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Singer brings his talents back to Clearwater area

Vocalist Calvin Lindsay took his career to California from Clearwater three years ago, but "I found out California was not the place to go," he said Monday. From there, he went to Chicago for a while. Now he's back in Clearwater.

Fans who remember Lindsay as vocalist and conga player with the group Ebony and Creme will be pleased to know he has formed another trio by that name. The band is being featured Thursday through Saturday nights at the Phoenix Orient Restaurant on Gulf-to-Bay Boulevard between Belcher Road and U.S. 19.

Lindsay is joined by Bill Burrett on keyboards and Tito Garcia on lead guitar and bass. The three perform songs that include oldies and current favorites and with selections from country-western, Top 40, jazz, swing, ballads and themes from Broadway shows.

"That's what Ebony and Creme is all about," Lindsay said. "We're trying to please everybody. We do any song that has sold more than 2{-million copies."

Lindsay said he has brought $12,000 worth of new equipment featuring the latest technology available and a light show to the Phoenix Orient. "I feel I owe it to the people in the area," he said.

Lindsay has been performing in Clearwater since 1969 and as Ebony and Creme since 1977. "We were like a great big family," he said of the fans who followed the group around then. "It's like coming back to the family and saying, "Look what I've brought back.'

He hopes to re-establish Sunday afternoon outdoor concerts on Clearwater Beach like the group presented when he performed here before. "We used to pack the beach doing those concerts," he said.

Lindsay no longer plays his trademark congas. "I am into computerized drumming, and it has enhanced my songs," he said. "The old music going through new equipment is a joy to hear because it's so clean and crisp."

Lindsay grew up with music, he said. His mother was a professional gospel singer, and he began singing at age 6. He performed on a radio show with his parents and with a group called The Master Singers.

He grew up along the Atlantic Coast "from North Carolina to Washington, D.C.," recording songs in high school and playing at fraternity parties. He was with a group called the Winstons who won a Grammy Award in 1969. He performed on USO tours all across the United States with Bob Hope and Phyllis Diller. He had musical training in the Clearwater area, and "when I decided to go into nightclub entertaining, this was the first place I wanted to go.

"This is going to be my home for the rest of my life. I've got peace of mind here. There is more money in California, but you have to please yourself."