1969 - 1975
- Rick Johnson (guitar)
- Michael Yelton (guitar)
- Eddy Dudley (guitar)
- Bob Smith (guitar)
- Mike Regar (keyboards, vocals)
- Jeff Bailey (lead vocals, drums)
- Rick Bailey (drums)
- Bill Mann (bass)
- John Fonte (bass)
- Bob Murray (bass)
- Kevin Brown (bass)
- Andy Dudley (bass)
Amanda Jones formed in Old Hyde Park in the fall of 1969. Based on the prolific song writing of guitarists Rick Johnson and Michael Yelton, the group was led by the late Jeff Bailey (formerly of Hungry Eyes) on drums and lead vocals. Rounding out the original foursome was ex-Trojans keyboardist and vocalist, Mike Regar. Contributing on bass through the years were: Bill Mann, John Fonte, Bob Murray and Kevin Brown. In the beginning, this often nameless band with its ever-growing extended family, might well be remembered for their performances at the late-60'/early-70's free-style jams on Sunday afternoons. The genesis of these legendary “happenings”began with a small number of local players in South Tampa’s Ballast Point Park, then quickly moved on to the Town ‘n Country area at Bay Crest Park.. It was here when the number of musicians & friends quickly began to swell. One could expect to experience such talent as the original members of The Outlaws, performing side by side with the many talented - and often overlooked - musicians & bands, representing the close-knit family of the bay area’s original, mid-to- late 60's rockers.
With momentum rolling and attendance booming, the next stop for this traveling gypsy event, much to the chagrin of local residents and Tampa’s finest, was on the banks of the Hillsborough River, at North Tampa’s Rowlette Park. A stage was constructed at this site. Folks also may recall the emergence of “emcee” Dave Hall and company, arguably one of Tampa’s more colorful characters, past & present. At the bequest of the park’s neighbors, local authorities cut the park’s power supply. Undaunted, a search began for a new site that could accommodate the large crowds, while adding some distance between the “noise” and suburbia.. It didn’t take long. The care-takers of the Men’s Garden Club (now a golf course adjacent to Tampa Int’l. Airport) agreed to rent their multi-acre site, where decibel levels from commercial jets flying overhead would exceed the ground-level “sounds of music.” With a cash-only business opportunity staring them right in the face, the mom ‘n pop caretakers of the property quickly built a concession stand and tried to charge admission at the gate. In a strange turn of events during the concert, the female caretaker ran out of her trailer while yielding a gun, chased her husband, and fired several shots at him. Reportedly, several concert goers had to dodge bullets. One of the members of Chasing Amy had the following to say regarding the incident... “The “pistol-yielding Mom” charged out of their trailer and, in a jealous rage, chased and opened fire on “Daddy?” I will testify to this, being on stage as her bullets came whizzing by! There were many who literally “dodged the bullets.”
The psychedelic Sunday afternoon “outings” took on a life of their own, with overflowing crowds including the area’s absolute best players and their bands, along with many traveling from afar, visiting & sharing stage time... even with an unannounced visit from Jimi Hendrix. The Garden Club would be the final outpost for this free-wheeling event, but not before hosting several summers of great music in a celebrating, cosmic, almost carnival- like atmosphere. This was a true microcosm of the era, and quite fitting that these jams be chronicled as a bold chapter in Tampa Bay’s rock n’ roll lore.
For Amanda Jones, there would be several relocation's as well. Keeping it all together and staying as close to the music as possible meant living well below the poverty line, even with some members having some day-jobs. While living under one roof for almost 6 years, Amanda Jones refined the art of one-pot meals. The band kept the music close, writing song after song, with the strong belief their music would somehow see them through, knowing fully that Tampa was a wasteland for aspiring original rock groups. Any chance of reaching that oh-so-distant “next level,” meant getting out of Tampa Bay and relocating to LA, New York, Atlanta,etc. The road for Amanda Jones became impassable in 1971.
The debilitating illness that struck down Michael Yelton partially emptied the soul of Amanda Jones. Michael was not only a primary songwriter and masterful guitarist, he seemed to lived inside the very heart of his music. After several courageous but unsuccessful come-back attempts, Mike Yelton’s jersey was retired, with the remaining band members deciding not to pursue a replacement. Down to four, the surviving members of Amanda Jones continued on for a few more years. Now residing at their infamous Otto Rd. address, fresh, new material continued to flow from Rick Johnson, Mike Regar and Jeff Bailey. There were gigs here and there, including the well known, worn-down strip of rock n’ roll clubs on Nebraska Av., and Mark’s Hurricane Lounge on Gunn Hwy. ‘Big Mark’ was growing weary of the club’s long established Country & Western venue. Upon establishing a dialogue with various members of Amanda Jones, who had become loyal regulars while stopping in for a drink or 3 on their way home, Mark urged the group to audition as part of his effort to attract a new, rock n’ roll crowd. Although lasting only a month or two, Amanda Jones earned the distinction of being the first, and possibly only rock n’ roll house band at the distinguished, early-Carrollwood landmark
Following Rick Johnson’s departure in 1974, Jeff Bailey and Mike Regar re-grouped, adding a second drummer, Rick Bailey, Jeff’s younger brother, the Dudley brothers: Eddy on guitar & Andy on bass, with their cousin, guitarist Bob Smith. In addition to the afore mentioned venues, this version of Amanda Jones might also be remembered for their concert appearances at Pappa’s Dream (then & now the old State Theater building in St. Pete), opening for Wet Willie at the Lakeland Civic Center (following a cancellation by J. Giles) and The Barn, located in Oldsmar, where Amanda Jones played its final show in 1975.
Jeffery Warren Bailey passed away in 1996, following his fight with cancer.