Buster Brown Band
Do you remember the soul, the magic? Be a part of the experience...
The sound is soulful, distinctive -- passionate, creative, original, honest and powerful. For forty years the Buster Brown Band has created a unique sound and become one of the most influential groups in the DFW area and throughout Texas.
The journey began when Kelly McNulty, Jim Casey, Ken Johnson (drummer for Chris Isaak), Mark Wilson, and Pat Darling relocated from their hometowns of Pampa and Borger to Denton, TX in 1972 to attend the University of North Texas (then known as North Texas State University). By 1978 the band was playing all over Texas and opening for touring acts such as Tower of Power, Dr. John, The Meters, Herbie Hancock, George Duke, Patrice Rushen, and Derek and the Dominos. "Little John" Sanders, Eric Stuer, George Lawrence, Widetrack, Otis Gardner, and Danny Darling were influential in creating the legendary sound of the BBB.
In the late 70s and early 80s the band worked predominately at a famous jazz and R&B club in Dallas owned by Wayne Morgan called Popsicle Toes, named after the Michael Franks song. This was the place where the musicians were hanging out at and the last set usually involved great jam sessions with the best musicians from Dallas and visiting artists who were passing through. One of the great vocalist/songwriters at that time, Roger Burton, joined the band after leaving the Bee's Knees and continues to thrill audiences today with the band. Eric Tagg worked with the band during this time and went on to be the lead singer for world renowned Jazz guitarist Lee Ritenour. Kelly and Eric wrote many songs for Lee including Dream Walking. Eric's big hit with Lee was "Is It You".
Mike Collier, Albert Evans, David Collier, Lewis Nichols, Connie Schlig, Rusty Lewis, David Shelander, Gregg Bissonette, Brad Dutz, and Freddie Pol helped define the band's sound in the 80's and the band become one of the most popular groups in Dallas. The band opened their own nightclub (when the crowds got too big for Popsicle Toes) with Wayne Morgan called Buster's. Rick Rigsby, Tony Wilcox, and Kenny Evans joined the band during this time. Kelly was busy writing songs with David Ritz who wrote the lyrics to Sexual Healing by Marvin Gaye. Together they wrote songs for Smokey Robinson, Howard Hewitt, Isley Brothers, Leon Ware, and Patti Austin.
Moving into the late 80s, the band left Dallas and moved to Denver to work with the Page Fraley Agency. The band toured the western US and spread their brand of soul music to venues like Caesar's Lake Tahoe, Vancouver Canada, Portland, and Irvine, California. Sherry Hammonds joined the band in the late 80's and graced us with her dynamic vocals, songwriting, and keyboards. The band worked with Danny Seraphine (drummer for the Grammy award winning band Chicago) in Denver and signed a contract with Danny's production company. After a couple of years of being on the road the band broke up and Jim moved back to Dallas.
The 90s: Kelly and Jim teamed back up to form Einstein's Apartment, a group made up of Tiffany Smith and Rick Rigsby. Kirk Whalum was guest on the title cut on Einstein's Apartmant's CD. You can check out much of Buster Brown's and Einstein's Apartment's music on the Home and/or Media pages.
Many musicians have come and gone over the years, but founders Jim Casey (guitar) and Kelly McNulty (keyboards), plus Roger Burton remain to lead a new incredible version of Buster Brown that includes, Al Olive (vocals), Lawrence "Peebody" Ferrell (drums), James Kings (keyboards), and Mike Medina (bass).
Check out Al Olive's CD, "Dream"--featuring many members of BBB--on CD Baby or iTunes. "Dream" was a big hit in England and Italy and was #1 on Solar Radio out of London.
Back with a new attitude, yet holding onto the timeless classic soul and 'ole school' sound that BBB has always been famous for. Mix in some Neo-Soul and smooth jazz and you will hear why Buster Brown is still delivering music that captures new audiences and continues to inspire loyal fans!
Roger Burton was born in Atlanta, Georgia and grew up in Charlotte, North Carolina. He moved to Irving, Texas in 1968, where he went to MacArthur High School...
