The story of Lonnie Lester

by Lonnie Lester

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about

Tramp Records continues to celebrate its 10th anniversary with another exciting release in the Story of series. Lonnie Lester is one of those unsung heroes of 1960s Rhythm & Blues who has gained little recognition for his talents. Although his songs are current dance floor favourites in soul clubs all over Europe, this is the first-ever compilation of his 1960s material.

Born in Dorena, Missouri in 1937, Lonnie is the oldest of thirteen children. In 1946 his family moved to Gary, Indiana. Encouraged by his grandmother, he started singing in church at the age of six. As a teenager he performed with doo-wop (a style of music popularized in the 1950′s sung in harmony) groups in and around Gary. After being on the road with Bill Nixon and Junior Walker, and serving a stint in the U.S. Air Force, he ended up in San Francisco in 1959. While there he opened for R&B stars like Sam & Dave, the Drifters, Aretha Franklin, Little Willy John, and many others.

The next big step was his move to Chicago, Illinois, where he cut more than a handful of R&B/soul singles for the Nu-Tone label. The backing band was under the leadership of Chuck Danzy. When Lonnie came to Indianapolis in 1969, he performed at the Honey Dripper Lounge, the End Zone, and the Vineyards. During the early 70′s, he formed a five-piece band called Lonnie Lester & Touch. In the 80′s he traveled the country with his band in addition to performing in the Indianapolis area. Over the years he has donated time to the Women’s Prison, Riley Children’s Hospital, Veterans Hospital, and many other community organizations.

Lonnie recently celebrated his 75th birthday and continues to perform in the Indianapolis, Indiana area.

credits

released June 3, 2013

Special thanks to Jean Dugan and Lonnie Lester!

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