Monthly Archives: July 2020


HEAR THE ANTHOLOGY ON MIXCLOUD — Chapter #21 on Mixcloud: We’re just finalizing the booklet and working on the promotion


Boston Rock & Roll Anthology Chapter #21

This is the first of our thirty compilation albums where every artist on the disc and their music have been promoted by my media company.  It is a free service for musicians who give me the honor of representing their music to radio, print and online publications as well as critics and DJs spanning the globe.   It is truly “double exposure” as the songs that we have been working find themselves on a fixed medium, inside a booklet, with the advance knowledge that this music has already been played on multiple terrestrial and online radio stations.

Yes, many of these artists have been on the rock and roll highways with me for two, three or four decades.  As publicist for Club Bohemia @ the Cantab the weekly postings keep me apprised of who is out there in the trenches working to entertain. It’s been twenty-three years since Boston Rock & Roll Anthology Vol #20 so my one regret as that I didn’t keep this up on an annual basis.  Let’s plan to do that now!

Greg Walsh’s New Ghosts feature the drummer from Pop Gun and Huck 2.   Huck 2 worked with me in the 1990s and Pop Gun appeared with my band at the C Note when we played the past eight or so years for Michael Weddle’s Rat Reunions.

Phil DaRosa met me out in Springfield when Jimmy Miller’s daughter, Deena, performed with Maxine Nightingale at the Big “E” – it was many years ago and Phil’s “Faraday” is remarkable, inspired and quite different from the music that he performs live.

Kitoto Sunshine Love is the daughter of our good friend Bobby Hebb (his birthday July 26, just yesterday.)  Bobby released a disco song about his roots, “Proud Soul Heritage,” and Kitoto performs it with a blues/Gospel feel, yours truly producing. On drums is the amazing Steve Holley from Elton John/McCartney – Wings/Ian Hunter-Mott the Hoople, Thomas Hebb – Bobby’s nephew, and the wonderful choir!

Kitoto’s second track, “Love You,” features Peter Calo (Carly Simon’s music director) who is actually performing “Love You” in his live sets; the late David Maxwell on piano in what might have been one of his final sessions and I only wish Bobby could hear his daughter singing these amazing songs in such a touching way.

Heidi Jo Hines and Nicola Barchiesi are Karma Car.  Heidi is the daughter of the late Jo Jo Laine and Wings’ guitarist Denny Laine. Their two songs are unique and expressive with Beatles’ flavors the frosting on the cake.  Which is why I put “Downtime” by the Complaints next to “As It Is,” listen to the Beatles influences on Dean Petrella – though the song is still distinctive and original.

Michele Gear Cole wrote “Guardian Angel” for her dad and it has hooks galore and her amazing vocal.  Michele worked with Jimmy Miller in the 1980s and has the distinction of bringing both Marvin Hagler and Miller onstage during a packed and stunning show at the Paradise Theater.  Billy and Michele have that show on tape!  And got Jimmy to sing “Gimme Shelter” with them at Syncro Sound, the Cars studio on Newbury St.

Around that time Jimmy brought me to a Keith Richards session in New York.   Keith said “Joe, you have to meet Rob Fraboni.”
Working for Rob it was my honor to promote Alvin Lee featuring George Harrison and Jon Lord of Deep Purple for the CD ZOOM featuring “Real Life Blues.”  Rob has remastered the Bob Marley collection, has a Grammy with Keith for a Hank Williams tribute, and engineered Goats Head Soup with Jimmy Miller while co-producing Bridges to Babylon.

Rob spent enormous hours mastering this album over the past four days.  It shows!   I love every track. From 3d, who debuted on Boston RR Anthology #8 back in the 1980s to Fire in the Field and Empty County Band who met me at Club Bohemia, these artists are very special to me, and their music is  – at some points – overwhelmingly beautiful.

My dear friend Pamela Ruby Russell came out to the Middle East June 1, 2019 and met Andy Pratt (who was amazing with Mach Bell on drums and Larry Newman on bass.)   Andy introduced Pamela to Mario Gil who worked with Pamela on “Space And Time.” It and “Walk Thru Fire” (from her Highway of Dreams album) bring a texture to the album that complements the other artists. Peter Calo co-produced Highway of Dreams.

Dalia Davis has been making a splash on Lowbudget Records with her Dylan tribute to “My Back Pages” and her very creative “Beatles Bridges,” which is a mix of bridges of Beatles songs. [Have you noticed yet our affinity for the Stones and the Fab Four?] I asked Dalia for the folk track, “Eleven and a Half,” as it rounds the album out nicely, though her “Power of One” is starting to get attention at online radio.

