Hip Shops In 1965-68 Baltimore, Beatniks, Mods, and The Psychedelic Propeller

By David Robert Crews (Magic City Morning Star, 5/13/2008)

The Psychedelic Propeller Rock n' Roll band.

Those longhaired lads in this 1967 era photo are The Psychedelic Propeller Rock n’ Roll band. They are sitting on the railroad tracks behind the house where I grew up-in Dundalk, Maryland. In the photo are: at the far left, wearing maroon Mod pants and fringed moccasins, is Dale Patten, lead singer; there in the middle of the tracks is my next door neighbor Austin “Aussie” O’Baker, drummer; faux-fearfully pointing at an invisible, speeding freight train coming our way, is Denny Romans, lead guitar; the bespectacled lad in the sandals and yellow checkered Mod slacks, is Chris (?), bass player.

I do believe that this shot hints at some early, natural photographic talent of mine. No wonder I chose Ft. Monmouth’s Photo Lab Tech School, when I joined the U.S. Army in 1969.

The Psychedelic Propeller band members and I were some of the small number of Baltimore area teens who wore Mod clothing. We identified ourselves as Mods. In 1966,’67,’68 Baltimore, no one in or around Baltimore was calling themselves, or being called, Hippies. Back then, those four guys were some of the very few longhaired males around Baltimore. And just wearing those maroon pants and fringed moccasins, that Dale had on, was enough to make some other guy want to start a fight with him, at any Maryland high school dance, and a lot of other places, in those days. It was one thing for those guys to be having long hair and dressed in full Mod clothing while up front and playing in the band at some of those dances, but if Dale had dressed like that to go see some other band play at a school dance, he would have been hassled by other teens at that dance–for certain.

The band drove around in an old Cadillac hearse!

Aussie isn’t wearing any Mod clothing at all in this photo. He couldn’t safely wear it everyday. He was the first male to wear bell-bottom pants in Dundalk. The first day he wore bell bottoms to school, he caused one hell of a stir. We were walking down the school hallway and kids were running thirty feet ahead of us telling other kids what was coming. They were all pointing and laughing at Aussie. He just ignored them. And that happened between every class that day. It would have been the same in any Maryland high school, so don’t think it was only Dundalk who was behind in those new fashions.

Continue reading “Hip Shops In 1965-68 Baltimore, Beatniks, Mods, and The Psychedelic Propeller” at the Magic City Morning Star.

Special thanks to Sharon Bernstein Peyton and her Bluesette Teen Discotheque Facebook page for turning me on to this story.

This entry was posted in 1970s, 70s Rock, Dundalk, Neighborhoods, Nightspots and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Hip Shops In 1965-68 Baltimore, Beatniks, Mods, and The Psychedelic Propeller

  1. Here’s annudder one for youz to use:

    The 1972 Premier of John Waters’ Film Pink Flamingos
    By D.R. Crews

    Geez. I wisht sumbuddy’d let me know’d my “Hip Shops In 1965-68 Baltimore, Beatniks, Mods, and The Psychedelic Propeller” story’s on here. I need good news like this to perk me up and feel proud about. PLUS! Now I gotta catch up on two months’ worth of readin some of the cool stuff on here – that I coulda been doin since you posted my story in April. I love Baldamore stuff, I collect bits of Baldamore memorabilia, that Baltimore Soundtrack up there sure looks cool – I’m goin for that – and I have a nice portfolio of recent Mob Town photographs I been takin after every medical appointment up at the Greene St. VA Hospital. Here’s a link to some great new photos of Baltimore: http://www.flickr.com/photos/ursusdave/sets/72157624606810716/

    Thanks for everything. See ya’s laider, I gotta go get a glass of wooder. But I get mine from the sink – something about sayin zink tenses up the back of my neck and actually makes me feel ill. We can’t all be perfect Baldamorons; I just do what comes naturally.

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