Early rock’n’roll band from the east side of town,
recorded a 45 on the Gaity label
1957 – 1959
Summer, 1957: In St. Paul, a trio is playing together in the basement of the drummer’s house. The musicians are Darwin Ekholm on lead guitar and vocals; Ray Skoog on rhythm guitar; and Bobby Sepeda on drums. Bobby’s brother Rudy informs the group he knows of a keyboard player and Eddie Engebretson joins the band on keyboards. Bobby (of Spanish descent) comes up with the name: The Delricos, a Spanish term for “the riches.”
Fall, 1957: The Delricos play their first live job at the Marriam Park Community Center in the Midway area of St. Paul. The group plays early Elvis songs, along with R & B songs by Chuck Berry, Fats Domino and Little Richard, among others. The songs are not on the radio and learned from the obscure records that Darwin finds at Gimble’s Record Shop located at University and Rice Street in St. Paul. The band purchases matching stage outfits at Nates clothing store in downtown St. Paul. Clarence Lodi, manager of “Lodi’s Little Village” pizza place, provides a practice space for the band in the basement of the restaurant located on Kellogg Boulevard. Clarence also manages the band.
1958: Clarence Hajney, who is managing a number of local bands, takes an interest in the Delricos and begins to manage the band. In the summer, the band gets their first paying job at a VFW in Somerset, Wisconsin. The band travels to Wisconsin to play at dance halls in New Richmond and Rice Lake. The group travels in Darwin’s 1955 Crown Victoria.
April, 1958: The Delricos play at the Gladstone school auditorium as part of a 2 day celebration (April 25 and 26) in honor of Minnesota becoming a state in 1858. The event is planned by the Gladstone Community Club and called “Centennial Scandals.” The band is pictured in the April 24, 1958 edition of the Ramsey County Review with the caption: “Members of this lively musical group, “The Delrico’s” will add zest to the program with their renditions of the popular Rock and Roll music.” Ticket prices for the event are 90 cents for adults and 50 cents for children 14 and under.
Other venues the band performs at are the Crystal Coliseum and Bashland (South Roberts and 110 in St. Paul). At Bashland, the group plays a “Battle of the Bands” with Mike Waggoner and the Bops and The Flames. Throck Morton, a DJ with WLOL, is the Emcee for the three band show.
November, 1958: The band joins the St. Paul Musicians Union and plays jobs at the Prom Center (with the Jules Herman Orchestra) and the Marigold Ballroom.
December 10, 1958: The band plays the Prom Center for an annual “Toys for Tots” dance sponsored by WDGY. Sharing the bill with the Delricos are two other bands, The Highlights and The Big Beats, along with a comedy act by Armond Fraser and Marty Nevers and Suzie, The Dancing Chimpanzee.
December 12, 1958: The band plays at Children’s Presbyterian Hospital in Lake Owasso, located along the border of Shoreview and Roseville.
January, 1959: The Delricos go into the basement recording studio of Gaity Records in North Minneapolis and record two songs with studio owner and engineer David Hersk that are pressed up as acetates only: “It Won’t Be Long” and “Life’s Problem.” Another acetate is recorded at Gaity (exact date is unknown) with: “Oh Mother Dear” and “Shake a Hand.” All four songs are cover versions of R & B songs.
May, 1959: The band returns to Gaity Records and records two instrumental songs, both written by Eddie, “Voo Doo” and “Buggin’ the Boogie.” The two songs are released on Gaity 163/164 (mastered by David Hersk on 05/31/1959).
July 7, 1959: The Delricos 45 is reviewed in Billboard magazine as follows:
“Buggin’ the Boogie” – Gaity 164 – A blues instrumental employing a Yancey bass rhythm figure. Has the far-off, echoey quality. (Glen-Ray, BMI).
“Voo Doo” – The combo turns in another blues recording, again with the echo turned on high. (Glen Ray, BMI).
December, 1959: Darwin, recently married and having graduated from Brown Institute, decides to go to work in the radio business and accepts a job in Mason City, Iowa. With the departure of Darwin, the Delricos come to an end.
In 1994, two CD’s were released called “Bloodshot! The Gaity Records Story.” Included on Volume 1 are “Voo Doo” and “Buggin’ the Boogie” by the Delricos.
In 2012, the Delrico’s Gaity 45 is considered to be one of the rarest local 45’s from the 1950’s.
Written by Tom Campbell
Version 1. February 28, 2012
Version 2. March 13, 2012
Copyright by Thomas R. Campbell, 2012
Voo Doo – 45 Record – Side A
Buggin’ The Boogie – 45 Record – Side B
It Won’t Be Long – Acetate Record
Life’s Problem – Acetate Record
Oh Mother Dear – Acetate Record
Shake A Hand – Acetate Record
|main band in red
instruments in current band
No longer active in music, name lives in Florida
Still active, jobbing with various bands
- Tom Nystrom
name passed away in year
Interview PART ONE