The Baskerville Hounds of West Park, Ohio
By Gary Swilik
"The Baskerville Hounds, Featuring Space Rock, Part 2."
Album released in 1967. Dot Records.
The first major rock-and-roll
concert, "The Moondog Coronation Ball," took place at the old
Cleveland arena in 1952. The eyes of the music world were
focused on Cleveland in those early years as we became the
hottest radio, concert, and record-buying market in the country.
West Park has it's own claim to music fame. The Baskerville
Hounds, one of the all-time greatest local groups, has its roots
right here in West Park.
The band was formed as the
Majestics in 1963 with Doug McCutcheon on keyboard, Larry Meese
as singer and guitarist, and John Kirkpatrick on drums. They
brought in bassist Bill Emery in January 1964, and
singer/guitarist Dante Rossi in July 1964. The band was renamed
the Dantes, then the Tulu Babies, and finally The Baskerville
Hounds. Most active from 1964 through 1972, the Baskerville
Hounds performed at concerts with The Rolling Stones, Sonny &
Cher, The Beach Boys, The Dave Clark Five, Grand Funk Railroad,
and other top acts of the era.
Baskerville Hounds single "Hurtin'
Kind," was a massive local hit in 1965. They had three songs
break into Billboard's Hot 100 national hits: "Space
Rock" at number 60, "Debbie"
at number 99, and "Hold Me" at number 88. They did
and had many unreleased recordings. They appeared on local
television including the popular Mike Douglas, Big 5, and Upbeat
Shows. They are featured on the Cleveland Wall at the
Rock-and-Roll Hall of Fame
The "Hounds", as they were often
called, made appearances throughout Greater Cleveland drawing
tremendous crowds at local dance halls, clubs, and night spots.
They had long-running engagements at the Roundtable and the
Americana, and appeared at all the Hullabaloo teen clubs. Their
local popularity is legendary! In 1969 they drew 1,300 fans to
the Cyrus Erie teen club in North Ridgeville, Ohio - an
incredible crowd for that venue. That same year the band's
appearance at the Playboy Club at Kamm's Corners (now Si Senor
restaurant) was cheered by over 400 fans - about as many as
people as could be packed into that small space!
The Hounds broke up in 1973 but
briefly reformed in 1980. In 2000 they got together and released
a CD titled Look at Us Now, described as "an updated
version of the Baskerville Hounds with a variety of new,
all-original, good ol' rock 'n' roll music."
"What a Surprise (I'm Still Alive" from Look at Us Now.
Former Baskerville Hound band member Doug
McCutcheon is a long-time veteran of the Northeast Ohio music
scene. He has played everything from rock and country to reggae
and jazz. He has written music for films and TV. In addition to
his years with the Hounds, he has been a member of such groups
as the Hitmen, the Rag and the Rose Band, and Soul Station.
He currently performs with The Swamp Boogie Band, playing a
diverse selection of classic rock, rhythm-and-blues, dance, and
Motown. (More about the Swamp Boogie Band later.)
Doug is not one to celebrate the
past and has a very unassuming attitude about his years with the
Hounds. "I'm so busy now with the Swamp Boogie Band," Doug told
the author, "playing for veterans and the disabled, jazz solo
gigs, and pitching my compositions for film and television that
I don't have time to dwell on past glories with the Baskerville
"I've always had problems with
articles on the band," Doug explains. "The interviewers never
seemed interested in our music but more about extraneous crap,
and for some reason, always with a condescending, slightly
insulting attitude. I don't have much patience for questions on
how long our hair was, how many matching suits did we have, or
do we remember what the Stones wore when we opened for them.
Now, if you want to know anything about the music . . . I'm your
Fortunately, Doug has a great
fondness for his home neighborhood and is willing to reminisce a
bit for fellow West Parkers.
"All the band members originally
lived in West Park," says Doug. "All the original members went
to John Marshall High School. We grew up within two miles of
each other. Most of us were from the West 140th area between
Lorain and Puritas. I lived on West 144th off Emery Avenue.
Larry Meese was the 'outsider,' living on McGowan Avenue off
West 130th Street. I knew Dante Rossi from the time I was
four-years old, but it was his late brother Franklin I hung out
with before they moved to Middleburg Heights. I met John
Kirkpatrick in junior high, and in high school we had a small
informal jazz combo but we never played any gigs."
"A major influence was Gilchrist
Records at Kamm's Corners," remembers Doug. "They had a
listening booth where I would listen to records by the hour.
I was influenced by Ray Charles, Jimmy Smith, and most of
the other jazz and soul keyboardists of the era, including
Ramsey Lewis, Jimmy McGriff , and some of the 'cool jazz' icons
such as Dave Brubeck. My interest in rock came later.
I would even buy something once in a while but
mostly I would listen to the records, try to figure out what
they were playing, then hurry home - a two-mile walk - and try
it on the piano before I forgot it."
didn't listen to much teenage 'high school' music like Frankie
Avalon and Annette Funicello," Doug continues. "As far as
writing, the early Beatles, Stones, Kinks, and Bob Dylan were
definitely an inspiration. When I heard Ray Charles perform 'One
Mint Julep' I knew I had to join or form a band someday. When I
heard Joey Dee and the Starliters use a Hammond organ in a rock
context - I knew the time was right."
Doug's former neighbor, Sandi
Lilly, now of Peachtree Corners, Georgia, recalls the early
years of the future Baskerville Hounds. "I would get to hear
them when they practiced at Doug's house," says Sandi. "One of
the privileges of living next door. I lived on Albrus Avenue
where West 144th ended, right in the circle next to
the McCutcheons. Doug used to practice for hours and, believe
me, underneath that rocker is an amazing classical pianist! The
band often practiced in the garage. We could sit on the tree
lawn under the buckeye tree and hear them. They also played at
our neighborhood block party. All the guys were very talented
and meshed well."
