Thursday, September 30, 2021

Carl Finnigan (the Sting Reys) 1944-2021


The Sting Reys (1963)
Ronnie Houston, Gilbert Razo,
Carl Finnigan, and Larry Montoya

Just got word this morning that Carl Finnigan,  a member of the popular Pueblo group, the Sting Reys, passed away. He was 76 years old. His funeral will be held Tuesday, Oct. 5, 2021, at Calvary Catholic Cemetery, 7101 Verner Ave., Citrus Heights, CA 95621.

According to his obituary - "Kenneth Carl Finnigan passed away peacefully at his home on Saturday, Sept. 11, 2021, at the age of 76. He was born on Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 23, 1944, in Pueblo, Colo., to Josephine and George Arnold Finnigan. Carl was the youngest of three children. Carl was gifted with a great talent for music. He played guitar, banjo, piano and mandolin, but his great love was guitar. He taught himself to play guitar at a very early age and developed an unsurpassed ear for music. In 1960, he formed the band The Sting Reys, a popular rock and roll band, in Pueblo, Colo. He was District Manager for Parklane Hosiery out of New York for 20 years and worked for the State of California for 25 years. Carl was a long time member of Saint Joseph Parish in Lincoln, Calif., and participated in music ministry at both Saint Joseph and Saint Peter and Paul Parish. He was a devoted husband, father, grandfather, brother and uncle. He is survived by his wife of 56 years, Carole Lautaret Finnigan; his daughters, Jacque Finnigan (Joe Gladney) and Shannon Finnigan (Dave) Woods; his son, Michael Finnigan; grandson, Ryan Woods; granddaughters, Carley and Julia Finnigan"

Back in 2010, I had the opportunity to talk to Carl, about his time in the band.

What an amazing group they were. One of the first successful homemade bands, in Pueblo. I'm cranking "You're Looking Good," right now.

Rest in peace.

Monday, September 27, 2021

Denver's Whisky A Go-Go (yes, THAT one)

June 18, 1965 Denver Post ad

In the summer of 1965, the founders of the famous Whisky-A-Go-Go live music venue, in Hollywood, decided they would expand to other cities. Founder Elmer Valentine, along with Phil Tanzini, Shelly Davis, and Theodore Filer had opened the Sunset Strip location, at the start of 1964 (contrary to popular belief that it was the first, the actual first Whisky opened in Chicago, in 1958). 

The founders decided on Georgetown (outside of Washington D.C.), Atlanta, San Francisco...and Denver. 

The venue's location, 1601 W. Evans, was home to AAA Builders, Inc., at least according to the city directory. Note another live music venue, Sultan's Table is listed as 1621 W. Evans. This could be a typo, as I found a token from the location, indicating it's 1601 W. Evans (see below)

1963-1964 Denver City Directory

Sultan's Table token (note address as 1601 W. Evans)

Sultan's Table was managed by Randy King. I found a Billboard story, dated February 1964, indicating that Sultan's Table had just opened. This is confirmed with another story in Music Reporter, published that same month. About a year later, it had apparently closed.

Expansion of the Whisky happened almost overnight, as advertisements for staff started appearing in the Denver Post, in the summer of 1965.

June 18, 1965 Denver Post ad

 Note the odd hours for the nightclub - 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. It's quite possible that this is meant to be "interview hours" for job applicants, but it's confusing, all the same.

This is where it gets hazy. There is very little noted on who actually performed at the Whisky. I found a reference to Captain Beefheart and the Magic Band playing there in the fall of 1965. The club also received a mention in Billboard.

Billboard - December 25, 1965  - Caption: "Billy James of Columbia Records, second from the left, talks with Frankie Rino, third from the left, and members of the Squires group. The group is appearing at Denver's Whisky A-Go-Go."

I found a reference that the Whisky had hoped to attract more local bands, who wanted their name attached to the famous franchise. Which is probably the reason why there seems to be little to no stories or advertisements on any other "famous" acts preforming there. The Denver City Directory confirms that the Whisky was in business long enough to have a mention in its annual records.

1965-1966 Denver City Directory

But, by 1966, the club was no more. No clue on what happened, as I could find absolutely nothing on its demise. It was quickly renamed Batman's Cave.

