Photo of “Grant Smith and the Power” one of the greatest funky, soulful big
bands ever to appear at Tony Mart’s.
Grant Smith and the Power appeared for a lengthy engagement during one
season in the late 60’s.
They were Canadian and performed popular music by James Brown, Otis Redding
and the increasingly popular soul singers from Stax Records in Memphis.
They also performed many of the
great, “blue eyed soul” hits from groups such as “The Young Rascals” who
eventually became “The Rascals”.
Grant Smith was a dynamite front
man with all of the slick, fancy moves of “the electrifying style of
James Brown” performing as a lead singer in front of this big, horn
driven soul band.
unusual and rather psychedelic publicity photograph of “Gunther’s
Bus” truly one of the greatest groups of musical performers ever in the
38 years of Tony Mart’s history. Gunther’s Bus first appeared in
Tony Mart’s in 1968 and performed again with some personnel changes in
Depicted in this photograph is their bass player, Joe; the first guitar
player to appear with them at Tony Mart’s, Tommy Bittle; and to the far
right John Dzubak who replaced drummer “Jerry” who wore a blond, curly, afro-type
wig on stage but actually had a crew cut because he was a school teacher
in the off season. To the left in this photograph are the Foti
brothers who were the heart and soul of Gunthers Bus. With the
afro in the center is the phenomenal vocal performer and multi talented
key board player, Art Foti, and at the bottom of the grouping is his
brother, Carl Foti, who was rhythm guitar player and a superb
vocalist who performed touching renditions of the early Bee Gees’ hits
and the first popular songs recorded by Kenny Rogers and the First
Performing everything from Tom Jones, Led Zeppelin, Otis Redding,
Santana, lengthy versions of Iron Butterfly’s “Inna Gadda da Vida” and
the entire backside of the Beatles “Abbey Road”, Gunthers Bus were
critically acclaimed by other musicians and music aficionados for their
phenomenal performances covering these rock and roll classics.
Unfortunately, Gunther’s Bus was the epitome of an incredibly great band
that never achieved any appreciable fame or any serious commercial
success beyond headlining nightclubs. Indeed their notoriety at
Tony Mart’s and the consequent bookings in the Philadelphia area during
the winter season represented some of their greatest commercial
successes. Those who were fortunate enough to have seen them
remember how breathtakingly excellent and exciting they were.