As a 16-year-old drummer in the mid "50s for a local group called the Crowns, Larry Goshen tasted the sweet fruit of rock and roll and never turned back. He spent the next five decades in music. Those who were around in the early "60s will remember the Five Checks. Later he lit up Naptown"s nightclubs with the Sportsmen. His latest band, Sweetwater, finally disbanded in the mid "90s. Along the way Goshen developed a fascination with memorabilia.
Author Larry Goshen hammering the skins when he was the drummer for the Crowns.
A by-product of Goshen"s many years of collecting can be seen in his newest publication, Let the Good Times Roll, a 300-page tome documenting many of the great and obscure bands to emerge from the Hoosier heartland. "I have always collected memorabilia on and off since I was a kid. I wish I had kept a lot of that stuff. I probably started getting really serious in the mid "80s," Goshen says of his scholarly study of local music. His love for history and collecting culminated in the 1985 publication of Indy"s Heart of Rock "n" Roll: An Anthology of Local Music from the "50s and "60s. One thousand copies of the 128-page book were published with the help of Naptown"s now-defunct alternative weekly, the New Times. "The idea of the book is to give credit to musicians who really need it," Goshen says. "The book is for all the musicians that entertained for years. They tried for stardom, but most of them never made it. Nobody gives them credit." The initial run of this valuable resource sold out and was bootlegged in Europe where demand for historical information on regional acts is often incredibly high. "The reason I started the new book was because I had people calling me and asking me for a copy [of the first book]," Goshen recalls. In the meantime, artists who had been left out of the first edition sent in photographs. It occurred to Goshen that he would have to start a second book. "I thought it would take a year to finish, but it kept building up and getting bigger," he remembers. The final product, Let the Good Times Roll, is nearly double the size of its predecessor and covers music all the way into the "90s. The format is larger, and features over 300 photographs, many of them taken by Goshen himself, who started photographing musicians in earnest in the mid "90s. Let the Good Times Roll was co-written by Mark Shaw of the Books for Life Foundation, a not-for-profit specializing in helping writers get published. Although by no means a comprehensive encyclopaedia of local music history, it is the best record to date, covering all genres including country, jazz, R&B, rockabilly and doo-wop. Readers will not only find Indiana favorites like Michael Jackson, "Babyface" Edmonds, Hoagy Carmichael and Janie Frickie, but they will also find obscure R&B acts like Amnesty and the Highlighters as well as garage acts like the Tikis, Feebee and the Ragweed Patch, as well as musicians like vibraphonist Billy Wooten, whose sound is now very much in demand. "After this I"ll start working on a book of my own photographs. I"ve been photographing concerts and musicians since before 1994," Goshen says. He points to an array of tall filing cabinets in the corner of his office. "I have so many it is getting hard to organize. I need more filing cabinets!" To celebrate the release of his book, Goshen is sponsoring a book release and signing on Sunday, Nov. 17 at the Fountain Square Theatre. Goshen"s good friend Cathy Morris will MC the event, which will feature artists such as Jennie Devoe, the Fascinators, Art Adams, Ronnie Haig and local R&B legends James Bell (formerly of the Highlighters) and the Naptown Players. The all-star cast of local legends begins performing at 7 p.m. and continues throughout the night. Both Goshen and Shaw will be available for booksigning from 3 to 6 p.m. in the Fountain Room adjacent to the theater.