Let The Good Times Roll
Arthur Leon "Tiny" Barge was born in Norfolk, VA on Friday, January 27, 1950. Harry S. Truman was president, the Cold War was in full swing and Rock N Roll was just about to be born.

As a child Leon grew up in a house filled with music. His father sang with the acclaimed Norfolk State Choir
and his uncle, saxophone great Gene "Daddy G" Barge, was beginning what was to become a legendary career.

Leon picked up the trumpet while in elementary school and formed his very first bands, Ricky and the Raptures and the Constellations, in junior high. He soon added saxophone and piano to the list of instruments he played proficiently and began writing his own songs.

It was at this time he acquired the nickname "Tiny" while playing halfback on his schools intramural football team.
It was said he played like a "Tiny" Bobby Mitchell.
The name stuck.

At home Daddy G and The Church Street Five were intricately involved in developing the Norfolk Sound that produced Gary US Bonds and Jimmy Soul. Also the nearby Beach Scene that featured General Johnson and The Showmen, The Tams and Bill Deal and the Rhondels had a tremendous influence on Tiny as a young budding musician and writer.

He began his professional career in 1966 when he joined the Washington D.C. group the El Corols Band and Show.
El Corols Band & Show
El Corols
Before Tiny joined the El Corols they had already opened shows for Stevie Wonder and James Brown and had toured backing soulman Garnett Mimms. After Tiny came on board they developed a more original sound and recorded his songs "Chick Chick" and "You Gotta Be An Angel". Both songs were played on the Washington D.C. stations WOOK and the historic WOL Radio that was remembered in the movie "Talk To Me" starring Don Cheadle.

The popular El Corols performed at many of the famous show palaces up and down the Eastern Seaboard and continued to appear on concert stages with greats such as The Temptations, The Stylistics, Jerry Butler, Johnny Taylor and The Intruders.

During their reign the El Corols helped launch the careers of Carter Jefferson and Sir Joe Quarterman.

The El Corols' spectacular stage shows and choreography brought them a good amount of notoriety and established the model for future Tiny Barge endeavours from then on.
When El Corols' talent agents Jeff and Buddy Rubin introduced Tiny to songwriter Fangette Willett a prolific writing duo began. Under Fangette's guidance Tiny was able to further hone his skills as a writer and arranger.

During this time Tiny wrote some of his most inspired songs. Songs that later were recorded by some of the worlds most prestigious entertainers.

Fangette wrote hits for Londoner, Tammy St. John and Folksingers The Chad Mitchell Trio as well as many great R&B numbers for Walter Jackson and Lou Rawls. She went on to work as a staff writer for Motown Records in Detroit.
Fangette Willett with her children and pets around the famous writing piano.
The Rubin brothers formed Washington Talent Agency and hired Tiny as a studio and live show producer. There he taught showmanship to the new agency's performers while he was attending the University of Maryland.

One of the groups he worked with was aptly called Inspiration. In time Tiny joined the group and returned to the concert stage.

Inspiration recorded and toured showrooms around the country for the next four years. They enjoyed radio play on the east coast with the Fangette/Barge composition "Little David." The single was backed by Tiny's song "Spectrum."

When Inspiration played some engagements for the Al Schultz Agency out of Chicago, Tiny struck up a friendship with one of the agency's top representatives, Bobby Lee.
One night, after one of Inspiration's final shows, Tiny was approached by producer Cecile Barker who at the time represented Peaches & Herb Productions. Cecile was very impressed with Tiny's original material, including the groups version of "Every Time I See A Butterfly". Soon afterwards Cecile Barker and his production partner Tony Camillo formed their own CB Productions. Tiny was offered a writing deal that was enhanced by Cecile's agreeing to support him in his own band.

Thus Synergism was born.
A hard working and stylish road band Synergism toured frequently and it was here that Tiny first took on the roll of lead singer and front man for the band. Expectations soared as Tiny was able to produce several promising recordings for the group.

This was the beginning of the Disco era and the songs Tiny had written for Synergism were quickly covered by the Tony Camillo produced group Creme D'Cocoa. There is still varying opinions over which versions
of the songs were the most appealing. But Creme D' Cocoa had the backing of Barker & Camillo's Venture Records label and enjoyed a good amount of airplay. Appearances on the Don Cornelius TV show Soul Train helped increase Creme D'Cocoa's visibility and popularity.

Sadly what was a huge success for Creme D'Cocoa meant just the opposite for Synergism. It was not very long until the band members went their separate ways.

During this time Tiny began an affiliation with the Al Schultz Agency as a producer of live stage shows. Coaching other acts on the roster to the finer points of arranging music, choreography and stage presence.
One of the groups that Tiny produced and choreographed was The Fabulous Hubcaps .
Soon he was offered an opportunity to join the great oldies group. Here he was exposed to a much broader world of Pop music and recalls this period as one of the most enjoyable in his career.

