The Stingrays in '63
Top:  Dean Winner, Bobby Summers, Rich Larson
Seated:  Lyall Smith
The Stingrays
Olympia, Washington
1962 ~ 1966

Members
 

"Big George" Barner ~ Vocals
John Beach ~ Saxophone
Sandy Faye ~ Vocals
Walt Rattenbury ~ Saxophone
Chris Lane ~ Drums
Rich Larson ~ Guitar, Vocals
Marilyn Miles ~ Vocals
Cheri Robin ~ Vocals
Lyall Smith ~ Drums, Vocals
Bobby Summers ~ Organ, Vocals
Willie Washington ~ Vocals
Dean Winner ~ Bass, Vocals
 

The Shalimars ~ Vocals
 

Rick Horton ~ Roadie, Electrical Genius
 

Booking Agent/Manager ~ Al Lawrence
 

We never would have reached the point where we were playing four states and British Columbia if it wasn’t for Al Lawrence of the Al Lawrence Booking Agency in Olympia.

We had the same four guys in the band the whole time it was together.  We used to call Al “The Fifth Stingray.”

Bobby Summers, September 2006



Big George Barner and the Shalimars



(Click on photo for full size version)
The Stingrays outside The Red Carpet, Summer 1964
Top:  Lyall Smith, Dean Winner, Rich Larson, Willie Washington
Seated:  Walt Rattenbury, Bobby Summers, Cheri Robin
The Stingrays formed in 1962, evolving from a rhythm and blues band known as "The Spades," which included Rich Larson,  Bobby Summers and Mark Amans, who later was the road manager for The Wailers, Paul Revere and the Raiders, Todd Rungren and The Blues Magoos.

During the next five years, the band, under the management of Al Lawrence, played dance gigs at venues large and small all over Washington, Oregon and British Columbia.

The original vocalist, Cheri Robin, was joined in 1963 by vocalist Willie Washington, who was from Tacoma.  Big George Barner replaced Willie in 1964. When Cheri left the band, she was replaced by vocalist Sandy Faye, plus a trio of backup vocalists, The Shalimars. When Faye left the group in 1965, she was replaced by Marilyn Miles.

The rhythm section of Rich Larson, Dean Winner, Lyall Smith and Bobby Summers remained the same until the band broke up in March 1966 when Summers left to go into the Air Force.

Winner never played music again.  Lyall Smith went on to play with Sir Raleigh & The Coupons, and later fronted his own band for several years before quitting the business.  Lyall was at one time the fire chief at Black Lake Fire Department near Olympia, then later retired took a position with and subsequently retired from a fire and safety position with the State of Washington.  Lyall is still performing.  He plays with a jazz band band, The Electric Park Orchestra.


Rich Larson formed the Mud Bay Blues Band with Dave Ray, Brady Anderson and a host of other well-known players from Olympia and Tacoma. That band folded in the early 1970s.  Larson temporarily left the business to work as a surveyor. At last word, he was living in the Tacoma area as a civil engineer and recently reunited with the Mud Bay Blues Band.

Big George Barner, who was a Thurston County commissioner for many years, continued doing '50s and '60s revival shows with various reformations of the Corvettes and with other Olympia musicians. He recorded an album and made news headlines singing "Louie Louie" on the steps of the state capital in 1985.

In 2000, George and the Corvettes played a reunion gig with The Wailers in Tacoma, then played for Lakefair in Olympia.

When Bobby Summers completed his four years in the Air Force, most of which were spent in an assignment just 15 miles from the center of London, England, he returned to the Northwest. He soon went back to playing music, not as an organist, but as a bass player and vocalist, and went on the road, leaving the Northwest, living short periods in Chicago, Milwaukee, New Orleans and Dallas before settling in Houston, Texas.

Bobby continued playing full time until the early 1990s. In those 20-plus years, he worked with Las Vegas show bands, rhythm and blues bands, rock bands and country bands, touring all over the United States, Canada and around the world while working for recording artists such as Percy Sledge, Mickey Gilley, Freddy Fender, Rusty Weir and Roy Head.

Bobby now is the editor of a weekly newspaper in Beaumont, Texas, about 90 miles east of Houston near the Texas-Louisiana border, but he still has time to play music -- "bad habits die hard."

Bobby is the bass player and one of three vocalists with an eight-piece rhythm and blues horn band, The Heartbeats, which in the past three years backed B.J. Thomas, Percy Sledge, The Temptations, Tony Joe White. Edgar Winter, Johnny Winter, the Four Tops, Jerry LaCroix, G.G. Shinn and Delbert McClinton.
Bobby Summers, December 2000

Dean Winner is now the head pilot for the Weyerhauser Company and residing in the South Puget Sound area.
Mike Merryman, September 2001)

Stingrays Reunion - 2004

The Stingrays had a short reunion at The Spar in Olympia. We got a chance to see who has aged the most gracefully. We talked about all the good times we had together and discovered that some of us remember those things a little differently than others did.

Rich Larson, Lyall Smith and I traveled to Tacoma to see our old friend and bandmate Walt Rattenbury, who was playing with The Titans at the Tacoma Elks.

In the photo from our reunion, we are in the same positions we were in when we took our promo shot that is at the top of this Stingrays page. That's Big George Barner on the front right.
Bobby Summers, October 2004

 

The Stingrays in 2004
The Stingrays -2004
Top:  Dean Winner, Bobby Summers, Rich Larson
Seated:  Lyall Smith, Big George Barner


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Last Update:  5 October 2012
Credits:    Darryl Riffero, Bob Summers, Walt Rattenbury, Rich Larson, Mike Merryman
Band # 0050