Born on the east side of Cleveland, Ohio in 1942, Lou Ragland has donned many hats in his long career.
He’s a singer, guitarist, songwriter, record producer, studio engineer, and more. Ragland’s first 45, “Never Let Me Go/Party at Lester’s,” was recorded in 1960 at Boddie Recording Studio on Union Ave and released on the Way Out label the following year.
Between the late 1960s and mid-1970s, Ragland produced some of Cleveland’s greatest soul music, helming such groups as Hot Chocolate (“Good for the Gander” is the best funk song Sly Stone never wrote), Volcanic Eruption and Seven Miles High. In 1977, he released the solo album, “The Conveyer,” on his own SMH label.
Besides recording for local labels, Ragland also waxed 45s for the national imprints Amy and Warner Brothers. Before he became O’Jays road manager in 1967, he was the only African-American in the Terry Knight Revue, playing guitar alongside Cleveland saxophone legend Ernie Krivda. Knight “created” Grand Funk Railroad.
Ragland will be interviewed by Carlo Wolff, author of Cleveland Rock & Roll Memories.