Monday, December 21, 2009

MudBoy in 1987.. MudBoy and the Neutrons.. from left
Sid Selvidge, Jim Dickinson, Jimmy Crosswaithe, Lee Baker

A Happy Holidays greeting to all. We love the holidays at Playground Recording Studio... cause everybody is doing something else while we are recording. The grandchildren are running around here waiting on Christmas morning.. gumbo on the stove.. fish in the bayou.. and tunes on ProTools.. these are things we are thankful for. I do miss my weekly calls from Dickinson and still expect him to call up one day from the grave to discuss the state of the music business and what we have been recording and how nothing we record will ever make it to the pop charts and both being proud of that fact.. The we agree that neither will disclose the fact that we had this conversation. BigWater is going strong...we are finally recording a few of the old Playground songs and presenting them to the public in a little different light. God Bless all who might read this and Happy Holidays

Friday, November 27, 2009

Thanks and Giving

Eleven months ago.. I couldn't see forward to Thanksgiving 2009. Needless to say, I am thankful that we made it. It's been a difficult but productive and revealing year. Since our last post to the Playground blog a lot has been going on. Our band "BigWater" has been playing quite a bit. We have finally gone into the studio and recorded some of the songs we do. A few are posted on myspace at Steve Fisher's album is now, after 2 years ready for manufacture. The CD will be called "Nothing But Hope". I am proud of the CD. Clayton has played some iconic electric guitar and has done some great Pro Tools arrangements. All of Steve's songs are relevant and timely. Wilbur Walton Jr. was in this month to record a new song "Folk Blues #5 The Americana Taliban". Although Wilbur is pushing septuagenarian.. it's the hippest, most original thing that has come into the studio in a year or so. Ms. Amy Hart has been in and has penned a tune called "Birdcage", which is a dynamite R&B number that we plan to record very soon. Local panhandle arteest Rip Wright has begun a project to be completed soon. His songs are unique and original... much better than anyone will expect. Two of the songs we recorded were released on Finley Duncan's Emerald Coast label back in the early 80's on green vinyl (there are only 5 releases total on Emerald Coast) and they are as pertinent today as ever. We will be recording our ass off during the holidays.. thanks for being a Playground fan.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Hog Heaven Music Hub

The Twin Cities... No not Minneapolis/ St. Paul... But Niceville/ Valparaiso....Florida now has up to 5 music venues within a 2 mile area, where you can experience live music on the weekends.. most always with no cover. With the tourist season over Niceville is becoming a live music hub for the panhandle. Woody's Hog Heaven, which by the way has great BBQ and full bar, musically is anchored by the "Boggy Bayou Band" BigWater. BigWater performs at Woody's generally one night every weekend. During the short time that Woody's has been open, they have become a musical center on Friday and Saturday nights. BigWater has had countless "special guests" perform with the band. These include, Jack Jernigan, Amy Hart, Bobby "Blues" Elmo, Kathy Lyon and Tom Lyon, Andy Durand, Steve Stokes, Duane Mays, Norris and Suzy and many more. Original and unique material sets these musical performances apart from the norm. Other local favs like the WaCo Ramblers, Coconut Radio, Common Thread, Suzy and Norris have also performed here with more to come in the future. Woody's is gearing up for Mullet Festival weekend which will be Oct. 16th-19th. BigWater will host during and after the Mullet Fest events. There will be some special events during this weekend that you won't want to miss.
Other Niceville venues.. The Bayou Blues, The Filling Station, The Edge, Tisa's. More on these later.. Come join us in Niceville for your next musical experience.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

News from PRS

News from Playground

Our good buddy, Larry Tenor, formerly keyboard man with "Little Feat" has found true love and is leaving the panhandle for Tennessee and has graciously left us his 1966 Hammond B3. We have been putting the B3 on everything.

Special product "Georgia Pines" has officially escaped and is available at "Georgia Pines" was written by Buddy Buie and John Rainey Adkins.. originally made famous by Wilbur Walton Jr. and The James Gang, this Cd/EP is a track by Beaverteeth, sung by Charlie Silva, Jimmy "Orion" Ellis and Jimmy Louis PLUS has an instrumental track. Dothan's Jimmy Dean is playing on the tracks.

Muscle Shoals super group "The Decoys" were in the panhandle last week with Alabama Leaning Man Donnie Fritz. Scott Boyer (from the group "Cowboy") also with "The Decoys" was in the studio to assist with a Rip Wright session.

