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The band did not get much past the edge of the driveway, but by freshman year of high school at La Salle Academy in Providence, and after Steve’s departure, John and Hank had evolved into a new unit called The East-West Blues Band named after The Butterfield Blues Band’s second album.

(Within a few years, Steve Smith had formed Naked Truth, now known as Steve Smith & The Nakeds, one of the longest-running bands in Rhode Island history.

Our story begins in mid-1960s Rhode Island when some junior high students formed a “garage” band they christened The Nightcrawlers.

John Cafferty, a singer and guitarist from North Providence, started the group with his cousin Steve Smith, a singer from Smithfield, and another friend, guitarist Hank Clark.

Just before joining forces with John, Kenny and Paul, both Pat and Bobby were both involved in a start-up unit called Stray Cat which was on everyone’s radar at the time.

Their full biography and complete discography follow below.

But that’s another story…) The Nightcrawlers at a “Battle of The Bands” in 1964 (left to right): Hank Clark on guitar, Steve Smith with maracas and John Cafferty on guitar at the mic; the eighth-graders won the evening against three college-age bands!

(Photo courtesy the Naked Truth/Steve Smith & The Nakeds Archive/Photo Credit: Wendy Cafferty) John credits Hank Clark with introducing him not only to the original blues recordings on which much of their listening – Rolling Stones, Animals, Yardbirds – was based, but also to the concept of musical improvisation: making up their own solos instead of learning the solos played by the recording artists.

Although the blues scene was rapidly developing in the area, the established bands such as Bob Angell’s Blues Outlet and Ken Lyon’s original Tombstone Blues Band (with Duke Robillard) were playing in nightclubs and on college campuses.

Along with The Bottomlands Blues Band who were based out of Classical High School (and included pianist Joe Bargar, guitarist Fred Bates and a pre-tenor sax Scott Hamilton on harmonica), The East-West Blues Band helped introduce the blues to the younger fans in the area who were used to the usual teen fare of Top 40 and “garage band” favorites.

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