Allen left for a while
in 1967-1968 -- partially as a result of differences regarding selection
of performance material and partially to pursue a career in acting with
the Dublin High Drama Club -- and was temporarily replaced by a church
choir organist with no rock music experience whatsoever, either as a listener
or a player. The young misfit/miscast keyboardist's name was Lewis Smith.
The Tanners and Tom convinced Lewis to perform wearing a flowerpot for
a hat, wearing Nehru jackets, with flowers attached to his buzz cut hair.
They encouraged him to perform tunes like "The Marines' Hymn," "Dixie,"
and other audience-torturing songs during the band's increasingly infamous
performances. Lewis's obvious discomfort with his rock band experience
was betrayed by a highly visible and unhip facial twitch that plagued him
throughout each performance. During this time, the band began to use color
wheels, strobe lights, exploding cherry bombs, sulfur bombs, and home movies
projected onto a bed sheet behind the band members as they played.
|Still frame from an old home movie featuring
young Blair in a Woody Woodpecker costume. The short sequence was
spliced into a larger, more recent film created by The Ancestors for display
during their legendary performances.
The band's set list
was made up of songs by The Who ("Whiskey Man," "I Can See for Miles"), The Doors
("Light my Fire"), Sgt. Pepper-era Beatles (title cut, "With a Little Help
From my Friends,"
"When I'm Sixty-Four," "Magical Mystery Tour"), Mothers of Invention ("Status
Back Baby," "Motherly Love") and oddball novelty numbers such as "Bill
Bailey." The band also used prerecorded tapes of bad local radio commercials
between songs. All of this was largely viewed with disdain by their shrinking
audience of young Dublinites.
to download and play "Christmas Greetings," recorded circa 1970 at WMLT Radio, Dublin,
Georgia. Improvised by Tom Patterson, Allen Tindol, and Edward Tanner, the recording initially
features the original Ancestors (1966) rendering their instrumental version of "Positively 4th Street" in
the background. Next, an Elvis musical backdrop supports a whimsical takeoff on the Dublin
Police Department's radio commercial invitation to their annual Christmas Party for "all my little friends -- 12
and under -- at the Dublin City Hall."
|One of The Ancestors' promo posters from this
period, designed by Tom Patterson, and featuring Blair, Tom, and Edward
in a Sgt. Pepper-like setting.