From the Archives, April 15, 2018

Boxwell Music, Part II

We continue our look at Boxwell musicians, this week looking at Rock Island. The only musical act we know of from the Rock Island years (1949-1959) were the Poison Ivy Leaguers, shown here.

The Poison Ivy Leaguers were led by Terrence Cooksey, who was joined by Cliff Briley (son of Beverly Briley), Bob Alley, John Oliver, Richard McWhorter, Wolf Goethart, and Brownie Dean Grissom. The group only performed at campfires and only for a year or two, mostly like 1956 and/or 1957.

According to Bob Alley, “Two songs I remember were “In the Still of the Night”, originally recorded by The Five Satins in 1956; and “Rock Island Line”, originally recorded by Lead Belly, Golden gate Quartet, 1939, but heard by us by The Big Chris Barber Band, 1955. We sang the original lyrics in their recorded style for “In the Still of the Night”, and re-wrote the lyrics to suit Camp Boxwell for “The Rock Island Line”. It was about a “secret” late night line for staff members from their tents to the kitchen, to take possession of cookies and milk to compensate them for their meager pay. All the staff and leadership knew about the line, but not the campers.”

The other item to note in this photo is that it was taken at Rock Island’s Friday Night Campfire Area. Note the wall in the background as well as a small stage. A very different set up from what exists at the modern Boxwell!

Poison Ivy Leaguers

Rock Island’s “Poison Ivy Leaguers” included a ukulele and drums. The members were (L-R):From the photo, left to right: Terrence Cooksey, Cliff Briley, Bob Alley, John Oliver, Richard McWhorter, and Wolf Goethert, and, Brownie Dean Grissom.

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