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