"Lost Soul" The Playground Series Vol. 2 has been compiled and will be available for single song download from CD Baby in a couple of weeks. "Lost Soul", the follow-up to "Soul Resurrection" has tracks by Count Willie, Connor Cagle, Johnny Dynamite, Len Wade, John Hamilton and Doris Allen, The Truths Inc., Reuben Howell and many more. Most all of these tracks are backed by the original PLayground Rhythm Section, which include Dothan Musicians, David Adkins, John Rainey Adkins, and Jimmy Dean. We'll post the CDBaby link as soon as it is available.

WE have also begun work on the compilation of a Wilbur Walton Jr. project (Unreleased) that was recorded in 1973. These are some tremendous WW Jr. performances and some great songs. Songs like "Eternity", "Are You Hiding" and "Simple People" anchor this project.. and Wilbur is rockin'!

"BigWater", the Boggy Bayou Band has been performing live in the panhandle quite a bit lately.. and has begun a recording project. The first 3 songs are Dan Penn's "Tiny Hiney's and Hogs", Reuben Howell's "Mr. Important Person" and Mason Arnold's "Clever Devils".

We have recently begun studio projects on singer/songwriters Amy Hart and Duane Mays.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Pleased to Meet Me

In the fall of 1986, Jim Dickinson and I began a Sire/Warner Bros project on the Minneapolis band "The Replacements". All of the recording was done at John Fry's Ardent Studios in Memphis. This project would last well into 1987 and finally be released in July of 87. The Replacements at the time were Paul Westerberg,Tommy Stinson and Chris Mars. They had just canned Tommy's older brother Bob from the band after a notorious appearance on Saturday Night Live where Bob appeared in a diaper and .. I mean diaper only! SNL had to pull the plug on the performance.. the Mats (as we began to call them) were pressured by the record company to relieve themselves of Bob.. so that they could go on and make a more grown-up record. The Mats are a true rock and roll band. This story goes on and on, but now some 22 years later Bob Mehr is doing research on the band to write their biography. We spent a couple of hours on the phone with Bob yesterday, recollecting some events of the sessions that led to "PTMM" the Mats still have a large and loyal fan base and have a definite chronological niche carved out in Rock and Roll history. We are really looking forward to the publication. Paul has gone on to solo success and Tommy has had concentric success with his own material and since 1998 has also played bass with Guns and Roses. We'll post some more info as the story unfolds. If you are unfamiliar with the band, it would be a good time to check them out..

Sunday, September 13, 2009


BigWater pix... more below
Jack Jernigan Clayton Lancaster

Photos by Lily
More BigWater at

BigWater Rocks Niceville

BigWater is Jim, Jill, Clayton Lancaster, Warren Meigs and Ed Kollis. Dubbed the "Boggy Bayou Band" are all members of the Playground team. We all live around the bayous that surround the twin cities of Valparaiso and Niceville in the Florida panhandle. You can find us playing fairly regularly around the Twin Cities at either Bayou Blues or Woody's Hog Heaven. Playing a mixture of swamp funk, R&B and Americana, BigWater concentrates on unique material and song choices. We have gone into the Playground archives and retrieved some material recorded at the studio by artists like Reuben Howell, Doris Allen and Big John Hamilton. We also pull material from folks we have worked with in the past including Dan Penn, Jim Dickinson, Willie Mitchell, Chips Moman, and Buddy Buie. These include some great songs that may have never even been released or in some cases even recorded. A good array of original material is also included in our set list.
BigWater will also include special guests like Amy Hart,Bobby Elmore, Jack Jernigan and many more depending on who is in the audience. This Friday, BigWater is backing Kathy Lyon from Pensacola at Woody's Hog Heaven in Niceville. We would be pleased to have you attend and enjoy a blend of Americana roots and Jazz tunes provided by Kathy.
Bobby "Blues" Elmo sitting in with the BigWater Band
Pix by Lilley

Sunday, August 16, 2009

James Luther Dickinson

Jim Dickinson passed early on the morning of August 15th 2009. Jim's credits and influence on the music industry speak for themselves. If you are not familiar with his works or influence now would be good time to find out for yourself. To all of those who knew Jim, we all share the same loss, maybe in different degrees but as I have stated .."Gravity is a more powerful force today with his passing."

The Dickinson/Lancaster story is too long and yet not long enough. As he put it in his farewell letter, "Few will know and fewer will care-except those lonely people out there in their own night of desperation.
Put it in the red, old friend".

On Jim's 50th birthday we had a 3 day musical event, this was Jill's contribution to the publication that was issued in honor of the event

Somewhere in the Steaming Night......Africa?
In the heat. The smell of the wet earth

sweet and bitter

I'm searching, feelings Numbly on hands and knees
And always the Music.....
It's enough to change the taste in my mouth

Wild Dog
Spinning tales Rolling in Rhythm
I'm hanging on to every word,
Trying to remember

Hanging on.... Midnight Moon
Senses wide open.....RAW

And Always the Music.......