Tom Mich’s “Table Scraps” is uniquely different and creative – I adore it – and not because he was guitar tech for Terry Kath, the late guitarist of the band Chicago, or the fact that he was my roommate at the dawn of the 1980s.   Matt O’Connor’s “Ballad of a Rock Star” is a take-off, he tells me, on an unpublished song of mine, “Are You a Rock Star Yet?”  Like Mich, Matty O lived with me too, and that we’re all still speaking speaks volumes, does it not?  Love the “Sympathy for the Devil” vocals in Rock Star!

Legendary Kenne Highland of The Gizmos is also a long-time guitarist with yours truly.  He’s also in Mad Painter, a Club Bohemia band for sure, but it was Kenne who introduced me to Alex Gitlin.   They have Mott the Hoople influences and since our album has Steve Holley from Mott the Hoople AND Wings, well, you can see we are writing like our heroes AND appearing on CDs with them.

Joe Black has been working with me since the 1980s, like many on this disc.  “Blackenstein” (instrumental) may be the ultimate of many Joe Black songs, and features Artie Knyff of L-88, the band I got to book into the Worcester Centrum with Blue Oyster Cult all those years ago.

When our good friend Little Joe Cook was checking out Scott Couper at the Cantab he didn’t know that Scott and his brother Jay worked with me for years.  They also backed up Denny Laine on tour.  Well, recently I couldn’t find a master tape of mine from 1979 that was missing from the Varulven inventory.  Lo and behold Jay and Scott shipped me 8 or 9 DVDs with about EIGHT HOURS of Count music…live shows and many, many unreleased tunes.  It had the 1979 track, don’t know how they got ahold of it but they did! And thank the good Lord, the missing tape is retrieved.   “I Thought About You” here on this album is a track from my soon-to-be released Secret Things album that Jay produced and Scott arranged.  They are brilliant. And when Little Joe left the Cantab the brothers became the house band for quite some time.

This is a very special album, and to be with all my friends on this disc is an ultimate party on plastic!

Special thanks to Kenny Selcer for post production and assembling.  His resume’ is amazing doing sound for Magic Dick, Aztec Two Step, Eric Andersen and performing in a duo with Steve Gilligan of Fox Pass and The Stompers. We are all one big family and if you listen to this album two or three times you’ll understand why the Boston music community is one of the greatest in the world. The previous anthologies are fetching nice prices on eBay…you have the privilege of hearing the future right now.


Joe Viglione
Producer, Creator The Boston Rock & Roll Anthology Series

P.O. Box 2392, Woburn, MA 01888   tel 617 899 5926

Demodeal @


The Boston Rock & Roll Anthology Series started in 1983 with the first Anthology rolling off the truck and Producer Jimmy Miller marveling at a compilation of area music.  “What a great idea” Jimmy said as I cracked open the first box and showed him  Volume 1 before anyone else in the world!

In 1979 we started off with The Boston Bootleg and 1981 The Boston Bootleg 2 which featured the beautiful legs of my graphic artist, Billie Perry. Chapter #20 arrived in 1997 with four volumes of the Demo That Got The Deal (TM) radio show continuing the legacy, Chapter 4 in 2014.

In between we had the U.S. Anthology #1, the Boston Jazz Anthology and the Mass Metal album.

This will be our THIRTIETH COMPILATION of local music with many more to come. The CD comes with a booklet, the story of the anthology series and information on each track with the music in the back of the booklet. Produced and directed by Joe Viglione, Varulven Records P.O. Box 2392, Woburn MA 01888 Co-sequencing and assembling: Kenny Selcer. Mastered by Rob Fraboni.

1 Everything But Peace – 3D        3:41
2 Space And Time – Pamela Ruby Russell        4:28
3 As It Is Karma Car        4:58
4 Downtime-The Complaints        4:36
5 Faraday – Phil daRosa         5:56
6 Proud Soul Heritage – Kitoto Sunshine Love        3:44
7 Guardian Angel – Slapback Band        4:37
8 Until The End – Empty County Band        4:09
9 Blackenstein-Joe Black        4:24
10 Table Scraps-Tom Mich Jr.        2:59
11 Counting Down to Zero (From 1) – Greg Walsh’s New Ghosts 3:19
12 The Letter – Mad Painter        2:55
13 Monster-Joe Black        4:18
14 Skeptical – Empty County Band        2:54
15 Walk Thru Fire – Pamela Ruby Russell        4:27
16 Love You – Kitoto Sunshine Love        2:45            
17 Who’s Foolin’ Who – Karman Car        3:24
18 I Thought About You-Joe Viglione        2:43
19 Eleven and a Half – Dalia Davis        2:52
20)Bossman    Fire in the Field
21)Ballad of a Rock Star – Matty O        2:23

July 27 is the 208th day of the year (209th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. 157 days remain until the end of the year. Carly Simon Was Right, we were in “the good old days” and here’s the proof.