Initially starting as saxophone player Tiny soon stepped in for the bands lead singer who was recovering from a serious automobile accident.

Tiny left the group when the injured singer returned, but not before introducing the band to the dynamic Kathie Martin. The lively female singer and saxophonist was one of the first sensational women in rock and remains with the Hubcaps to this day.
The Fabulous Hubcaps
Lightkraft
The next turn of events found Tiny Barge joining the established touring band Lightkraft. This meant moving away from the east coast for the first time and settling in Colorado Springs, CO.

After years of touring via booking agent Bobby Lee Lightkraft had finally found a home in Colorado. Tiny and the band put down some real roots when they opened their own nightclub called the Showtime Lounge.

As a house band Lightkraft regularly played the Showtime along with other national and local acts.
Lightkraft's dynamic floor shows found adoration in the Rocky Mountain state and became a welcome staple of the culture in Colorado Springs.

One talented local that Tiny befriended was a young guitar player named Rich Mouser.
On a whim Tiny and Rich recorded a novelty song Tiny had written several years before called, "They Won't Let Me Play My Rock N Roll Guitar In The High School Marching Band". The song became a hit on local radio stations and a regular favorite on the legendary Dr. Demento Radio series. Then for the video version of the song Tiny enlisted the talented young comedian Jeff Valdez. With Lightkraft's backing and cooperation of the entire marching band from nearby
Coronado High School the hilarious video quickly became a favorite on regional television.
When Lightkraft eventually sold their interest in the Showtime Tiny and Rich put together the nostalgic band Victrola. The band played a mixture of musical styles mostly drawn from the '50s and '60s chart toppers that were coming back into fashion for the Baby Boomer generation.

Along with Victrola's classic Rock N Roll Tiny added the Motown and early Soul hits that he had grown up with and the band quickly became one of the most popular acts with the Colorado audiences.

As Tiny kept up his writing Rich Mouser was beginning his brilliant career as a recording engineer. The two produced many of Tiny's songs as well as commercial jingles and records for other local artists
.
To produce their numerous recording sessions it became necessary for Tiny and Rich to work in their own recording environment. Together they founded Passage Studio on the west side of Colorado Springs.

To accommodate their growing jingle business they started Bo Jingles Productions. Some of the adds they produced are still on the air today.

As recording customers kept coming and Victrola continued their engagements Rich eagerly pursued his career as an audio engineer.

In time he decided to seek greater opportunity in Los Angeles, CA. Today Rich owns his own studio in Pasadena and is a respected and sought after producer and engineer.
Tiny Barge and Rich Mouser at Passage Studio in 1983
When Rich moved away Tiny relocated his recording facility to an upstairs loft in what had been originally the Waycott Opera House in a quaint, historic part of Colorado Springs. His new studio he christened Emerald City and began working on his strategy for the next phase of his performing career.

Until now Tiny had been a support member or front man for many different bands. This time he wanted a group that he could call his own that played the great Soul classics that Tiny held so dear. He wanted a group that could dance and sing like the Temptations while they played together like the Stax-Volt Rhythm Section. To do this he brought together an assortment of eleven talented and seasoned players that reflected a diverse cross section of society. Musicians who were able to share Tiny's vision of a true, authentic Soul band.

The new band took its name from a popular movie that featured a sound track of classic Soul hits. They called the band Tiny Barge and The Big Chill.
The Big Chill was the perfect show band at the perfect time for Colorado. The excitement in the community was only surpassed by the excitement and energy generated by the band on stage.

Tiny knew from his years of experience that playing in a full time band is a real commitment and that families and other interests are often cause for a members departure. Regardless of a groups popularity that's just the facts of life for a band leader.

But this time with Tiny as leader and featured vocalist, his tried and true song list, his professional standards and the band's steadfast reputation The Big Chill became an on going venture that would flourish for the next twenty years.

In that time Tiny has successfully navigated his band through numerous local, regional and national triumphs. Along the way the list of esteemed Big Chill alumni and friends has grown, providing so many wonderful and treasured memories.
Tiny Barge and The Big Chill are visited on stage in Aspen by the enchanting Christine McVie of Fleetwood Mac (piano, right) and the illustrious Steve Winwood (guitar, center).
Today Tiny Barge and The Big Chill continue to be the toast of the Rocky Mountain region. They have participated in countless festivals and concert events including engagements at Walt Disney World. Their Soul and Oldies review has been a fixture of the nationally acclaimed Country Jam USA and Country Thunder USA concert series. The group has been one of the most sought after charity fund raisers and was the featured act for eleven years at the John Elway Celebrity Golf Classic. The band also had the distinct honor of performing at the NFL Hall of Famer's official retirement celebration.

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