The Dellie Hoskie Jr. Story...
Gold record recording artist DELLIE HOSKIE Jr. is a musical master.
He has been impressing the World with his Intense soul / funk musical
expression for decades. Dellie writes, arranges and plays from his heart
and soul with great passion, the way real music is suppose to be.
Dellie Hoskie was born on August 10, 1947, in Newport News, Virginia,
the son of a Pentecostal minister who worked in a junkyard and a
"stay-at-home mom" named Ardelia. He was one of nine children, and he
says that while "a lot of the time we didn't have enough to eat, we
always got along together as a family."
Dellie's interest in music started when he was a young man around the
age of 12 years old. His father Dellie Hoskie Senior was a musician and
played the guitar. When Dellie was growing up at home, he would sneak
into his father's bedroom and start playing the guitar because he wanted
to be just like his father. Eventually Dellie taught himself how to play
chords and he would make up his own songs on the guitar. This is how his
passion for music began.
In Newport there was a club called the Motion Theater--Dellie says it
is still there--and by the time he was 12 years old, the young Dellie
was hanging around, picking up odd jobs, doing the stage stuff. It was
heady stuff for a kid: Oh, man! I met them all--Otis
Redding, Wilson Pickett,
B.B. King and
James Brown. The Godfather of Soul, it so happens, would later have
a key role in the birth of The Clown.
By the time he was in his teens, Dellie was itching to get out of
Newport News. The church and the junkyard--that wasn't my cup of tea, he
says. I took on responsibilities at an early age, got involved with
females, and left home when I was 16.
This was after the great post-war migration of African-Americans from
the South to the big industrial urban areas of the North, but as Dellie
admits with one of his trademark outbursts of self-deprecating humor,
Man, I didn't even know the North existed! Me and my brother Joseph just
hopped on a boxcar and we just rode; this was in the early '60s, around
We got off the boxcar in New Haven--we needed to look for something
eat. We was hungry as hell.
Dellie and Joseph knew the junkyard business from Dellie Sr.'s work,
and they found work in Tarducci's junkyard, where John Tarducci hired
them to cut up junk cars, all the stuff you do in the yard--we used a
torch, cut up the cars. The boss, he couldn't put us on the payroll on
account of we was too young, so we did piecework.
The brothers had told Tarducci that their parents were also in New
Haven, but their fib was put to rest one Sunday when they were playing
music in an old Connecticut transit bus they were living in, on the
grounds of the junkyard. We'd just get up and sing and play among
ourselves, he says. The boss comes in one Sunday, he heard us back there
singing in the bus and he wondered where our parents were. We broke down
and told him the truth.
He was amazed at the way we were singing. John Tarducci! Man! He
bought us our first equipment, and before too long, we started playing
in the local clubs.
After Tarducci's generous gift to the young men, Dellie and Joseph
put together a band. They were soon gigging all over town. One night in
1969, they were playing a dance at the old American Legion hall on
Winchester Avenue, jamming through the James Brown classic I Can't Stand
Well, we was just clownin' around, Dellie recalls. We were right in the
middle of James' song, and I just stopped and started singing my lyrics.
Some of the audience liked it, some didn't. I was just having fun. We
went back to the bridge, did some other tunes, and then some people in
the audience said, Get on that clown again!'
Before long, Dellie's first manager, one Eddie Noble, paid for the
recording of The Clown at New Haven's Dynamic Studios, then released it
on his namesake label, Noble Records. From there, it becomes one of
those old classic tales of unscrupulous small-label heartbreak: I hooked
up with him, signed the contract, says Dellie. That was a big mistake.
He did take it all over the airwaves, and there were interviews, and
everything was paid for of course, travel and such. But there was no
money. The singles "The Clown" & "How much can a man take" were both
Gold records sold to fans all over the world in 1971 and made Billboard
top 20 for two weeks.
Dellie was still playing music into the 1970s. He played a little with
the Five Satins, he says,and toured with the gospel group the Five Blind
Boys of Alabama, played guitar and sang withthem for about two years.
The thing about gospel groups is that anyone can sit and have fun. Ihad
my own group up here in Connecticut for a couple of years. I did a lot
But he also endured a failed marriage (he has four children), and the
death of his brother Joseph, crushed to death at age 19 by one of those
large junkyard magnets, says Dellie. As the years wore on, Dellie began
drinking more and more. But he never got into the dope or coke, and he
didn't bottom out until the death of his father, about twenty years ago.
Aw, the eighties, I hit rock bottom then. I was killing the bottle, just
killing it. There was my divorce. I tried to kill myself a couple times
back then. It were rough. It were real rough. After my father passed,
yes, that's when I hit the bottom. I wouldn't pick up the guitar, I
wouldn't sing. I was in really in bad shape then. I lost a lot of
weight, and people thought I had some disease. Man, it was the stress,
I'm tellin' you.
Well, he says, one night, my father, he comes to me in a dream in 2004
nearly 30 plus years later from his hit record, and he was real rough on
me. He says, "What the hell you call yourself? What the hell you doin? I
gave you all this talent! Go ahead, get your guitar, pick it up".
But I couldn't pick it up. A couple of nights later, he comes to me
again in a dream, and he says the same thing. But still, I just couldn't
do it. Then he come to me a third time, in a third dream, and he says,
No worries, Dellie. Just do it. I'm with you; I never left you.' And I
just started playin' when I woke up, and that's when When Real Love's
Gone' comes from. I just started playin' it--every day, another song.
There would be another dream, this one with his deceased brother Joseph.
As he relates the dream, Dellie lets out one of his trademark chuckles.
All right, so I wake up and start smellin' the coffee, you know, and I'm
thinkin', What am I gonna do with this music?' Wouldn't you know it but
Joe comes to me in a dream one night, and he says, just type in demo' on
He did that, sent out a couple of dozen demos, and got about 15
responses, one of them from John J, DeGaetano of Arizona's
AppolloEarBone Music Enterprises, Inc. My mother, she says to me,
Dellie, you tried to kill yourself so many times. There's a reason
you're still around. Dellie then recorded the full length CD called "I'm
Back, but Real Love is Gone" on AppolloEarBone Music Enterprises, with
John J. DeGaetano in 2004. The CD was released in stores and online in
all major music outlets worldwide. With little money for promotions, the
release had achieved modest success, but had stellar reviews from music
publications around the world. The CD also achieved airplay in over 10
The songs on I'm Back But Real Love Is Gone reflect both his playful,
fun side and his serious one, much as that famous single did, three
decades back. It's My Birthday is a bouncy bit recorded in celebration
of his 58th birthday this year. I did have a little party that day, he
says. I don't hardly drink no more, thank God. I had a couple cocktails
that day, and that's when I wrote it. But then there are bluesy soul
ballads like Missing You and I'm Sorry, which are nothing if not sober
Dellie has performed with some of the best entertainers in the gospel
and jazz industry, including The Five Blind Boys, Shirley Ceasar and The
Five Satins where he was on the road with them for a short time.
Today, Dellie is doing it again! Now in his 60's, Dellie is again on
his way to making a monumental come back headed by John J. DeGaetano
with his new sound... "The Blues".
Dellie's new Blues release "Junkyard Blues" was released on Feb 7,
2011 under the direction of John J. DeGaetano on AppolloEarBone Music.