If you ever wondered why the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is located in Cleveland, Ohio, this might give you a clue. Even the Cleveland bands that didn't make the big-time were incredible.
The Damnation Of Adam Blessing were a bunch of guys from my hometown of Cleveland, Ohio, who were only a couple years older than me. Although their records did very well locally, for some very strange reason they never found national success. Only one of their singles, Back To The River, ever appeared on Billboard's Bubbling Under The Hot 100 chart, peaking at #102 in November 1970. That record did slightly better on Cashbox reaching #85. If you lived outside the Cleveland area, these guys could be the greatest rock band you've never heard!
The group was formed in 1968 when two local groups, Society and Dust, agreed to join forces. As seen from left to right in the above photo, the group's original lineup included Ray Benich on bass, Jim Quinn on guitar, Bill Constable (aka Adam Blessing) on vocals, Bill Schwark on drums, and Bob Kalamasz on guitar. These guys wrote a lot of their own material which featured some incredibly poetic lyrics. Artistically speaking, they were far more advanced than the other local bands, and even many of their contemporaries anywhere in the country.
The Damnation Of Adam Blessing played a ton of gigs all over the Cleveland area, often opening for The James Gang featuring Joe Walsh. I think I saw them perform at The Plato club in downtown Cleveland, but thanks to various chemicals, I don't completely trust my memories of the late 1960's and early 1970's!
When United Artists signed the group they released their debut album in 1969 called The Damnation of Adam Blessing. Then they went on tour opening for The Faces featuring Rod Stewart. They've also toured with Eric Clapton, Janis Joplin, Sly And The Family Stone, Traffic, The Byrds, Uriah Heep, Alice Cooper, The Stooges, and Grand Funk Railroad. When they played the Cincinnati Pop Festival at Crosley Field on 13 June 1970, some 70,000 fans got so excited after their nearly hour-long rendition of You Got Me Floatin', they broke down a snow fence and rushed the stage that was set up near second base. This temporarily stopped the show. They also went to Los Angeles in 1970 to do a gig at the legendary Whiskey A Go Go club.
In 1970, the group made a second album called The Second Damnation, which produced their only charted single, Back To The River. Bill Schwark left the band and was replaced by the brother of Adam Blessing, Ken Constable. The group's third album, Which Is Justice Which Is The Thief, was released in 1971.
The group changed their name to Glory in 1972 and released one final album with the same name on Avalanche Records, a subsidiary of United Artists. You can find all of their material on an Italian compilation from Akarma.
Here's Cookbook by The Damnation Of Adam Blessing from their 1969 debut album, which was also issued as a single on United Artists 50912:
Here's the flip side of that single and another cut from their debut album, a very nice slowed-down version of the classic Morning Dew, written by Bonnie Dobson and Tim Rose:
Here's the record that did sneak into the charts for them, Back To The River by The Damnation Of Adam Blessing from their second album, The Second Damnation, from 1970, which also issued as a single on United Artists 50726:
David Spero, Executive Vice President of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, brought The Damnation Of Adam Blessing back for an incredible encore performance on 27 September 2000. The guys proved they can still play some kick-ass rock!
You'll hear many incredible local rock bands from all over the country, and all over the world, on MusicMaster Oldies. Tell your friends. Tell your children! I wouldn't want our kids to grow up without some appreciation of the folks who helped music evolve from Crooners and Big Bands, into R&B, Rockabilly, Rock and Roll, Disco, Country, Heavy Metal, Modern Pop and Hip Hop!