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the Hempstead Incident

Cleveland, 1967-9

The Hempstead Incident were based out of Lorain County and played the Hullabaloo circuit and some pretty large shows, including opening for Procol Harum at the short lived Grande Ballroom in Cleveland. The band included Mike McKee on drums (from North Ridgeville), John Ferguson as lead singer (from Elyria/Lorain), Dale Robeson on bass (from Avon Lake), Donny Better on guitar (from Shaker Heights), and Billy Lefton on keyboards (from University Heights). The band was managed by Barry Weingarten.

They did record a boss version of the Grassroots' song "Feelings" and a jingle-song that was intended to be the theme for Doc Nemo's Medicine Show, a FM radio 'underground rock' program. The recordings exist on a Cleveland Recording Co acetate. It is possible the songs were recorded by Bob Feller at his home recordind studio, or at one of the downtown studios

The band's typical show was 3 sets of 45 minutes. They were fans of Britsh blues-rock and did several Yardbirds (I'm Not Talkin', Stroll On, Train Kept a Rollin') and John Mayall (Driving Sideways) songs. Other songs they covered were:

Talk To You (Small Faces)

Rock and Roll Woman, Bluebird, and others by Buffalo Springfield

The Wind Cries Mary, Foxy Lady, All Along the Watchtower (Jimi Hendrix)

Dale Robeson - "The big part of the show was  when we did a medley of Monterey (by Eric Burdon and the Animals) - we would play a song from  every band metnioned and even more and finish with Monterey. Our manager heard that Hendrix was going to do 'Watchtower" on his album and said you guys shoud do it first so we did it before Jimi"

Mike McKee passed away in 2012.

Thanks to Dale Robeson and Charles Abou-Chebl