The Whitecliff Rangers started with three long-time friends, brothers Bart and Robb Scott and Jim Black. Bart, Robb and Jim are joined by the peerless rhythm section of Bob Lewis and Donn Spindt.
Bart and Robb Scott grew up playing acoustic music together. In the summer of 1964, Bart quit lessons with his guitar teacher, Jerry Garcia, because he was trying to get him to play electric guitar. Bart did, however, learn to fingerpick with two fingers instead of three. He managed to stay pickup-free for decades until joining the WCR in 2013. Younger brother Robb was always filling in behind Bart’s chords.
Jim has been a fan of the blues for most of his life. Although he dropped out of classical guitar lessons in 1967, Jim was surrounded by a family of musicians – George Black, Sophia Black, Sammy Varela and quite a few others. After many years, Jim decided to learn to play blues harmonica while commuting three hours per day on a long term project. In addition to adding a “Mississippi saxophone” to the band, Jim keeps Bart from playing country music.
Jim and Robb have worked their day jobs together, on and off, for nearly thirty years, but their roots go back even farther. By coincidence, Bart, Robb and Jim grew up about five blocks from each other in the shadow of Moffett Field. In the days before telephone numbers were all digits, their home numbers had the prefix “WHitecliff-8.”
The rhythm section is composed of Bob Lewis on bass and Donn Spindt or drums, both on long term loan from the Rave-Ups (where Bob plays guitar). Bob and Donn have been playing forever. In addition to the Rave-Ups, Bob has been in numerous bands over the years, and has opened for many bands including Norton Buffalo, New Riders, and Phil Everly of The Everly Brothers. Early on Donn joined the internationally known band The Rubinoos, drumming and singing harmonies. He also has worked with Jonathan Richman, Vox Pop, Leila and the Snakes, The Debra Knox Band, Brian Hyland (Yellow Polka Dot Bikini), The Beau Brummels, Rodney Dangerfield, Tony Clifton and The Aqua Velvets.