So much to do, so many places to go, and now it is all evaporating.
Perhaps the new bands are technically more proficient,
but they do not have the name recognition or the star power of the New Wave of the 1970s

Jethro Tull, 1972

The Suffolk Journal Review by Joe Viglione

Ok, a little history. I graduated high school in the spring of 1972. I was Features Editor of the Chronicle by that time. Tonight I found a 1971 article (17 years of age) that the school paper under my favorite teacher, Pauline Schiel, published about drugs and doing something about it. Fast forward to my Jethro Tull review in the Suffolk Journal in college in 1972…but in the meantime I did publish music stuff in the Chronicle, reviews of Bloodrock (Capitol Records, managed by Terry Knight) and some brass band that imitated Chicago that played at AHS (Arlington High School). Also got to cover the Maysles Brothers at their Boston debut of GIMME SHELTER. So here’s my first interview, teacher Mrs. Picione before I got to go to the Charles Cinema and have a “roundtable” with the Maysles Brothers.

Then and Now, from humble beginnings with Varulven Magazine at the age of 15, to the Chronicle at Arlington High School at 17, to Suffolk University newspaper at 18 and…voila, national Goldmine and Discoveries (see Jim Kale article) and international

Danny Kirwan, Fleetwood Mac Reviews by Joe V

Second Chapter – › wiki › Second_Chapter

Second Chapter is the debut solo album by British blues rock musician Danny Kirwan, released … Allmusic critic Joe Viglione declared that Second Chapter was a feather in the cap for Kirwan as well as producer Martin Rushent. Drawing …

SECOND CHAPTER AllMusic Review by Joe Viglione  [-]

The first solo album from Fleetwood Mac singer/songwriter Daniel David Kirwan has the future producer for Human League and Buzzcocks, Martin Rushent, utilizing those skills here, as well as engineering. The sound is crystal clear, and a feather in the cap for Rushent as well as Kirwan. It starts off with an uncharacteristic “Ram Jam City,” which has more Lindsey Buckingham sounds than one would expect, especially since the two guitarists come from two different musical worlds. “Odds and Ends” is more lighthearted, the kind of music Paul McCartney toyed with on The White Album‘s “Rocky Raccoon.” What Second Chapter immediately sets forth is the importance of Kirwan as a pop artist, and how, despite Fleetwood Mac‘s success after he left, his sounds could still have been beneficial to that supergroup. “Hot Summers Day” is a fine example of that, a beautiful song that could offset Buckingham‘s gritty ramblings. It would have made a nice counterpoint as Stevie Nicks complemented Christine McVie‘s tunes with her adventures, bringing an important change of pace to that popular band’s hits. The jacket looks like a dusty old family album-style book holding Kirwan‘s Second Chapter. And the music reflects that old-world feel in titles like “Skip a Dee Doo” and “Falling in Love with You.” Three of the best songs on this excellent outing are “Love Can Always Bring You Happiness,” “Second Chapter,” and a sleepy and beautiful number called “Silver Streams.” Kirwan‘s tune is haunting as well with its lilting “all you need is love to show you the way from here” chorus. As on a follow-up album, he tends to sound a little like the group America, the vocals with that same America tone and warmth. They very well could have covered “Silver Stream” or “Cascades,” the album’s final track. This material was crafted right in the middle of America‘s run of hits, and maybe they should have replaced Dan Peek with Dan D. Kirwan? The artist’s three solo discs cut in the ’70s make for a very pleasant and thought-provoking listening experience, and that this collection is so good only shows he kicked his departure from the big band off with a vengeance. Collapse ↑ SECOND CHAPTER by Danny Kirwan

Danny Kirwan Midnight in San Juan


AllMusic Review by Joe Viglione  [-]

On his follow-up to 1975’s Second Chapter, his first solo disc after being such an important element of Fleetwood Mac, Danny Kirwan gives fans another taste of Bare Trees with the lovely song “Castaway,” which ends the album, and the instrumental “Rolling Hills,” which could be a sequel to the sublime “Sunny Side of Heaven,” a treat both when Fleetwood Mac performed it live and when it appeared on Bare Trees. Kirwan‘s personality shines on those tracks, and this album is chock-full of quality material — there isn’t a bad track on it musically. Where followers of this artist might have a problem is that it seems to be a conscious effort to go off in the commercial direction taken by the folk band America, of all people. Both tracks which open side one and two, “I Can Tell” and “Misty River” respectively, would have perfectly fit in America‘s “Sister Golden Hair,” “Don’t Cross the River,” and “Ventura Highway” set list. This is decidedly different music from the slick pop of 1979’s Hello There Big Boy, which retained only pianist John Cook from these sessions. That episode had him sounding more like his ex-Fleetwood Mac mate Bob Welch, no surprise since Welch actually charted in 1977 with his Bare Trees track “Sentimental Lady.” “Life Machine” on this disc actually sounds like a Bob Welch track, and it is too bad the two artists didn’t join forces at this point in time. The strange one here is a reggae version of “Let It Be,” which, in its brashness, becomes a nice turning point for the disc, showing real personality. Too many artists cover the Beatles note for note while Kirwan gives the world ten new originals and a creative reworking of a classic hit by “the Fab Four.” This album was titled Danny Kirwan in North America, while the British release took its name from the other instrumental track, a synthesized journey called “Midnight in San Juan.” “Angel’s Delight” and “Windy Autumn Day” sound like Fleetwood Mac meets the band America, a very saleable commodity if you think about it, the Beatles-style ending to “Windy Autumn Day” driving the point home. Dick James Records really should have gotten more solidly behind this artist — there’s no doubt the talent for Top 40 success here was enormous.