After graduating from the University of North Texas in 1974, he began a music career as a singer/songwriter. He helped form the group the Bee's Knees in 1975 and wrote much of the material for their two albums, "The Bee's Knees" and "Pure Honey."
In 1980, he joined the Buster Brown Band, whom he performed with at venues such as "Popsicle Toes" until 1984. Since then, he has had a successful career in the automotive industry. He wrote and produced a solo album in 1998 called "Dragons."
In 2006, he re-joined his old friends Kelly McNulty and Jim Casey in the newest version of the Buster Brown Band. Roger is married to his wife of 17 years, Denise Koval; has 2 sons, Aaron and Brandon, and 2 grandchildren, Evan and Savannah.
An original member of Buster Brown, Kelly McNulty and Jim Casey have played together since high school...
Over the years Kelly has worked with Harvey Mason, Lee Ritenour, Howard Hewitt, David "Fat Head" Newman, Maxine Nightingale, and Leon Ware.
Kelly toured with Lee Ritenour in the 80's and during that period wrote "Dream Walking", which appears on Lee Ritenour's "Rit 2" plus "Turn The Heat Up" (Grammy nominated) from Lee Ritenour's Potrait album. After returning to Texas from Los Angeles he and Eric Tagg formed the Tagg/McNulty band playing all original music.
Kelly worked for years with David Ritz, who is a famous author and lyricist. David Ritz wrote many music celebrity autobiographies and won a grammy for his linear notes on an Aretha Franklin album. He also wrote the lyrics to Marvin Gaye's "Sexual Healing." Kelly and David wrote songs covered by Smokey Robison, The Isley Brothers, Leon Ware, and Patti Austin to name a few. Check out David's work here.
Jim Casey has become known as one of the best guitarists in the DFW area. His broad experience comes from playing with the Buster Brown Band, the Roof Raisers, Yarbrough and Peoples, and the Melanie Dutton band to name a few...
Jim plays classic and neo soul music, smooth jazz, Jazz Fusion, and blues. Jim's early influences growing up in the Texas Panhandle were rock guitarists such as Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page, The Allman Brothers, and Jeff Beck. Jim moved to Denton to attend the University of North Texas and was introduced to the great Jazz and R&B sounds of Herbie Hancock, Weather Report, Donnie Hathaway, Stevie Wonder, Freddie Hubbard, Wes Montgomery, George Benson, Chick Corea, Lee Ritenour, Larry Carlton, and Pat Metheny. UNT had a Grammy award winning Jazz program and there were many musicians to learn from and jam with. Jim's musical and career goals and vision of music changed while at UNT especially while studying under Jack Petersen, who taught Jazz guitar @ UNT. Prior to that, Jack taught at Berkley, teaching John Abercrombie and John Scofield to name a few of his more famous students. Jim also studied with guitarist Greg Howe in 2010 (Michael Jackson, Enrique Iglesias, Justin Timberlake)
Jim started playing guitar at the age of nine and by the time he was 14, he was playing for high school pep rallies and high school dances at youth centers in the Texas Panhandle, Oklahoma, and Kansas. By the time he made it to Denton at the age of nineteen, he wanted to play music professionally. Jim played on the Bees Knees Pure Honey album and Yarbrough and Peoples second album in the 70's. Jim continues to play with the Buster Brown band and over the years has enjoyed the success the band has accomplished playing venues in Denver, Lake Tahoe, Vancouver to name a few On the side Jim has done clinics with Lee Ritenour, played with drummer Gregg Bissonette (drummer for David Lee Roth, Santana, Toto, Ringo Starr), Danny Seraphum (drummer for Chicago), George Lawrence (the Pages, Poco), and Yarbrough and Peoples. Jim has opened for Herbie Hancock, Tower of Power, Dr. John, the Meters, George Duke, and played many festivals throughout the years. While playing at Popsicle Toes in the 70's and 80's; musicians such as Kenny Loggins, Eric Clapton. Scott Henderson, David Sanborn, Hiram Bullock, Lenny White, Walter Afanasieff, Albert Lee, Maynard Ferguson's band, and other great musicians would drop into Jam with the band.
