Buckacre — Country Rock from America’s Heartland

 

When I was a junior and senior at LaSalle-Peru Township High School 1974-1976 most of the kids hip to the local music scene were raving about this band called Buckacre.

 

A country rock band, Buckacre’s music was a cross between Poco and Buffalo Springfield with a bit of the Eagles and maybe a hint of The James Gang thrown in for good measure. From the way a lot of people were talking and raving about this band, including my best friend Chris Vasquez, they were going places—literally, because in 1976 they went to London to record the first of two albums for MCA with legendary producer Glyn Johns (he worked with bands from The Beatles and The Who to the Eagles and The Steve Miller Band).

 

Touted as the next Eagles, following the release of Morning Comes, the band returned to the States and began to tour in the southeast opening for such acts as The Outlaws and Jimmy Buffet and for awhile was the back up band for Hee Haw’s the Hager Brothers when the twin brothers performed concerts.

 

By the end of the 70s, the band like many bands had their differences about their musical direction and while on the road, the band split up.

 

In the fall of 1980, I met two former members of Buckacre—Dick Verucchi and Alan Thacker—who had formed The Jerks along with Dave Morgan (he had played bass for Buckacre right before the band broke up) and Al Schupp. A few months later I was roadying for the band and would continue to do so up until 1982. (Interestingly, their equipment truck had once belonged to The Outlaws.)

 

Other members of Buckacre, Les Lockridge and Dick Hally also returned to the Illinois Valley and formed their band Longshot; Darrel Data eventually relocated to Seattle. I always found it interesting and perhaps a little ironic that on more than one occasion when both bands were playing on Water Street at Friday’s Saloon and Murphy’s Tap on the same night, some of the guys would walk to the other bar, when the band was on break, and listen to the other band play.

 

I have to confess that I never really gave Buckacre a listen to until years later, when one day, in 1988 while I was browsing in a used record store in Burlington, Iowa I came across their two albums. I was too busy listening to other music at the time and you know how that goes—sometimes you just don’t listen to the music. I only have one track now “Love Never Lasts Forever” that gets a lot of playing time on my iPod. Sadly, it is the only track available on CD that can be found on Crossing Paths—music from the Illinois Valley. I highly recommend this CD.

 

In 1982, Dick Verucchi and I were sitting in his van outside Murphy’s Bar on Water Street in Peru, Illinois (it is no longer there; now it is the Waterfront Saloon) listening to this new group called The Blasters—who’s music could best be described as a blend of rockabilly, rock, punk rock and rhythm and blues.

 

“This could have been us Sparks,” Dick said as we listened to one of the songs. “Had we stayed together as Buckacre this might have been the music we could have been playing.”

 

Dick Verucchi is still “playing out” in the Illinois Valley in the band Wake The Sheep; Dick Hally and Al Schupp are also playing music with local bands.

 

Maybe it’s only another rock and roll story about a band briefly tasting fame and so close to breaking out, but it’s a little personal for me having known some of the band members and having worked for them.

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47 Responses to “Buckacre — Country Rock from America’s Heartland”

  1. Don T October 29, 2008 at 3:34 pm # Reply

    I came across this by accident surfing one day. Thanks for bringing back a lot of things I had forgotten. I was friends with Dick Hally back then, and knew most of the rest of them slightly.

  2. MARK M February 9, 2009 at 1:58 am # Reply

    This song is a gem. I remember this like you said a cross between poco and the eagles

  3. jeanne p February 13, 2009 at 4:52 am # Reply

    I was a cocktail waitress @ the Circus bar while working my way thru nursing school. I loved Buckacre..
    great guys, great music, great memories

  4. jim no February 13, 2009 at 12:12 pm # Reply

    great song

  5. First St February 15, 2009 at 6:24 pm # Reply

    This video brought back so many great memories. I saw Buckacre several times at the Circus Bar and they were great. I always thought they would make it big. Of course, I was in a bar at 17 and no one seemed to notice. Dick Verucchi was my neighbor and I still remember when he started out with a band called “Vengeance.” Call me a lifetime fan.