Emotions surface, the tape changes
Voodoo Music..... The Whip cracks !
Will the UFO land tonight?

Yo Mama?
My Mama?
Everybody's Mama....

He smiles, somehow sinister

The Fat Lady sings

And School is out !

Old you know.. It's always in the red!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009


BigWater... The Boggy Bayou Band

Clayton, Jim and Jill Lancaster and some members of the Playground Rhythm section. Warren Meigs on Drums and Ed Kollis. In a swamp/funk style, BigWater plays material gathered over the years from the near great.. songs you won't hear anywhere else.. some Dan Penn, Eddie Hinton, John Hurley and Ry Cooder, not to mention they have unearthed some Playground timeless masterpieces that are in the soul/funk genre. Some songs by Reuben Howell, Jimmy Gresham and the original Playground Rhythm Section.

In addition, BigWater Features some of our original songs including Clayton's "Boggy Bayou Blues", an anthem for the serenity of the Bayous that surround our twin cities. Clayton also does several songs in the "Americana" style. Dan Penn's "Tiny Hineys and Hogs" is a regular which is a biker's theme song. In addition, BigWater does arrangements of some known classics by Bob Dylan, Aretha Franklin, Lucinda Williams, Buddy Guy, Ry Cooder, Al Green, Bob Marley and Delbert McClinton along with some country classics by Waylon Jennings and Niceville songwriter of the year Larry Shell. Some New Orleans classics like "Trick Bag" and "Hey Pockey Way" are also included. Never over rehearsed.. you never know what they'll play and there are generally always special guests included, whether they are local favs or artists that have recently recorded at Playground.

You can catch BigWater at Woody's Hog Heaven in Niceville a couple of weekends per month.


Been awhile since the Playground Team has updated the blog here. In the last couple of months we have seen the release of the Heritage CD.. a group of multinational guys playing Reggae/Pop music, headed up by Full Spectrum Entertainment. The album turned out very well and The Heritage band starts their Southeastern tour in October.

Meanwhile Playground Records has a Unique Special product that will be available in September. In the early 60's Songwriter extraordinaire Buddy Buie (Traces of Love, Spooky and many more) along with Playground alumnus John Rainey Adkins penned the song "Georgia Pines" that was a major regional hit on Wilbur Walton and the James Gang. The song was recorded in 1972 here at Playground by Beaverteeth with lead vocalist Charlie Silva. Within the next year Finley overdubbed two other vocalists on the track. The CD is the Beaverteeth track with Jimmy (Orion) Ellis' version and Jimmy Louis' version along with Charlie's original verion on the CD. These three vocals are also accompanyed by ann instrumental version. Audiophonically the CD is unique in that from the original tape transfer to the master, it was all done at 96K for the best possible audio quality. Our friends in Europe like to call this song "The Hymn of the South"

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Po paa reee
Checkin out ReverbNation's widget


Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Big John Review from JukeBlues, current issue. Great job Soulscape! All Playground tracks.. rescued from archived tape masters.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

April 25th

Saturday In The Park... April 25th... Family entertainment, crafts and Foods

Clayton Hosts

Playground Songwriter's Night at "The Filling Station" John Sims Parkway, Niceville 8:00 PM
Saturday Night April 25th.. Great Food .. Great Wings..Live Music

All songwriters invited! All public Invited for an eve of relaxed eats and tunes. Come on down for some Boggy Bayou Blues

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Spring on the Emerald Coast

It's a beautiful spring here in the panhandle of Florida.. a really good atmosphere to record and to live life to the fullest.

This week we have completed the Steve Fisher project, working title "Nothing But Hope" and the new album on the reggae roots group "Heritage"
formerly know as "Solid Ground"

Bigwater @ Bayou Blues Club, Bayshore Drive in Niceville Friday April 17th 8 pm
Clayton Lancaster, Jim and Jill Lancaster, Ed Kollis, and Warren Meigs

Tuesday, March 10, 2009


We transfer and digitize analog tapes to CD or DVD. There are certain limitation such as the condition of the tape that you want to have transferred, but in most case we can transfer your old audio tapes to .wav files (Hi Res) or Mp3 files (med. Res) to CD to be played on our computer or your CD player.

We can do a 1:1 transfer with additional EQing or noise reduction OR we can transfer to CD using outboard gear or computer plugs to make your transfer sound as good as possible (of course you'll pay a little more for this). If this is something that you have been considering please feel free to contact us for pricing (It's reasonable) and preserve your old recordings for generations to come

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Editing and Mixing

We realize that these days everyone has a studio in their closet or their garage. In actuality.. many big selling CDs and videos start right there.

