Tinton Falls couple rediscover 1970 record they made with Buddy Holly producer
Craig and Lynn Ann Bogard recently recovered music they recorded decades ago with Norman Petty. In between, they did a lot of good for at-risk kids.
Jerry Carino Asbury Park Press Published 5:01 AM ET Jan. 10, 2022
Imagine a college student cold-calling one of the music industry’s leading producers, asking to use his recording studio.
Imagine that producer saying no problem, then personally producing the songs of the student’s group — and charging them next to nothing.
Craig Bogard doesn’t have to imagine. He lived it. The longtime Tinton Falls resident did exactly that in 1970 with Norman Petty, the mastermind behind early rock and roll legend Buddy Holly.
“We called his number at the studio and made an appointment to go to talk to him,” said Bogard, now 73. “We went in and told him what we wanted to do, and he was really drawn to it.”
Craig and Lynn Ann Bogard display a vinyl record that they recorded with famed rock and roll producer Norman Petty. the mastermind behind Buddy Holly, at their home in Tinton Falls, NJ Thursday January 6, 2022. Tanya Breen
Over the years Bogard and his cohorts would record three albums with Petty, the last shortly before the pioneer’s death in 1984. They also made music a foundation of Aslan Youth Ministries, their Monmouth County-based nonprofit that has helped thousands of at-risk children, one of whom became a nuclear submarine commander in the U.S. Navy.
As often happens amid the ebb and flow of a busy life, Bogard’s Norman Petty recordings disappeared. “We had them on cassette tapes that we lost,” he said.
Nearly four decades passed until, deep in the recesses of the Petty estate’s vault, those old tracks sprang back to life.
Aslan’s founders in the early 1970s (left to right): Craig Bogard, Lynn Ann Bogard, Dusty Neergaard, & Bill Neergaard. Courtesy of Craig Bogard
‘Mentors in every way’
Bogard grew up in New Mexico, not far from Petty’s famed studio in Clovis. With his wife Lynn Ann, his sister Dusty and her husband, Bill Neergaard, Craig formed a Christian folk quartet.
“We’d sing in churches and coffee houses and prisons — positive and encouraging music for people,” Craig Bogard said.
After recording with Petty, the Bogards came to New Jersey with a domestic Peace Corps-type program. They eventually settled in Monmouth County and in 1975 formed Aslan, named after the talking lion in C. S. Lewis’s “The Chronicles of Narnia” series. Aslan originally focused on the Red Bank area, then expanded its reach to Long Branch and Asbury Park. The nonprofit runs camps and trips, offers tutoring and mentoring, and in many cases fills a void in kids’ lives.
In those early days the Bogards had no funding, no long-term plan, no place to live even (they stayed with friends). They felt a calling and pursued it.
“We lived on very little,” Craig Bogard said.
The mission was steeped in Christianity, but they didn’t “cram the message down peoples’ throats,” Craig said. They let their actions, and their music, do the preaching.
It made a difference for Chris Butler, who came into contact with Aslan as a freshman at Monmouth Regional High School in 1975. As the middle of five children to a working single mother, he’d often been left to fend for himself.
“Believe me, I was no angel and could have easily headed down a number of dangerous paths,” Butler said in an email exchange from Australia, where he now lives with his wife and son. “At the time I also observed my older brother and sister starting to get into more and more trouble from being in the streets, so my mother was happy to hear that I was participating in Aslan. … It kept me off the streets and away from the troubles my older siblings were facing.”
Commander Chris Butler (left) with Craig Bogard in an updated photo Courtesy of Chris Butler
After graduating, Butler enrolled at the U.S. Naval Academy and eventually became a nuclear submarine commander. At one point he was responsible for the safe operation of the entire NATO submarine fleet in the Mediterranean.
Aslan and the Bogards helped set him on that path.
“The Aslan classes were an opportunity to learn more about God, participate in community programs, stay active, establish core values, ask challenging questions around life and right choices, be with friends, and make new friends,” Butler said. “Participants in Aslan may have come for the pizza and games, but they left with so much more, feeling loved, and that their lives mattered.”
Richard Rogers knows the feeling. He was 12 years old, living in what is now Tinton Falls in a single-parent home surviving off welfare, when he encountered Aslan.
He went on to serve 30 years in the U.S. Army, become a world-class martial-arts competitor and earn a doctorate in education. He lives in Delaware and is nearing retirement from his job with the Department of Defense.
“The reason why I’m at the point I’m at today is Aslan,” Rogers said.
Aslan exposed him to new horizons, from Bible study to basketball games to trips to the Statue of Liberty and the Hayden Planetarium.
“The light bulb went off; the fire was lit,” Rogers said. “They were mentors in every way. I didn’t have a father who brought me along. My biggest thing growing up was, ‘What would Craig do?’ That was always my motto, my driving point.”
There is something else he clearly remembers from his time around Aslan’s founders.
“There was always music,” he said.
Norman Petty in his studio Craig Bogard
Lost and found
Bogard’s sister Dusty kept one vinyl of their first album, from 1970. That was the only proof of their collaboration with Petty. Then, a couple of years ago, Bogard got word that the producer’s vault was available for perusal. He flew out to Clovis and dug up all of the long-lost recordings.
“They were in this huge garage filled with one-inch recording tapes that had been sitting there cold for the last 40 years,” Bogard said.
Craig and Lynn Ann Bogard display a vinyl record that they recorded with famed rock and roll producer Norman Petty, the mastermind behind Buddy Holly, at their home in Tinton Falls, NJ Thursday, January 6, 2022 Tanya Breen
He asked Shawn Nagy, a Canada-based remastering expert, for help in recovering the music. Nagy said yes and did it for free. On Dec. 24, Bogard got a phone call: His “Norman Petty Sessions” were digitized.
They’ve been packaged into a commemorative CD that includes remakes of Buddy Holly’s hit “Everyday,” Bobby Vee’s “Take Good Care of My Baby,” and several Aslan originals. The music is available on Spotify and iTunes, and the CD is selling for $25 — with proceeds benefiting Aslan Youth Ministries.
You have to think Norman Petty, for all his accomplishments, would take special pride in this full-circle moment.
“He was an amazing human being,” Bogard said. “He treated us like we were Buddy Holly.”
For more information on Aslan Youth Ministries, visit www.aslanyouth.org
Jerry Carino is community columnist for the Asbury Park Press, focusing on the Jersey Shore’s interesting people, inspiring stories and pressing issues. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.