AllMusic Review by Joe Viglione  [-]

Hear the album here:

This is not just a tremendous album by Danny Kirwan, this is an extraordinary set of recordings that makes one wonder “what if?” What if Fleetwood Mac had talents like Peter Green, Jeremy Spencer, Danny Kirwan, Dave Walker, and Bob Welch come back to the fold for different projects? This is light pop on a mission, and it is perfectly produced by, of all people, Clifford Davis (though one should consider Kirwan’s excellent production work on The Legendary Christine Perfect Album and wonder if the manager wasn’t just putting his name on Kirwan’s creative ideas). There’s no denying that each tune here, from “End Up Crying” (which sounds like the soft rock Fleetwood Mac) to the final track, “Summer Days and Summer Nights,” is superior pop music — intricate guitar lines, a double-barrel keyboard approach by John Cook and Kevin Kitchen which is just lovely, and sterling vocals by Kirwan. The track “California” is more accessible than some of the popular versions of Fleetwood Mac, and given Bob Welch’s success with French Kiss two years before the release of Hello There Big Boy!, it is surprising this was not embraced by both Top 40 and FM radio. “Spaceman” continues the smooth ’70s pop that”California” introduced the listener to, the guitars more eerie, harking back to the Bare Trees period of Fleetwood Mac seven years earlier (which had so much of Kirwan’s identity all over it). There was life before Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham, and this cohesive work is proof of that; covering Randy Edelman’s “You” is actually quite clever, the exiles of Mac having reputations more as singer/songwriters than as interpreters. This may be Danny Kirwan produced by Clifford Davis, the man who put the fake Fleetwood Mac onstage, but it is no fluke and it is no fake. Hello There Big Boy! is a great album from the singer/guitarist who, according to Mick Fleetwood’s book My Twenty Five Years in Fleetwood Mac, “went beserk…smashed his head against the wall…(and)…was fired.” Sounds like genius, and it is here on this recording for all to see — and hear. A truly great comeback that sadly got lost in the shuffle of life.   On

The Stephen Wade Interview July 2020

A Storyteller’s Story, An Interview with musician Stephen Wade

Previous Interview with Stephen Wade
April 25, 2013

New July 14, 2020 Interview

the album cover. Photo credit would be:   © Ron Gordon

An Interview with Stephen Wade
Conducted by Joe Viglione 

    In a world where DVD and CD sales have fallen off and a new generation embraces the Internet and free music, musician/author Stephen Wade has put together a one-disc, information-packed description of the banjo with music and word that is absolutely essential.  Lou Reed wanted to develop a “film for the ear” with his Berlin album, Wade has created an audio documentary chock full of intricate performance and authentic perspective with its release on the Patuxent Music label.

JV: Stephen, you and I were first in touch when you interviewed Bobby Hebb for your wonderful book The Beautiful Music All Around Us: Field Recordings and the American Experience (University of Illinois Press, 2012).  The new album’s 44-page booklet is astounding and gives some of these answers, but tell our readers, what was the inspiration for the CD, A Storyteller’s Story?

SW: Thank you, Joe. The album marks the 40th anniversary of Banjo Dancing, a solo theater show that I wrote and performed. The show centered on spoken word pieces set to the five-string banjo, and accompanied by clog dancing and singing. Back in May 1979 Banjo Dancing opened in a small Chicago theater for what was initially scheduled a four-week run. But good fortune arose and that became a 57-week run, twice moving into successively larger theaters. After that, I performed it in other cities, among them Washington, D.C.’s Arena Stage. That booking, likewise planned for three weeks in full, turned into a ten-year engagement there, and Banjo Dancing became one of the five, longest-running, off-Broadway shows in the United States. Then, after finishing in Washington, I continued touring the show. In all, Banjo Dancing ran pretty much non-stop for nearly twenty years. Of course, it stays with me still, and its pieces have continued to appear in my concerts since those years. But they also figured in my work long before the show began.

        This album, A Storyteller’s Story, whose subtitle is Sources of Banjo Dancing, focuses on precedents that led to that show. A couple of the tracks on A Storyteller’s Story appeared in Banjo Dancing, or else in its sequel, On the Way Home. But their role here, like the rest of the album’s contents, point towards persons and influences that set the show in motion. Behind it flows currents long present in American theater, music, oratory, and literature.

