Series of 6 shots at typical venue in Jacksonville, FL.

Woodstock Teen Center in Jacksonville, FL.

Ken, Hal, Al, James, and Don

Ken, Hal, Al, and James getting into a song.

Ken, Al, Hal, Don, and James clowning around for the camera. We were trying for a carefree English pose but it just didn't come across somehow.

Ken and Hal

Hal, Ken, Al, Don, and James. Al has his 12 string guitar for those songs that needed the English sound, and note there are now 4 Fender Showman amplifiers lined up.

A series of 8 shots at the Twin Hill Teen Center in Jacksonville, FL November, 1966.

The crowd starting to build before we opened.

James, Don, and some onlookers.

"A Little About Us"

Al, with his white Fender Jazz Master Guitar.

Of the five of us, Al was probably the most reserved on stage but was quick with a smile and had a great sense of humor. He was hard at work being a great guitar player. When we first started out, James played rhythm guitar, and Al was suppose to play lead, but his lead was more like a fancy rhythm with with a few licks here and there. We needed picking and lead riffs. Several months passed with many practice sessions and encouragement from us but probably more like harassment to Al. A breakthrough occurred one night. We were practicing "Fun, Fun, Fun", a Beach Boys song. To our surprise, on the "break", Al broke loose, and we couldn't believe our ears. We had our lead guitar, and he just got better and better from then on. Al loved playing "Louie Louie", no doubt the king of garage band songs--the most requested of them all.

Hal with his Power Blue Fender Jazz Base guitar.

Early on Hal committed to playing base, and we were glad he did because it was such a good fit. Hal had the first Fender guitar in our group and kept it even through college. He once loaned it to Dione Warwick's road band when their equipment failed to show up. He was the cut-up of the five of us and was always doing something funny. He sang lead on may songs. His favorite was "Twist and Shout". That one got everybody on the dance floor. He did a great job and was always very animated on stage.

Ken with his Farfisa Compact Duo organ.

Ken joined our group and brought a whole new dimension to our sound and presence. We advanced in accomplishing songs with keyboard parts and multiple harmonies--we now had three lead singers. He was an excellent keyboard player and gave 100% on stage. His organ introduction growled like a freight train on "Gimme Some Lovin". He sang lead, it was pure Spencer Davis. If that song didn't get them on the dance floor....they couldn't move.

James holding a new white Fender Jaguar guitar.

Looking like a proud farther with his first new born, the Fender evolution was complete. James sang lead on many of our songs and just had such a clear voice. He was a perfect showman and got along great with everyone. One time though, we got the best of him. We were in the middle of a song that involved some fancy foot work. James jumped on his guitar cord and pulled over his amplifier. Needless to say, we stopped the song, righted his amplifier and continued the set. After the dance was over Hal and Don piled an amplifier on top of Al as a joke. For some reason James was not amused by our antics but soon got over it and life was good again.

Don on his Ludwig Holiday drum set.

He provided the driving force behind the drums as well as keeping everyone focused. Don had stage presence and personality. In addition to keeping a beat he would set up and maintain the P/A system and address any technical issues that occurred like making and repairing guitar cords on the spot. The songs he like to play least were "Wipe Out" and "Sally with the Blue Dress". Both were physical exhausting for a drummer. His favorite was "Five O'clock World" and anything with a beat that got them to dance.

To the left of Don you can see a "Dynacord Echocord" echo unit sitting on top of our Bogen MX60A P/A amplifier. The Dynacord was a device that gave our vocals an unbelievable sound. It accomplished this with an "endless tape loop" and one record head and 3 or more playback heads. Each playback head would play back the vocal a split-second later and at a lower volume. Thus you would hear HELLO-HEllo-hello just like a real echo. The unit was a fantastic addition to any bands sound, and we were fortunate to have one of these magical boxes. Even to this day they are sought after and prized by musicians.

Dynacord Echocord echo unit.

60 watt Bogen P/A ampilifer.

Ken out in front singing lead at Twin Hills.

Coat of Arms Teen Center in Savannah, GA.

What a great place to play. Ken, Hal, Ken Fuller (WAPE disk jockey), Al, James, and Don on stage at the Coat of Arms. That's a large parachute draped from the ceiling.

Marvin Shaw our manager talking with Ken Fuller (WAPE disk jockey) and Don during a break at the Coat of Arms in Savannah, GA.

Two regulars pose for the camera in front of the Keystone Beach Pavilion.

