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Pictured (L-R) Enoch Estep-Tenor Sax, Bill Wallace-Guitar, Frank Needham-Alto Sax, Lewis Tilford-Vocalist

Jack “Kiwi” Land-Drums, Jerry Spray-Trumpet, Rick Eilerts-Leader & Bass, Barry Wheeler-Trumpet, Larry Lyons-Piano

This was the group of guys from the school year 1959-1960, who, after the school year was over, went to Noel, MO to play at the Shadow Lake Pavilion.

Here is a brief interview that was done with Rick Eilerts, the leader of the group in the 1958-1960 era.

From a Tulsa World Newspaper article , published Dec 30, 2003, entitled “Rock of Ages”.

Perhaps nowhere else was this combination of black and white musical influences better illustrated than in the Shadow Lake Eight, a group that had begun life doing "bigband style cheek-to-cheek stuff" as the house band at the Shadow Lake Pavilion in Noel, Mo., the summer of '58.

That's according to the band's bassist and historian, Rick Eilerts, who met a pre-phenom Elvis on the "Louisiana Hayride" program and first worked in Tulsa for the pioneering rock 'n' roll bandleader Clyde Stacy. Eilerts had close ties to the Tulsa-based Ernie Fields Orchestra, having toured as a fill in with the group.

"I was the only white guy in the band," he remembers.

Through that association, he became friends with Jack Scott, a musician and arranger for Fields' big band, and the group began paying Fields to write arrangements for them.

"I remember it was play a gig and then pay Jack for some arrangements," says Eilerts. "We put a lot of our playing money back into having him write for us. And we migrated into the blues — back to blues, with the black influence. Not that we weren't enjoying Chuck Berry and all the rock 'n' roll currents, but we kind of did a transition from pure rock 'n' roll, Elvis and all that, over to more standard blues.

"Then, we got a black singer who played with Ernie Fields. His name was Li'l Clifford — Li'l Clifford Watson — and he was a dynamite showman. Leon McAuliffe let us come into the Cimarron Ballroom with the Shadow Lake Eight Orchestra featuring Li'l Clifford, and we had three black girls singing backup. And then we had (white vocalist) Lewis Tilford in there to sing a lot of the Sinatra standards and stuff, so we packed 'em in."

Read more from this Tulsa World article at http://www.tulsaworld.com/specialprojects/scene/rockofages/article.aspx?subjectid=269&articleid=031230_Mu_d1_thera

The Shadow Lake 8 in 1959-1960