Jim plays a John Suhr custom strat or a fender "62" reissue strat through a Vox Wah-Wah, a Keeley mod TS808, a XTS precision overdrive, a Dunlop fuzz face, a memory man delay, and Eventide timefactor, into either a Matchless HC-30 head or a Morgan SW 50 head into a Port City OS cabinet loaded with 2-12" Celestion Vintage 30 speakers. For smaller gigs Jim uses a "65" Fender Twin Reverb reissue loaded with Eminence Eric Johnson Alnico speakers. D'addario strings and Fender medium picks.
Al Olive has been singing professionally since 1995, when he was with a group from Arkansas called 3-D Soul. For a time, he also lived and worked in Michigan, and finally relocated to Dallas...
Olive recalls how he bumped into Rick Rigsby and Linny Nance at an outdoor music festival, where they let him perform the late Luther Vandross' Superstar. He would wind up working with Nance for a year or so, before receiving a call from Rigsby: "We're trying to get Buster Brown Band back together...you interested?" Olive chuckles as he recalls his audition for Rigsby and BBB drummer Lawrence 'Peebody' Ferrell. " I got the eyebrow...and various other facial expressions...then the head nodding" he laughs.
It goes without saying that the Big Kahunas were impressed, the verdict was in, and so was Al Olive. Although he is not the only lead singer in the band (other front-men include Roger Burton, James Kings and Kelly McNulty) he often gets the lion's share of attention from the females in the audience.
Of his work in progress, Olive says "...this CD, entitled Dream...was 2 years in the making. You have to get the right music, and then the right people, the right chemistry" he continues. Although he credits Buster Brown Band, Linny Nance, Rick Rigsby and others he works with, Olive was greatly and pleasantly surprised with the creativity and inspiration that came with Frank Hames - also formerly with BBB. "I just love working with the guy" beams Al. "The instrumentals, the arrangements....things that I've had in my head. He has been the one that helped pull that out."
In the up-tempo Never, Olive promises his lady love "I'm the man you've been waiting for. I command all your fears to leave...you'll never be lonely" while he slows things down just a bit in Heartache, in which he laments to an estranged lover that although "a man's not supposed to cry (and he's "a man, through and through"), it's too late!" Then, on Beautiful Stranger, things heat up again as he croons to his "beautiful, wonderful, mind-blowing stranger...my lips on your lips, my hands on your hips..."
This music has just about everything an R&B lover could ask: the production, the instrumentation - top shelf. The background vocals are on point. And Al Olive's voice is just about as close as you will get to flawless. Remember, he auditioned with a Luther song. Now, you and I have seen folk get booed off stage for trying to cover a Luther song, right? This man's voice sounds so close to Luther's that at times it's downright eerie. Other times, he sounds alot like Will Downing. And every time he opens his mouth, he sounds really, really good.
Bassist Michael Medina, a native of Beeville, Texas moved to Dallas in 1978 and graduated from the University of North Texas (then known as North Texas State University)...
His studio work includes national and local television and radio spots as well as numerous recordings with various artists. Michael owns his record production company, Firstbass Productions.
Michael served on the American Federation of Musicians Local 72-147 for 14 years. Currently, Mike also performs with Two Tone, featuring Cindi Hortsman, and puts in time with guitarist Quentin Hope.
Over the years Mike has performed with the Pawn Kings featuring Andy Timmons, as well as Dallas cover bands Emerald City Band, Random Axis Band, Cuvee and Naked Lunch.
Lawrence "Peebody" Ferrell Jr. is a very talented and progressive drummer/musician with a wide musical vocabulary. He has been influenced by the life of other drummers such as Dennis Chambers, Dave Weckl, JoJo Mayer, Myron Williams and Billy Cobham...