Sheila Calanni, of Cleveland, also
remembers Doug. "I knew him when he was a teenager," says
Sheila. "He was good friends with my boyfriend. They would come
over and hang out. Doug showed my sister and I how to play the
guitar. We used to just have good times like teenagers did back
Doug graduated from John Marshall
High in 1964 but his band began to find success while the
members were still attending high school. So how did being a
youthful member of a successful and popular band in the 1960s
affect Doug's life?
"Obviously I was more popular,"
Doug tells us, "however I knew it was because of the band. The
money was great because I could finally buy a car and the
equipment I needed to keep on playing. It also made me realize
that if I could visualize it, I could do it - playing in a band,
and playing well. I knew I'd succeeded at something I had
started, regardless of how long it would last."
"But it also led to a lot of
tension with the blue-nosed administration at John Marshall,"
Doug continues. "And later, I was not happy with the way the
band was manipulated into transforming from an authentic rock
band to a white-bread bubblegum vaudeville act. I got into a
band so I could make some of the decisions, and wasn't too
friendly to the idea of anybody sticking their nose into our
music and trying to recreate us in their own image.
The way journalists sometimes described us - it
was as if the writer never actually heard us. For instance, we
were not a 'twist band.' I would say our true sound was
somewhere between garage and metal; for lack of a better term,
we were a 'rock band.'"
"Over the years a lot of
interviewers have just wanted our 'memories' of major acts we
opened for," explains Doug. "Never mentioned were the acts which
opened for us. The Tree Stumps, with the great Michael Stanley,
opened for us a couple of times. So did the Grasshoppers, with
Ben Orr, and the Motions, all local bands. The Shangri-Las and
the Rugbys, both national acts, opened for us at other times."
our many songs," says Doug, "the 'Hurtin' Kind' is
probably the most significant for me. I wrote it because we were
told we couldn't record until we had some originals. It ended up
being a huge local and regional hit, and, unbeknownst to us
until about 2000, it was covered by many other artists in the
United States, United Kingdom, Norway, France, and Germany; the
most notable probably being the 2000 recording by Dee Dee Ramone
on his 'Hop Around' CD. It was also used on the movie soundtrack
of Gangster No.1, a British crime drama made in 2000, starring
For a real musical blast from the
past, the author recommends listening to The Baskerville Hounds'
Rock - Part 2."
who we all know was local TV personality Ernie Anderson - played
"Space Rock" so often it virtually became his theme song. And
that's fine with Doug.
"Yes, Ghoulardi used 'Space Rock'
for quite a while," Doug remembers. "One of the things that
spurred me to play in bands was hearing Jimmy McGriff's version
Got A Woman' which I first heard on Ghoulardi. It was great
to have our recording in that kind of musical company."
"'Space Rock,'" explains Doug, "was
actually our version of the Rolling Stones '2120
South Michigan Avenue' only sped up frantically. Somebody on
the management end of things thought it would be a 'gas' - their
words, not mine - to change the name to coincide with NASA
events. I personally thought the name change was stupid."
Is there any chance of The
Baskerville Hounds getting together for a reunion performance?
"We last made an appearance in
2008," says Doug. "There are no plans for any future
appearances. These days I listen mostly to jazz. I just got the
Brian Auger CD 'Live at the Baked Potato' after seeing him at
Nighttown in Cleveland Heights. I also listen to such local
heroes of mine as Jackie Warren and Joe Hunter. Sometimes I'll
listen to Bach or Tchaikovsky but mostly it's jazz. John
Coltrane, Ramsey Lewis, and Jimmy Smith are favorites of mine."
"I also work with 'Music
on a Mission,'" Doug tells us, "an organization which
supports performing artists and brings music to those who
otherwise would have no access to it. Readers can learn more
about it at
musicmissioninc.com We appreciate public support."
There are many opportunities for
Doug's fans to see and hear him perform with the Swamp Boogie
Band. The author recently attended a performance at the Lone
Tree Tavern in North Ridgeville and enjoyed it immensely! They
play a wonderful selection of classic rock, blues, and dance.
Doug's at the keyboard but sometimes becomes lead singer as
well. His vocals on "Smooth" and "Miss You" were just great,
despite Doug's protests to the contrary.
Swamp Boogie Band consists of all veteran players of the top
skill level," says Doug. "We have Gerard Parisi on drums, Tim
King on Bass, Jeff Hird on lead guitar, myself on keyboards, and
the phenomenal Marcia 'Swamp' Sindelar on lead vocals. I first
met Marcia in 2009, and filled in several times when their
keyboard player was unavailable. However I found out I had
played keyboards on a recording session in 1971 for which Marcia
later did the background vocals. I told her that obviously we
had been working together longer than we thought!"
Doug McCutcheon is still a West
Parker and will be for the foreseeable future. "West Park was a
great place to grow up," Doug believes. "I found it to be a good
area but tough on whiners and wimps. One of my favorite spots
was the library at West 157th and Lorain; I spent a lot of time
there. Also the
Caboose Diner at West 150th and Chatfield; they
served the greatest chili dogs I have ever had! And I can't
forget the W. T. Grant store at the Puritas and West 140th
shopping center. I still live in West Park, and don't plan to
Visit the website
to see where Doug McCutcheon and the Swamp Boogie Band will next
be making an appearance. To arrange for the band to appear at
your own event, contact them at
IMSwamp13@aol.com or call 216-382-6660.
McCutcheon on Facebook
more about their recordings (and streaming) click here.
See entry in ROCK 'N' ROLL AND THE CLEVELAND CONNECTION by
Deanna R. Adams.
Cleveland. com: Music
1960s: Out of the Garage. The Baskerville Hounds