Wednesday, May 1, 2024

The Playboys


In 1958, two Colorado Springs musicians teamed up with four music students at the University of Colorado, Boulder. Together they were known as The Playboys. While most teens were boppin' to the sounds of Elvis and the Everly Brothers, the six young men were known for jazz.

Regulars at college dances (mostly at CSU in Fort Collins) and nightclubs, The Playboys recorded their one and only vinyl offering, Playboy Impressions. Recorded in 1959, at Bud Edmunds' KCMS studios, in Manitou Springs. 

Minus a successful bid on an eBay auction, I have never come across this record before. Guessing these had a small pressing, quite possibly only sold at their shows. The seller didn't have any connection to it. Who knows, but it's a fantastic find.

The tracks on the red-colored vinyl are pretty much jazz combo standards, minus the energetic cover of the` Billy Eckstine  / Four Freshman bopper, "Mr. B's Blues," and a take on Peggy Lee's "Fever" (samples below).


Listen to a sample of "Fever"

Listen to "Mr. B's Blues"

Tom Forgey - Drums
Don Hake - Trumpet / Vibes
Norm Helwig - Piano
Dick Skipton - Tenor Sax
Bob Smith - Trombone
Rick Vaughn - Bass 

The cover features model Lou Ellen Morrow, a University of Colorado student, from Colorado Springs.  The Playboys would only last through the end of their college years. The last noted appearance of the band was in 1964. 

To confuse things, there were apparently other Colorado groups going by The Playboys, including 78s recorded by Smiley Macom and his Western Playboys (Frontier 502 and 503), Jimmy Lake and the Colorado Playboys (Band Box 380 - "She Awoke / Where Will it End"), Sef and his Playboys, Schroeder's Playboys, who would appear on Marvin Shilling records, The Polka Playboys, The Rocky Mountain Playboys who back Johnnie Dwyer, and a standard four-piece outfit, going by The Playboys, who would occasionally back Kenny Jay (who also appeared with the Fabulous Roadrunners).

Tom Forgey would go on to be elected Arkansas state representative. Norm Helwig would become an attorney, in Vail. Don Hake would pass away in 1998. Dick Skipton still lives in Colorado. I couldn't find any additional information on Bob Smith and Rick Vaughn. As always, let me know if you have anything to add.