Bradley Mansfield - Keyboard
My grandmother (Nora) was the organist in her church. Every Sunday we would go and I would hear her play. I realized I wanted to play piano and in third grade, my mom and dad bought a piano and got me started taking lessons. My first 3 years of playing piano, I was a student of Professor Halstead who taught at the University. He made me practice scales, figure control and hand position. I never learned one song from him.
I really wanted to learn Boogie Woogie, so my mom found Ms. Tuba. Her idea of Boogie Woogie was Moon River. During my second lesson, I stopped at the bridge. I was lost. I forgot the song. I had the sheet music in front of me and Ms. Tuba pointed at the note and said start here. I had no idea what she was pointing it was at that time, she realized that I did not know how to read sheet music and was playing by ear.
In 1963, I was diagnosed with Osgood Slaughterers Disease in my knees. The Doctor told me that I had to quit playing any kind of sports. I missed being on the different teams.
One evening listening to CKLW Radio out of Detroit, I heard a song called Louie Louie by the Kingsmen, and I knew that I could learn to play it on the piano. Shortly thereafter, I decided to start a band. The Misfits where formed. Dan Householder on drums, John Zeigler on Bass, Doug Pope on Guitar and Gary Monahan on Guitar. Both Doug and Gary had to quite the band during the summer.
During the summer of 64, the Missing links were formed. Kenny Reeves joined the band to play guitar and sing. The Missing Links went on to win the Jaycee’s Ohio State Battle of the Bands and placed 4th in the National Competition in 1967 and played together until the summer of 69.
In 1969, I attended the first North American blues festival, where blues was the main attraction, particularly modern electric blues. It was the Ann Arbor Blues Festival. Musicians at the festival included Clifton Chenier, Son House, J. B. Hutto, B.B. King, Freddie King, Magic Sam, Roosevelt Sykes, Muddy Waters, T-Bone Walker, Junior Wells, and Howlin' Wolf and more. I heard Big Momma Thornton and Otis Rush for the first time. I was hooked on the Blues.
I moved to Santa Barbara in December of 1969 to attend Brooks Institute of Fine Arts in Santa Barbara, CA. During the 2 ½ years in School, I played with different bands and found myself practicing Blues piano.
I started a band China Cat in the Mid 70’s. During the 80’s I was setting in with a number of different blues bands including Tom Ball and Kenny Sultan. In 1982, I bought a 5’3” Krell Baby Grand and played it throughout the years. I was a solo pianist and gigged at private parties for years in and around Santa Barbara.
In 1995, I ran into Sky Ferguson and Richard Moore at a Wednesday Night Blues Jam. Sky Ferguson was Buddy Guy’s second guitarist for years and Richard Moore, was the lead Guitarist for the Troggs. Yes the Troggs of Wild Thing fame. I played for almost 10 years with these two. Richard and I played on stage at the Summer Solstice event. Over 10,000 people heard us play Wild Thing.
My last Band in Santa Barbara before moving to Georgia was named the Rock n Blues Band. We played at private Parties, local Bars, on the Summer Solstice stage twice, at Wine Festivals and the Flower Festivals during our 5 year stint.
Today when I play with the Tom Browning & Friends Band, I still love playing the 60’s classics, good old Rock and Roll and especially the Blues. I have a lot of memories playing Music. They are all good.
Looking forward to seeing you at one of our next gigs.