Wednesday, April 11, 2012
Sneaky Sam at UPS
Live music. Loud music. It’s just not college without it. The University of Puget Sound, like most schools, would book name bands to perform in the Fieldhouse, but UPS was also fortunate enough to have a sort of neighborhood house band. Two of the members, vocalist Ron Gardner and keyboardist Allan Tilley, lived just up the street from campus on Fife St., next door to Neal, Chris and I.
The band was called Sneaky Sam’s Lamb, and Ron Gardner (1945-1992), the vocalist and sax player, had a long history with Pacific Northwest bands. In 1962 he began playing with The Wailers, to this day considered one of Washington’s earliest and most popular rock ’n roll bands. When the wailers disbanded in 1969 he played with a number of other bands, such as Sweet Rolle and The Solitudes.
Sneaky Sam’s Lamb was formed in 1971, and while they were in demand all over the northwest, generally playing several gigs a week, they seemed to find ample time to perform on campus. Most often they played at dances in the SUB dining hall, but outdoors was their favorite venue.
What follows is a collection of images I recently located, scanned from my tarnished old 35mm negatives. They depict an outdoor performance of Sneaky Sam’s Lamb on the lawn outside Anderson-Langdon Hall.
Sneaky Sam’s Lamb evolved into the Ron Gardner Group in late 1972, and a new band, Jumbo Groove, was formed in 1988. On December 19, 1992, Gardner was tragically killed. He was keeping watch over his Christmas Tree lot when an electrical fire broke out in his trailer. He died of his injuries.
A recording of one of Sneaky Sam's songs can be found on youtube.