Bernie Manion, David Higginbotham, Rod Kahut, Jay Averill, Bill Coleman
Johnie Fair & The Soul Searchers
Woodburn, Oregon
1965 -1966


Founding members

Jay (Sandy) Averill ~ Rhythm Guitar, Vocals
Bill Coleman ~ Vocals
David Higginbotham ~ Lead Guitar, Vocals
Rodney Kahut ~ Drums
Bernie Manion ~ Bass, Vocals
Neal White ~ Piano, Organ

Later Members

Jerry Woelke ~ Rhythm Guitar, Vocals
Mac Sessums ~ Vocals

In Memory of

Bernie Manion
Jerry Woelke

 Bernie Manion, David Higginbotham, Bill Coleman, Jay Averill, Rod Kahut

Based in Woodburn, Oregon, Johnie Fair & The Soul Searchers joined the musicians union and began working for EJD Enterprises in a series of shows at the Salem Armory.  These shows included opening for both The Shindogs and The Liverpool Five.  Additionally, the band worked local sock hops and dances throughout the Willamette Valley. Although short-lived, the band is remembered by many of the kids from Woodburn, North Marion, Salem, Mt. Angel, Gervais and Silverton who attended those shows. Highlights also include dances at Oregon College of Education, The Folksinger Cafe in Portland Oregon, and Gigs at 'Action West' in Salem. The bands final incarnation appeared in August of 1966 at the Payless Drugstore sponsored Battle of The Bands.

Neal White left the band early and joined the Civil Air Patrol.  Jay Averill's family relocated to Watsonville, California and he was replaced by Jerry Woelke.  Bill Coleman left and was replaced by Mac Sessums shortly before the group disbanded at the end of the Summer of 1966.  Two members, David Higginbotham and Jerry Woelke soldiered on until the Spring of 1967 with a new band called ' Passion Flower Hotel' that benefited from the connections and equipment produced by Johnie Fair & The Soul Searchers.

David Higginbotham, April 2002

1965 - FIRST GIG Silverton High School
Bernie Manion, Dave Higginbotham, Jay Averill, Bill Coleman, Neal White

1966 - LAST GASP Mt. Angel (J.F.K.) High School
Rod Kahut, Dave Higginbotham, Jerry Woelke, Bernie Manion

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Last Update:  29 November 2014
Credits: David Higginbotham, Bill Coleman

Band # 802