  6. Mary Sparling February 20, 2009 at 12:00 pm # Reply

    I attended one of their live performances at a local bar in my hometown of Spring Valley, IL. They were already getting so popular that we truly felt lucky to snag a seat at a table not too far from the stage. When their album came out we unfortunately chose the 8-track option – but I don’t even have that now because all the music went with my ex-husband when we split. I’ve always wondered if it was possible to obtain their album on cd as I’d really love to have a listen. You know, I kind of wonder if I would still think it’s great music like I used to back then. I remember thinking they sounded so much like the Eagles and would do great commercially; it was such a disappointment when they broke up. I wish the youtube video would have been “Morning Comes” which was one of my favorites.

  7. Jeffrey February 20, 2009 at 12:37 pm # Reply

    Hey Mary!

    Thanks so much for stopping by and for your kind comments. I appreciate them so much. There are still a lot of Buckacre fans out there.

  8. Randy Ray Kleckner May 6, 2009 at 3:07 pm # Reply

    Buckacre was a great band. I have both their albums and play them (or you can request them 24/7) with the vinyl snaps, pops, crackles and all on my Internet radio station GoodTunesRadio.com. I remember the boys back when they were The Rain playing at the Kanteen in Mendota. They did a tune by Moby Grape called “Can’t Be So Bad” which I now end my radio shows with. Also as the Illinois Valley Boys playing on a porch at a house just south of Triumph IL in about 1973 or so.

    There is to be a benefit for Les Lockridge who has ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease) this Saturday 5/9/09. You can read about it at buckacre.com. There will be a limited number of Buckacre Live at the Circus Lounge CD’s available I hear…

  9. J. Roger Cooper July 18, 2009 at 10:07 am # Reply

    Jeffrey & Randy,

    Les Lockridge was one of the best “pickers” I have ever met! He was a hell of a nice guy back “in the day”. When he quit the band to become a father (early 1977) I was the guy that got asked to help fill the void left by his absence. It was a time when Buckacre was between the 2 albums. They needed someone who could vocally match Les and had some original material to draw from. They picked me —-although no one could musically/instrumentally replace him! It was a privilege to get the chance to attempt that! I was not successful and it was a big disappointment for me in the end! I was with the band from the Spring of 1977 to September 1977! I loved playing with these guys and getting to sing “Love Never Lasts Forever” when we performed. As a group they had a great sound that was well received anywhere we played and their popularity in the LaSalle-Peru area was amazing. I wish them the very best! They were such a great band! They were the real deal!

    Thank you so much for the memories and the concern for Les! Hope he’s doing O.K.

    J.R. (Roger) Cooper
    (Look for credits on the back of the second album!)

  10. joe lesniak July 30, 2009 at 7:22 pm # Reply

    The Jerks were simply huge when I first started high school. They played all the big dances at St. Bede and the nights at 3 N Company were magic when they played. I seem to recall a Jerks album…any chance you have a copy and could post “I Got Your Number” on this blog? Cheers and thanks for the sweet memories from the Illinois Valley!

    joe lesniak of charlotte, nc
    st. bede academy ’83

    P.S. You may know my cousin Tim Murphy…he was a football God back when you went to L-P.

    • Jeffrey July 31, 2009 at 10:33 am # Reply

      Thanks Joe for your comments. I appreciate them so much and it’s nice to hear from someone from the Illinois Valley. That song you’re talking about–“I Got Your Number (On the Back of my Hand) was originally done by The Jags and was one of The Jerks more popular covers. I think it is time for someone to come out with an Illinois Valley compilation of music from the 70s and the 80s from the bands that did record. It seems that a lot of folks are waxing nostalgic about those two decades (including me!) a lot these days.

  11. Rick Powell September 7, 2009 at 4:25 am # Reply

    As far as recorded music in the 1970’s and 80’s in the IL Valley, there was precious little. Back in the day, studio time was expensive and decent recording places were few…not like today where you can make a “record” with a microphone, a laptop and a few hundred bucks worth of software and hardware. Besides the Buckacre records, there were a handful of local bands or solo artists that wound up on vinyl.

    A mid to late 80’s project called “To Be Continued” was a compilation of local bands, including 3 offshoots of Buckacre – Missing 51 (featuring Dick Hally, Les Lockridge and Dick Verruchi), 87 men (featuring Al Thacker) and the Benders (featuring Dave Morgan, who replaced Dick Hally at the tail end of Buckacre). I still have a copy, although I haven’t listened to it

    I was in Tora! Tora! which released a record in US and Europe (ZYX records) in the early 80’s. You can still find both the domestic and import version readily on ebay.

