William “Beau Dollar” Bowman, a Hamilton-born singer/drummer who recorded at King Records in the 1960s with both The Dapps and Beau Dollar & The Coins, has died in Cincinnati after an extended illness. Until recently, he had been living in Florida. He was 69. Information on funeral services is available at www.webb-noonan.com.
According to a Wikipedia entry, “Beau Dollar & The Dapps were formed in Cincinnati in 1965, where they often played the famous Living Room nightclub. The band consisted of Bowman, Eddie Setser, Charles Summers, Tim Hedding, Ron Geisman, Les Asch, and David Parkinson. The band found success after being discovered by James Brown the same year they were formed. Under Brown’s direction, the band produced their first single, ‘It’s A Gas.’ However, Brown’s long-running dispute with King caused the single to be shelved. At the same time, the band also worked with Hank Ballard, who had left The Midnighters in search of solo success. In 1967, they released two singles, ‘Bringing Up The Guitar’ and ‘There Was A Time’ with Alfred ‘Pee Wee’ Ellis.
However, that entry conflicts with information available on www.discogs.com, so further research is necessary to establish Bowman’s exact body of work. Discogs also points out that the Nashville guitarist/songwriter Troy Seals also was in The Dapps for a while, when he lived in Cincinnati. And the site www.ohiosoulrecordings.com lists Beau Dollar’s “I’m Ready, I’m Ready (I Got Me Some Soul)”/”At The Dark End Of The Street” as a 1969 release. “Soul Serenade” was included on the British multi-artist CD A Cellarful of Soul. In the compilation’s liner notes, it says, “Beau Dollar’s single may have been produced and inspired by a white Cincinnati guitar hero, but the guys got the feel of King Curtis‘ 1964 hit ‘Soul Serenade’ just right for its 1966 soul loving audience. So much so that it became the theme tune for the UK’s main black music radio show.”
“Soul Serenade,” released on Prime, was produced by Lonnie Mack and is a guitar rave-up.
As the Funk/Soul/King Records revival has grown, interest in Bowman, as well as The Dapps, has also increased. In an interview last year with CityBeat, Neal Sugarman of Brooklyn’s Daptone Records said the Dapps were an inspiration for both the label and the name of its most successful act, Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings.