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Estes Brothers

Chatham, 1966-1973+


The Estes Brothers band grew from three brothers, Joe, John, and Jerry Estes.  John played guitar, Joe played drums, and Jerry played keyboards. At some time they added Don Smith on bass. The band started playing as a family act around 1966 and played in public, as a four or five member band in 1967/8. The 1968 version of the band was names the Estes Brothers Blues Band, with Bill Estes appearing occasionally playing the harmonica. 

In 1970 the band became a little more active, playing mostly in the Medina area, the closest city with a decent sized teen audience. The Estes' family home of Chatham was a crossroads township with about 1000 people. 


The band recorded their first 45 at Audio recording in mid-late 1970, assuming the newspaper story is correct. It took the band several months to raise enough money to have the 45 mastered and pressed. The A side is a great hard rocker with that NE Ohio melodic sound, "Tomorrow's Sunlight". The song was written and sung by Joe Estes. Around the time the record came out, the band was at it's peak popularity, playing around Medina, and landing a several week long engagement in Coshocton. 

Jerry Estes left the band, apparently to join the military, and was Bill Marren, from the Unknown Kind, took over on keyboards. Marren had played in a rival band, Hard Blue, and his songwriting ability was one of the reasons he was brought into the Estes Brothers. Before Hard Blue, Bill had been in the Unknown Kind (he was from South Amherst and moved to the Medina/Wooster area for work). 


The author of the two above stories, Bob Levandoski, had been in the Journey Men from Brunswick

In the fall of 1971, the band recorded an LP and a label from Cleveland called Edcom released it. Edcom was an interesting label, its roster consisted of hard rock, singer/songwriters, and polka bands! The group also released a 45 that included an excellent hard rock song called "Tomorrow's Sunlight". The LP is consists of several strong hard rock songs with John Estes' guitar and Bill Marren's electric piano being the prominent instruments. Another fine addition to the strong canon of hard rock bands from NE Ohio releasing LPs. The LP features a 'stock' i.e. generic cover of a sunset (or sunrise, if you prefer). The band used profits from the 45 sales to help pay for the recording. 


After the LP, there are no listings for the band playing live. Despite that, the Estes Brothers continued to exist, the band never really broke up and the guys continued to jam off and on until the premature deaths of Joe Estes, Jerry Estes, and Don Smith. Bill Marren left after the LP was done, and the newspaper story mentions Al Shirer, a Medina area musician/songwriter that was working with the remaining three guys. 


1968 ad....who thought "the Rear End" was a good name for a music club?

Tomorrow's Sunlight / Yesterdays Blues - Estbro No #, May 1971
LP- Transitions - Edcom 7101, Dec 1971