2009 Inductees

2009 Inductees


Danny Cox The Dinks Larry Lingle Lee McBee
The Sensational Showmen The Serfs Shooting Star Billy Spears
The Young Raiders Jim Halsey Bobby Poe & The Poe Kats

Directors Award:
Jim Halsey

Bob Hapgood Award:
Bobby Poe & The Poe Kats

Lawrence Journal-World story & photos

Danny Cox, Kansas City

Danny Cox was born in Cincinnati, but he moved to Kansas City in 1967 and has spent much of his life there. Early musical influences in his life included the church choir, where he sang with Rudolph Isley of the Isley Brothers. His country/folk career began with performing on a Hootenannny Folk Tour. He became a partner in Good Karma Productions with Stan Plesser, who managed the folk rock duo Brewer & Shipley and southern rock band the Ozark Mountain Daredevils. Cox has recorded albums for ABC Dunhill, Casablanca, MGM and other national labels. Fundraisers by fellow musicians helped the family rebuild their home and business that were destroyed by fire. Danny writes jingles and works with children’s theater. One of his recent projects included writing the music and lyrics for, and starring in, Fair Ball, a musical based on the experiences of players in the Negro Baseball Leagues.

The Dinks, Beloit

Their two novelty songs on the Sully label are favorites with record collectors, it’s their song “Penny A Tear Drop” that was a hit with Kansas fans. Beginning as the Raging Regattas, they became the Dinks at their first recording session in 1966. They were not a horn band, as many Kansas bands were back then.

Larry Lingle, McPherson

In a long career that took him from bands in his hometown to singing and playing with two bands already inducted into the Hall of Fame (Topeka’s Jerms and Lawrence’s Fabulous Flippers), Larry spent time in Los Angeles disco bands before spending 1981 to 1993 as one of Frankie Valli’s Four Seasons. Larry lives in the Northwest and continues to perform.

Lee McBee, Lawrence
website myspace

One of the best harmonica players around, Lee gained national attention in the late 1980s and early 1990s for his work with Mike Morgan and the Crawl, and for his band The Passions. These bands toured the United States, Canada, and Europe and recorded on major blues labels. Lee died June 24, 2014.

The Sensational Showmen, Concordia
The Sensational Showmen, Chanute/Ft. Scott
The Sensational Showmen, Parsons/Pittsburg

A succession of bands using this name played in Kansas from the mid 1960s into the mid 1970s. The three lineups who were together the longest and are best remembered by music fans Kansas are the ones chosen for induction.
The final version of the group began as a concept in 1968 among several Parsons High School students. Steve Hartman (drums and vocals), Jeff Crane (lead vocals and trombone), Mike Seeley (keyboards, keyboard bass, and bass guitar), Randy Cruise (lead guitar), and Mike Young (trumpet) chose the name Gallery. A short time later, the name was changed to the Great Awakening. Jerry Cruz soon replaced Young on trumpet, and the group began playing local dance jobs. Chris Cruz joined around 1970, playing trumpet and rhythm guitar. Later, Randy Cruse moved away from Parsons and Mike Fitzmorris became the lead guitarist. At a high school dance in Buffalo, the band was approached about assuming the name the Sensation Showmen. Shortly afterward, Tom Broadhurst on bass guitar joined the band. Joe Horton of Parsons filled in for Mike Seeley at times on the keyboard. Andy Oberg of Chanute joined as the regular keyboard player. As the Showmen, the band was contracted by America’s Best Attraction booking agency in Kansas City, Missouri, which landed them gigs in a wide geographic area, including military bases in Illinois, Ohio, and Kentucky.

The Serfs, Lawrence/Wichita

Formed in 1965 at his KU fraternity house, this was Mike Finnigan’s first band in Kansas , but it wouldn’t be his last. Mike was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2005, but the entire band deserves consideration for its blues-based music, much of it written by Topeka native Lane Tietgen. While recording their album for Capitol in New York City , three of the guys were invited to jam with Jimi Hendrix, and they became a part of history when two tracks from the jam appeared on Jimi’s Electric Ladyland .

Shooting Star, Kansas City

This Overland Park band was on the verge of superstardom more than once during the 1980s. Its fresh, original material got it record deals with Virgin and Geffen. Lead singer Ronnie Platt has left to join Kansas, but violinist Janet Jameson is a standout during performances.

Billy Spears, Lawrence

Fiddler Billy Spears began playing professionally back in the early-50s and traveled with top country acts including Ferlin Husky, Jean Shepard and T. Texas Tyler before settling in Lawrence , where he continues to live and perform. His bands have included many of the area’s top players, and many have gone on to successful careers in county music. The best know of those is guit-steel player Junior Brown. Billy died July 6, 2013.

The Young Raiders, Lawrence

This band took up where the original Rising Suns left off. After losing their equipment in a wreck and giving up the band name, the guys decided to go back out on the road as the Young Raiders. Eventually about a hundred of the best musicians in Kansas would serve time in the band. Many of them are still playing music for a living.

Jim Halsey, 2009 Directors Award

Jim Halsey’s career spans over 50 active years as artist manager, agent and impresario, discovering and/or guiding the careers of such illustrious personalities as Roy Clark, The Oak Ridge Boys, Waylon Jennings, The Judds, Reba McEntire, Minnie Pearl, Clint Black, Tammy Wynette, Mel Tillis, Merle Haggard, Dwight Yoakum, The Judds, Lee Greenwood, Hank Thompson and many others.

He has organized and presented country music performances all over the world, in many places, for the first time. His efforts have expanded the horizons of country music into Europe and Asia, while maintaining one of the most highly skilled and motivated booking and management companies in the world.

Jim Halsey has received many honors and awards, is prominent in business, arts and entertainment, and lectures and teaches extensively at colleges and universities around the world.

Bobby Poe & The Poe Kats, 2009 Bob Hapgood Award

Bobby Poe and The Poe Kats — Rockabilly Hall of Famers from the 1950’s — were a groundbreaking act that featured legendary piano player Big Al Downing and renowned guitarist Vernon Sandusky.

Big Al Downing went on to become a #1 Country star, Vernon Sandusky was in Roy Clark’s band for over 20 years and Bobby Poe became a sucessful producer, manager and “tip sheet” publisher.

The Poe Kats were also Rockabilly Queen Wanda Jackson’s touring and/or backing band and various members can sometimes be found on her early singles, including the Rockabilly classic “Let’s Have A Party”.