Tampa Florida

he Pebbles (evolved from The Satins) is fondly recalled by garage band collectors/researchers as a result of their lone single and appearance in a forgotten (and most likely lost) B-movie. Straight is currently still playing, and a member of an active group named The Straightup Blues Band. The Pebbles consisted of:
Joe Cammucio – Vocals (from Philadelphia)
Dennis Downey – Rhythm Guitar (Florida)
Bill Berthold – Drums (Unknown but Florida, I think)
Ray Griffin – Bass Guitar/Vocals (Florida)
Ralph Straight – Lead Guitar (real live Floridian)
/Pebbles sound was the generic style of the day.  We were highly influenced by The Beatles and the Liverpool sound in general. Soul and rhythm and blues played a large role in our sound and rounded out in our play list. Locally our friends and venue-mates The Impacs, The Roemans and The Velvets influenced us. We never had a large fan base. Our lot in the local music community was that of “opening for.” I don’t remember participating in any battle of the bands competition. I have no photos or playbills of The Pebbles – again – lost in the big “D”. We dressed in black sharkskin shirts, black pants, wore a white dickie and played with a white glove on our left hands.  The gloves would only last for one night. You could by a pair of ladies’ silk gloves back then for 39 cents. I had a drawer full of right hand gloves. The Tampa Bay area in the early ‘60s was home to several teen clubs like The Surfer’s Club in Madeira Beach. Dances were held regularly at the civic centers and National Guard armories up and down the west coast of Florida. The Gulfport Casino just outside of St. Petersburg was one of our favorite venues. There we played opposite the Impacs and backed stars such as Jimmy Clanton, Tony Orlando, Bobby Vee and even Roy Orbison. Our touring area spanned as far south as Ft. Myers on the west coast to Ft. Lauderdale on the east. We didn’t go north of Clearwater and if we had gone west we would have had to be on a boat. My youthful experiences with The Pebbles and the other band was just that—A fun time learning about life, playing music, etc. I have never had aspirations of stardom or even popularity. I was just growing up, having a good time and enjoying my youth.

The Pebbles appeared only once on a local teen dance show. The name of the show is lost to me. We lip-synced and played air guitar on both songs. Only the drums were live. The show was a local version of Dick Clark’s American Bandstand.  In the summer of 1965 we were invited by someone to go to Ft. Lauderdale to appear in a movie. We went to a club called The Martinique Club. This was about 5:30 or 6:00 in the evening. I recall we signed some paperwork, which they said was a release form. There was another band playing on the stage at the club (Note: The Surftones). We were staged to one side of the bandstand, on the floor, with our instruments and played ‘air guitar’ to the music of the stage band. Someone with a movie camera and lights was filming us. We only did this for about 15 minutes and were told that we were done.   The band broke up in early fall of 1965. I joined the army in November that year and lost contact with the others. John Ringelspaugh (Johnny Ringo) of The Impacs joined with me. After a three-year tour in the Army, I continued with my music “hobby” by getting involved in the Jesus Movement of the early-‘70s. We put together a band called The Joyful Noise. We cut three albums and did over 500 concerts in churches, coffee houses, the beaches and any where we could plug in an amp. The Joyful Noise became The Monday Night Prayer Group Unlimited in 1979. I recorded one album with The Monday Night Prayer Group Unlimited.

(courtesy 60sGARAGEBANDS)

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