Nobone had heard anything quite like it before. The Contenders sound was woven from all the threads which make up the tapestry of Southern music; in a typical evening one would hear strains of blues, bluegrass, R&B, country, old time mountain music, beach, gospel and good old rock & roll. A rapport developed among them on stage as when one member would try to surprise the others with a new twist on some arrangement, everyone would just follow right along. There seemed to be a feeling of cooperative competition where each one was trying to do his best, maybe even outdo the others, but always with the full support of the band.
It was a period
of great creativity; seemingly every time they came through town there would
be a couple of new titles on the set list. They
played with a strong sense of dynamics, sometimes setting the audience up
with a quiet, almost acoustic feeling for a song or two and then launching
a scorching rocker. As individuals they were charming, good looking and very
bright, and it was not for nothing that their fans soon nicknamed them The
Mighty Contenders. The group played throughout the Southeast as far west
as Austin and thanks to their agent Bobby Cudd, also a Spartanburg boy, they
even did a three-night stand at New Yorkís famous Lone
Star Cafe. Their live shows are still talked about and rare tapes circulate
to this day.
play the Liberty Lunch, Austin, Tx, 1977