the Emeralds (Blue Law)

Columbus, 1962-7


Early Emeralds, 1964 – L-R: Dan Blazer, Mike Held, Ralph DiCarolis, Dave Alexander, Bob Martini – in Dave Alexander’s basement

The Emeralds were one of the first teen rock and roll bands from Columbus’ south side. Founding member Dan Blazer tells the story of his band –

The band originally formed in roughly 1963/1964 and consisted of the following five members:

Dave Alexander (drums) – lead vocals
Dan Blazer (guitar)
Mike Held (guitar)
Bob Martini (keyboard)
Ralph DiCarolis (bass)

Dave, Mike, and Bob attended Hartley HS, Dan attended South HS, and Ralph went to St. Marys HS. Bob was Mike’s cousin.


L-R: (top) Mike Held, Jerry Rasor (bottom) Dan Blazer, Ralph DiCarolis, Dave Alexander, Bob Martini, circa 1965

The Emeralds initially got our start with support from Jerry Rasor.  He would get gigs (sock hops/dances) at high schools where he MC’ed.  He would bring us along to play with his show.

In roughly 1966, Bob Martini and Mike Held left the band.  They were replaced by the following two people:
Emil Windmiller (son of the guy who owned Emil’s on Broad St) (guitar)
Steve Schneider (keyboard)

Emil only stayed with the band a month or so and we decided to carry on with four members:
Dave Alexander (drums) – lead vocals
Dan Blazer (guitar)
Steve Schneider (keyboard) (from Eastmoor HS)
Ralph DiCarolis (bass)

This lineup of the band recored “Brown Eyed Girl” that appeared on the Hillside 1967 promo EP. The songs were recorded at a house on Studer avenue which must have been connected to Larry McKenzie and Hillside.

Sometime in late 1966 or 1967 Paul Ross (from South HS) became the bass player for the remaining time the band was together.


L-R: Ralph DiCarolis, Bob Martini, Dave Alexander, Mike Held, Dan Blazer, circa 1965

A few credentials of the band:

Opened for many big acts that came through Columbus, including:
Doors at Vets Memorial
Paul Revere and the Raiders (Lausche Building on Ohio State Fairgrounds)
Kenny Rodgers and the 1st Edition
Terry Knight and the Pack
I believe we also opened for the Blues Magoos at Valley Dale

Made many appearances on Dance Party

3rd Place in Battle of the Bands at Valley Dale (I believe in 1968)

In 1967/1968 the Emeralds recorded a couple original songs at Mus-I-Col approximately one year prior to the break up of the band (which happened roughly in the winter of 1968/1969).  The only reason I remember that date is that I was a freshman at OSU when the band broke up.  Now back to the recording.  When we recorded this record we were thinking that we needed to “modernize” our name.  So, we came up with “Blue Law” and put this name on the record.  Shortly after, I think we got “buyers remorse” about the new name….many of our fans didn’t like it or were confused….so, we decided to keep The Emeralds after we published the record, and if it would have taken off…I am sure we would have adopted that name.  As it turned out, however, I don’t think we ever played in public under that name…..we always played out as “The Emeralds.” The trumpets on Hear I Am were played by high school friends of ours.  We thought that the trumpets were value added on the record but the trumpet players never played with us live.  We took this record to WCOL and they would not play it.  They said that it was not of sufficient quality to play on radio.  I think we learned a lesson that day that it is sometimes who you know that determines if you can get things done.

So what were our musical influences?  I think we actually went through three basic phases in “The Emeralds.”

Phase 1 (Early) – When we started out we were most influenced by

The Kingsmen: Louie, Louie, Little Latin Lupe Lou, Jolly Green Giant, Money, The Climb, David’s Mood

Rolling Stones: Last Time, Satisfaction, Get Off My Cloud, Heart of Stone, It’s All Over Now

Other British bands (but not so much the Beatles):  You Really Got Me, House of the Rising Sun

Musicals: Wipeout, Walk Don’t Run, Pipeline

Phase 2 (Mid) – We sort of went through a period where we added “soul” and softer songs.  

Temptations: Ain’t too Proud to Beg, My Girl

Young Rascals: Good Lovin’

Others: Little Black Egg, Light My Fire

Phase 3 (Final) – Our final phase was dominated by songs from

Jimi Hendrix: Purple Haze, Wind Cries Mary, Fire

Blues Magoos: Pipe Dream, Albert Common is Dead, We Ain’t Got Nothin Yet

Cream: Sunshine of Your Love

Spirit: Uncle Jack, I Got a Line on You

The Emeralds still play a few times a year (the people in this incarnation of The Emeralds are Dave Alexander, Dan Blazer, Ralph DiCarolis (bass player)….all are original members of The Emeralds…. and John Alexander - who is Dave’s cousin who hung around the band when he was young).  The one gig that we play every year is at St Mary’s Church festival in German Village the second weekend in August, on Saturday night.  This year (2010) that will be 14 August.

After the Emeralds broke up, Dave Alexander joined Your Lovin’ St Bernard. Interestingly, the Blue Law 45 sounds  a lot like the YLSB demos with the tight Association like harmonies.

Included below are three recordings likely recorded in Dave Alexander’s basement probably spring/summer 1967

03 Pipe Dream.mp3

04 Albert Common is Dead copy.mp3

05 I Can't Keep from Crying copy.mp3

Here is the Emeralds’ recording of Brown Eyed Girl from the Hillside EP

12 Brown Eyed Girl.mp3

Brown Eyed Girl (Hillside no #, mid 1967)
Here I Am / Goodbye My Friend (DoLeJo 1004) 1968