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Cleveland, 1972-81

Flatbush were one of the second wave of country-rock bands that formed in Cleveland in the mid 1970s. They sounded somewhere between the early Eagles and Lynyrd Skynyrd, with some Cleveland rock attitude around the edges.

The core of the group started out in North Olmsted in the early 1970s, with Linn Roath (guitar) and Russ Gall (vocals). Gall had been the lead singer in Pentecost.  In May 1974 the original band re-organized with members from Skeeter Gulch to include Tom Adem (pedal steel guitar), Joe Dickey (drums), Fred Dawson (fiddle), and Larry Rice (bass, fiddle). The five members were the band from pretty much start to finish. In the summer of 1975 they released a 45, recorded in a studio operated by televagelist Rex Humbard in Cuyahoga Falls, according to a Scene story.The same story mentions Leslie Lopez as a conga player in the band. The 45 includes the first recording of one of their most popular songs, "Tired Of Breaking My Back".

The band played the typical local clubs, and along with cover songs by the two bands mentioned and other similar material, they started working on original songs. In 1977 they recorded a second 45, with the A side a sharp fast twangy rock song "Snug As A Bug In A Rug". the 45 was issued on the Denim label, a short lived label run by Bob and Jerry Bruno. By this time Dawson and Adem were no longer in the band and Phil Barker was the lead guitarist. The song got airplay on Cleveland's two rock stations WMMS and M105, and some play on a local top 40 station, WGCL. The success of the 45 elevated the band's poipularity to where they were one of the biggest bands in the area. 

In 1979 they went all in, recording a full LP of all original songs, called Driver's Dream. The label was their custom Bushleague but Jerry Bruno was credited. A couple songs from the LP, a rerecorded "Tired Of Breaking My Back" especially, got more airplay. The band's logo, a sad faced hobo, was drawn by Russ Gall.

Like Cleveland's other main country rock band at the time, Buckeye Biscuit Band, the group's sound was culturally passe in the early 1980s with new wave in full run, and they disbanded. The band has had a few reunion shows, often linked to fundraising for a Cleveland Diabetes organization. Russ Gall passed away from the disease in 2004.

Tired Of Breaking My Back /  You Walked Out Again - no label no # (NR5851 is master number), July 1975
Snug As A Bug In A Rug / Loaded (picture sleeve) - Denim 103, Jan 1978
(LP) "Driver's Dream" - Bushleague 101, 1979