1966-1967 Denver City Directory

However Batman's Cave's end happened about as quickly as it began. The club closed, and became The Bird (note it's believe it was also called The Posh).

1967-1968 Denver City Directory

The Bird was owned by Francis Salazar (I had been told it was actually owned by Barry Fey, but I couldn't find any reference that was true).  The story goes that after the demise of The Bird, Salazar contacted Fey about keeping the building open as a live music venue, thus becoming the most successful in the history of the location - the Family Dog.

"I ran into the clubs while researching the background on the building," said Scott Montgomery, the co-writer and co-director (along with Dan Obarski) of the fantastic documentary The Tale of the Dog. "The history was a little muddy, but The Posh, The Bird, and the Sultan's Table all came up. Of particular interest was Captain Beefheart's residency at the Whiskey A-Go-Go in 1965. This would have been a very early introduction of progressive music to Denver, as Beefheart was hardly mainstream fodder. It seems that only Lothar and the Hand People were offering 'unusual' rock music in Denver at the time. Beefheart's residency at the Whisky helped set the table for the Family Dog."

Family Dog opened in September 1967.  I'm not about to duplicate anything on that part of the story. Scott Montgomery has done exhaustive research, and I highly recommend you check out his excellent site (and watch the movie!).

I don't pretend to know everything. So, if you have any additional information on this story, please contact me. 

Monday, September 20, 2021

Red Rocks Radio Jingle

So 80 years ago, this year, Red Rocks Amphitheater was officially dedicated. I'm not going to cut and paste the history of the venue, as there is plenty already documented, but...

Here's something I have NEVER seen (or heard) - a Red Rocks radio jingle!

I can't take credit for this incredible discovery. It was found by my dear friend Mike Stelk, who offered the disc to me. I can't thank him enough for doing so.

:35 Red Rocks radio jingle

Is that great, or what?

No information on who is singing the jingle. There is absolutely no identifying marks, no year noted, and nothing etched in the run out. The plain white label notes three :35 cuts and two :10 cuts, which are the same on each side. It's quite possible this is a one-of-a-kind find.

:10 Red Rocks radio jingle

Monday, September 13, 2021

Leslie Fore

I'm constantly surprised when I find a Colorado record, which has completely slipped through the cracks of my collection. So is the case with this 1981 EP from Leslie Fore.

My Colorado Home shows the total of four songs, and not much else. The songs are performed by Thomas Roland. The genre could be described as antiseptic, and very dated. I wish I could offer more of a review, but there really is not much to elaborate here. The lyrics and singing style on this record are more 1931, instead of 1981. No credits mentioned on the backing musicians. I'm guessing that the music is quite possibly a simple backing track, as it sounds almost the same on every cut.

 Listen to "In The Garden of the Gods"

 Leslie Fore's history is far more interesting, and helps solve the mystery of this album.

1955 Photo of Leslie Fore (Denver Post - watermarked)

Born in 1896, Fore was a one-time bandleader, and a dedicated sheet music collector, with an emphasis on Colorado-themed songs. He was also an elevator operator at the Colorado Historical Museum.

October 6, 1960 - Monroe (Louisiana) News Star

In a 1938 issue of Hobbies - The Magazine for Collectors, Fore placed an advertisement for souvenirs, postcards and novelties. The ad noted his 1525 E. 30th Street home address, in the Whittier neighborhood of Denver.

In 1954, the U.S. Copyright Office showed his Success Music Publishing Company was located at 3151 High Street, near the corner of what is now Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. and High St.
According to copyright filings, Fore not only collected Colorado sheet music, but he also composed it, dating back to 1922. 
"Miranda on the Old Veranda"
"In The Garden of the Gods I'll Wait for You" 

"My Colorado Home"

"Angel In My Dreams"
"I'll Wait At the Gates of Heaven"
"You're Gonna Miss Me When I'm Gone"
Sadly, I couldn't find an actual printed piece of his sheet music. I checked with Tom Merry, my go-to on anything sheet music related, and he had nothing related to this composer. The 1936 "In the Garden of the Gods" and the 1954 "My Colorado Home" both show up on his 1981 album, which explains why this disc sounds about 40 years older than it's original year released. 
I also couldn't find anything related to Mr. Fore's time as a bandleader.

