Remember “Red Rubber Ball,” “Time Won't Let Me” and “Yummy, Yummy, Yummy”?
Those who now have earworms circulating in their brains should head to the Valley Dale Ballroom on Nov. 5, when the Ohio-born bands that made those songs famous ― respectively, the Cyrkle, the Outsiders and the founding members of the Ohio Express — will be joined by two other Ohio bands, the Music Explosion (“Little Bit O' Soul”) and McGuffey Lane (“Long Time Lovin' You”) for an evening of nostalgia and up-tempo music billed as “Ohio's National Bands.” Agricultural Rubber
Aside from McGuffey Lane, the relative youngster of the group, the others hit the height of their fame many decades ago. Each of the bands includes at least one of its original members, though the eagle-eyed will note that some of the backing musicians share duties in several of the bands.
The evening is the brainchild of Columbus musician and host of the “Local Lix” podcast Pat McLoughlin, who serves as lead vocalist for local oldies band the Gas Pump Jockeys.
McLoughlin had worked years earlier in Columbus at AT&T with one of the original members of the Cyrkle, Mike Losekamp.
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“In 2014, we had some turnover in the Gas Pump Jockeys,” McLoughlin said. “When our keyboard player left, I remembered Mike, who had been playing in a band in Dayton. So he joined the band. And once he joined the band, we started doing 'Red Rubber Ball' and 'Turn Down Day' as part of the show, and it really went over well. So then I thought maybe it would be a neat idea if I could uncover other members of the Cyrkle, and see if they would be open for a revival.”
After some sleuthing, he tracked down the other three surviving members of the band. One was a surgeon in Florida, another a bankruptcy lawyer in Michigan and a third was writing commercial jingles in New York.
The surgeon and lawyer passed on joining the revitalized band, but Don Dannemann, the jingle writer and the band's original lead singer, was curious enough to come out to Columbus to explore the possibility.
When they reunited at the Columbus home of one of the band members, Losekamp and Dannemann hadn't seen each other for 50 years.
“Don just opened his arms and embraced Mike,” McLoughlin said. “It was a tear-jerking moment. There was still that bond. Dannemann literally says every night, I can't believe that, at age 79, I'm a rock and roll star. He's sincere. He's dancing all over the stage, playing his guitar, he sounds just the same.”
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The web of connections between the Gas Pump Jockeys and the Cyrkle also extends to the Ohio Express: that band's original bassist, Mansfield native Dean Kastran, plays bass for the Jockeys — and now for the Cyrkle.
“So now we have two founding members of the Cyrkle and a founding member of the Ohio Express in the Cyrkle,” McLoughlin said. “Sometimes I just shake my head. I step back for a minute and look at my world now and it's surreal.”
The five time-tested bands will be playing at a venue that has plenty of history of its own.
The Valley Dale Ballroom, which was purchased by Rick and Landa Brunetto in 2019, has been operating continually since the 1920s, and, in its heyday, hosted the likes of Frank Sinatra, Harry James, Tommy Dorsey and Guy Lombardo.
When the Brunettos purchased the building — which is frequently used, among other things, as a wedding venue and for performances by the Rick Brunetto Big Band ― they wanted to make sure it could continue its musical heritage.
“We have put in a great sound system,” said Landa Brunetto. “That was probably one of the best moves we could make, because now we can do shows like this one. Before, people would slide in and out of town and not consider us. Now we're starting to get calls from various bands.”
“When you walk into that building, there's an immediate aura that grabs you,” McLoughlin said. “The history lingers in the air.”
Clear Rubber Band Ohio's National Bands will perform at 7 p.m. Nov. 5 at the Valley Dale Ballroom, 1590 Sunbury Road. Tickets: $40 (www.valleydaleballroom.com)