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Biography

  • Years Active

    1957 – 1972 (15 years)

  • Founded In

    Levelland, Hockley County, Texas, United States

This was a very popular combo in West Texas between 1957 and 1972. Forming in Levelland, Texas in 1957, line-up 'A' did some recording at Norman Petty's studios in 1958 but nothing made it onto vinyl. They broke up for a while but later reformed with line-up 'B' and an unknown bassist. They underwent several further personnel changes.

When Charlie Hatchet relocated to Lubbock to start a new outfit The Raiders, he took Gary Blakey with him and a new line-up (C) resulted.

For a while in 1965 (line-up D) they used two drummers, although Lucky Floyd was also used as a vocalist too. Their first 45 really predates this book. U.T. stood for 'untitled' and was recorded in a garage in Clovis, New Mexico. Later in 1962 they signed for Hickory and Larry Parks, a drummer for Roy Orbison became their producer. They enjoyed some success with the resulting singles, particularly The Hip.

When Louie Holt and Gary P. Nunn left the band, Bobby Smith and Lucky Floyd headed to California changing the band's name to The Pearly Gate. This was around 1968. In fact they were scheduled to play a benefit for Robert F. Kennedy at the Americana Hotel the night he was shot.

The band were involved with Al Perkins at this time and did a TV show called 'Judge For The Defense'. They later returned to Austin reverting back to The Sparkles and around 1970/71 Steve Weissberg, who had played lead guitar for John Denver, was in the band.

In 1972 Lucky Floyd was invited back to California to join Red Wilder Blue. The Sparkles disintegrated soon afterwards. An early sixties line-up played some reunion gigs in West Texas early in 1985.

Guy Ballew - vocals (first line-up)
Jesse Ballew - saxophone (first line-up)
Gary Blakey - drums (first and second line-up)
Bob Donnell - bass (first line-up)
Carl Huckaby - guitar (first line-up)
Stanley Smith - guitar (first, second, and third line-up)
Johnny Waller - piano (first line-up)
Charlie Hatchett - guitar (second line-up)
Harold "Lucky" Floyd - drums (third, fourth, and fifth line-up)
Donnie Roberts - guitar (third line-up)
Bobby Smith - bass (third, fourth, and fifth line-up)
Louie Holt - guitar (fourth line-up)
Jimmy Marriott - drums (fourth and fifth line-up)
Gary P. Nunn - guitar (fourth line-up)
Steve Weisberg - guitar (fifth line-up)

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