    There were probably a few projects that went to vinyl from Bob Angello’s studio in Tonica before he moved it to Nashville in the mid 80’s. They did a lot of country, and some gospel and rock. I think JJ Dickens did an LP there.

    Other than that, there was not much. Maybe someone could chime in here and mention something else I am not aware of.

  12. kelly nicholson September 7, 2009 at 5:46 pm # Reply

    What memories ! wow i remember the days of traveling back & forth on water street for the bands those were the days, I wish we had that kind of following for the local bands now. What fun we had !!!!!

  13. Jeffrey September 7, 2009 at 10:45 pm # Reply

    Thanks so much Kelly for stopping by and for your comments. Yes, I remember quite well traveling back and forth on Water Street–from Friday’s down to Murphy’s. And when Friday’s got too crowded, we used to stop in at the Whistle Stop across the street or pop in the Delta Queen and wait for the crowds to thin out. I remember many nights when people were lined up outside waiting to get into Friday’s when The Jerks or Longshot were playing.

  14. Josh sheedy September 16, 2009 at 1:59 pm # Reply

    My mom still has their record, and listens to it every once in a while. I was looking at old pictures the other day, kind of funny. I have this picture with Les (my godfather) holding my after my baptism. I never really talked with him much, just every once in awhile. I can see the appeal for their songs, and have heard red wine more time than I could count.

    • Jeffrey September 16, 2009 at 3:03 pm # Reply

      Hi Josh!

      Thanks for stopping by and for your kind comments. I appreciate them a lot.

      Jeffrey

  15. Chad September 24, 2009 at 7:26 pm # Reply

    I appreciate reading about Buckacre. I have had the privilege of knowing Les Lockridge for many years. His musical ability has always been an inspiration to me. The trials he has gone through since I have known him are a testament to his strength of character. I was very fortunate to spend many countless hours with Les, discussing music and life. During my college years, Les and I worked together (though Les should get all of the credit) on some music that was never released or probably even heard by anyone other than a small group of friends. His Buckacre stuff was excellent; however, the “home-studio” music was perhaps the most sincere and heartfelt creations he ever put together. I feel honored to have had the opportunity to know him and work on such a musically intimate level with him.

  16. hiro October 17, 2009 at 4:28 pm # Reply

    I just got Buckacre’s two albums recently. Both are great!
    Thanks for posting a very interesting story there’s very little info about them.

  17. Michael Culbertson November 18, 2009 at 4:39 pm # Reply

    Hi!

    I am 52 and have been working on putting my Vinyl Collection on my Computer so that I can listen to my past. As I was Transferring my Buckacre album and looking up info on the band I came across this website.

    I have the music Transferred and also have that Album along with 14 others up for sale this week on Ebay.

    VINYL COLLECTIBLES (70’s) Lot of 15 Albums
    Item #130344318811

    If you would have an interest email me as I have all of the songs for the Morning Comes Album saved as MP3

    Michael
    From Mason City IL.

  18. Mike Sabatini December 22, 2009 at 2:10 am # Reply

    I had the privilege of transferring the original 16mm film clip of Love Never Lasts Forever to DVD several years ago. It was later uploaded to Youtube by either a family member or relative I believe.

    The original film was in color but had degraded to the point of being unwatchable. Converting it to black and white proved to be the best bet.

    I also had the privilege of playing with Les for a while in Justus in the late 80’s. His voice, guitar playing and energy level was and still is awe inspiring. Most of all though, he’s a friend. I’ll always look up to him.

    Mike “Sab” Sabatini

  19. scott hiekel January 4, 2010 at 9:28 pm # Reply

    just a note. was surprised to look in my older albums that i have not looked at in over 30 years and found your morning comes album. bought it without knowing who they were but liked it alot i remember. got my turntable fixed and i am enjoying it now. i am 54 and going back and listening to all my albums of yesteryear. i dont know anyone who ever heard of the group but they liked that type of music too. always sounds good even as we age it makes me nostalgic!

  20. Dana February 9, 2010 at 12:25 am # Reply

    Great song. My family owns a bar in Elkhart, IL. We frequently have open mic nights. You are welcome to get together and jam for us anytime. And the great part about being nostalgic is that you always remember the great parts!

