In 1962, a group of high school friends in Kansas City, Missouri, founded a doo-wop quintet named The Sinceres. The members eventually learned how to play instruments, renamed themselves Bloodstone, and after a brief stint as a Las Vegas lounge act, moved to LA. Months without a record deal forced the band to London where label boss Mike Vernon took them to the studio.
Roger Durham sang and played percussion on the group’s eponymous debut from 1972, which included “Natural High,” a single that placed top ten on the pop charts. (“Natural High” also found its way on the soundtrack to Quentin Tarantino’s Jackie Brown, starring Pam Grier, Robert De Niro, and Samuel L. Jackson, Bridget Fonda, and Michael Keaton.)
Bloodstone tapped into a mix of doo-wop, subdued funk riffs, and soul with a tinge of gospel, which garnered the group a place in the black rock and funk movement of the seventies. They played gigs alongside the likes of Curtis Mayfield, Marvin Gaye, The Impressions, and (the-not-so-black) Elton John. Bloodstone’s keyboardist Harold “Ivory” Williams went on to cut On The Corner with Miles Davis, but returned in time for gigs and recording dates.
July 27, 1973, Roger Durham fell off a horse and died from the injuries. His duty as an airman in the Vietnam War garnered him interment at the Fort Leavenworth National Cemetery in Kansas.