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Myth or legend…? The members of Bingo Hand Job played hundreds of shows over the course of a decade without ever releasing an album. Their reputation as troubadours of the American South extended across the States, eventually to England and Europe, and even South America, Asia and Australia. But how?

No witnesses of a Bingo Hand Job gig could be found. No recordings existed. Yet, when it was announced that the enigmatic band and some unusual friends would play London’s 200-capacity club, The Borderline, on March 14 and 15, 1991, tickets were quickly sold out, traded and re-sold at unreasonable prices. Who were these guys only known as The Doc, Raoul, Ophelia and Stinky (with friends Spanish Charlie, Conrad and Violet)?

Originally from Duluth, Minnesota, as a child The Doc would move to Milwaukee then again to Sandusky, Ohio. By the time he was in high school, The Doc moved to Macon, GA where he met Ophelia, and they played in several bands together. (The Doc played drums, bass, mandolin, keyboards and piano, while also singing backup vocals).

Ophelia was originally born behind the orange curtain in Orange County, California before he moved to Macon, GA at age 10, where he later met The Doc. Ophelia is also a multi-instrumentalist (bass, piano, organ, guitar, accordion and percussion) as well as a composer and singer.

The Doc and Ophelia moved to Athens, GA to go to the University of Georgia. Doc, a pre-law student, dropped out of UGA to find a career in music.

Raoul, also a Californian by birth (Berkeley), eventually moved to Atlanta, GA with his family. After a brief time at Emory University, he transferred to the University of Georgia. Working in a local record store, he encountered a unique customer with similar musical interests as his, with the unusual name of Stinky.

Stinky, a military brat, moved from his birthplace of Decatur, GA to such varied places as West Germany, Texas, Illinois and Alabama. As an Arts Major at UGA during its musical renaissance, he stumbled upon the tall, lanky clerk at a local record store called Raoul. While very different, their musical influences merged enough for them to decide to form a band.

The crossing of the streams of alcohol and circumstances led to the connection of Ophelia and The Doc with Stinky and Raoul to create the underground band Bingo Hand Job.

Stinky’s varied background influenced a vocal approach that was initially more musical than lyrical, but his growth within Bingo Hand Job grew from mumbles to potent statements, while Raoul’s self-taught guitar playing led to the ability to play almost anything with strings. Combined with the compositional and musical savvy of Ophelia and The Doc, Bing Hand Job went from playing at local churches and frat parties to bowling allies, discos, roller rinks and redneck bars.

Always influential in the college music scene, it’s shocking that the band never recorded or released albums under the Bingo Hand Job moniker. Ever focused on “doing it their way” the band never followed convention.

More than a decade into their career, with still no album or single under the band’s name, they met influential English artists Conrad and Violet, who insisted the band come to England. With additional guitarist Spanish Charlie adding another layer, the band booked two nights in London’s marginally interesting Borderline club. Played on March 14 and 15, 1991, those shows miraculously became legend. Punters paid over $200 to try to get in to see this legendary, yet mysterious band.

While less than a few hundred people experienced the gig – like when Dylan went electric at the Newport Folk Festival or Springsteen performed at the Harvard Square Theater in Cambridge, Massachusetts where a music critic said, “I saw rock and roll’s future and its name is Bruce Springsteen” – thousands claim to have seen Bingo Hand Job at London’s Borderline.

The two shows, oversold and overwhelmed, proved to be the band’s final known performances. With the foresight of a fortune teller and the luck of a lottery winner, recordings were captured and photographs were taken. Legendary, colossal and now of mythical proportions, the second night – March 15, 1991 – is finally and officially released for the very first, and only time.

Tracked down in an undisclosed location and asked about this release, the notoriously press-averse Raoul only had this to say…

“Paul McCartney said of John Lennon and Yoko Ono, ‘when two saints meet it’s a humbling experience.’ An unnamed Melody Maker writer was quoted as writing, ‘when four saints meet and get drunk it’s a stumbling experience.’”