JV: What was “The Demo that Got the Deal” with Patuxent Records and how did you get the green light to put together such an in-depth project?

SW. Joe, I passed along your question to Tom Mindte, president of Patuxent Music. Here’s his reply:

TM: In 2014, I, along with co-producers Mark Delaney and Randy Barrett, produced The Patuxent Banjo Project, a compilation release on Patuxent. The album featured forty-one banjo players, all from the greater Washington / Baltimore area, each performing one piece. They were accompanied on the recording by several well renowned old-time and bluegrass musicians. Co-producer Mark Delany suggested Stephen Wade is a participant and I immediately agreed. That recording was the occasion of my first meeting with Stephen.

        About three years later, Stephen approached me with a recording of a performance at the Library of Congress featuring himself and then recently deceased fiddler and folklorist Alan Jabbour. After listening to the concert, I agreed that is should be released. It came out in late 2017 on Patuxent, with the blessing, of course, of Jabbour’s widow Karen. So “the demo that got the deal,” was actually the previous release, Americana Concert: Alan Jabbour and Stephen Wade at the Library of Congress.

JV: How long have you been playing music – when did you start and what was your first instrument?

SW: I began playing this kind of music as a boy. I started out with a cherry red, single-pickup electric guitar to play the blues in as stinging a way as I could muster. At age eleven I became fortunate to have Jim Schwall of the newly established Siegel-Schwall Blues Band become my teacher. The band was just starting out, still several years shy of making their first album. Back then they were opening for a number of the great blues performers who had migrated to Chicago from the Delta. So I followed them around, as best I could.

        I just loved watching the senior musicians play. I’d stand outside, listening near the doorway or watching through the front window of those taverns that I couldn’t enter due to my age. Those players included Muddy Waters, Howling Wolf, and Hubert Sumlin. I certainly didn’t catch all the cultural references embedded in their lyrics and intonations, but the audience knew. You could see this recognition, this joyful if sometimes sly communication passing back and forth between those great performers and their listeners.

        Similarly, that mutuality, that sense of community understanding, arose in churches too, such as when Mahalia Jackson sang and the whole congregation swayed with her majestic presence. Again, I surely didn’t understand it all, but I found the experience so stirring. Moreover, this took place during the Civil Rights era. So much came together, this great art and the moral imperative of that period.
        I think back, for instance, of the Staples Singers, and I remember that shimmering, tremolo guitar that Pop Staples played, its call coupled with the chiming response of his family singing back to him in refrain. They brought together sacred and secular realms so effectively.

        My impressions from those years also include the great AM radio offerings; the sounds of that era’s popular music, from surf guitar to Motown to the British invasion, let alone the folk music revival in both its acoustic and electric dimensions. Of course, that era includes your dear friend, Bobby Hebb.

        Every Saturday, after my guitar lesson with Jim Schwall, I’d hit the nearby downtown music stores. Sometimes the older kids tested out a guitar. They would plug in and play a riff from a hit song, I just thought that capacity as nothing short of Promethean. I wanted to do that too; to grab this music snatched from the airwaves, and translate it right then and there onto the guitar. I still feel that way.

JV: The sound quality on the disc is superb, how did you go about rounding up the tapes?

SW: Nearly all the album consists of newly made recordings. Its three “archival” pieces consist of a duet of Tom Paley and myself; another of Doc Hopkins and me playing for a Voice of America broadcast; and finally, for the album’s closing track, of my performing at Orchestra Hall, telling a story about growing up in Chicago. As for gathering these older tracks, well, they all were enjoying a  quiet retirement, preserved on magnetic tape and shelved in a closet here at home, just slowly gathering dust.

        I actually had forgotten about that VOA broadcast with Doc Hopkins, but once I put it on, I realized right away that I’d reached critical mass for this album. That formed the final part in the whole.

Please credit photo:   ©2018 Tim Brown  (

JV:  Did you record additional material specifically for the CD and, if so, where?

SW:  It worked like this: I recorded most of the album by myself, playing live in a studio located in Springfield, Virginia, just outside Washington. I was fortunate in subjecting my performances to the evaluations that veteran producer Mike Melford provided from his home in Cambridge, Massachusetts, just as I benefitted from the on-site impressions of engineer Mike Monseur who recorded me take after take.

        Then, for those pieces where I planned to have accompaniment, Mike Monseur sent the final tracks on to Tom Mindte at his Patuxent Music studio in Rockville, Maryland.

        There the other musicians contributed their parts, playing along via headphones to what I had done. I had certain accompaniments in mind, and talked about those combinations in advance with the players, visiting with them if possible, and playing through those settings. As it all unfolded, I kept conscious of both the particular songs, as well as imagining the album as a single entity; tallying it up as a unified listening experience

JV:  Bear Family Records in Germany specializes in 1950s, early 60s, Doo-wop, and specialty genres. They’ve built up an audience of record buyers tuned-in to those styles of music that the label is known for representing. Does Patuxent have a similar marketing strategy?