Fore died in 1992, at the age of 96. He is buried at Fairmount Cemetery (marker below). 

Monday, September 6, 2021

Pueblo Signs on the Air – The Origins of Steel City Radio

In 1919, Colorado Springs amateur radio enthusiast Dr. William D. “Doc” Reynolds, Jr began a short-range broadcast, under the call sign 9JE. A few months later, according to a May 13, 1920 story, titled “Dance Music by Wireless Transmitted by Reynolds,” published in the Colorado Springs Gazette, “Pupils at the High school [didn’t identify which one] who experiment in wireless telephony and telegraphy received the canned music from the home of Dr. W. D. Reynolds last night, and tripped the light fantastic to it with satisfaction.” 

 Two years after that experiment, the Reynolds Radio Company would launch the first radio station in Colorado, KLZ. The Denver-based station broadcast a 5,000-watt signal, reaching Pueblo, which would not be far behind with its own radio presence. 


In 1922, George G. Loewenthal was the first to bring a radio station to Pueblo – or at least a radio license. In the February 1923 issue of The Wireless Age, KFGB was officially listed in the Broadcasting Station Directory. In a February 17, 1923 issue of Radio World, it was noted that there were “six new broadcasters,” who had been licensed by the Department of Commerce, including KFGB, in Pueblo, which was owned by “The Loewenthal Brothers.” 

(click to enlarge)

According to the filing, the studio was located at 616-618 N. Main Street, which was also the location of Loewenthal’s electrical contracting and Apex brand vacuum cleaner shop. 

Pueblo Chieftain – February 20, 1921 

While KFGB would be the “first” radio station application, in Pueblo, there is very little known about the station’s programming format, its announcers, or if it even ever went on the air. 

 Just a year later, in the 1923 Radio Service Bulletin, issued by the U.S. Department of Commerce, KFGB was on a list of stations to “strike out all particulars,” implying that the station was no longer on the air – if it was ever on, at all. The radio call letters would later go to a station in Iowa City, IA. 

While there is no documentation that KFGB ever broadcast, and can’t be officially noted as the “first” radio station in Pueblo, there is quite a bit of information confirming that KGDP holds the honors. 


 (click to enlarge - sorry for the blurriness)  - Fort Collins Coloradan (year unknown) 

 In 1922, KGDP would join the local Pueblo radio dial - as the first and only radio station, in the United States (at the time), run entirely by Boy Scouts. 

Heard at 1340 on the radio dial (later switching to 1210), according to a June, 1922 report from the Department of Commerce, KGDP was listed as operating at 2927 High Street, (the residence of John D Price, scout commissioner of Pueblo). 

“The station has a recorded distance of 400 miles and occasionally, under favorable auspices, even longer, and sends out programs regularly on Tuesday and Friday evenings. On the first, strictly scouting programs are rendered. On Thursdays programs are arranged with local participants but with an effort to use scouts or scout parents, where talent is available” - 17th Annual Report of the Boy Scouts of America (1926) 

According to coverage of the first evening of broadcast, in the Pueblo Chieftain, “Thursday night’s program, as broadcasted by Pueblo scout station KGDP was the first that has ever been broadcasted from Pueblo. This very fact, in itself is a significant achievement…” 

 The first broadcast featured scout “bugle caller” Carl Christenson, along with vocalist Miss Ethel Yund, and John R. Elliot, on horn. Other performers that night were bassist Thomas A. Christian, Miss Ruth Lyons on violin, R. M. Miller “a tenor soloist,” Thomas Christian and Charlies Wilson (who performed a duet), and Miss Majorie Starkweather, who gave a reading entitled “ The Little Mixer.” 

The Boy Scout-run station received quite a bit of national publicity, for the unique staffing. The New York Times featured KGDP in its February 12, 1927 edition. “Boy Scouts of Pueblo have their own broadcasting station, KGDP, from which programs are radioed Tuesday and Wednesday evenings. This, so far, as is known, is the only station maintained and operated by the Boy Scouts, although one station is New York City, and one in Kingston, N.Y., and one or two elsewhere, have time to time operated under Boy Scout assistance.” 

