Road Food: Dolly Madison Raspberry Zingers
to live by:
pet a burning dog.
it looks dangerous, it is dangerous.
Movie Line: "There are those who have loaded guns and there are
those who dig. You dig."
The Good, The Bad & The Ugly
is a grapefruit called a grapefruit when it has not a grape shape, color,
or grow in bunches?
an orange named for its color or its taste?
do we put dead presidents on our money?
do sports figures make more money than 1,000 high school teachers?
Job: Master Sergeant for the Montana Army National Guard
collects cool old ties and fedoras that he often wears on stage.
J. Aaron "Little
Guitar & Lead Vocals
Where does this cat
get his energy?
J. Aaron Cundall,
AKA "Little Elmo", was born in Rochester New York on May 16,
1953. He grew up in a family of five, being the first born of Jim and
Upon moving to Texas
in 1959 he began his music career by taking guitar lessons from Lou Mitchell
Throughout grade school,
junior high and high school, Elmo, as he prefers to be called, formed
and played a myriad of music based around the guitar, his primary instrument.
He began singing in chorus groups and in the Sunday school choir at age
8. It wasn't until he was in high school that the musical roots of his
father began to show up in Elmo's delivery style.
Jim Cundall, Elmo's
dad, played in swing and big bands prior to WWII with the likes of the
Dorsey Brothers, Ozzie Nelson and others. Jim was a drummer and when Elmo
was a little boy he would drift off to sleep at night listening to his
dad playing a snare drum and high hat to phonograph records by Erroll
Garner, Count Basie, Ratio Shaw and many more.
Elmo was strongly
influenced by the swing era both from a musical standpoint and the high
energy delivery style of the vocalists and entertainers who performed
with these groups
but living in Texas there was also other music
to round out this young Texas kids repertoire. Elmo discovered the blues
of Leadbelly, Blind Lemon Jefferson, Oak Cliff "T-bone Walker"
and at 13 he chanced to see a live performance of blues giant BB King
from the back door of a Dallas club while collecting pop bottles on his
but the Texas Swing giant Bob Wills also played a role in
Elmo's development, along with grandfather of jump blues, Louis Jordan
During his college
years Elmo continued to perform as a single act and with other small combos
ranging from Western Swing to Gospel.
Upon leaving Texas
in 1977 and landing in South Dakota, he continued delivering his style
of Blues, Boogie and Swing to lots of different audiences.
When Elmo finally
arrived in Montana in 1990 he began forming several groups which eventually
lead to the "Mambo Kings" in 1995.
Jump Blues, Boogie
Woogie and Swing is the genre of the flamboyant group, "Little Elmo
& The Mambo Kings. The name came from a song on Elmo's first album,
Mambo Sauce, after a hot-n-spicy BBQ sauce served at a BBQ rib joint in
Indianapolis. With neon flames on the side of the building stating "Mambo
Sauce", Zeb's BBQ Ribs became the foundation for the bands moniker.
Elmo and his band
mates continue to provide hot and spicy versions of their original material
and also re-arrange many older tunes from the swing era by giving them
their own personal flair.
"I love to sing
em as I think they should be sung and like my grandpa "Boppa"
said so many years ago, Aaron, you are a born showman and that's just
exactly what I love to do. If I can bring a smile to the face of just
one person in the audience, I've done my job. I guess I try to follow
my own philosophy
The only thing I can ever take with me is what
I give away".