At Playground, we have begun to accept tracks via the internet or one of the large transfer file services for editing and remixing. All prices for these services vary according to the amount of work that you want us to do. Our prices are very reasonable and you are not charged for studio time, only for the time it takes for one of our experienced mixing engineers to do the work. Prices range from a minimum of $75.00 to $300.00 and up per song depending on the work load.

You will receive at least two reference mixes during the process and email consultations during the process. Your mix (upon your approval) will be delivered to you upon completion in a "Manufacture Ready form"... Plus your satisfaction is guarenteed.. if you are not satisfied with the results... you don't pay!

The Playground Team

Always Looking

Even though February has been a mighty tough month for the US economically. WE feel there is no need to slow down. Right now at Playground we are looking for for young bands to record and promote. Qualifications include #1 great songs.. # 2 good singer and or front person.. #3 the desire to succeed in the music entertainment business #4 at least one or two folks in the band that can actually play.. we can do the rest....

If you feel that you have the qualities listed above feel free to contact us at Playground.. probably the best way to reach us is by posting a comment on the blog with a short bio (we're looking for a few key words) or send us a note on our MySpace page at

The Playground Team

Thursday, February 12, 2009

More Solid Ground update

Tony and Eric were in last night for vox overdubs and did a fantastic job.. We'll be mixing soon! Stay tuned

Thursday, February 5, 2009

"Are You Happy With Him"

AS you may know, at Playground we not only record and produce new artist projects, we also archive masters that were left here following the passing of founder Finley B Duncan in 1989. Late in 2007 we issued "Soul Resurrection The Playground Series Vol. 1", in 2008 we saw the release of of Mary Gresham's "A Voice from the Shadows" and Doris Allen's "A Shell of a Woman" released on the Soulscape UK label. We are looking forward this month to the Soulscape release of Playground tracks on Big John Hamilton entitled "Are You Happy With Him"

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Nothing But Hope

Try This link to hear "Nothing But Hope" by Steve Fisher

Obama Era... Nothing But Hope..Steve Fisher

We now that the Super Bowl is over .... maybe we can start the new year! Although it was one of the best Super Bowls ever.. It just seems like the country would not not kick into gear until the Inauguration and the Super Bowl had come to an end. Now that those two events have come to a close, what does that leave us with?

"Nothing But Hope" is the working title of an on going project that we have been working on here at PRS for Steve Fisher. The project is coming to a close and features some fine instrumentalists and Steve's great songs. The project is scheduled for a limited release in the first quarter of 2009.
The album mirrors the similarities between the Great Depression of the 1930s and our current economic dilemma.

Steve has had three previous releases, one solo project and two with the Virginia based band the Circuit Riders.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Clayton on iLike

If you haven't checked out iLike try the link above and then customize your own music updates. Pretty cool music site


Early in 2008 Wilbur Walton Jr. formerly of Wilbur Walton Jr and the James Gang brought some Dothan musicians in to record a 4 song EP.

David Adkins is the featured musician here, original member of the Playground rhythm section and brother of famed John Rainey Adkins, does Dothan proud on this recording.

Wilbur is singing better than ever. This collection of songs is a must have for any southern fan of the 60's. Long time James Gang bassist Jimmy Dean is also on this EP.

This photo is the Playground one sheet for the release of Mr. Redbud.

Wiley and The Checkmates

Wiley and the Checkmates : from Oxford Mississippi have recorded their last 2 albums at Playground. In 2008 with the release of "We Call It Soul" the Checkmates delighted crowds at SxSW in Austin and were the hardest working rhythm section n show business at The Ponderosa Stomp in New Orleans. This photo was taken on January 23rd at the Ground Zero Club in Clarksdale, Mississippi at the Oxford American bash.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Ain't It Great To Have A Hit!

From the archives:

This looks like a happy group!

Make your own assumptions.....

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Solid Ground "Sneek Peek"

Solid Ground

Although the name might change.. the music will remain roots, pop, ska, skank, reggae.. all better described as "World Music" fronted by twin Ukes, the band is currently working on a full length debut album

Earth Vibes

Earth Vibes:
Recorded at Playground in January and are currently in post production.

2008 Retrospective

2008, despite all of the problem with the economy was a pretty good year for Playground with several releases on Playground Records. We have begun 2009 with a couple of new projects that are very interesting. These projects are in various states of completion here at the end of January.

We are looking forward to the Soulscape UK release of the Big John Hamilton Playground material in early February 2009. This is deep soul from Playground and will include almost all of Big John's unreleased tracks. The CD release will be available in the states from Dusty Groove in Chicago