Richard Powell was born and raised in the conservative stronghold of Orange County in southern California. He had a taste of local fame playing guitar and singing in The Piermen — a high school band with its own fan club. After that he served six years in the navy, four of them active in Vietnam and on Midway Island. After that he went to Golden West College, majoring first in journalism, but later switching to music.
One day he read an ad mentioning full time pay for part time work, which led him to the office of an entrepreneur named Ralph Mann, who asked Powell to put together a group to play at his new trailer park, Glen Ivy in Corona, CA. “If people like you,” Mann told him, “you can stay and play for as long as you like.” A few sets turned into three years, and Powell became the official musician of “The Pub,” Glen Ivy’s swinging bar/restaurant, beloved not only by the all-ages residents, but locals who came from miles around to have a good time. Mann made Powell the Pub manager, and later appointed him DJ as the Pub moved to a more disco-oriented direction. The Pub became The Lodge, and Mann made Powell a vice president of the organization in order to exploit Powell’s popularity on stage to begin selling plots to residents and visitors.
This sales hustle is how the Memories of Glen Ivy LP came to be. This would be Powell’s sole LP, with one side of innovative covers like “Cisco Kid”, and one side of mostly brilliant Powell originals, including hits like “World Of Ecstasy” and “In The Morning.” The album was never distributed outside the park, only sold in the gift shop and given to potential buyers. The aptly-titled record would mark the beginning of the end of Powell’s time at Glen Ivy, which grew increasingly corporate, with “flashy cars, sharp suits & ties, and sales pitches that were just not of interest to me at all,” Powell says today. He bought a house in Lake Elsinore and moved on to USO shows, audio engineering, bar and lounge gigs, and eventually wound up back at another trailer park, where he owns his own trailer and five acres.
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