Klaas Craats

The Renegades
The Renegades

Yes, I am the guy that has tried to organize this crazy project and I guess it all starts about here with the first picture that I can recall having been taken of me playing in a band in about 1962. ( I am the little 15 year old blond dude in the middle along with L to R…Ed Sehn, Gary Miller, Doug van Riper on drums and vocalist Greg Robinson) To see my activity in the Medicine Hat music scene of the 60s please check out The Cavaliers on this site. I left the city in 1967 to go to university in Toronto after which I moved to Calgary where I played professionally for the next 45 years. My musical roots have always been dear to me and this site is simply a time trip for me to revisit all the people I worked with and who I learned so much from all those years ago. I went on to play with many major artists and do studio work as well as front a very popular big band for many years but the most fun I ever had was playing music in Medicine Hat in the 1960s.  I have worked with artists like my cowboy hero Roy Rogers, Bob Hope, Engelbert Humperdinck, Frankie Lane, Lorne Green, The Fifth Dimension, Phyllis Diller and many others, but none of that would have been possible without the groundwork that was started  in Medicine Hat.

Al Mc Morran
Klaas Craats

This is a photo that was taken of a throw together band that offered some entertainment prior to the Stampede parade about 1963. The setting is what is now the Tim Horton’s parking lot and which, at the time,  was  the Canada Safeway parking lot . It was also next to McMorrans’s Music Land (later to become Fleming’s House Of Music) at which the above players taught music. Al McMorran was the go to guitar teacher in Medicine Hat for many years and was very active during the 1960s playing in dance bands as well as the early stages of live entertainment in the bars. From L to R…Klaas Craats (guitar), Lawrence Streifle (accordion), Al McMorran (bass) (see The Kiwanis Band ,) Eddie Jans ( accordion), Al’s son Rodney McMorran (drums)

 

Klaas Craats
Klaas Craats

A shot of me (on the far right) working with the Rhythm ‘n Blues group, The Manhattans, in Toronto in 1967 . It was a great culture shock to go from playing the Assiniboia tavern to trying to compete with Toronto players for a job. The most success I had in Toronto was working with a country artist named Honey West, who went on to have a national TV series in the late 60s.  You can see my Medicine Hat involvement on the The Cavaliers page.

Klaas Craats 1969
Klaas Craats

 A promo picture of my trio that worked the Calgary bar and lounge circuit in 1970…..my old Medicine Hat Cavaliers buddy Ole Johnson is on the left..I am on the right and the drummer is Duncan Scott. This trio worked to full houses everywhere we played with a mixture of country, rock and (bad!) comedy.

Klaas Craats
Klaas Craats

A photo of the Klaas Craats Six from 1970 in Calgary. In 1970 the Westgate Hotel on Bow Trail designed and built a cabaret extension on to their existing hotel which they intended to be the top cabaret destination in the city and it turned out to be so. This band was carefully recruited and put together 6months before the opening and was to serve as the house band . It was the first rock band in town to have a 3 piece horn section and the group never played a public show until the opening show at the cabaret, which generated a lot of very favourable press which, in turn, resulted in an 8 month residency that was sold out every night. The group had 2 Medicine Hat Cavaliers ( see The Cavaliers) alumni Klaas Craats (crouched) and bass player Ole (Gus) Johnson (second from left). The guy on the extreme left is trombonist George Schram who today is the resident conductor for all the pop series shows for the Nashville Symphony and he works with all the top Nashville names.