This is a poster ( printed by Val Marshal Printing) promoting Ron Leppard live dates in Medicine Hat. Ron leaned to a R&B instrumental style that was quite different from the other local bands of the time and this poster is one of the very few visual items that ties him to the Medicine Hat music scene in the 60s.In 1962 there was a go cart track and burger joint on Riverside near where the Glass House used to be. Ron and his combo ,consisting of various players including Harry Heckenliable, Doug van Riper, Jimmy Sinclair, Klaas Craats and others would perform on a small outdoor stage while people sat in their cars, ordered burgers and listened to the music.
This very grainy photo is the only one I have come across of Ron Leppard playing music in Medicine Hat in the early 1960s. On bass is Harry Heckenliable, drums Doug van Riper ( See The Renegades, The Cavaliers) guitar Klaas Craats (See The Renegades, The Cavaliers, Klaas Craats). This photo was taken in the CHAT TV studios about 1963?? While other bands were playing Top 40 covers Ron was playing R&B instrumentals like Night Train and Honky Tonk. Ron and I would spend countless hours after school jamming on R&B riffs.
This is a very cool item….an official Medicine Hat Teen Club membership held by Ron Leppard ( brother of Don Leppard…see Lemmana Septet, John Fyke, The Med Hatters) in 1963. It was signed by John Van den Burg , who lived in the back of the old Teen Hall building on Riverside just east of the Finlay Bridge and was the caretaker of the hall. Every Medicine Hat Teen Queen ball John and his wife would put on a display of ballroom dancing after which the teens would try to awkwardly dance , or shuffle around, with their parents before getting on with having their own fun.
Something that a lot of people may not be aware of is that tenor sax player Ron Leppard was a member of the Medicine Hat Tigers junior hockey club with a very promising career in hockey before becoming a musician. There are not many photos of him playing music in Medicine Hat before moving to Toronto in 1965 and this picture is from about 1961??
Ron Leppard moved to Toronto in 1965 where he soon caught on with some of the local R&B bands as well as club acts that were playing the Ontario lounge circuit. This picture is Ron , second from the left, with the band Paul Hamilton and the Blue Notes.
A poster from Toronto in 1965 showing Paul Hamilton and the Blue Notes , of which Ron Leppard was a member, supporting Little Caesar and the Consuls who had a big national hit with the song Hang On Sloopy at the time.
Another picture of Ron Leppard ( extreme right) with the nightclub act Nite Train about 1967 in Toronto . Notice that the act is now called Ron Leppard and the Nite Train. Below is a record that was released under the name Jimmy Nite and the Nite Train and was released just before Ron took over the band. It is a great example of the R&B sound that was so big in Toronto at the time and features Ron on tenor sax.
Jimmy Nite and the Nite Train- I Been Done Wrong (audio)