 KGDP would be the model for other scouting organizations, looking to teach members how to operate a radio station. Under the headline Scouts Operate Radio Station, the Hutchinson (Kansas) News reported, in its February 26, 1927 edition, that “Hutchinson Boy Scouts are invited to tune in on their radios for the programs which are being offered every Tuesday and Friday by station KGDP scout-owned broadcasting plant located in Pueblo, Colo.” 

The story went on to note that the “executive board of the Pueblo council raised funds to send an older scout to Chicago for training as an operator for the station.” 

Boy’s Life – May, 1927 

H.E. Hedlund was listed as the station announcer. In the 1927 issue of Santa Fe magazine, He was noted as a violinist and vocalist. Programming on KGDP was furnished by scouts, or their parents. It broadcast on a 261 meter wave and operated on 10 watts of power. 

The last notation of KGDP, with the U.S. Department of Commerce, would appear in 1930. 


On December 9, 1927, George H. Sweeney and N.S. Walpole were granted a radio broadcasting license for a 50 watt (later 500 watt) station, located at 1200 on the radio dial. 

 Sweeney ran the Globe Fire Insurance & Investment Co., located at 206 W 4th. He was also listed as vice president of Pueblo Foundry and Machine Co. Walpole listed his occupation as a postmaster, and secretary-treasurer of the Pueblo Club. 

No additional information could be found on this station. 


On October 27, 1927, the U.S. Department of Commerce issued a license to (later state senator) Curtis P. Ritchie and Joe Finch. Other records show the names Philip G. Lasky and J.H. Albert. J.H. McGill was noted as the news editor. The station would have the call letters KGHF. 

Radio reception stamp for KGHF 

KGHF was the first to have a station slogan, “The Voice of Pueblo.” It broadcast at 1350 at 1,000 watts in the day and 500 watts at night, at 1430, on the radio dial, daily from 8:00 a.m.-1:30 p.m. and 4:00-11:00 p.m. 

The studios were located in the Broadway Arcade Building.

Programming included public affairs shows, featuring John F. Connors, who was also in the Public Affairs Department at Lowry Field. The station also broadcast “You and the Law,” a syndicated program, produced by the Colorado Bar Association. Later, the station would feature live instrumental music from Walsenburg accordion player Mario Carreri, and country music by Jimmie and Dick and the Novelty Boys with Cora Deane. 

In 1945, KGHF sold for $300,000. The station was purchased by Colorado publisher Gifford Phillips (of the East Jefferson Sentinel and the Jefferson County Republican). 

In an April 25, 1947 FCC application for construction permits for KGHF, it was noted that were “only two stations in Pueblo – KGHF and KADP…and a third station has been authorized – KCSJ.” 

KGHF would keep the original call letters until 1964, when the station used KKAM (1964-1976). The station would go on to change its call letters several times, in its history. 

 Other early stations 

Over the next twenty years, there were new radio licenses in Pueblo, implying that KGHF was the lone local Pueblo station, in that time. 

In 1947, longtime Pueblo stations KCSJ and KDZA signed on. While the history of both has been well-documented, very little is known about two other Pueblo stations, which applied for, and received licenses for broadcast – KADP and KROM: 


In 1947, the son of former Colorado U.S. Senator (from 1923-1924 and 1933-1941) Alva B. Adams, and grandson of former Colorado Governor Alva Adams, applied for a construction permit for a new broadcast station. 

Alva B. Adams, Jr. who was the chairman of the Pueblo Bank & Trust, would call his station KADP. It would broadcast at 1490 on the radio dial. The official address on the application was noted (incorrectly) as 102 Arman Avenue (believed to be instead Orman Avenue – and the address of the Orman mansion, where Adams and his family lived ). 

For reasons unknown, on October 4, 1948, Adams cancelled the permit, and pulled out of putting a radio station in Pueblo. 


Also in 1947, an FM permit was issued to Rocky Mountain Broadcasting Co., (which included Walter Hurd, owner of Hurd Pontiac Co; Carl Walter and Martin Walter Jr., operators of Walter’s Brewing Co., and A. G. Chamberlain, First Federal Savings and Loan Co.), for the station call letters KROM, which would be broadcast at 920 on the dial. The station’s studios were located at 429 Thatcher. However, according to the filing “the permit was dismissed for failure of prosecution.” The original story, in April 21, 1947 issue of Broadcasting, did not elaborate further.