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Count Baltes and the Igors / Ricki and the Alternates

Cincinnati, 1969-1980


October 1974 story

Count Baltes was the alter ego for Clement Baltes from the Cincinnati suburb of Mount Carmel. He created the Count personality sometime in the late 1960s and began making public appearances. Around 1971/2 he got a weekly DJ gig on radio station WCLU, a Cincinnati country music station. He kept in character during the show.

The radio exposure upped his public recognition and he got steady gigs for several years as the Count. One of his most notable shticks was emerging from a coffin to start his radio show and his live act. He turned this bit into a record, which, according to the story, he played all the instruments. The record was released in 1973.

A few months later, in 1974, he released another 45 credited to Ricki and the Alternates. The record has a definite throwback to the early 1960s teen sound. According to some online posts, the recordings were done in 1963 and not released until 1974. We're pretty sure it's a recording from 1974 with Clement, a guitar, and a drum machine. He was old enough to have been a singer/musician in the late 1950s.early 1960s.

He seems to have dropped the character by 1980 when his house, which had been a public Halloween haunted house exhibit, was burned for a fire training exercise. He claimed he was living in a basement coffin! 

A Youtube post from 2016 said he was alive and living in Orlando, FL.

Juke Box Pearl / Flip, Flop and Fly - Clix 3873, 1956
Lost Highway ; Wake Me When It's Over / Taller Than Trees ; I'm His And He's Mine - Jewel 753, 1967