The Do's & The Don'ts
Legendary Eastern Iowa Rock Band Originated in Washington
| The article, Legendary Eastern Iowa Rock Band by Sarah Hankel, was printed in The Washington Evening Journal, Washington, Iowa, on June 11, 1997. Reprinted with permission © 1997 The Washington Evening Journal, Washington, Iowa.
Legendary eastern Iowa rock band reuniting for one last 'sha-bang'
Escorts, soon to be in the Hall of Fame, play Saturday at the Cove
By SARAH HANKEL
Washington has been discovered, thanks to Roger Booth.
While Andy Warhol made many Americans believe that "everyone experiences 15 minutes of fame," a few individuals extend that quarter-hour into years of success before something new rolls in and redefines our surroundings.
Such is the way with the music industry, as Booth knows. In the latter part of 1959, Booth, along with three college colleagues formed one of eastern Iowa's first rock and roll bands, the Escorts. Uncommon to their industry, though, the band continued performing until 1983.
Rock and roll is here to stay
Eastern Iowa's premier rock and roll band, The Escorts, later known as The Do's & Don'ts, originated in Washington. On Aug. 31 during a special ceremony to be held in Arnold's Park, band members, from left, Dick Burns, guitar; Roger Booth, vocals and drums; Dick Sherman, bass; and Zelda Sherman, organ, will be honored as the first inductees of the newly organized Iowa Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Area music lovers will get a sneak preview of the band's reunion, Sat. June 14, at the Cove.
More than a decade has passed since the Escorts, later known as The
Do's and Don'ts, rocked and rolled an audience. But another popular theory about history repeating itself now finds Booth about to take the stage again as the band has been chosen to be inducted into the Iowa Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.
On Aug. 31, on the Roof Garden stage in Arnold's Park, the Escorts will shake, rattle and roll once again during an evening performance similar to the dances they hosted over 30 years ago.
Booth will be accompanied by two of the band's original members --- Dick and Zelda Sherman, bassist and organist/keyboards, respectively, and Sandy Burns will be in tow representing her late husband, Dick, the Escorts' guitarist who died in 1984.
"JUST LIKE OLD times," Booth and Burns laugh.
Almost, however, two additional players will round out their performance. Rick Sherman, son of Dick and Zelda, will be keeping time as percussionist and Frank Glaser, Hiawatha, will fill in on guitar where Dick Burns once stood and Larry Smith, Cedar Rapids, will be playing on horns.
Previous to the performance, the band's members will be honored with inscribed plaques, inducting them into the Hall of Fame. And an autograph session has been arranged for earlier in the day. Ticket prices for this day of music remembrance is set for $15.
Fortunately, for classic rock lovers in the area who are unable to travel to the Iowa amusement park on Labor Day weekend, a sneak preview has been arranged.
"We'll be playing at the Cove on June 14, which is also the night of my class reunion," tells the WHS graduate of the Class of 1957. "I hope we can get some people down there," Booth says. "The reunion is out at the country club, but we'll start playing around 9(p.m.) so hopefully we'll get an audience."
Where nerves often pre-dominate in such a situation, Booth has none. "It's going to be a really good time."
Burns agrees. She's looking forward to reuniting with the band. "I'm really happy to see this happening," she says. "I know Dick would love this."
While the Escorts made headlines as one of the first rock bands in eastern Iowa, their first gig had meager beginnings.
"We played for the opening of the Ward's stores," Booth tells. That was in 1959.
For seven years, the band pushed their way into ballrooms and clubs throughout Iowa. They were self-sufficient -- booking their own gigs, creating their own promotional materials and even pressing their own records.
Finally, in 1966, Red Bird Records, a national recording label based in New York, picked them up. Under the company's guidance the band's name changed to The Do's & Don'ts. Then, the touring started. The band was eagerly received in grand-sized ballrooms as well as small clubs.
"We'd play six nights a week just in the five-state area." Booth says.
The band pressed twelve records for all of America's rock and roll lovers to hear. Their most memorable song, "I Wonder If She Loves Me", hit both Billboard's and Record World's top 10 song list.
Booth tells that they also had literally hundreds of opportunities to meet and work with "big stars" on stage such as Dickie Lee, the Shondelles, the Everly Brothers and many others from the early era of rock and roll.
Once again, the Escorts are forging new ground via a recent request to accept a nomination into Iowa's Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Their band will be one of the very first inductees for this honor. Other Iowa bands joining them include Dale and the Devonaires, the Velairs, and DJ and the Runaways.
In addition, according to Burns, Iowa is the first state to initiate it's own hall of fame following Cleveland's national equivalent honoring this distinct genre of music.
In comparison to the industry today, Booth says he doesn't see the "closeness" between band members, "We were like brothers and sisters."
Burns points out that Booth and her husband were so close, in fact, following their college graduation, they formed an ambulance business together which operated in Washington for many years.
In reflection Booth says he won't miss "the trouble we had hauling a full-size organ around." And he doubts that awards such as "Best Dressed Band" will ever be assigned again. (The Do's & Don'ts snagged that state award four times in 1965, '66, '67, and '69.)
"You know, I really hope this is like our old gigs were. They were more like dances," he says.
Regardless of how it turns out, Booth is thrilled and honored. It just goes to prove the old cliche -- "rock and roll will never die."
Reprinted with permission © 1997 The Washington Evening Journal, Washington, Iowa. The content of The Journal is protected by federal copyright laws and may not be reprinted without written permission.
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