My first bass gig was in the west side of Chicago with Otis Rush's (L) band. I didn't even own a bass when he called me for the gig so I had to run out and purchase one right quick.

From Rock N' Roll to Radio Operator

Company A, 6th Battalion, 2nd Brigade, US Army Training Center, Armor (USATCA) is really jumping since Private Phillip Upchurch arrived on the scene. The 24 year old private really hit it big in 1961 at the age of 19 when The Phil Upchurch Combo recorded "You Can't Sit Down" one of the top ten songs across the nation for several weeks.

Besides playing with the famed Dee Clark Show in such places as Hawaii, Bermuda, and the Bahamas, Phil Upchurch has appeared at the celebrated Apollo Theatre in New York and the Cellar Door in Washington DC with Oscar Brown, Jr. Pvt. Upchurch is the son of Phillip and Cyrenna Upchurch of Chicago. After completing active duty, he will return to his R&B group and turn out more smash hits. At the present time he is studying to be an intermediate speed radio operator at A-6-2, but between the dits and dahs, he can be seen playing at the Ft. Knox NCO Clubs.

Friday, August 20th 1965

One day in 1995 Robert Perine (photographer) sends me this picture and of course I had totally forgotten about it since it was shot back in 1967. When I first looked at it I said "Oh, nice shot of Hendrix" and later realized it was me! I only got hip to Hendrix in `69 because I wasn't listening to the radio so I did not know his music or anything about Hendrix when this photo was taken.

Donny Hathaway is one of the greatest vocalist/composer/arrangers of the 20th century American classical music (that's what I call our music). I first met him he was with Curtis Mayfield's M.D. & keyboardist. He was fresh out of Howard University. He called me when he got to Chicago and I immediately assembled a band and called it "the Co-Ops" The photo at left was our business card and we worked our butts off around Chicago. Duke Payne played bagpipes and saxophones (not at the same time) and Morris Jennings played drums. Morris was working part time at the P.O. in Chicago. I told him if he let that day gig go his playing career would surely blossom and it did. My all-time favorite music is BLACK GOSPEL and like Ray Charles, Donny was the best of a mixture of gospel, R&B, and Jazz. His chord concepts would bring tears to my eyes on many occasions while we were performing. I'm Glad I was usually sweating enough to hide the tears.