SW: Again, Joe, your question here is best answered by Tom Mindte. Here’s his response:

TM: At Patuxent, we specialize in American roots genres. Bluegrass, old time, country blues, jazz, and recently, some rockabilly artists, are on our roster. We promote many aspiring young artists on the rise, as well as veteran musicians who still have something to say. As of this writing we have released 343 albums, most recorded at our studio in Rockville, Maryland.

        The marketing strategy for all music is changing. As traditional sales tactics for music, such as sales of compact discs are drying up, new revenue streams are opening. There will always be those who are unwilling to pay for music. Since the advent of the tape recorder, folks have recorded radio broadcasts and concerts. Ironically, a large body of music that would have otherwise been lost has been thus preserved. The unauthorized use of intellectual property can’t be stopped, so we have to rely on honest music fans to keep us afloat. One new revenue stream that has been a great help to labels and artists alike is subscription radio, such as Sirius/Xm. A portion of the subscription fees paid by their customers is passed on to artists and labels. Income from that source has, in the case of Patuxent, been more lucrative than traditional hard-copy album sales.

JV: Are there libraries and museums that cater to Americana that help spread the gospel of the banjo…and do you perform at some of them?

SW: There are any number of institutions that embrace traditional music, be it the Bluegrass and Old Time Music Program at East Tennessee State University in Johnson City, or the Old Town School of Folk Music in Chicago to name but two. Interest in this music surfaces throughout the country. I don’t really think of myself a banjo evangelist, but there’s no denying its signal role here.

        Most recently, that is, shortly before early March when everything shut down due to the pathogen, I did an album release concert here in Washington at the Institute of Musical Traditions. It was a wonderful night. I played two ninety-minute sets anchored in this community’s history and just built out from there. I put together a slide show that I coupled with narration, which in turn, framed songs, stories, and tunes related to A Storyteller’s Story.

        Here’s a description of another such show I’ll do, pathogen permitting, next April. Originally, it would have happened this past spring. Again, I’ll center the program in historical circumstances unique to that locale and proceed from that point outwards:

JV: Where do you find the most responsive audiences to the music that you love?

SW: That’s always a surprise, and ever shall it remain so. I don’t ever know ahead of time who may be most responsive, and I welcome that unpredictability.  My job lies in finding the audience wherever they might reside. As my late friend, singer-songwriter Steve Goodman, once told me, “It’s not their fault they came.” So in that wry insight so characteristic of him, Steve taught me something both important and unforgettable.

        I often localize my concerts, drawing, if only glancingly, on histories specific to a given place, and in that sense, bringing topicality to the material. But the larger need to somehow find a route from the stage to those seated in the house marks the performer’s principal obligation: to invite interest, and if to instruct, then as Alexander Pope enjoined, then also to delight.

        All those years of Banjo Dancing demonstrated, at least to me, that it centered not just on the content of the work, but its communication. As my late director, Milton Kramer, repeatedly told me, “Entertaining is an honorable profession.”

JV: As we revere some of the great musicians that have played and recorded, what do you think people 200 years from now will think of this package? Historical, new and exciting, or both?

SW: Joe, you’ve asked a question that I cannot answer beyond addressing my own work within the album, of knowing what went into it. I can’t speak of the album’s reception now, let alone 200 years from now. That lies for others to judge, but I can take responsibility for its contents and crafting.

        I see this album as a whole, as something that unites its audible parts with its written dimensions. As you know, there’s a variety of sounds present here, stemming from the songs, singing, arrangements, and monologues. It also includes some older pieces recorded in years past. Taken together, it’s my hope that the album notes, both the opening essay and the song annotations that follow it, set these performances in context, identifying their larger frameworks.

JV: How was the 1979 day at the White House and what transpired?

