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The Villages
Wednesday, October 5, 2022

Paisley Craze brings music of the sixties to town squares in The Villages

Dave Mankes is a sixties survivor with a couple of goals left in life.
“I want to stay alive and I want to keep singing,” said the man who plays keyboards and sings with the band Paisley Craze.

The popular five-member group regularly plays at Villages squares. They were in vintage sixties form on a recent, steamy evening at Brownwood Paddock Square.

Paisley Craze possesses a sense of unity and appreciation for the sound of a sixties generation that left an indelible mark on popular music throughout the world.

Paisley Craze from top Donna Lamoureaux Marty Bednar Bob Dielman Dave Mankes and bottom Bob Lunergan
Paisley Craze, from top, Donna Lamoureaux, Marty Bednar, Bob Dielman, Dave Mankes and, bottom, Bob Lunergan.

“These guys are like brothers to me,” said lead singer Donna Lamoureaux. “We believe in this music.” The band includes Bob Dielman on guitar; Marty Bednar, bass and Bob Lunergan on drums.

Their set-list features such sixties chestnuts as: “Green River,” by CCR; “I’m Not Your Steppin’ Stone,” the Monkees; “Born to be Wild,” by Steppenwolf;  “Love Her Madly,” the Doors; “All Day and All of the Night,” the Kinks; “Tumbling Dice,” the Rolling Stones; “Birthday,” the Beatles; “Sunshine of Your Love,” by Cream and “To Sir With Love,” by Lulu.

Lead singer Donna Lamoureaux and Paisley Craze makes the 60s come alive
Lead singer Donna Lamoureaux and Paisley Craze makes the 60s come alive.

That’s enough to warm any baby boomer’s heart.

“Boomers are really steeped in this music,” Bednar said. “They grew up in a musical culture. Sixties’ music is part of their DNA.”

Dave Mankes was part of that culture. He has been playing in rock bands since his teen years and in the Seventies, played in one of the most popular oldies bands in the Northeast, Big Wheelie and the Hubcaps.
That Buffalo-based band was led by the late Chuck “Big Wheelie” Vicario. “I learned so much about show business and how to act on stage from Chuck,” Mankes said. “He taught the band what it means to put on a show.”

The essence of Paisley Craze’s show is the music.

Donna Lamoureaux hits a high note while singing To Sir With Love
Donna Lamoureaux hits a high note while singing “To Sir With Love.”

“This music has lasted because its good music and it still matters,” Mankes said. “People remember these songs and they still mean something to them.”
Back in 2019 –before Covid – the band did a national tour to mark the 50th anniversary of the Woodstock music festival.
“It was all about peace and love,” Mankes said. “We really enjoyed it. We played everywhere from Texas to Ohio. The audiences were great.”
The same holds true for reaction in The Villages.
“People here have a lot of fun with this music and they feel a real connection to it,” Mankes said.
Sixties songs convey a range of emotions. When Lamoureaux sings softer songs, like “Hurt So Bad,” or “To Sir With Love,” you can almost feel the nostalgia.”
Lamoureaux is a soul sister at heart.
“I love soul music,” she said. “To me, Aretha Franklin is the best.” Lamoureaux can feel the spirit of Franklin when she sings, “Chain Of Fools.”
“I think of Aretha every time I sing that song,” she said. “It’s special to me.”

And for Paisley Craze – and the generation they appeal to – their music never gets old.

Tony Violanti covers arts and music for Villages-News.com. He was inducted into the Buffalo NY Music Hall of Fame as a music journalist.

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