Kent Morrill memorial concert

Next week, there’s going to be a memorial concert for Kent Morrill. I’m recycling the press release from the Fabulous Wailers.com page:

Wailers Concert for Kent
May 4, 2011 Wednesday
Time: 7:00 PM ‘til 11:00 PM

Temple Theatre – Main Room
47 Saint Helens Ave.
Tacoma, WA 98402-2612
253-272-2042

One of the “Boys from Tacoma” has left us for paradise, to be with his maker, and to meet up with old band mates. We are celebrating Kent Morrill’s life, his talents, his voice, his songs, and his 50 years of unequivocal contributions to music, performance, rock ‘n’ roll, and his earned place in the history and foundation of N.W. Entertainment.

Surrounded by family and friends, Kent passed away peacefully after a long struggle with cancer on April 15, 2011 at the Tacoma home where he grew up.

Joining Tacoma’s Wailers in the late 50’s after an impromptu audition for talent and players, Kent played piano and sang his self penned song “Dirty Robber” which secured his membership, and later became his signature song. The original Wailers members were John Greek, Richard Dangel, Michael Burk, Mark Marush and Kent Morrill.

Kent’s first glimpse of national fame came in the late ‘50’s with the Wailers original recording of “Tall Cool One” released on the New York Golden Crest Records label. The popularity of this precedent setting instrumental earned them a spot on Dick Clark’s American Bandstand in Philadelphia, and their first East Coast tour and performances in New York City. While in New York they finished recording their first album, what was to become a phenomenal classic album of original instruments penned by Morrill, Dangel and John Greek, including two vocals by Kent, which still today is prized and collected the world over.

Returning to Tacoma from New York in 1959, Rockin’ Robin Roberts joined the group as a singer, then bass player Buck Ormsby was asked to join the group following the departure of guitar player/trumpeterJohn Greek. In 1960 Kent, Ormsby and Rockin’ Robin Roberts formed Etiquette Records releasing their first single recording of “Louie Louie” in 1961, penned by Richard Berry, re-arranged into a rock/R&B flavored style and sung by Robin backed by the Wailers. The song launched a phenomenal amount of versions becoming thee international dance and party song, and remains so to this day.

Kent and Ormsby went on to record several Wailers albums and several NW groups for the Etiquette label, releasing singles and albums during the 1960’s, which included the first two albums by the world renown Sonics.

Kent recorded his first and only solo album in 1987 titled “Hard To Rock Alone”, produced by Ormsby,originally released on vinyl on Etiquette sister label Suspicious Records, and soon to be re-issued on CD on the original Etiquette Records label.

Kent will be greatly missed by many, all over the world, where his voice and music is being heard to this day. But more importantly, he has left loads of memories and performances for his band mates, fans and friends, and a very large space open for anyone who might try to fill it.

Kent may not have made it into the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame, but it’s a sure bet he inspired many who did.

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