The Swags
Bellingham, Washington
1958 ~ 1960


Allen Barr ~ Guitar
Chet Dow ~ Piano
George Johnson ~ Drums
Gailen Ludtke ~ Guitar
John Martin ~ Vocals
 Wayne Morisset  ~ Bass
Bruce Reddick ~ Guitar, Vocals

Del-Fi Recording Artists
"Rockin' Matilda" & "Blowin the Blues"

There is a rumor running around that there might be an attempt at a reunion of sorts for the Swags.  I hope it is true.  It would be nice to see the "boys" together again.


A couple of guys were introduced to Rock`n' Roll early in high school and decided to put a band together. They took there name from Link Wray' B-Side of Rumble, The Swag.  Gailen Ludtke liked the song and named his newly formed band after it.  Gailen played 1st guitar. He also played saxophone on Blowing The Blues. The band was formed in 1957 and continued until 1960. Jim Bailey, from Anacortes, WA heard the Swags play and wanted to record them.  Jim started a record company and named it WESTWIND. He and Gailen co-wrote Rockin' Matilda in 1960. "Rockin' Matilda/Blowing The Blues" was originally recorded on WESTWIND-WW1003 (Westwind Records, Anacortes,Washington). This record was issued with a picture sleeve of the band.(1960). Shortly thereafter, Jim sold the rights to DEL-FI and they produced and sold about a quarter of a million copies. The record shot up to number one in Hawaii. The band saw very little of the money that was made from this record.

Jim Doidge, June 2003.

The Swags began the summer of 1958.  John Martin was the lead singer. He did Elvis songs.  He left the band in 1959.   John's 76 year old voice teacher forced him to quit.   Bruce took his place.  John got Chet into the band as a  pianist.  I did not play an instrument, just sang.

We wore matching sweaters and played at high school assemblies and Delta Grange. Loretta Lynn sang there on alternative Saturday night. Our paths never crossed.

We cut a record in the summer of '58 at Alan Barr's house in Ferndale where I sang "Laudy Miss Claudy".  I still have it.

John Martin, August 2012

The Swags - Image courtesy of Jim Doidge

45 image courtesy of  Stan Boutilier

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Last Update:  12 August 2012
Credits: Don Rogers, Darryl Riffero, Ron Roe, Jim Doidge, Margy Kane, Stan Boutilier, John Martin
Band # 0008<>