Black Hawk County - Photo Courtesy of Bill Coleman
Black Hawk County
Monmouth, Oregon
1973 - 1978


Bill Coleman - Guitar, Vocals
Spencer Palermo ~ Bass
Dennis Parish ~ Drums
Scott Riordan - Keyboards, Vocals

Black Hawk County was formed as a folk/rock duo in 1973 by  Bill Coleman - vocals/guitars, (seated left) and Scott Riordan - vocals/keyboards, (seated right) while the two attended Western Oregon University in Monmouth, Oregon.  Their high energy show quickly gained popularity in the Northwest, and lead to their first recording, "Oregon: I Can't Go Home," dedicated to Joann McDaniels, an Oregon native imprisoned in Turkey on charges of smuggling drugs.  "Oregon" hit the airwaves in 1974, remaining at number one for six weeks in the Northwest, and rising to number 16 on Billboard's national charts.  The song was played extensively over the Armed Forces Network to military personnel stationed in Europe and the Far East, including Viet Nam.

Coleman and Riordan added bassist, Spencer Palermo, (standing left) originally from Massachusetts by way of the Olympic Peninsula and drummer, Dennis Parish (Schick) (standing right) from Portland as "Oregon" was gaining momentum, and immediately took the newly expanded band on the road.

They performed through out the Northwest and Rocky Mountain states opening for Jerry Lee Lewis, Dr. Hook and the Medicine Show, The Beau Brummels, Flo & Eddy of the Turtles, etc. as well as headlining their own concerts.  Their only album, "Monkey Zoo" was released in 1975 on Seagull Records.

Black Hawk County disbanded in 1978 as Coleman and Riordan each pursued solo careers in music.  Palermo and Parish continued performing as side men for other bands in the region until the early eighties.  Currently, Dennis Parish lives in southern California, working for a medical supply company.  Spencer Palermo studied cinema at the University of Oregon and was last seen working in the film industry in California.

Both founding members of Black Hawk County became successful lounge entertainers through the eighties.  Scott Riordan left the music industry in the early nineties and is currently employed as a systems analyst for the State of Oregon.  He lives in Monmouth.

His partner, Bill Coleman returned to his roots in 1995 by releasing his first of four collections of "Civil War" and "Old Time" folk music.  He added an "Old Time Gospel" collection released in 2003, and currently tours the Unites States performing original Civil War musical dramas with his wife, Carla.

Bill Coleman, January 2004

Visit Bill's Websites

Bill Coleman's Rock

William & Carla Colemans Civil War Theatricals and Music

If you have corrections, a neat photo or more information, please send it to:

Make a donation using PayPal.  It is fast, free and secure.
Credits: Bill Coleman
Last Update:  21 November 2008

Band # 1440