The Bushmen got their start in their hometown of Douglas, Georgia in early 1962 as The Revelons.
Their love for both white and black Southern roots music, as well as
most good Top 40 radio tunes, helped to enable them to perform pretty
much anything that hit the airwaves.
Early on, when they played for dances and teen functions all over the
southeast, they consistently broke the attendance records for those
venues. They were five nice looking lads who looked like they had
arrived as part of the British Invasion of 1964. They not only had
great vocals and harmonies, but were also fine musicians whose shows
were fun and exciting, for both them and the audience. Their musical
and visual chemistry was very special and crowds everywhere loved them.
They were equally at home doing great Beach Boy's harmonies, the latest
Beatle's future classics, Wilson Picket screamers or the sophisticated
sounds of Motown. They were a sponge-like human jukebox and having a
live band perform was so much more exciting than a DJ playing records!
They were very innovative for the Sixties, using echo on their vocals,
strobe lights with their lighting systems, and film projectors showing
clips, cartoons and the group themselves projected on screens at the
back of the stage. In 1964 - 65 The Bushmen had to design and build
their own oversized PA system to properly cover the larger crowds they
were now performing for (including rack systems). Large, quality
systems were just not available during that period. It took a while for
the music companies to catch up with the demand.
Not all of the artists that The Bushmen did concerts with were
consistently strong live performers. In fact, The Bushmen were the
underdogs who quite often upset the headliners!
For example: The Rolling Stones appeared in concert at Georgia Southern
in Statesboro. The Bushmen opened the show for them and gave the Stones
more "Southern Home Cookin' " than they bargained for. The thousands of
people in the audience that night gave The Bushmen an overwhelming
response. The opener's became the headliners that night!
A concert with the The Kingsmen ("Louie, Louie") and others once again
had the same outcome. After that show, Norm Sunnholm (The Kingsmen's
bass player) made a deal to supply The Bushmen with the first Sunn Amps
ever produced by his new music company! What happened with Sunn later
on is another story that we will explore in greater depth later. See
link at right to an excellent Sunn site.
The Bushmen enjoyed the same results in Albany, Georgia with Del
Shannon, Ronnie and the Daytonas, Johnny and the Hurricanes, Ace Cannon
and others. The Bushmen won over the audience completely each and every
time! Del Shannon took The Bushmen out that night and said he couldn't
believe how great they were. (Good form, Del.)
During 1964, in Savannah, Georgia with Bobby Vinton, The Diamonds
(Little Darlin') and others, it was "No Contest", once again. Thousands
of kids mobbed The Bushmen for autographs (looking for all the world
like a Beatles concert aftermath!) This kind of concert reaction had
1967 saw the group's home base become Atlanta, Georgia. They acquired
their own recording studio, publishing company and booking agency. They
also acquired a Trailways bus for touring. Before this move the group
had been recording in such places as Jacksonville, Florida; Jackson,
Mississippi; Rich Hall's in Muscle Shoals, Alabama; Bill Lowery's
Studios in Atlanta, Georgia; Columbia Studios in Nashville, Tennessee;
Memphis, Tennessee and others.
The Bushmen appeared on the following labels:
1. Smash Records - Mercury Subsidiary (National)
2.SSS International - New York/Nashville Label (Owned by Shelby Singleton)
3. CGC Records - New York (Independent) This was Bob Crewe's lable (Also the producer of the "4 Seasons")
4. Shurfine Records - Atlanta (Independent)
Total Recording Output - The Original Bushmen recorded four singles.
The reformed Bushmen, with various line ups have recorded three CD's.
Rodney Mills, the bass player, has already been inducted into the
Georgia Music Hall of Fame for the success he later achieved as a
Producer and Engineer.