LESLIE'S MOTEL - Dirty Sheets (1972)
Leslie’s Motel was formed in 1971, by core trio Bill Tullis (vocals, rhythm guitar, tambourine), Mike Seibold (lead guitar, vocals), and Richard Bush (organ, piano). The three were not novices by any stretch, as Bush had been a keyboard player with the soul band Tom Dooley & The Lovelights. Seibold and Tullis were both in one of Louisville’s earliest heavy blues bands, Conception, which Tullis put an end to after seeing The Allman Joys (pre-The Allman Brothers Band) in Nashville during that time. Apparently quite impressed by them, Tullis is on public record stating “I knew my musical path was going to change… Mike and I disbanded Conception and sought out some new musicians to be a part of this southern rock sound.” Those new musicians eventually settled on was Ray Barrickman (bass, vocals), Paul Hoemi (drums), and Roy Blumenfeld (drums, congas, hand claps). Together, the six musicians rehearsed in a garage off of Dixie Highway in Louisville. En route to each rehearsal, they passed by the inspiration for their name, Leslie’s Motel. An alleged “house of ill repute” mainly frequented by soldiers from Fort Knox, the motel was known to be open for business according to how their sign was lit. It was not long until the band, Leslie’s Motel, built a reputation for stunning onstage jams reminiscent of acts like Ten Years After and Ozark Mountain Daredevils. The band played the eastern seaboard club circuit from as far north as Boston to as far west as St. Louis, and south to Florida. From all accounts, they were well embraced in all locales. So much so that the group was offered the opportunity to open for large name national acts like Ted Nugent, John Lee Hooker, Rory Gallagher, Charlie Daniels, MC5, Mitch Ryder, and many other artists.
In 1972, Leslie’s Motel entered a Louisville recording studio, King Studios, where they recorded their début album with The Oxfords’ guitarist Jay Petach as the producer. What resulted was the nine-song ‘Dirty Sheets‘ album, which was then unsuccessfully shopped to Capricorn Records, Bell Records, and a few Nashville based Mom and Pops, and this is where our story goes off the rails. Well, not so much off the rails as much as off the books – as in history books, online sources, word of mouth, or even a whispered rumor. ‘Dirty Sheets‘ was shelved. The album went unreleased, and then, being designated to the limbo that is “the shelf”, there it sat for nearly four decades. Leslie’s Motel continued to perform live in venues and on stages throughout the east coast until the players parted ways in 1976. The guys went on with their lives, some moved on to other bands, some joined the mainstream society as former musicians. The years passed to become decades until our tale picked back up in the year 2009. This was when Bill Tullis was contacted by Roger Maglio, the owner of Gear Fab Records, and Maglio was quite interested in releasing the nearly forgotten ‘Dirty Sheets‘ album.
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