UPDATE (April 10, 2014): According to a letter we received today from Gary Rhodes, currently a worship pastor in Waco, the Rhodes family had very little idea who they were really doing business with in the early '70s. "We (including our parents) were totally unaware of any ties the record company owner had with the porn industry," he writes. "We had barely been with this company a few months when we heard about it, and after finding this out immediately terminated the relationship. Only a couple singles and one album recording had been done. Shortly after that, contact with Mr. Cammarata was also terminated." The activities mentioned in the 1988 Chronicle article about Cammarata did not happen until years after the Rhodes severed contact with him, he adds.
The early 70's was a glorious time for the "family showband." The Cowsills started it all a few years earlier, and the lifestyle was soon immortalized on the screen by the fictionalized Partridge Family. But for every group like the Osmonds or the Jackson 5, there were dozens of others, perhaps less talented, certainly less famous, who crisscrossed America in their leaky busses from cocktail lounge to county fair, hoping for that big break that would get them the invite to Vegas or Hollywood.
Houston's own Rhodes Kids, largely forgotten unless you're a thrift-store record-bin regular, was one of those bands who did get the invitation to the Big Time. The seven Rhodes Kids were the children of an Exxon engineer and a concert pianist, and had already been playing together casually before relocating to Houston in 1970.
It was here that Paul, Ron, Gary, Patty, Marsha, Brett and little Mark got serious, hiring a manager, choreographer, and practicing daily. Their first gigs were at Village Inn Pizza. It may not have been glamorous, but hey, free pizza.More »