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Sinamon Leaf

Portsmouth, 1968-


May 24, 1974 article

Sinamon Leaf are one of the longest running bands in the US. They started in 1965 and still were an active band as of 2019, prior to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The band started as the Rampagers or Bill Tatman and the Rampagers. See the Rampagers page for more details. After Gene Cohen became their manager, they started to swap members with the Goats, also managed by Cohen. By 1968, they wanted a fresh start, and had some out of state tours lined up, so they chose  a new name. As Ron Conley tells, they gathered over breakfast, saw cinnamon toast and tea, and put together the name Sinamon Leaf. The first mention of the new name in the Portsmouth newspaper was December 1968. 

The band played locally and toured for the next few years, although it's hard to keep track of when and where they were. They were a house band at the Riverboat club in Portsmouth during late 1970 and 1971. The band was changing as well, as some of the original members left and new members took their places. A source online mentions John Pollitt, Jerry Rogers, Joe Ferguson, and Bob Butcher as members during the 1960s. 

In early1974 they recorded another 45 at Appalachia Sound. The band at the time was Conley, Clay, Rodney Mullins on keyboards, and Dan Ratcliff on drums. The record had some local sales, although there's no evidence that it charted nationally as said in the article. The band had been playing the Holiday Inn club circuit, spending many months on the road.

The band was back on the road, playing the east coast and south. In December 1975 the band was up to six members with John Oakley the new bass player (he was in the Goats back in 1967), Steve Smith on vocals, sax, and keyboards, and newest member Carol Drieling on sax, keyboards, and vocals. They recorded another 45 in 1976, released on on Black Horse records with an Alabama PO box address. This was recorded while the band lived down there for a couple months. Dan Ratcliff wrote both songs. They also spent some time in Atlanta during 1976.


A 1977 story in the Portsmouth paper, posted above, lists more personnel changes and mentions the band had 16 different members in the 12 year lifetime. After 1977 the band seemed to disappear from the local papers. They spent 1979 and 1980 on the road, with many bookings in Wisconsin.

Around 1982 the band relocated to Vicksburg, Mississippi. They played down there on a tour and decided to stay. They were booked into the growing casino scene and were able to make living out of it. In 1985 they recorded an album of original songs, at a studio in Wheelersburg, Ohio. Steve Smith was the only other member still in the band from the Ohio period. The bass player was Sid Daigle, from New Orleans, who joined the band after the relocated. There is no mention of the band in the local Ohio papers, though. The LP includes all original songs with a contemporary rock sound.

As fo 2021 Ron Conley and the band are still going.

Be No Fool For You / Days Gone By - Revelation Records LTD 1020, April 1974
One Night Love Affair / Rockin' Soul - Black Horse no # (Artists master 760838), August 1976
LP- Pratically New - Leaf 1985, 1985