Peebody has a unique and distinguished style that adds a positive vibe to all genres of music. He has worked with such artist such as Grammy Award Winning Kirk Franklin, Tamela Mann, Trinity 5:7, Men of Standard, and Grammy Award Nominee Breggett Rideau. He has shared the stage with Stevie Wonder, Patti Labelle, Lionel Harris, Twila Paris, Amy Grant, and many many more.
Originally from Tacoma, Washington, Peebody has been around music all his life. He grew up in Fort Worth, TX. Peebody started to play drums at the age of two and was initially taught the fundamentals of music, drums, reading, and theory by Charles Scott Sr. He played stage band for Dunbar High School.
Currently Peebody stays busy playing for multiple artist and ministries, doing session work, and clinics. Peebody teaches private lessons to numerous students. He can be seen drumming at Mount Tabor Christian Center and with numerous local artist such as Buster Brown Band, Freddie Jones, Rob Holbert, Shon Martin and the Go Go band, and Breggett Rideau.
Peebody can be heard on such albums such as: God's Property, Kirk Franklin Rebirth, Men of Standard, Ted and Sherry, Myron Butler and Levi, Joseph Vincelli, Breggett Rideau, Al Olive, and many more.
Lawrence "Peebody" Ferrell Jr. brings a balance of musicianship, organizational development, and integrity that is extraordinary and rare. He is an asset to every organization he has been a part of and is always looking for more opportunities to network and contribute to people's development and success. Peebody's immense musical ability, interpersonal/networking skills, professionalism, and ability to be a resource constantly keeps him busy working and in the public eye.
James Harold Kings, grew up in Tucson, Arizona during the '60s and '70s. Before he reached his high school years, he had learned to play the violin, cello and piano...
Upon entering high school, he became an organist and pianist for one of the larger Baptist churches in the Tucson area. He had also been studying piano through private lessons learning mainly classical pieces, while also developing his ability to play gospel and pop music "by ear". By his latter high school years, James had developed a strong fondness for the contemporary gospel styles of Andre Crouch, Sweet Spirit and the Hawkins Family. Simultaneously, he had also taken a liking to the contemporary Jazz and R&B styles of Herbie Hancock, George Benson, Stevie Wonder, Rufus and Parliament.
During his college years in Arizona, he worked with and formed several local bands, some of which performed both secular and religious music. During these years, he also began to develop as a vocalist and composer of both jazz and gospel music. After a very brief period in the Armed Forces during the early '80s, James moved to the city of Dallas, Texas in pursuit of finishing his college education at a well-known historically black college that had developed some of America's most prolific African-American ministers and pastors. However, before he could enroll, the college began to experience severe financial challenges, lost its accreditation and eventually became defunct. James postponed college re-enrollment for a time and instead secured full-time employment, while gradually beginning to work steadily as a keyboardist for various Dallas-area bands.
During his career as a musician, James has had the distinct pleasure of meeting and working with various nationally-known music artists, some of who heavily influenced his musical style such as, Herbie Hancock, Bernard Wright, Kirk Whalum, Wayman Tisdale, BeBe Winans, Andre Crouch, Sandra Crouch, Thomas Whitfield, Lamar Campbell and Byron Cage. James has also had the pleasure of working with what is regarded as some of the best Dallas- area acts such as Emerald City, Special Edition, Martha Burks and currently, the Buster Brown Band.
In the late '80s, James married and by the early '90s, he was blessed with a son named after him and a daughter he named Dacia (pronounced 'Dasha'). Both children became phenomenal musicians in their own right with his son being a drummer and his daughter being vocalist. James' son lost his earthly life during a very poorly supervised high school band field trip in March of 2008 on the same day that a full-ride scholarship to the Manhattan School of Music in Harlem, NY was confirmed for him. In spite of his continued struggle with this loss, James has not only remained committed to faithfully cultivating and supporting the musical talent and aspirations of his remaining daughter, but he also strives politically for significantly stringent accountability for public school systems to provide, implement and enforce policies with training for school district personnel, wherewith to ensure sufficient supervision and security of children while they are in the care of school district personnel.