Ten college students attending Auburn University, the University of Alabama, and Jacksonville State University formed the TYN TYMES in 1966. All of the original band members were from the same hometown, Gadsden, Alabama. Here is an interesting fact, the five horn players all graduated from Gadsden High School, and the five members of the rhythm section all graduated from Emma Sansom High School, cross-town rivals.
The original members of the band were…
Jerry Rickles, lead vocals, trumpet
Ronnie Cornutt, Hammond organ, back-up vocals, arrangements
Danny Clayton, lead guitar, back-up vocals
Lanny Thomas, drummer
Chip Davidson, bass, back-up vocals
Carl Sharpe, trumpet
Rick Countryman, trumpet
Ken Striplin, tenor sax
James “Swing” Smith, tenor and baritone sax
Mike Keracher, tenor sax
The first job was held in a rented hall known as “Plaidland” in their hometown of Gadsden. Soon there were other jobs for fraternity parties at Auburn University and the University of Alabama.
As the band became more popular and well known, they worked with Southeastern Attractions in Birmingham to handle all the booking arrangements. The group also had a travel trailer built and brought Richard Brown and Steve Beene on as road managers. They made sure that the equipment always got to the site and was set up prior to the start of a job. They also made sure that everything was taken down and placed back in the trailer after each job. On many occasions they were also known to pick up tambourines and join the band on stage, perhaps to catch the eye of someone in the audience.
Almost two years after they were formed, they had their first personnel change. Danny Clayton was offered an athletic scholarship to Jacksonville State University and felt that he could not devote the time required to play in the band. Mike Marbut, of Jacksonville, Alabama, joined the band as the new lead guitar player.
In 1967, the military began to play a part in lives of some band members. Carl Sharpe had to leave the band for four months to serve active duty in the National Guard. During that time the band played with one less member of the horn section. After Carl returned, Rick Countryman left in August of 1968 for active duty in the Army National Guard. While he was away David Bowen of Gadsden filled in on trumpet with the band for several months until his return.
By 1968, the band was playing almost every weekend through the fall at most of the colleges in the south. During the Thanksgiving and Christmas Holidays they were booked playing for high school and college Christmas dances and parties. Spring brought proms, fraternity and sorority spring dances and wedding receptions. During the summer, the band sometimes took some week long engagements at beach clubs and other fun jobs.
In early 1969, the group recorded their only record. It was recorded at the legendary FAME RECORDING STUDIO in Muscle Shoals, Alabama. The 45RPM record was printed on the Music Box label. The “A” side was an upbeat soul tune called “Baby, I Love You,” and the “B” side was an instrumental entitled “Bootleg.”
Later in 1969, Swing Smith was drafted into the army, and Steve Stanley of Jacksonville, Alabama, joined the band to replace Swing on tenor sax. Another change took place in January of 1970 when Mike Marbut had to leave for a few months to serve an active duty stint. During the time that Mike was gone, Paul Smith, formerly of the “BLEUS”, another popular Gadsden group, filled in on lead guitar and back-up vocals until Mike returned.
In the early summer of 1970, as the members began to graduate from college, marry, and begin real jobs, the group elected to play their last job together rather than replace several members and try to continue with new people. Convention Hall in Gadsden was rented for July 15, 1970. Eight of the original members would be there for this last dance. The band performed their last job before a standing room only crowd. The group went out with a bang.
During the five years they were together they had formed a lifetime bond with each other and created memories that would last forever.
They had performed for thousands of people in many different states.
They had shared the stage with …
Archie Bell and The Drells
“Lighting” Lou Christie
The Swinging Medallions
The Pieces of Eight
There are great memories of playing for all the big parties on the campus of Ole Miss during the Archie Manning years, when Archie and most of the football team came to every party that booked the TYN TYMES.
There were the always-outrageous parties following the Auburn/Alabama football games at the Cascade Plunge in Birmingham. A couple of well known fans that were present for these parties were, the “Italian Stallion”, Johnny Musso, of the University of Alabama, and the Heisman Trophy winner, Pat Sullivan, of Auburn University.
There was the party on the Delta Queen paddle wheel steamboat up the Mississippi River for two hours and back for another two hours.
There was the famous Bachelors Ball in Greenville, Mississippi, that introduced us to partying on the Delta.
A few of the band members played in a couple of other bands for a while, but with the exception of Mike Marbut who has continued to make his living playing in bands, everyone else pretty much gave it up for good. That is until 1999, when the idea originated with Lanny Thomas to get the group back together again for a reunion. This was talked about for a couple of months as different members of the group contacted each other and posed the question of whether or not it would be possible to try it again after thirty years.
After a few rehearsals in the summer and fall of 1999, it was decided to schedule a reunion concert and dance for July 29, 2000 at Convention Hall, the site of the last performance of the group in July of 1970. Rehearsals were once or twice a month as could be scheduled.
The original bass player, Chip Davidson, sadly passed away shortly after the band had begun practicing. Lloyd Andrews from Anniston was invited to play bass guitar.
After a year of rehearsing, the TYN TYMES REUNION 2000 was a fantastic party attended by a standing room only crowd of wildly enthusiastic fans. Steve Stanley made the trip from Arkansas to play with the band again. Richard Brown came from his home in Dallas, and Steve Beene played tambourine on stage once again. The tickets for the show and dance sold out in less than three hours. Convention Hall was jammed packed with family, friends and fans from long ago and far away. The result of that party is the double CD, “Tyn Tymes Live, Let’s Party” which was recorded at that event.
After such a successful and fun reunion the Tyn Tymes decided to stay together and begin playing once more around the South. The group is now back together again with nine of the members from the sixties, and two new additions, Lloyd Andrews on bass guitar, and new lead sax player, Curtis Burttram, of Albertville. We are once again having more fun performing for people that enjoy the soulful sounds of the sixties than ever before. We look forward to seeing you at one of our performances
THE TYN TYMES ARE BACK !!!