Sir Walter Raleigh - Dewey Martin
Sir Walter Raleigh and the Coupons
Seattle, Washington
1964  ~ 1966


Steve Green ~ Guitar
Al Harris ~ Guitar
Randy Holden ~ Guitar
'Sneaky' Pete Kleinow ~ Guitar
Dewey Martin ~ Drums
Johnny Meeks ~ Bass
Norman Raleigh ~ Guitar
J.C. Rieck ~ Keyboards
Lyall Smith ~ Drums

In Memory of

'Sneaky' Pete Kleinow
(Abt 1935 - 2007)

Dewey Martin
30 September 1940 - 31 January 2009

As the drummer with Buffalo Springfield, Dewey Martin provided the backbeat to some of the most enduring and influential American rock music of the 1960s.

Often referred to as "America's answer to the Beatles", the Springfield were a showcase for the early songwriting talents of Neil Young and Stephen Stills, with additional support from Richie Furay. But with bass player Bruce Palmer, Martin formed a rhythm section that perfectly suited the group's pioneering style of West Coast folk-rock.

After little more than two years and three albums, the group split up in 1968. Martin's career stalled and he was reduced to playing in what were, in effect, Buffalo Springfield tribute bands. But by providing the beat to such seminal tracks as For What It's Worth, Mr. Soul and Rock 'N' Roll Woman, he had already secured his place in rock history.

Born Walter Milton Dwayne Midkiff on September 30, 1940 in Chesterville, Ontario in Canada, he was known as 'Dewey' from a young age due to his inability to say 'Dwayne'. His first instrument at school was the saxophone but he took up drums at the age of 13 and learnt to play along to Everly Brothers songs on a rented drum kit ,set up in his parents' kitchen.

His first high school band was called the Jive Rockets and he made a name himself on the local dance band scene before moving to the US, where he joined the army. After his discharge he moved to Nashville and backed various country singers on an ad hoc basis, before getting a gig in 1963 in Faron Young's touring band. When the tour reached Los Angeles, he decided to stay.

He recorded his first single in 1964, taking the lead vocal on a rocked up version of The White Cliffs Of Dover, released under the name Sir Raleigh and the Coupons and intended to cash in on the hysteria for all things British in the wake of the Beatles' invasion of the American charts.

Two further singles followed under the same name in 1965, during which time he also played in a number of other bands, including The Sons of Adam, the Modern Folk Quartet, the Standells and country act the Dillards.

When in 1966 the Dillards decided that their acoustic bluegrass music did not really require a drummer, the band's manager gave him the telephone number of a new group that was looking for a drummer. The phone number turned out to belong to Stephen Stills, who invited him to audition. With Martin completing the quintet, the group adopted the name Buffalo Springfield, after they had seen the name on the back of a steamroller.

Martin had enjoyed singing lead with Sir Raleigh and the Coupons and insisted the band find him a vocal showcase, so Wilson Pickett's In The Midnight Hour was added to their live set, the only cover the group ever played.

Buffalo Springfield's rise was rapid. Within weeks they were supporting the Rolling Stones at the Hollywood Bowl and had signed to the Atco label.

Martin's uncluttered drumming style contributed memorably to the band's self-titled 1966 debut album, particularly Stills' classic For What it's Worth, on which his atmospheric bass drum introduction set the mood for the entire song.

An immensely versatile drummer, he adopted a more frenetic, soul-influenced style on Young's Mr Soul on the follow-up, 1967's Buffalo Springfield Again. He was also heard singing the refrain of Mr Soul incorporated into another Young composition on the album, Broken Arrow.

That same year the band played the Monterey Pop Festival but cracks were beginning to appear in the group. Palmer was arrested for possession of marijuana and deported back to Canada. Young and Stills were at loggerheads over the leadership of the group and at one point there was a failed coup to replace Martin - who was noted for his somewhat abrasive personality - with Skip Spence of Moby Grape.

By May 1968, the group had fallen apart and by the time of the release off the third and final album, Last Time Around, Buffalo Springfield no longer existed.

Stills and Young subsequently teamed up again in Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young and Riche Foray formed Poco. Martin, sadly, sunk into obscurity. For a while he ran a band he called New Buffalo Springfield, until Stills and Young took legal action to prevent him using the name.

He then recorded the 1970 album Dewey Martin's Medicine Ball, which featured former Buffalo Springfield bass player Bruce Palmer and recorded a number of tracks with Elvis Presley's backing band. But due to some dubious dealings by the band's management, he had made little money from Buffalo Springfield and by 1972 he had retired from the professional music industry in disillusionment and was working as a car mechanic.

He re-emerged in the 1980s to play with the Meisner-Roberts Band and to form Buffalo Springfield Revisited with Palmer. But a planned reunion of the full original line-up collapsed in 1988 when Young "forgot" to show-up for the scheduled rehearsal.

When Martin and other members of the original Buffalo Springfield were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1997, Young again failed to show. Three years later, however, he appeared to suggest a reunion was on the cards when he recorded a song called Buffalo Springfield Again on which he sang that he would like to "see those guys again and give it a shot" . The reunion had still not happened when Palmer's death in 2004 put an end to the possibility.

Dewey Martin, drummer, was born on September 30, 1940. He died on January 31, 2009, aged 68

From Times Online, February 6, 2009

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Last Update:  22 December 2013
Credits: H. Blair, Fuzz Acid & Flowers. Darryl Riffero, Lyall Smith, Jerry Clough, Randy Holden, Mark Stevens

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