Homebase: Seattle, WA
JACK ROBERTS AND THE EVERGREEN DRIFTERS
For nearly thirty years The Evergreen Drifters were, perhaps, the best known purveyors of country music in the Pacific Northwest. And yet, with innumerable miles traveled and performances logged, the group received label credit on only one record.* That record is our story.
Formed in 1950 by guitarist/vocalist, Jack Roberts and friends at Seattle's Franklin High School, the young musical assemblage chose a name reflecting both roots in the Evergreen State and country trends of the era. Jack Roberts, "In those days every country group had to have a name like the Drifters, Ramblers, or what ever. Today, nobody adopts a name like that."
The next decade saw Jack Roberts And The Evergreen Drifters develop a following throughout the Northwest. Early fans were of all ages for, as Robert puts it "We were performing before there was any Bill Haley or rock (n' roll), so kids felt what we played (a lot of western swing) was just great." By 1963 that popularity had garnered the group regional television exposure via the weekly KOMO (Seattle) television production Evergreen Jubilee. It was shortly after the program's advent that The Evergreen Drifters only record exposure came to pass. Roberts remembers, "Jim Fuscaldo who was working with the Craig Corporation in Seattle came to us with a tune he had written entitled 'Don't Be Fooled'. It was a lilting, up tempo (country) ballad. Initially, he just wanted a demo (tape), but after hearing what we'd planned to do with the tune he said 'Let's do the real thing.'.........That meant that we needed another song to back it ('Don't Be Fooled'), so I chose one I'd always liked (entitled) 'A Dream Will Have To Do.' It was a slower ballad written by our guitarist, Floyd Thomas."
Recorded by Kearney Barton at Northwest Recorders in Seattle the tunes saw release in late 1963 on Jerry Dennon's Jerden Records. As for the record's fate? "It obviously didn't go anywhere" recalls Roberts, "but it did get good regional (air) play. That's quite a lot when you figure that in those days there wasn't a giant industry 'machine' to push records."
Jack Roberts continued as leader of The Evergreen Drifters until the early 1970s when the reins were passed to nephew Pat Roberts. Pat kept the group's name active via live performances and television's Country Northwest (KSTW Tacoma/Seattle) until 1979 when The Evergreen Drifters disbanded: twenty nine years, many faces and one forty five record away from their high school origins.
* During the years which have ensued since this article was first published a second recording by the EVERGREEN DRIFTERS has been located.
The preceding is an edited version of an article that originally appeared in NORTHWEST DISC-COVERIES & SOUND REPORT Volume 4 #12 February, 1980.
LOCATION: Seattle, WA
RECORDING STUDIO: Northwest Recorders
RECORDING ENGINEER: Kearney Barton
SPEED: 45 rpm
Known Label Designs:
1RA.) A - B retail disc. Light blue label background. Pinkish logo accents. Pinkish numerals and lettering except light blue jerden.
1RA.) 45JD - 43 (etched wax); JD - 43 (label)
A-SIDE STAMPER CODE:
1RA.) ^50218 (ca. October/November, 1963)
A-SIDE COMPOSER:Jim Fuscaldo
A-SIDE PUBLISHER: Bainbridge Music (BMI)
1RA.) 45JD - 44 (etched wax); JD - 44 (label)
B-SIDE STAMPER CODE:
1RA.) ^50218 - X (ca. October/November, 1963)
B-SIDE COMPOSER: Floyd Thomas
B-SIDE PUBLISHER: Norwester Music (BMI)