Robert Moore, Earnest Baker, Wondel Brown, Paul Wills, and Joe Bennett (l-r) in manager Louis Chesley’s Maryland garage.
Funky Music Is The Thing – Dynamic Corvettes
It should come as no surprise that a Chevrolet played a significant role in the history of southern Maryland’s Dynamic Corvettes. In 1964 Louis Chesley purchased a Chevrolet station wagon for $77 to help transport the equipment for his brother’s band and worked his way up to being their manager.
The fact that the Dynamic Corvettes stayed together even after players left for college or the military is a testament to Chesley, who ran a tight ship. He offered loans to band members to purchase instruments and kicked them out when they couldn’t pay him back.
“We were poor boys,” says Chesley. “We needed each other to make it. We [were] poor together and weathered the storm. We chipped in together. All for one and one for all. If I had it they had it. If they had it I had it. That’s the way I operate.”
The Dynamic Corvettes played throughout Maryland including at the Starlight Club, Toys End, Warrens End, Club Paradise, Pomonkey High School, and Marshall’s Corner Hall. Along the way they crossed paths with the Midnighters, King of Hearts, The Hounds, The Diamonds, the Van Dykes, Scacy and the Sound Service, The Soul Searchers, and the Continentals.
In 1971 the Dynamic Corvettes recorded their first single, a funky organ driven anti-drug song called “Keep of the Grass” on Baltimore’s Ru-Jac Records. The b-side of the 45 was a track called “It’s A Trap.”
Ironically the lyrics of “Keep of the Grass” were misconstrued as pro-marijuana and the Dynamic Corvettes received some negative publicity. Undaunted, they returned to the recording studio—this time American Star Recording Studio in Falls Church, VA—in 1975 to record two 45s on the Nashboro Records imprint Abet, “Funky Music Is The Thing” and “Key to My Happiness.” The lineup at the time of the recording was:
Paul Wills: keyboard, lead vocals
Robert Moore: trumpet Ernest Baker: trumpet
Wondel Brown: trombone
Tyrone Thompson: bass
Irving Bennett: guitar
Dean Louis: drums
Produced by Joe Tate and Carroll Hynson, the “Funky Music is The Thing” featured a drum solo by Louis and electric piano with a wah-wah pedal by Brown that was later sampled by Double Dee and Steinski and DJ Shadow.
The two 1975 45s proved to be the Dynamic Corvettes’ last releases and ultimately even Chesley couldn’t prevent the group from parting ways. The Dynamic Corvettes still reunite on occasion to perform, as recently as 2011.