A few days ago I got an e-mail from Mick Orton whose message requested I print a letter he included talking about his band Silver Laughter. You are able to read that letter below.
At first I was a bit hesitant about the letter wondering if this was some sort of scam, but as I looked online I determined Silver Laughter was in fact a band that played a lot of Beatles music as well as their own.
I should have known. After all, “Mick Orton” just sounds like a musicians name, doesn’t it?
In his letter he writes about their heyday in the late 70s when they would play at places like Donovan’s in Redwood Falls.
Although I have spent my life in Redwood Falls I really had little connection with this local establishment.
My only memories of Dono-van’s are when my mom would talk about going there for her Christian Women’s Club meetings and when I nearly drowned in the swimming pool at Jamin Ose’s birthday party.
While I determined Silver Laughter was in fact legit, I wanted to find out more about them and hoped to find some sort of local connection.
So, I determined the best place to start looking was in old Gazettes. Knowing the time frame, I decided rather than looking through several years of material from 1975-79, I would split the difference and look in the 1977-78 editions.
That kicked off a chain reaction of memories from those good old days of being a kid growing up in Redwood Falls.
So much was happening then, and so many people I know today were so much younger.
There was a very young looking president of the Redwood Falls city council photographed at the beginning of 1978, and just months before that as the school year began I met some new teachers, including Jan Elling-worth, Ruth Hertsgaard (now Zeise), Don Yrjo, Barb Johnson and Laurel Hartfiel to name a few of the rookies.
I also saw a few “kids” back in the day, like Rick Petersen who apparently was a pretty good livestock judge for the local FFA Chapter and Dave Moldan who showed a pretty good pig at the county fair.
The 1977-78 time frame was an interesting one for a variety of reasons, but in Redwood Falls it became kind of a boomtown as a number of businesses broke ground, cut the ribbon or rebuilt. The funny thing from my perspective is I remember all of those events. I remember driving down Bridge Street and watching the McDonald’s building and Pizza Hut being built.
I can recall when Red Owl opened again after the fire.
Page 2 of 2 - I remember spending a lot of time at the Scenic City Co-op always believing I was right when you put those four letters together it spelled “coop” whether you put a hyphen in it or not.
Pizza Hut also officially opened back then, and I was certainly sad to see recently the doors to that local restaurant now closed.
I did find an ad for Donovan’s encouraging visitors to come and see some band called Caravan, but I never did find anything talking about Silver Laughter. That may be because as I got to the end of December 1978 I realized I had completely forgotten to look for that ad as I was so caught up in everything else that was going on in the community.
Those were good times in town, and I am hoping the good news I keep hearing now means good news again in 2013.
TEXT OF MICK ORTON'S LETTER:
Drop us a line
I am one of the members of a band that was very popular in Redwood Falls back in the late 70s called Silver Laugher.
After going through some of the newspapers from cities we used to play, I saw your feature on “Backward Glances” which prompted this letter.
From 1975-79 we toured the midwest and frequently played Donovan’s Reef Nightclub in Redwood Falls. We drew really big crowds. Silver Laughter also produced two albums of all original material that sold very well in the clubs we played.
Recently we started up a Web site to post songs (live and studio) and share stories of our adventures on the road. Our hope is if you print this letter, we get some people from Redwood Falls who remember our band and drop us a line. The Web site is www.silver-laughter.com.
– Mick Orton
Remember Sunday is St. Patrick’s Day. A great way to celebrate this Irish holiday is to travel over to Lucan for the parade, which starts at 2 p.m., and the program that follows.
I hope to see you there.