Blues Image was a critically acclaimed late 1960s rock band. Their most successful song was "Ride Captain Ride" in the last half of 1970, which reached #4 on the both the Billboard Hot 100 and the Canadian RPM magazine charts. Blues Image was a well respected band among their peers. In an interview conducted by British magazine Melody Maker, Jimi Hendrix said that Blues Image was "one of the best up and coming bands around". Shortly before Hendrix's demise, Hendrix and Manny Bertematti were seen jamming at the popular underground club, 'The Experience' on Los Angeles' Sunset Strip.
Blues Image was formed in Tampa, Florida in 1966 by singer-guitarist Mike Pinera, singer-drummer Manuel "Manny" Bertematti, singer-percussionist Joe Lala, keyboardist Emilio Garcia, andbassist Malcolm Jones. They were later joined by keyboardist Frank "Skip" Konte when Emilio Garcia left the band to become a pilot. Blues Image moved to Miami in 1968, where they were instrumental in helping promoters form the most innovative music venue in South Florida, 'Thee Image'. Blues Image became the house band at the club, which featured bands like the Grateful Dead, Cream, and Blood, Sweat and Tears.
The band moved to Los Angeles and signed with Atco Records, releasing their self-titled debut album in February 1969. Their second album, Open (April 1970), included the popular hit "Ride Captain Ride". Featuring Kent Henry on guitar solo and fills, and Pinera playing solo at the end, the song was co-composed by Pinera and Konte. This disc sold over one million copies, and earned a gold record from the R.I.A.A. in August 1970.
Pinera left the band and was replaced by singer Denny Correll and guitarist Kent Henry. The band later broke up but did release a third album, Red White & Blues Image in May 1970.
The various members of Blues Image went on to become parts of other rock bands. Bertematti later played with New Cactus Band. Pinera later played with Iron Butterfly, Ramatam and Alice Cooper. Konte joined Three Dog Night, and Lala played with Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. Lala's percussion work figures prominently on the Stephen Stills/Chris Hillman led group, Manassas. Henry played lead guitar with Steppenwolf prior to their break-up in the early 1970s. Bertematti toured with Chi Coltrane and Bobby Womack.
Correll later recorded a series of successful Contemporary Christian rock albums, helped expand CCM's commercial appeal, and achieved airplay with several singles on CCM radio during the late 1970s and early 1980s. He died in 2002. Gary Dunham, who also toured with the last incarnation of Blues Image, also became a solo CCM artist.
Pinera has released several solo albums, most recently In the Garden of Eden.
- Blues Image - (1969) - #112 (Billboard 200)
- Open - (1970) - #147 (Billboard 200)
- Red White & Blues Image - (1970)
- "Lay Your Sweet Love on Me" / "Outside Was Night" (1969)
- "Ride Captain Ride" / "Pay My Dues" (1970) - #4 (Billboard 100)
- "Gas Lamps and Clay" / "Running Water" (1970) - #81 (Billboard 100)
- "Rise Up" / "Take Me Back" (1971)?
Known mainly for their 1970 US number 4 hit, ‘Ride Captain Ride’, Blues Image was a quintet from Tampa, Florida, USA. Formed in the mid-60s, they began as a trio featuring Mike Pinera (29 September 1948, Tampa, Florida, USA; guitar/vocals), Joe Lala (b. Tampa, Florida, USA; drums) and Manuel Bertematti (b. 1946, Tampa, Florida, USA; percussion). In 1966 Malcolm Jones (b. Cardiff, Wales; bass) joined and the band took the name Blues Image. Keyboardist Frank ‘Skip’ Konte, originally from Canyon City, California, was enlisted in 1968, at which time the band relocated to Miami, Florida. The band opened their own club, The Image, where besides booking some of the top acts of the day they were able to provide themselves with a ready-made venue for the Blues Image’s performances. Signed to Atco Records in 1969, they recorded their self-titled debut album, which landed at number 112 in the US album charts. The following year, they released Open, which did not do well despite the inclusion of the band’s hit single. A third album was issued in 1970, with Dennis Corell (vocals) and Kent Henry (guitar) but minus Pinera (who briefly joined Iron Butterfly), but proved unsuccessful. Blues Image disbanded upon that record’s release, and although Atco issued two more singles, neither charted.
Some members of Blues Image started a new band called Manna. Konte joined Three Dog Night in 1974. Lala became renowned as a session drummer and percussionist, working with, among others, Crosby, Stills, Nash And Young, Manassas, Joe Walsh and Harry Chapin. Pinera joined Ramatam in 1972, then formed the New Cactus Band in 1973, which recorded one album for Atco. He then formed a short-lived band called Thee Image in 1975 and recorded two solo albums, before establishing a career in television and video.
Ride Captain Ride
Gas Lamps and Clay
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