"Your band help make the wedding a huge success. If you need any recommendations from us, please send them my way." - RL Condra, Director of U.S. Congressional Affairs, Southwest Dist.
In essence, Oysters Rockefeller is founding member, guitarist Harry Nino better known as "Harry O". The band has an extensive history based in the city of Springfield, IL. He was born in New York City in 1950 and was raised in Harlem, where his parents had a modest "rent controlled" apartment. At the age of 13, "Harry O" taught himself how to play guitar by listening to 45's and following along on sheet music, using the chord diagrams that most provided. On an average non-school day, he would practice as much as 8-13 hours. Four years later, all that practicing paid off, when "Harry O" was asked to join a popular R&B band based in the south Bronx. "The Shock Waves" not only played all of the top paying High School dances and proms but also private parties, and a few clubs in a 90 mile radius of the city. By the 1970's, "Harry O" was a regular at the east village blues jams being held at "Broadway Charlie's" and "Dan Lynch's"; sitting in with some of New York's better known blues guitarists such as, Jonathan Kalb and Jon Paris. Harry's own band, "Highh", was a high energy blues-rock trio featuring "Speedy" Graves on the drums, and his younger brother Marlin on bass. Marlin, now a top studio musician in New York, went on to join "The Tony Williams Lifetime" and has traveled extensively with Stanley Clark. "Harry O" went on to join a local rock band, "Turn Down B'way" and although they managed to secure two recording contracts in a 4 year period, the band broke up. "Harry O" continued to survive through a number of "day gigs", including: working as a taxi driver, doing guitar sales & repairs, setting up equipment at studios, and doing deliveries for a messenger service. In 1978, "Harry O" joined "The New York Sound Exchange", a show and dance band that played hotel lounges 6 nights a week, 48 weeks a year, all over the country. In 1982 "Harry O" settled in Milwaukee, where he worked with "Gene and the Soul Gang" for a year before he started "The Harry Nino Band." Milwaukee's blues jams gave him an opportunity to perfect his fluid, classic "Chicago Blues" guitar style. On any given Sunday, Harry could be seen at the "Up & Under Pub" trading licks with some of the city's better blues players: harmonica master, Jim Liban; keyboardist, Junior Brantley of "Roomful of Blues", & "The Fabulous Thunderbirds"; Albert King's guitarist, Willie Higgins and of course Johnny Winters' bassist, Jon Paris. After a few years, "Harry O" went back on the road with a succession of Top 40 dance bands but never lost sight of his blues roots. In 1990, he again settled down, this time in Springfield, IL, where the "Blue Monday jam" at "Bruce's Tavern" led him to a steady gig playing guitar for legendary "Sun" recording artist, Eddie Snow. Two years later he formed "Oysters Rockefeller" and that band was working a 3-5 night a week schedule in no time. In 1995, a grant from The Illinois Arts Council allowed the band to record the first of two critically acclaimed CD's. In 1996, "Harry O" started a "Blues in the Schools" program in the 186 school dist. with funding from the musicians union. The year 2000 marked the beginning of a two year stay in Chicago, where he had the opportunity to share the stage with such blues notables as: Chico Banks, The Belaires, Billy Branch, Phil Guy and the Machine, Michael Hill's Blues Mob, Willie Kent and the Gents, Johnnie Marshall, John Primer, and Sonny Rhodes. He returned to Springfield in 2002 to play with the original members of Oysters Rockefeller and record a new CD. "Harry O" recently moved to Branson, MO where he has finished rehearsing the latest edition of Oysters Rockefeller and is currently booking the band.
…"Just wanted to start early on our music program and give you first choice for a date or dates to play on our patio this summer. I don't know how many people get back to you to play in our venue but I get requests for your band consistently…"- Richard Davis-
Bar & Hospitality Manager
Cheddars, Springfield, IL