Tommy Tucker & the Esquires
1999 - Band
Members: Tommy Tucker, Tom Welby, Al Kuehl, Gerald Wright, Mark Boals, Bill Haakinson, Fred Eller, and Gene Varian
Tommy Tucker & The Esquires started in 1963 when original members, Mark Boals on drums, Al Kuehl on rhythm guitar, Garry Wright on lead guitar, Tom Welby on bass, and Tommy Tucker on lead vocals came together to explore the world of rock and roll in Des Moines.
By early 1964 they were active on the local high school, teen towns, skating rink, and ballroom scene. Quickly they became top draws in Central Iowa as well as the rest of the state. They were especially popular at Okoboji's famed Roof Garden Ballroom.
In 1966, Fred Eller replaced Boals, on drums and in early 1967, Bill Haakinson replaced Eller in the group.
A good part of their success came in the form of their Manager Gene Varian, who helped the group develop their careers with increased business and visibility.
In 1966, the Esquires would travel to the legendary Iowa Great Lake’s Recording Studios in Milford to record and release two singles on the IGL label. "Peace Of Mind/How Did I Know" (IGL 108) and "Don't Tell Me Lies/What Would You Do" (IGL 121).
At their height in popularity, they appeared with such groups as Al Hirt, The Syndicate of Sound, and The Turtles.
In 1967, they were signed to Chicago's infamous Chess Records label. Because of another group already called The Esquires, they were forced to change their name to Tommy T's Federal Reserve.
While with Chess they recorded and released two more singles, "Someday/Let's Go Down To The Park" (Cadet 5622) and "Grow Up Someday/Take The Midnight
Train" (Cadet 5584). They would also release their third single in 1968 on Varian's R-Jay label, "Get It Together/45 Second Blues". (R-Jay 6856).
Tucker would go on to record with Salt River "Messenger" (Cantilope #66) and have a distinguished career in the national recording industry working with such artists as Prince.