November 4, 2011

Cherchez La Femme — Dr. Buzzard’s Original Savannah Band [circa 1976]

on the “Tony Orlando & Dawn” show.

The intent of this post is anthropological and not to make profit. It is strictly to share with fans and the periodic visitors to this planet from other galaxies a part of the musical history of the aforementioned musical group.


During these times all the TV shows wanted us to mime the entire performance which we were reluctant to do. A compromise was reached with the shows we finally performed on.

In heavy rotation chez Ryan these past few weeks: I Wake Up Screaming, the current release from Kid Creole (August Darnell) & the Coconuts, close relatives of Dr. Buzzard’s Original Savannah Band.

Especially the tune “Stony and Cory,”

And now the music lingers on, on, on
And I’m so grateful for it all, all, all
But there’s no right without a wrong, wrong, wrong
And there’s no rise without a fall, fall
Fall, fall

an hommage to “the people who guided the mid-’70s New York disco unit Dr. Buzzard’s Original Savannah Band, in which [August] Darnell [Kid Creole] played bass and wrote lyrics. Stony Browder was Darnell’s brother, and bandleader Cory Daye was the band’s singer.”

I miss the times, and I miss the scene, such as it was. I miss the people.

(Merci to Ju Ju Pongo for the tip to the NPR piece.)


How Darnell recalls his days with the Gold-selling Dr. Buzzard’s Original Savannah Band, which he formed in 1974 with his since-sadly-deceased brother Stony Browder, Jr.

“It was an interesting period for me, because it basically represented my education in the music business. You know, with my brother being the leader of the band, he was the one that we all FOLLOWED. Because he had a bohemian lifestyle, plus he’d been the one who first said ‘Let’s do this for a LIVING, not a HOBBY!’… And basically the idea behind Dr. Buzzard’s Original Savannah Band was to borrow from the past – the close-knit vocal harmonies and the horn arrangements of people we respected like Duke Ellington and Count Basie – and then to combine those foundations that the Forties had given us with contemporary dance music – which, with it being the Seventies, was of course DISCO… And that’s exactly what Stony DID! And the thing that really helped us more than anything else with that was having Cory Daye as our lead-vocalist. Because she was a stylised singer with this special voice who borrowed extensively from her idols of the past like Billie Holiday and Ella Fitzgerald to create her own style based UPON that… So yeah, we really did bring dance music to a new level while at the same time introducing youngsters to a style of music they’d never heard BEFORE – you know, I think Stony was very, very ahead of his time bringing that big-band-style jazz sound to a new generation… And from my point of view the whole experience definitely did teach me a LOT. Because, with me being his student and right-hand man, while Stony was in the studio producing the records I’d be there sitting by his side just absorbing EVERYTHING!”


  1. Sheila Ryan on November 4th, 2011 at 2:22 pm

    “Stony and Cory” will slay you, most especially if you have lived through the atomic blast of an incandescent love affair that exploded — or the death of a family member or friend of your own generation.

    The bit right toward the end, when Darnell sings, “Stony, Stony . . . Cory, Cory” rips my heart.

  2. Rick Neece on November 4th, 2011 at 5:24 pm

    Oh, Sheila. So fly.

  3. Sheila Ryan on November 4th, 2011 at 5:26 pm

    Ain’t it, Ricky Cameron? I just knew you’d dig what’s there to be dug.

  4. Sheila Ryan on November 4th, 2011 at 5:28 pm

    Y’all gots to hear the new Kid Creole release. I’ll send you a couple of cuts direct.