Papa John “JB” Barrett
John was born and raised right in Winsted CT, and many of our CT fans are his old friends, and he does have a lot. Everyone loves Johnny B, including us!
John grew up in a big and loving family, all encouraged to do many things and to love to learn. He played many instruments and played with even more bands including; Al and the Fascinations, Turk and the Bop Kings, Modern Forum, Boogie, Rhythm Dukes, Swing Shift, Mojo Coffee, Bluestars, Max 2000, Just One Look, Hoodoo Rhythm Dogs, and most recently The White House Staff. Many of the Spurs USA can be found singing or playing with our friend Johnny Drake and his band The WHS, especially for a fundraiser that helped the local Pet Pantry!
“John won’t say much about himself, he is basically shy, so I will say it for him”, says bandmate Dona Federico. “He is a really cool cat with a wealth of knowledge and wisdom that we all respect and love. He can play almost any instrument, sax, piano, guitar, but he mostly loves and plays the bass.” And speaking of The Rhythm Dukes….from Wikipedia:
In the late summer of 1969, following the release of Truly Fine Citizen, Moby Grape’s last album for Columbia, Jerry Miller and Don Stevenson joined with John Barrett (bass) and John “Fuzzy” Oxendine (drums) to form The Rhythm Dukes. Don Stevenson played guitar, rather than drums. It is speculated that he left the band shortly after its formation for that reason, preferring to remain a drummer.
The band came together at Jerry Miller’s initiative, at a time when the future of Moby Grape was uncertain. Moby Grape members had been shocked by Bob Mosley’s abrupt departure to join the Marines, shortly after the release of Moby Grape ’69. This added to uncertainties that commenced at the time of the 1968 departure of Skip Spence from the band, as the result of a six month involuntary psychiatric committal during the course of recording Wow/Grape Jam. The recording of Truly Fine Citizen in 1969 had been similarly strained, in that Columbia Records had imposed a three day limit on recording time, thus demonstrating little support for Moby Grape’s future. The band lived together in Santa Cruz and, following Stevenson’s departure, was joined by Bill Champlin on organ and vocals. The future of Champlin’s band, The Sons of Champlin, was at that time uncertain, similar to the situation which Miller and Stevenson had faced. Champlin, along with Miller, became the group’s principal songwriters. The Rhythm Dukes shared the stage with such artists as Albert Collins, Lee Michaels, The Flying Burrito Brothers, Canned Heat, The Grateful Dead and Cat Mother & the All Night Newsboys, generally being second-billed. They recorded one album in 1970, which saw release in 2005 as Flashback
The band existed from 1969-1971.
John lives in Great Barrington with his wife Susy, a Doctor, and his very loved pets and outdoor friends. Ask him about his bear! John is always ready to help a friend or a stranger. He has a big heart and a very loving family. You can often find many of them at one of our gigs and his grand-daughter, Francesca, loves to jump on stage and play the tambo with the band! She is quite a sweetie! John also plays the Saxaphone and has done so with The Spurs USA. It is a wonderful treat!