Not much to look at but this was "the" place for bands in north central Florida in the 60's. If you where attending college at Gainsville, Florida you probably made your way 27 miles or so east to Keystone Heights and the famous Keystone Beach Pavilion. Constructed on pilings over the water, it was one of those rare venues that seemed to attract huge crowds even with no A/C, just open doors and windows. Out on the decks you could feel the heat from hundreds of bodies dancing to songs like Wooley Bully, Money, Louie Louie, This Will Be The Last Time, Hard Day's Night, etc. Summer breezes carried the sounds emanating from electric guitar amplifiers, organs, and drums out across the lake while inside was a mass of youth with standing room only moving shoulder to shoulder to a throbbing beat. One of Don's most enjoyable memories was playing and being positioned just in front of a large window to the right of stage. The windows were always open and fans would be crowded behind watching him play, and he could talk and interact with them, just a great experience.

Of all the places the Teddy Bears played, the Pavilion was home. From 1965 through 1967 each Saturday night during the summer, the "Bears" headlined. Other bands such as the UFO's and the Coronados played on Friday nights.

Outside shot of the Pavilion.

Set up at the Pavilion with 4 Fender Showman amplifiers, 2 Fender guitars and James's Firebird Gibson (pre Fender Jaguar) with a good shot of the P/A speakers columns on stands. Each speaker enclosure contained 8 6" speakers supposedly to reduce feed back. By now the P/A amplifier was a 60 watt Bogen MX60A with 4 Electro-Voice 664 mikes and 1 Shure mike. Probably one of the last equipment additions was Ken's "Leslie (rotating) speaker" in addition to his Fender Showman amplifier. The Leslie gave certain songs quite a punch with that Hammond organ vibrato sound.

Teddy Bears song list.

Looking like the Shroud of Turin this is a coveted piece of garage band memorabilia, the song list. Today we look back and are amazed that we had mastered well over 100 songs.

As we were to experience through life, many undercurrents were in motion just at our peek. The biggest was Uncle Sam. This was the mid-60's and Don was eligible to be drafted. He was able to enlist in the Air Nation Guard and left in March, 1966 for basic, for about 3 or 4 months. During this time Mike Beckham took his place. We were fortunate to have Mike, and he was a good fit. When Don returned, we thanked him for his hard work and he move on. Too bad we didn't try two drummers? Hal had plans to attend college out of state, so a replacement for him was looming on the horizon, as well.

Live Oak, FL. March, 1966.

Mike Beckham and James.

Live Oak, FL. March, 1966.

Mike Beckham taking over the "Teddy Bear" drums for a few months.

Valdosta, GA Civic Center (Mathis Auditorium) March, 1966.

A shot of the lobby with Mike, Al, Hal, James, and Ken is lying down.

My favorite picture and it's worth a thousand words. We had come a long way. It shows we were complete in equipment, sound, presentation, and confidence. A brotherhood between us had been forged, something every garage band experiences if they are together long enough. By now we anticipated each other's moves and thoughts, we could perform and make it look easy, and we enjoyed it. Being on stage, making music that people danced to and liked, was thrilling. We loved every minute. We were young, good, and in demand. How much better could it have been?

Most garage bands could be classified as shooting stars. Most last for a short glimmer and others seem to last forever. The Teddy Bears were not immune to this phenomenon. The roads that brought us together at the end of 1964 would provide us with different paths to travel in the fall of 1967. What a ride it had been! It had taken our breath away. The dances, the fans, the travel, the record, our name on the radio, the newspaper articles, and even a TV appearance. We had fulfilled what every garage band, everywhere starts out to do: have girls notice us and guys respect us and have fun doing it. It could not have been much better!

Hal Shaw (Base guitar) is a director for Comverg and lives in Norcross, GA.

Al Duckworth (Lead guitar) manages Newman Construction and lives in Middleburg, FL.

James Williams (Rhythm guitar) is a DSL technician for BellSouth and lives in Jacksonville, FL.

Don Richards (Drums) is retired from Lucent and lives in Kennesaw, GA.

Ken Webb (Keyboard) location unknown.

Mike Beckham (Drums) lives in Jacksonville, Fl.

Marvin Shaw (Manager) is retired from Jacksonville Electric Authority and lives in Green Cove Springs, FL.

By Don Richards (January, 2006)
Edited by Dineane Whitaker
Special thanks to Walter Eaton, Bobby Skel, and Larry Thomas for information used in writing this article.