Curtis Obeda and Dalton ReedMy wife Lolly and I first heard Dalton Reed’s voice as we walked to the racks of the Electric Fetus to pick up some CDs for her radio show, The Sugar Shop. I am an Otis Redding fanatic and I stopped and listened as Chained & Bound came on the store’s speakers. I thought “hey, that’s pretty good!” We picked up the CD and, after a quick listen, began plotting to bring Dalton to Minnesota for a show.

I brought a tape of his CD over to the Blues Saloon and told them I had just heard a great vocalist that I wanted to bring up. Upon returning home, I made some inquiries and somehow ended up talking to Dalton’s co-producer Lee Allen Zeno. After a bit of explaining who I was and what I wanted Lee told me to send along a tape of the Butanes and said he’d talk to Dalton to see if he was interested in performing with us. About a week later Lee called back and said Dalton had looked at the promo, listened to the tape and was interested in coming up. I went back to The Blues Saloon and told them Dalton was ready, willing and able if they had the money and a date for us. The bar manager had listened to the CD and liked it but was worried that Dalton was “too unknown.” I convinced her to give us a weekend a few months away in September but the offer was only a plane ticket and a tiny guarantee versus the door. I called Lee back and had to promise him all of the guaranteed money, plus a few extra dollars out of my own pocket, to confirm Dalton.

I knew that we would have to promote this show to have any chance of personal financial success so I began telling people about this great new singer we had coming in. Lolly played the heck out of his CD (like she does with every new CD she likes.) Everyone in the band was given tapes of Dalton’s music to work on and we were on schedule for our September weekend. Then the club had a last minute cancellation and needed Dalton to cover the next Saturday - months before we would be ready. I had already made plans to go to my class reunion that Saturday, we hadn’t finished writing charts or done any rehearsing but we were told it was now or never. We also already had an early show booked for Friday night so any rehearsals would have to take place in the afternoon immediately after Dalton arrived in town. I called to see if Dalton would OK the date change and losing the Friday performance. He agreed to move some things around and, ready or not, the date was set.

The morning Dalton was to arrive I received a phone call around 6 a.m. Dalton had arrived at the ticket counter only to find the Blues Saloon had purchased a ticket from Lafayette, Indiana to Minneapolis instead of Lafayette Louisiana. I spent the morning straightening the situation out, got Dalton on a later plane and picked him up at the airport. Because of the mix-up Dalton hadn’t eaten all day so on our way to his hotel he ran into Burger King and picked up a quick snack. We had an early evening show at Riverplace that I had to set up for so I called Dr. Bob and instructed him to pick up Dalton in a few hours and bring him down to the show - that was to be our rehearsal since he hadn't landed until well after we had expected. Dalton arrived at Riverplace, well-rested after a nap, and met my family and a large number of our friends. We called him up to sing a few songs with us at the end of our show. A good time was had by all.

Saturday afternoon our trumpet player, Adam Triplett, was frantically trying to scribble out the rest of the charts we needed for that night as we had a quick run-through of a couple songs at soundcheck. We agreed on a set list for the evening and had to include a couple of songs that we performed in the Soul Revue that Dalton knew but hadn’t sang before as well as a couple of standards the horns didn’t particularly know to fill out the night. Our promotional onslaught had worked! The place was full as we played the opening set and when we walked back to the dressing room there was Dalton; with a tie! It looked slightly out place on him but he looked great. Our first set went pretty well but we had packed the second set with a lot of the songs we needed more work on thinking we would go over them on the break. Instead, we drank beers and chatted as Dalton was relaxed and told us to just go out and have fun and we'll all do the best we can.

At the end of the night the club paid everyone in the band individually, something that had never happened before so I knew something was up. When I totalled up our pay it was much less than the 100% of the door receipts promised me. The club then confessed they had been short the last couple of weeks so they took what they considered their share. I cursed them out, told them they stole my money and I have had nothing to do with the club manager since that night. Dalton came up numerous times after that but always used a band willing to work cheap. I continued my friendship with Dalton, even visiting him for a few days in Louisiana but we never played with Dalton Reed again.


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