his music for a time, but ear surgery brought it back. His love of folk music, especially Irish, led to the formation of The Shanachians. This group was well-known in Berks and Schuylkill counties and beyond. Later, as a solo performer and song writer, he continued to sing and tell stories for a wide variety of audiences. Although weakened by lung cancer, his last gig was with the Jalappa All-Stars in Centerport on Feb. 10.

Obituary published by Republican & Herald on April 9, 2011

Clay Barclay is still recording today in Louisville, Kentucky :

50 years ago, Clay Barclay Jr. started recording the coolest Rock and Roll bands in the basement of his parent's house in Orwigsburg, Pennsylvania. Throughout the 1960's he recorded a slew of Rock 'N Rollers including The Triumphs, The Ramrods, The Flowerz, The Yankee Rebels, The Starlites, and some songs by the man whom we now know as Pat Garrett. Using cutting edge Crown Electronics, and mad skills, Clay was able to capture these bands with a clean sound that still sounds great today. Now based out of Louisville, Kentucky, Clay is still recording big name acts with cutting edge equipment, although now it's all digital and high definition. Learn more at

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