Enoch Smoky

2008 - Band

It was the fall of 1967. Dickie Douglas and John Fraga had just returned to Iowa City for a vacation from the rat race of the Hollywood music scene. Dickie, an Iowa native, and Fraga, from Detroit, had been working on a record deal with a number of artists.

Local business man, Tony Borg, approached Dickie about forming a band. Borg provided a farmhouse for rehearsal and took the group to a music warehouse in West Allis, WI, to pick out their equipment. They ended up with several Fender Dual-Showmen amplifiers to get the sound they were looking for. The original line-up was Dickie Douglas on guitar and vocals, Greg Roosevelt on rhythm guitar, John Fraga on bass guitar and Richard Collignon on percussion.

Early 1968 John Fraga went back to Detroit and Greg shifted from rhythm guitar to bass guitar. Roosevelt quickly assumed the punch and chord style of his favorite bass player, Jack Bruce, and provided an incredible bottom for the band. This setup became the power-trio that went on to make their records. The trio rehearsed through the winter and was ready to play in the Spring of 1968.

The still unnamed band's first public appearance was on the Pentacrest on the University of Iowa campus. The set list included Cream's "Sunshine of your Love" and several other Cream hits, plus a blues medley and a few originals. The 45-minute set knocked the crowd off its feet and ushered in the era of the concert band in the Midwest. Roosevelt came up with the name Enoch Smoky, taken from a Kiowa native American chief, from the 1880’s. Smoky was a great nephew of Chief Appiatan and was described as a "Kiowa intonation informant." He passed away in 1969.

Enoch Smoky was the first band to play at Gabe and Walker's, a popular Iowa City bar that became the "place to play". They played all the venues in Iowa, including the famous Wadena Concert. Dickie's son, Eric was the drummer for "Enoch" at the second Wadena concert and has played with the band since 1990 full time. The band went to Chicago in late 1969 and recorded its hit single "It's Cruel" with "Roll Over Beethoven" on the B-side. They toured Europe in the early 1970’s to promote their records. Dick also performed with Eddie Kendricks in London during this time. The band went on to perform with Dr. Tim Leary, Sam & Kathy Mc Donald, KoKo Taylor, Johnnie Winters, John Mayall, James Taylor and Leon Russell just to name a few.

Currently everyone is still very active playing and recording. "It's Cruel" is still resurfacing: a true testament to the band's staying power. It's most recent reincarnation was on a 1999 compilation called "Lethal Dose of Hard Psych".

The Iowa Rock 'n Roll Music Association Hall of Fame & Museum exists to preserve the legacy of rock and roll music in Iowa by honoring achievements, educating youth and inspiring artists. Established in 1997, we are a501(c)(3) non-profit statewide organization with many areas of service.

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