Vocals (February 1979-September 1979)
Photo by Paul Natkin
From ages 3 to 7, when most little girls were playing with dolls, Gayle Crowder was singing on regional radio in Kentucky with her family of musicians. The family group consisted of her dad, a superb all-around guitarist, and her mother and sister, both vocalists. Music was a way of life in the family household - musicians would come by regularly and jam all weekend. As well as singing, Gayle began playing drums and guitar as a young girl, absorbing all the styles of her family and friends.
At around the age of 11, she began writing songs and poetry, while beginning formal musical studies in school that continued throughout high school. After graduation, she continued to study voice, guitar, and drums privately for years to come while playing locally and regionally with a group her dad had formed.
In the early 1970’s, Gayle and her family had moved to East Chicago, Indiana and shortly afterwards, Crowder became friends with Skafish’s cousin Tony. Tony later introduced Gayle to Skafish, and the two struck up a lasting friendship.
Years later, when the Skafish band went through a line-up revision in early 1979, Skafish invited Gayle to be a vocalist in his band. Within months, Crowder was singing on the debut LP and enjoyed the challenge of singing Skafish’s complex vocal arrangements. But shortly after the act was canned off stage opening for Scorpions at Chicagofest that August, Crowder reluctantly left the group due to health issues.
Skafish later produced, engineered, and performed all the music tracks for a Crowder demo tape, as well as the music for a tape of Gayle’s poetry.
Besides Gayle’s lifelong commitment to creating music, her work as a poet was starting to become recognized when she began being published in 1986. Since then, her poems have appeared in 16 international poetry anthologies. From the worldwide organization The World Of Poetry, she received the Golden Poet Award (known as the “Oscar” of the poetry world) every year from 1987 through 1991. Then in the late ‘90’s, she used a different side of her literary skills by writing various articles for the Evansville Courier newspaper.
Through her current membership with the North Tulsa Literary Guild and its president Alton McCloud, she became associated with the group Poets Who Care, founded by Sylvia Lukeman of the Marie Curie Hospice Centre in Liverpool, England. Poets Who Care uses music and literary writing to help heal the terminally and chronically ill. Founder Sylvia Lukeman took an interest in Gayle’s writing, and currently Lukeman plans to air Crowder’s writing and music through Poets Who Care on behalf of The Marie Curie Hospice Centre for the BBC on Merseyside Radio in Liverpool, England.
All photographs copyright by the respective photographers