  21. Ken S March 3, 2010 at 3:23 pm # Reply

    I’m fortunate enough to be known by most of the Illinois Valley musicians due to a long radio career. A few years back, I received a CD containing both albums music, cut directly from the master studio recordings. At least one a week, I take an hour-and-a-half journey back to my youth.
    Sadly, last I knew, Les Lockridge was very ill, and the possibility of a Buckacre reunion is very slim indeed.

    • Jeffrey March 3, 2010 at 10:27 pm # Reply

      Ken,

      Thanks for stopping by and for your comments about Buckacre. I’ve been amazed, reading all these comments here about people’s recollections of the band, how much they enjoyed listening to their music or knowing the guys. I’m happy that my blog has become a forum for all these people to share their thoughts on Buckacre.

  22. Mary Sparling March 4, 2010 at 12:41 am # Reply

    Hey Ken S. Would it be possible to obtain copies? I had the original album “Morning Comes” on 8-track. See my earlier post. I’d love to be able to listen to them once again on a cd. You can reach me at mary1957@hotmail.com. Thanks in advance.

  23. Josh sheedy March 4, 2010 at 1:11 am # Reply

    Just a quick FYI, there is also a facebook page.
    http://www.facebook.com/reqs.php#!/group.php?gid=46517318550&ref=ts. Under my facebook pages I have some pictures of Les when he was younger holding me.

  24. J. Roger Cooper March 18, 2010 at 3:57 pm # Reply

    Josh,

    How is Les doing? My e-mail is coopjr2000@yahoo.com and would appreciate knowing how to contact him! I would really appreciate it!

    Thanks!

    Roger

  25. Sue Price March 29, 2010 at 9:12 am # Reply

    Hi I just happened to come across this sight and was really excited. Les Lockridge happens to be my cousin and his illness is quite shocking. Although we have not seen each other in years, it was really nice to be reminded of Buckacre & their great music. Thank you!

    • Jeffrey March 30, 2010 at 7:49 am # Reply

      Sue,

      Thanks for your comments. As I have written to other folks here who stopped by to leave their comments and memories of Buckacre, it’s nice that my blog has become a forum of sorts for people to share such comments. I do know from talking to Dick Verucchi that Les has stopped here on occasion to see what people have written. Thanks again Sue.

  26. Steve Kinsella June 2, 2010 at 3:17 pm # Reply

    I was the original singer for Road Angel till 82. I expected when I moved to CA that I was going to find even better musicians than the Illinois Valley had to offer. The talent the Valley had has never been rivaled.
    It was as good as we all remember. Hello to all those that made that time so special

    • Jeffrey June 2, 2010 at 10:09 pm # Reply

      Steve,

      Thanks so much for stopping by and for your comments.

  27. Larry June 2, 2010 at 10:01 pm # Reply

    When this band was out I was in my early 20’s….probably the best part of my life…my heaven would be at the Circus Bar listening to band from the valley…Specially Buckacre !

    • Jeffrey June 2, 2010 at 10:16 pm # Reply

      Larry,

      Thanks for the comments Larry. The music of Buckacre touched a lot of people.

  28. David Hackleman June 4, 2010 at 9:17 am # Reply

    Just informed of Les’ passing. Man the water front was a big hang out and a real eye opening experience for a us as we traveled up the road from Wenona.

    • Jeffrey June 5, 2010 at 8:31 am # Reply

      David,

      Thanks for stopping by and for your comments.

      No matter how far some of us have traveled away from the Illinois Valley and surrounding communities, we are all connected by the music we grew up with, the friendships we forged, and the memories we share.

  29. Rick Braida July 5, 2010 at 4:13 am # Reply

    I also have great memories of the Circus bar and water street music scene. I must have seen Buckacre play 100 times there. One of the early Lockeridge-Verucchi-Halley bands was called Rain (and Hatful of Rain) that featured a fantastic singer named Jon Mark. Don’t know whatever happened to him. All these bands we top notch, as were the later offshoots like Missing 51, the Jerks, and Longshot.

    I had the pleasure of knowing Les as both a musician and a friend, and I was very sad to hear of his recent passing. But the music and memories live on in the Illinois Valley, and thank you, Jefferey, for letting me stumble across this website while surfing.

