P. O. Box 13221
Eight Mile, AL
36613


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FRANK EDWARD MENDENHALL
March 14, 1948 - February 20, 2007

Frank & fansFrank Mendenhall was a man of many faces.  His voice somewhat reminds you of Al Green.  Frank loved to make people boogie with his up tempo dance songs, tried to squeeze his old love, Reggae into his repertoire, but his roots were firmly in the South and musically in Blues.                                                    ~soulexpress.net, April 1998

Frank was born in Camden, AL, on March 14, 1948.  "When I was 12 years old, my brotherFrank's family - 6 of 11 brothers and sisters - John, Jay, Florence, Margaret, Arthur and Robert Arthur brought a guitar back home and that's what started me playing.  Those days I listened to people like Muddy Waters, Jimmy Reed, Lightning Slim and Lightning Hopkins - all of these Blues guys. " 

"We didn't have a radio station in our home because the town was so small.  Late at night they used to have a radio station that came out of Tennessee (WLAC)  and we could pick it up at night.  Then we would order those big 78 records and listen with a monographic machine with a battery pack.  We didn't have electricity either. "

Young Frank"By the time I got to be 15 years old, I ran away from home.  In Front Royal, VA, I came to an apple picking migration.  I picked apples for about 3 months, then came to Washington, DC and saw all those musicians.  I thought I could play back home, even though I had no training at home because my mother wouldn't let me go to clubs when I lived in Alabama. "

"In Washington, I told myself 'you can't play' and realized how much I needed to learn.  I started going to clubs and the musicians saw that I was trying to watch them play the guitar.  They started showing me one chord a night.  By 1968, I was really into it and then left and went to New York, where I got lots of opportunities because I was in clubs all the time.  I didn't do anything but music." 

Frank, niece Robin and brother RobertIn New York, Frank strolled around the club scene for almost 10 years.  "Approximately in '77,  I ended up getting a daughter, so I kinda dropped out of music for awhile (for about four years).  I did volunteer to teach music to children in Virginia."   In the 80s, Frank did much writing and also began working in the Washington area again.

Wurst Act Records logoThe name 'Wurst Act' isn't one of the most common ones. "Back in the old days, the Howard Theatre was the place where all the big stars came in Washington.  Once we were there in the back rehearsing some of the last lines of our song.  I said to the musicians  'if we don't get this together, we're gonna be the worst act on the show.'  At the same time the DJ had just asked me the question 'What is the name of the group?' and I didn't hear it, so he thought I had answered 'the worst act'." 

ARTISTS THAT FRANK WORKED WITH DURING HIS CAREER

Betty Wright, Blue Magic,Chubby Checker, Wilson Pickett, Bachman-Turner Overdrive and Tyrone Davis
The Tip-Toppers (Mid-60s) - toured England as the Original Drifters
The Invitations - Seminal hit "They Say The Girl Is Crazy"
Blue Magic
Chubby Checker
The Isley Brothers
Betty Wright
Tyrone Davis
Bachman-Turner Overdrive

Wilson Pickett

 

 

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