April 1, 2023

‘Impacts’ Played the Bases

The Impacts
Harold Herndon, standing in the front row, was getting busy running his new company,  Compliance Corporation, when a fire destroyed the instruments of his group ‘The Impacts’ , ending their recording dreams.
Posted for The Slackwater Center
The SlackWater Center at St. Mary’s College is a consortium of students, faculty, and community members documenting and interpreting the region’s changing landscapes. Oral histories are at the core of the Center, which also students also explore the region through historical documents, images, literature, and scientific and environmental evidence. Some of this work is published in the print journal SlackWater, some of which is online and some published here.

Harold Herndon, as told to John P. Cook

Also read about Mr. Herndon starting the first Carver High School Band, when  segregation was the law.

A band asked me to play with them and I played with them for a while, but we would go play someplace, and the people wouldn’t pay us, they would want to give us a chicken sandwich, and I said, that won’t work.  I had family at this time, and I’ve got to take care of them, and teaching school was not going to do it.  So, that’s when I decided to start the Impacts, probably in the late ‘60s, I would say.

Some of the [band members] were students I had taught, and some of them were guys I’d run into, as I was doing my thing out there in the community, and they were all local, and some of them were very talented.  We decided, yeah, let’s do this thing, let’s put together the band.  I enjoyed it, although there were some frustrations, because I was, besides being one of the performers, I was the booking agent, and the manager, and, fix this, and fix that, and carry this, and carry that, doing everything except play everybody else’s instrument! We did most of, you know, the popular music of the day, whatever was popular at that time.

We had a really good, tight group, and we were trying to see if we could get into the recording industry, and, to make some recordings, and that was the Impacts—it turned out to be a really good group.

Locally, we played at the Golden Cuckoo, and there was the place where the Post Office now is. We played on the base a lot, and we played at Andrews Air Force, all the military bases, and, you know, we did quite a bit of traveling outside of the local area to play music. Washington, DC, and Baltimore, and everywhere else they would pay us.  We did a lot of nightclubs …

the impacts

Impacts Play at Take it Easy Ranch – Harold Herndon

They did a version of Woodstock down here in St. Mary’s County. I don’t know if you remember that. It was down at the Take It Easy Ranch.  We were the opening act at the festival.  But we were the opening act, and, I mean, the other acts on the program were … were people who were well known, some of them were extremely famous now … We had just, we had played the night before somewhere in Virginia … and George Winslow had this bus—this big old school bus, it was blue, he had a lot of kids, so they had something called the Winslow Family, we’re “The Winslows,” anyway, that was the bus we used to go on.  I remember us getting through playing up there in Virginia, wherever it was, and drove to get, to open up that show.  We had, we had a lot of fun, a lot of good, interesting gigs.

Sometime around 1980, ‘79 or ‘80, my house burned down.  And we had the band equipment in the house, and it destroyed the equipment, and that pretty much brought it to an end.  And around that time, I started Compliance Corporation, so, with the band and its business pretty much over, [the new business] just took all my time.  I just didn’t have time to be [playing in a band].



Leave A Comment