The Sheffields

2011 - Band

Band Members: Ken Allison, Larry Allison, Dick Chase, Rick Jeffreys (Skurnik), Kenny Durbin,
Pat Vidas, Curt Barry, Mark Bertacchi, Deone Johnson, Sev Meyer, Kerry Mogen, Diane Martinelli

The Sheffields were a top rhythm and blues and rock and roll showband from 1967 through 1976 based in Eddyville, near the Southeast corner of Central Iowa . For most of its tenure the band consisted of seven male members. However, during part of its era the group consisted of ten members, four of whom were female.

The Sheffields were started at William Penn College in Oskaloosa Iowa in 1967 by Ken Allison and some classmates of Ken’s brother Larry Allison. Larry had graduated from William Penn College in 1966 with a degree in music but left the same year to serve in the military. During the next two years, Ken continued to develop the group, playing locally in and around Oskaloosa and also playing in another group at the same time.

In 1969, Larry returned from Vietnam and joined the group which rapidly gained in popularity throughout Iowa and beyond. By the end of that year, The Sheffields had become a full time group and were performing in Chicago and as far away as Hawaii . When they returned from their extensive tours, they played frequently at the popular 505 Club in Des Moines where they were one of the top bands. The lead vocalist for the group at that time was Dick Chase.

During 1970 the group continued to play throughout the entire Midwest region and by 1971 was returning regularly to Hawaii and Japan where they were very popular. The group also played on the East Coast in Boston and Cape Cod MA. The lead vocalist during this period was Rick ‘Jeffreys’ Skurnik. The group continued this schedule of being in Iowa, playing regionally, and making occasional trips outside the country through 1972.

In 1973 the The Sheffields cut a 45 RPM record. The “A” side of the record was titled “This Road”, and the B side was “Right On”. The A side broke into the top 20 on the popularity charts in Iowa at that time and copies of the record have been known to have sold on eBay as recently as September 2010.

1973 the group went through a major reorganization. They added four female singers and began performing as a ten piece group. By that time, The Sheffields had expanded their horizons to places like Las Vegas, and Europe, as well as continuing occasional trips to perform in Hawaii and Cape Cod . The group did not forget its roots and regularly returned to Central Iowa where they played the top places in the Des Moines area, including the Blue Max in the Kirkwood Hotel, as well most of the major ballrooms throughout Iowa.

The Sheffields continued this schedule until 1976 when the group ended under that band name. After taking a break during the disco years, in 1979 Ken and Larry Allison formed the Allison Brothers Blues band which included lead singer Dick Chase and other former Sheffield members. The group played many of the same venues as The Sheffields, including trips to Hawaii.  

Finally, in 1984 the Allison brothers started a new show band named “The Blues Other Brothers. This band expanded the horizons of the Allison brothers even further and they eventually performed literally all over the world including , many countries in Europe, the Cayman Islands, and Saudi Arabia. In 1995 the group relocated to Nashville Tennessee to further its musical ambitions. As a side note, Ken Allison’s son Kurt is currently the lead guitar player in the band of Nashville Country superstar Jason Aldean.

The primary members of the Sheffields over  the years were (with current residences): Ken and Larry Allison - Lebanon, TN; Dick Chase - Cape Faire, MO; Rick ‘Jeffreys’ Skurnik - Highland Beach, FL; Kenny Durbin - Fort Mill, SC; Pat Vidas - Gardiner, NY; Curt Barry – Berwick, IA; Mark Bertacchi - Birmingham, MI; Deone Johnson - New Auburn, WI; Sev Meyer - Hermann, MO; Kerry Mogen - Sioux Falls, SD; and Diane Martinelli - Taunton, MA.

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