SW: Soon after Banjo Dancing opened in spring 1979, the American Theatre Critics Association held their annual meeting that year in Chicago. That this gathering even took place came entirely as a surprise to me and was certainly unanticipated. One upshot was that the lead reviewer in Time magazine attended the show and wrote it up. That life-changing review in what was then America’s biggest magazine made its way to the White House. One of the pieces the critic mentioned was my performance of the second chapter of Tom Sawyer, when Tom cons his friends into whitewashing the fence. In that fabled scene, Tom finds a way to transform the drudgery of work into the liberation of play. It also includes a passage where his friend Ben pretends to be a steamboat.
        For the Carter White House, soon to voyage on the Delta Queen, and looking ahead to a Labor Day event to be held on the South Lawn with a thousand of the nation’s labor leaders and their families, that Time review of Banjo Dancing apparently combined themes already present. As I understand it, Rosalynn Carter read the piece and that set it everything that followed in motion.
        The White House got in touch with my office and then sent Gretchen Poston, who served as the Social Secretary of the First Lady, along with two other staffers, out to Chicago to see me play. Essentially I think they wanted to confirm what the Time review had claimed on my behalf. At that point, literally right after the show they attended, the plan sealed. I would fly out to Washington after my Sunday night curtain on Labor Day weekend in order to play the next day at the White House. By then Hurricane David hovered near Washington, but fortunately it never made its way there.
        That night, September 3, 1979, President Carter addressed the crowd and then introduced me. I played several pieces, including the White House’s request that I do that Tom Sawyer whitewashed fence excerpt about work and play. It fit the Labor Day theme as well as implicitly recalling the steamboat trip the First Family had recently taken. After that, I played another set of tunes, and so the evening ended.        
        The President then called for me to meet him and the First Lady. He told me how they’d been reading Huckleberry Finn to Amy, their daughter, at bedtime. They were most warm and friendly.
        The whole experience remains unforgettable. My dressing room had previously been used by President Roosevelt during wartime, and I remember its furniture included Thomas Jefferson’s ink pot and writing set, and a highboy that had once belonged to Benjamin Franklin.
        All kinds of tiny dramas as well as delights arose. These included my main banjo’s head having broken overnight while flying in, requiring me to play my back-up instrument for the performance. That really was not an ideal time for something like that to happen.     
        Yet even more I remember after a mid-morning sound check, just wandering on the White House’s South Lawn. Members of the National Park Service were putting up picnic tables, and they said I could walk around. I looked at the Washington Monument from an angle I knew I’d never see again, and just for those moments, that beautiful view and that feeling I had roving those hallowed grounds—this stays with me.

JV: Your work is so in-depth that I am totally impressed with the detail.  What do you have planned next?

SW: Well, I’m writing another book. Apart from that, I continue learning new songs and work on my playing and singing. In fact I’ve got a singing class today. I just hope my teacher won’t squelch the volume during our Zoom session. I’ve got two hours of brand new old songs to play for her.

Thank you for your time, Stephen

Elephant’s Memory

Genre: Psychedelic Rock
Rate: 320 kbps CBR / 44100
Time: 00:48:23
Size: 110,65 MB

Review by Joe Viglione

After original vocalist Carly Simon left Elephant’s Memory for her own fame and fortune, the band recorded their self-titled Buddah debut, Elephant’s Memory, with Michal Shapiro handling the female lead. That disc is not their John Lennon/Yoko Ono/David Peel Apple Records debut from 1972, which was also named after this ensemble. When two Elephant’s Memory songs from the 1969 Buddah Records album appeared in the Capitol Records soundtrack to the film Midnight Cowboy, Buddah vice president Neil Bogart revamped and re-released the original LP, most likely and understandably, to cash in on the attention the band was getting from the hit film.

“Old Man Willow” and “Jungle Gym at the Zoo” from the first LP appeared in Midnight Cowboy, and they show up again on side one of this disc along with a different spin on the Nilsson hit “Everybody’s Talkin’.” Here Michal Shapiro gives a woman’s take on the classic Fred Neil composition over a poppy/folksy Wes Farrell production. There’s a strange instrumental version of John Barry’s theme to “Midnight Cowboy,” jazzy rock with a female vocal, most likely Michal, adding a nice eerie resonance to the spirited and jumpy rendition, a far cry from the version that contained Vinny Bell’s elegant guitar, the Top Ten hit for Ferrante & Teicher in 1969. The two new titles as well as the Elephant’s Memory material from the movie make up side one. Side two contains seven more titles from the first LP, including the singles that were released from that disc, “Crossroads of the Stepping Stones” and “Don’t Put Me on Trial,” two excellent slices of ’60s pop. Over 40 minutes of music graces Songs From Midnight Cowboy Plus Their Hit Singles, the two new titles plus everything from the Buddah debut minus the songs “Band of Love” and “Hot Dog Man” (which was the flip of the 45 rpm “Jungle Gym at the Zoo”). The album could have been even more interesting had their 45 rpm “Keep Free, Pts. 1 & 2” from November 1968 found its way onboard rather than the reissue of “Yogurt Song,” a composition from keyboardist Richard Sussman and drummer Rick Frank which sounds like a Frank Zappa nightmare.

Other than that, the album actually is quite consistent and is lots of fun. Later releases Take It to the Streets and Angels Forever don’t have the pop meets psychedelia underground feel of this neo-bubblegum period piece.