    I googled “Buckacre” today because last night I was at the American Music Festival in Berwyn and saw the Blasters perform, the same band you and Dick V. were listening to back in ’82 down on Water St. The Blasters are still GREAT, and, yes, I think Buckacre could have been that band had they stuck together.

    • Helen January 15, 2015 at 1:55 am # Reply

      I remember Hatful of Rain. My sister sang with a group called the Khaotics from Ottawa, and I believe they were in a battle of the bands.
      John Mark I believe was John Mark Edmunds who also hosted a short radio show on WLPO. He had a fantastic voice. Unfortunately, John died a few years ago. He also recorded a single, which I would I love to get a copy of
      A. Side was Big City and B.Side was She Wants It That Way.

  30. Uncle Johnny August 17, 2010 at 9:30 am # Reply

    I was working the 6 to 10pm at Q105 radio in Tampa from 1973 to 1978. Buckacre would hit town a couple of times a year to play my favorite hangout, Papa Joes. It was a funky club near U.C.F. and they would pack the place. The perfect night for me was hangin’ with Mr. Daniel’s finest and just boogying to Buckacre.
    Uncle Johnny
    Harrisonburg, Va.

  31. markperrucci September 26, 2011 at 10:41 pm # Reply

    I’ve been looking for this album for a long time.I lost it at a party here in pittsburgh..had the pleasure once to see buckacre open for the outlaws at one of the burgs best concert venues the stanley theater in the 70,s.is there a way to get a copy of their albums on cd maybe someone can help me. thanks Mark/

    • Jeffrey September 28, 2011 at 7:02 am # Reply

      Hi Mark,

      Thanks for stopping by and for your comments. Wish I could help you with the Buckacre Albums, but there is a person who might be able to help you; he spins records in the Illinois Valley. If you are on Facebook, I can hook you two up. You also might try eBay. Not too long ago, someone put some records up there. Good Luck and thanks for the comments.

  32. Jess Wunman November 26, 2011 at 9:18 am # Reply

    Does anyone know if any Hatful of Rain, or Rain recordings exist?

  33. Jeffrey December 11, 2011 at 5:28 am # Reply

    Thanks for stopping by and commenting, Ed.

  34. Harry January 9, 2012 at 5:44 am # Reply

    I saw the Rain play and later Buckacre back in the early seventies.
    I was from the Illinois Valley, Peru.
    I went to the same high school that Dick Veruchi went to, St Bede.
    I lived in the hippie area on 8th street in La Salle when Al Thacker was living at the Ya Ha house (927 Ya Ha Band).
    His room was wall papered with the Granville Gazette! (that is a long story of a wild time)
    The music was always great,

    Harry

  35. Bandido March 14, 2012 at 10:16 am # Reply

    Wow, every now and then I think back and I remember Buckacre rocking the Second Chance in Peoria. At that time they opened for the Henry Paul Band. Henry commented how lucky we were to have a band of the quality of Buckacre in our area. He was absolutely right.

  36. Jan Hart Varney September 8, 2014 at 2:28 am # Reply

    A big shout out to the musical talent from the Illinois Valley. Just dusted off the turntable and have been listening to my old Buckacre albums. I looked up the band on the internet and found my way to this sight. Loved and still do love Buckacre’s music. Shout out to The Jerks, Steve Kinsella from Road Angel, and Mike Sabatini, too. Ya’ll provided the soundtrack to some awesome nights! I hope everyone is still making music – you’re talents are a blessing to those who hear.

  37. Ken Schroeder June 2, 2016 at 1:23 pm # Reply

    I was too young to hit the bars when Buckacre was around, but I knew Dick and Alan from the Jerks while I was playing disc jockey at the local rock station in Peru IL. Fast forward a couple years and I’m working in Kansas at a country station where I found (and admittedly liberated) both Buckacre albums from the unused records room. Fell in love with them and tried to drop them in here and there throughout my radio career.
    During my last gig, back in that same rock station I started at, I did a local music show an hour each week. Unfortunately, not a single turntable could be found in the building, so I lamented on the air one night the inability to play anything by Buckacre. Within a week, I received a gift from a member of one of the local bands: He had been entrusted with the band’s copy of the original masters, and recorded a CD for me straight from the tapes.
    Pure bliss.

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