One of the top regional bands to hit the scene centered around late 1960s’ Indianapolis was Omer’s Soul Rebellion (OSR). OSR’s style of music was rock and horn-based rhythm and blues, with the band lovingly referring to itself as a group of “blue-eyed soul brothers”. The band featured many of their own arrangements of songs made famous by such artists as the Temptations, Sam and Dave, Blood Sweat and Tears, James Brown, and the Rolling Stones. Towards the end of their collaborative effort, the band began venturing into harder styles of rock doing arrangements by the Vanilla Fudge and Cream.
Members of the band included:
Mark Hewitt (guitar),
Fred Hayes (drums),
Jeff Brant (bass),
Terry Self (organ),
John Cotner (trumpet),
John Tarkington (sax), and
Jim “Omer” Hutto (trombone).
Upon Fred Hayes’ departure to Tucson, Carl Peterson took over the role behind the drum kit. Everyone within the band contributed in delivering the multi-part vocals with Omer taking a lead role.
In 1968 Omer’s Soul Rebellion was one of 172 bands competing in the Indiana State Fair’s “Young America Fair” Battle of the Bands. The band took 1st place making it the second year in a row bands from the Kokomo area had dominated the competition. The Clean Machine, a band from Kokomo featuring Frankie Watters, had won in 1967. Judging the competition were the WIFE Good Guys from the dominant youth centered radio station of the day in Indianapolis.
Though most members of the band were high school juniors at the time of the Young America Fair, they capitalized on their new found connection with the Good Guys and signed with Carousel Productions. This allowed the band to play weekends throughout the five state region for the majority of their senior year in high school. At the end of summer following graduation, the band came to an end as various members went off to their different colleges and lives. The crowds had loved them and just a whole lot of good times had come out of this band.
Complete contribution thanks to Mark Hewitt! Thanks Mark!