Mr. Lucky & The Gamblers
(aka:  The Blazers)
Newport, Oregon
1964  ~ 1967

Members
 

Jim Dunlap ~ Vocals
Bud Garrison ~ Bass
Jim Graziano ~ Drums
Alan Gunter ~ Guitar
Jeff Hawks ~ Vocals
Dave Maitland ~ Guitar
Mike Parker ~ Keyboards
Gregg Perry ~ Keyboards
Denny Randall ~ Saxophone
Willy Reinen ~ Guitar
Norm Smith ~ Drums
Carl Wilson ~ Guitar
 

Len Hansen ~ Manager
 

In Memory of

Jim Dunlap
Michael Parker


Reunion 2001 of Mr. Lucky & The Gamblers
Jim Graziano, Mike Parker (Mr. Lucky), Allan Gunter, Carl Wilson, Dave Maitland, Bud Garrison, Denny Randall
Photo By:  Jim Dellacio, 2001

The sax player, Denny Randall, has been living in Hawaii for the past 16 years. When he is not busy with his day job (telecommunications engineer), he is traveling the world with his wife and composing/recording music (soft rock and jazz) in his home studio. His first CD "Good Times Ahead" is soon to be followed up by a second project.

Denny Randall, 7 September 2001

The band originated in Newport, Oregon as "The Blazers". In 1964, the bass player and business leader, Bud Garrison, persuaded Mike Parker to endorse a name change to "Mr. Lucky and the Gamblers" (Mr. Lucky was a popular TV character at the time). They performed in the Portland area and in various towns along the Oregon coast. Before long, they attracted the attention of Tom Mix, a local dee-jay, and Hal Bronson, the manager of a popular teen club called "The Chase". Mix and Branson formed their own record company to promote the act. The first result was a recording of New Orleans, which became a local hit in the Portland area.

In late 1965, Garrison and Parker changed the line-up by merging with a Portland group called The Rogues, consisting primarily of Graziano, Gunter and Maitland. By now, the band had perfected a harsh garage / punk sound and evolved as one of the major dance circuit attractions in the Northwest. On New Years Day, 1966, they shared a concert bill with Don and The Goodtimes at Portland's Oriental Theatre. Don Galluci and the lads were so impressed with Mr. Lucky and The Gamblers that they helped seal a record deal for them with Jerry Dennon's Panorama label. Two regional hits resulted: Take A Look At Me (a really catchy punker tune, written and produced by Bob Holden and Don Galluci (of Don and The Goodtimes)), and Alice Designs (LSD Signs), which was produced by Bob Holden and written by Tandyn Almer of Along Comes Mary fame. Alice Designs, is an upbeat, California style commercial pop tune, complete with background harmony. On the flip side of the 45, is You Don't Need Me, a Union Gap style brass-pop tune written by Bob Holden.

Early in 1967 Mike Parker left the band and was replaced by Greg Perry on keyboards. Jim Dunlap (formerly of Gentleman Jim and The Horsemen) came in on vocals. In July 1967, after the band split, Dunlop, Graziano, Maitland and Perry formed The Sound Vendor. Mike Parker joined a local blues band, Carl Wilson joined Merrillee Rush and the Turnabouts and Jeff Hawks became a member of Don and The Goodtimes. In the late eighties Norm Smith became the State Representative from Tigard, Oregon and Greg Perry later played for Johnny and The Distractions.

Denny Randall, March 2001

The Crystal and the Redcoats were were both managed by Mike Magaurn (not sure of the spelling). A picture of the Redcoats still hangs in the stairwell to the ballroom. The Crystal is once again a venue for live music, owned and operated by the McMinimin Brothers, who have preserved it's integrity...

Carl Wilson, June 2006

The band was originally called the Blazers and worked out of Newport, Oregon, on the Oregon coast.  In 1964, Mike Parker, the keyboard player, was an old friend of Bud Garrison, later the bass player and business leader in Mr. Lucky and the Gamblers. Bud was going to Oregon State University in Corvallis and playing in a Portland band called the Sting Rays. Bud came over to Newport to visit Mike and talk about plans for a new band. The Blazers were in the process of breaking up since some members had to work night shifts in the paper mill. Bud told Mike of his new connections with a Portland promoter, and they talked of forming a teen dance band instead of a night club band.

They both liked the idea and Bud suggested that Mike should be "Mr. Lucky" because Mike looked like the popular TV character of the time, tall with dark hair. The name '& the Gamblers' was suggested. The Blazers that were able to stay with Mike then logically became the Gamblers along with Bud Garrison, the bass player, thus creating Mr. Lucky & The Gamblers. Finally, the only remaining Blazer to be a Gambler was Willie Reinen, guitarist and vocalist. In 1965, Garrison & Parker changed the band again merging the Rogues.

Mike Parker, April 2010

 
Current Status:

It should be obvious from the reunion photo above that Mr Lucky and The Gamblers are gathering again for music and fun.  I'm sure they will fill us in as time goes by.

Recent Releases:

The superb Take A Look At Me has resurfaced on the CDs:
Boulders, Vol. Highs In The Mid-Sixties, Vol. 7.
Teenage Shutdown - Jump Jive & Harmonize (1995) (made in Germany)

The 60's British style tune I Told You Once Before (written by group member Alan Gunter) is included in the CDs:
Battle of The Bands, Vol. 1
History of Northwest Rock, Vol. 4.

