King Richard & the Knights

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This Albuquerque, NM outfit, also known as the Knights, outlasted most of its contemporaries, albeit with a 30-year hiatus in the middle, mostly by virtue of the quality of their singles, which turned…
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This Albuquerque, NM outfit, also known as the Knights, outlasted most of its contemporaries, albeit with a 30-year hiatus in the middle, mostly by virtue of the quality of their singles, which turned them into local stars. King Richard & the Knights started out in 1961 as a Ventures-type instrumental outfit, playing surf instrumentals and throwing in the occasional Chuck Berry-authored vocal number for variety. By 1964, they'd evolved sufficiently to rate a recording contract with Red Feather, who scored with the Knights' first release, "Precision," which became a regional hit in the southwest and rode the number one spot on Albuquerque's top radio station for weeks. The band's classic lineup consisted of Dick Stewart (aka "King Richard") on lead guitar and vocals, Larry Longmire on lead and rhythm guitar, and Corky Anderson (later succeeded by Jack Paden) on drums, and Larry Reid on saxophone and some vocals. The group's bassists included Gary Butler and Gary Snow.

The advent of the British Invasion took the wind out of the band's sails. The group tried to compete by switching to vocals, and began playing frat rock standards. They recorded a trio of singles for the Delta label, displaying a fairly diverse sound, encompassing elements of country and harmony vocals that showed the heavy influence of the Everly Brothers, but after "I Don't Need You" b/w &"How About Now" in 1966, their recording career was over. By the end of 1966, the Knights were history -- Dick Stewart went on to produce the Kreeg, while Anderson and Paden remained active for years after in local music circles, and the former still plays. Thirty years later, Dick Stewart and Gary Snow re-formed King Richard & the Knights, cutting a new album with drummer Steve Hudgins, its release accompanying the reissue of the group's classic sides on Collectables, and even vinyl reissues of their early sides in Europe. The re-formed group remains active on the Lancer label.