back to Combo Special Homepage
Contact Us
Meet the Combo:
Joanie Cere, vocals
Larry Freedman, keyboards
Bob Barron, bass guitar
Melvin Crisp, drums
The music scene in Albuquerque is sort of like musical chairs. Most players know each other and have played together at one time or another. Bands are formed through a metamorphosis, and some are always changing. COMBO SPECIAL morphed right out of Albuquerque's mid 90's blues scene. Larry Freedman, Melvin Crisp and Bob Barron first began playing together along with Dave Fuller (one of New Mexico's finest harmonica players) in Sean O'Conner's band, Vibralux. When Sean left to form the band Dem Bones, Larry, Bob, Melvin and Dave recruited Chris Dracup and became the Rattlecats. Meanwhile, Joanie Griffin was singing with her band, the Mooncats. Joanie is best known for being a Rhinestone, along with Cathy Gutierrez and Denise Brissey in the band Cadillac Bob and the Rhinestones (who still have their annual Cadillac Bob Christmas party).

It must be noted here, that multi-talented instrumentalist, singer and song writer, Dennis Soto took the helm of the Rattlecats for a brief period of time and produced the only Rattlecat CD.

When Melvin quit the Rattlecats to play drums with the Sultans, Chris's friend, Alex Moralez, became the Rattlecat's drummer. A couple of years later, when Chris disbanded the Rattlecats, it was Alex who said "Let's get Joanie Griffin, (we don't need no stinking guitar!)" It was Al and his Dad who thought of the name COMBO SPECIAL, (yes, while sitting in a local eating establishment). But a year later, when Al left to go play in Austin, Texas, Melvin was the first choice to be back on drums, and so it goes.

Like the name suggests, COMBO SPECIAL plays a combination of styles. Hear jazz, blues and rock as well as classic Motown and some originals that'll make you want to move and groove.
Melvin Crisp
Larry Freedman
Bob Barron
~our first CD~
2009 brought two big changes to the Combo Special Band. Joanie Griffin legally changed her name to Joanie Cere; therefore the band is now called, "JOANIE AND COMBO SPECIAL"!! AND Albuquerque's favorite little band without a guitar ("we don't need no stinking guitar") finally figured out that they did, and asked Ed Schultz to join the band on guitar and back-up vocals. You've heard Ed's guitar on our CD and now he's playing with the band live at every performance.
Joanie Cere
Ed Schultz
Ed Schultz, guitar
Check out our NEW CD and slide show