Credits: Vernon Joynson, Max Waller, Denny Randall
as re-edited by Denny Randall, 28 March 2001

Recording Releases (45s):

New Orleans  / Searching    United International - 1001 (1965)
New Orleans / Searching    Kasino - 1001 (1965)
I Told You Once Before / Koko Joe   United International - 4404 (1966)
Take A Look At Me / I Told You Once Before Jerden - 799 (1966)
Take A Look At Me / l Told You Once Before  Panorama - 37 (1966)
Take A Look At Me / I Told You Once Before Dot - 16930 (1966)
Alice Designs / You Don't Need Me   Panorama - 52 (1967)

Poster courtesy of Larry Kulai
Image courtesy of Rojer Blaine


I used to go see Mr. Lucky and the Gamblers and The Redcoats at various venues in SW Portland. At some point, near the end of the existence of both bands, The Gamblers and The Redcoats exchanged singers and guitarists.  Jim Dunlop and Dave Maitland became Gamblers and Allan Gunter (I think) and Carl Wilson became Redcoats.

I also remember the Grudge match between the two, although I didn't attend it.   I remember seeing The Redcoats not long afterwards.

These were both hot bands at the time: The Gamblers looked immensely cool in their matching morning suits and had a very tough English-style attitude. The Redcoats had a great organist in Doug Morrison; Larry Roberts was a very personable bass player and Jim Dunlop was Gentleman Jim, so what more could you say about him. When Dave Maitland joined them I became a fan forever. He was great!  So was Carl Wilson. They were arguably the best guitarists in Portland at the time.

The last time I saw The Gamblers was at the Crystal Ball in downtown Portland in 1968 (I think) or perhaps late 1967.  They opened for The Buffalo Springfield and for the only time in my memory, did not wear their morning suits; no doubt to appear cool to the Springfield or something.  The Springfield were great but I thought The Gamblers equally as good and still think so to this day.

It's a shame their recording history is so slim because they were among the best of the NW bands of that era.  They deserved better documentation than they got and so did The Redcoats.

Brian Trainer, October 2005

I attended the 'Grudge Match'  battle of the bands between the Redcoats and Mr Lucky & the Gamblers at the Wooden Shoe (about 1966).   There was a huge turnout because the losers were to have their heads shaved.  There was also a near riot when it was announced the voting was a tie (obviously rigged) and both bands went home with full heads of hair.

Greg Hodes, August 2007

Click Here to View The Mr Lucky and The Gamblers Gig List

Compilation Discography

Click Here for Detailed Discography

I Told You Once Before:  Various - The History Of Northwest Rock Volume IV (LP, Comp)  The Great Northwest Music Company 1980

Take A Look At Me:  Various - Highs In The Mid Sixties Volume 7: The North-West (LP, Comp)  AIP Records 1984

Take A Look At Me (as Mr. Lucky And The Gamblers):  Various - Teenage Shutdown! "Jump, Jive & Harmonize" ? (2 versions)  Not On Label (Teenage Shutdown! Series) 1995

Teenage Shutdown! "Jump, Jive & Harmonize" (LP, Comp)  Not On Label (Teenage Shutdown! Series) 1995

Teenage Shutdown! "Jump, Jive & Harmonize" (CD, Comp, Unofficial)  Not On Label (Teenage Shutdown! Series) 1995

Take A Look At Me:  Various - The History Of Northwest Rock Volume 2: The Garage Years (CD, Comp)  Jerden 1999

I Told You Once Before and 2 more… :  Various - The Northwest Battle Of The Bands Volume 1 Flash And Crash ? (2 versions)  BeatRocket 2000

The Northwest Battle Of The Bands Volume 1 Flash And Crash (LP, Comp, Mono)  BeatRocket 2000

The Northwest Battle Of The Bands Volume 1 Flash And Crash (CD, Comp, Mono)  BeatRocket 2000

Alice Designs:  Various - The Northwest Battle Of The Bands Volume 2 Knock You Flat! ? (2 versions)  BeatRocket 2000

The Northwest Battle Of The Bands Volume 2 Knock You Flat! (LP, Comp)  BeatRocket 2000

The Northwest Battle Of The Bands Volume 2 Knock You Flat! (CD, Comp, Mono)  BeatRocket 2000

Alice Designs:  Various - Northwest Battle Of The Bands Volume Two (CD, Comp)  Big Beat Records 2001

I Told You Once Before:  Various - Northwest Battle Of The Bands Volume 1 (CD, Comp)  Big Beat Records 2001

Take A Look At Me:  Various - Northwest Battle Of The Bands Volume Three (CD, Comp)  Big Beat Records 2002

Take A Look At Me and 2 more…:  Various - The History Of Northwest Rock, Vol. 4, Battle Of The Bands (CD, Comp)  Jerden 2006

Take A Look At Me:  Various - Pop Fiction, Volume 1 (CD, Comp)  Eva Records (2) 2009

Listen to "Take a Look at Me"
Full MP3 song provided courtesy of Denny Randall  (Large File!)

View Mr. Lucky and The Gamblers "YouTube" videos


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Last Update:  30 August 2014
Credits: Darryl Riffero, Denny Randall, Don Rogers, Bud Garrison, Dave Maitland, Fuzz Acid & Flowers, Norm Smith, Larry Kulai, Rojer Blaine, Brian Trainer, Carl Wilson, Greg Hodes, Ron Reedy, Mike Parker

Band # 0019