The Red Fox Tavern, Summer 1965


In 1964 -- if memory of the date serves us correctly -- Bobby Edwards opened his Red Fox Tavern on Fairmont Avenue, in Bethesda , Maryland. The Newports quickly became the popular band there. It was more down-home than The Rocket Room and other D.C. clubs, and we greatly enjoyed playing at the Red Fox. And we so appreciated its being there, for it was in our hometown, and practically walking distance from our homes. It was also the only club or roadhouse of its sort in Bethesda at that time. Today Bethesda sports numerous nightspots, but before the Red Fox there was none, and few in Montgomery Country, for that matter. Bethesda was a very different town then. Apart from a couple of eight-story apartment buildings, there were no high-rises, and its main streets were lined with businesses mostly one or two-stories tall. Weve included a shot of central Bethesda below -- at the intersection of Wisconsin Avenue and East-West Highway where Hot Shoppes then stood -- as a reminder of what the town was like then. The Red Fox was a short distance from there.  

Below is a batch of photos from a Newports engagement at the Red Fox on a hot summer night in 1965.  

The fellow standing to the far left in photo #7 is Chris Tobey. Chris was the manager of Empire Records in Bethesda at the time, and a close friend of the band. He was also a talented musician, and played guitar with the Newports for a while in 1966. He went on to enjoy a career in the record business, serving as an exec with Rhino Records and then with Warner Group. Sadly, he died of apnea issues in 2009.

View toward the back of the club. (L to R) Bill White (bass), Blaine Smith (guitar),
Tom Willett (singing), Charlie Willett (singing), Don Williamson (drums)

View toward the front of the Red Fox. (L to R) John Hurd (Hammond), Bill White
(bass), Blaine Smith (guitar), Tom Willett (singing), Charlie Willett (singing)


Bill, Blaine, Tom, Charlie

Tom and Charlie


Bill and Blaine

Bill, Blaine, Tom, Charlie


Bill, Blaine, Tom, Charlie, and Don. Chris Tobey, our great friend, is in lower left.

Blaine, Bill, Tom, Charlie, John, and Don out front of the Red Fox Tavern


Closeup: Blaine, Bill, Tom, Charlie, John, and Don


Bethesda, Maryland in the 1960s

Central Bethesda at a by-gone time. The Red Fox Tavern was on Fairmont Avenue, several blocks south of here. All members of the Newports lived within a couple miles of this location at this time.


The Newports
P.O. Box 448
Damascus, Maryland 20872


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