01 – Everybody’s Talkin’ 03:50

02 – Old Man Willow 07:07

03 – Midnight Cowboy 02:58

04 – Jungle Gym At The Zoo 02:15

05 – Crossroads Of The Stepping Stones 02:56

06 – Don’t Put Me On Trial No More 02:52

07 – Super Heap 05:32

08 – R.I.P. 01:43

09 – Yogurt Song 02:58

10 – Band Of Love 04:11

11 – Takin’ A Walk 03:49

12 – Hot Dog Man 03:34

13 – Brief Encounter 04:38

“More cohesive than their RCA release in the mid-’70s, the New York underground band who worked with John Lennon, Yoko Ono, and David Peel finds themselves on Metromedia, the label which had hits with Bobby Sherman, unleashing eight originals written mostly by drummer Rich Frank and lead vocalist/tenor saxman Stan Bronstein. Guitarist David Cohen contributes to a couple of tunes, with pianist Myron Yules and guitarist Greg Peratori also involved in the songwriting, but it is Frank (listed on the credits as Reek Havoc) and Bronstein who are the major forces behind this well-known-but-not-often-heard group.
Clearly it was Lennon’s participation on an early disc and not the band’s notoriety which made them almost a household name, but one hit record could have changed all that. There is no hit here, but there is some experimental rock that Frank Zappa should have snapped up for his Straight Records. A bubblegum label could only move this if they were called Crazy Elephant and had something akin to “Gimme Gimme Good Lovin’.” Rather you have the antithesis, “Mongoose,” followed by “Power” and the revolutionary “Piece Now.” The technical proficiency is traded in for angst and lots of rock & roll attitude.
“Piece Now” could very well be MC5, and the music on all three of the first tunes is dense and noteworthy. “Tricky Noses” ends side one with a flurry of bullets stopping a country-ish protest song, making the point quickly and with uneasy ease. Away from their famous friends, the seven-piece group is at least interesting here, with “She’s Just Naturally Bad” sounding like Blue Cheer when they abandoned the sonic onslaught for laid-back folk-rock. Flashes of Dylan and Lou Reed make their way onto the tune.
Pianist Myron Yules delivers the only song that Rich Frank and Bronstein aren’t associated with, “I Couldn’t Dream,” a light Paul McCartney-style throwaway number.”Damn” gets things somewhat heavy, a nice counterpoint to side one’s “Power.” This is where the band shines, solid ensemble rock with riffs and lots of not-so-quiet energy. For collectors who need anything by anyone ever associated with the Beatles, the Elephant’s Memory’s collection is not to be forgotten. “Ivan” is smooth New York rock a few years before Lou Reed would enter his Coney Island Baby phase, but definitely sounding like it could fit on that epic. Take It to the Streets is a true rock & roll artifact and holds some surprises worth rediscovering. by Joe Viglione

Boston Rock and Roll Anthology Chapter 21 PREVIEW

Compilation Engineer: Kenny Selcer Mastered by Rob Fraboni

CD Conceived, written and produced (as well as Rob Fraboni biography)

by Joe Viglione

Rob Fraboni grew up in southern California in an Italian family that included some accomplished musicians. Beginning a musical career as a drummer in a local band at the age of 12, he hitchhiked to Hollywood just three years later at 15 with many home recordings under his belt. The future industry executive quietly observed recording sessions at the renowned Gold Star Studios, which involved key artists and producers of the time, including Phil Spector. He moved to New York City in 1971 and attended the Institute of Audio Research under the tutelage of educator Al Grundy. There, Fraboni fused a previous knowledge of electronics with recording and studio techniques, developing his unique engineering and production style.

1)Everything But Peace – 3D  3:42                                                               3:42

2)Space and Time – Pamela Ruby Russell 4:28   =                                     8:10
You Tube:

Spotify  Space and Time
Spotify Space and time link: spaceandtimespotify
YouTube Space and Time link youtubespaceandtime

3)As It Is     Karma Car with Heidi Jo Hines     4:25                                     12:35

4)Downtime  The Complaints   4:37                                                              17:12
Tiny url:

5)Faraday – Phil DaRosa 5:56                                                                       23:08

6)Daydream  On Notice    4:20                                                                      27:28

7)Guardian Angel (Radio Edit)      4:37  radio edit version                            32:05

8)Until the End 4:09 – Empty County Band  (Steve Kuchinsky, ASCAP)      36:14

9)Blackenstein (Instrumental) – Joe Black 4:26                                            40:40

10)Table Scraps – Tom Mich Jr 3:04                                                             43:44

11)Counting Down to Zero (from 1) – Greg Walsh’s New Ghosts 3:18         47:02

12)The Letter – Mad Painter  2:56                                                                49:58

13)Monster Joe Black 4:22                                                                           54:20

14)Skeptical (2:55) – Empty County Band (Steve Kuchinsky, ASCAP)        57:15

15)Walk Through Fire  – Pamela Ruby Russell  4:28                                   61:43

Spotify Walk Thru Fire: You Tube

16)Love You  – Kitoto Sunshine Love      2:39                                               64:22

17)Who’s Foolin’ Who? – Karma Car    5:03                                                69:25

18)Dalia Davis   Eleven and a Half   2:52                                                 77:47

19)Thought About You  Joe Viglione  with Gold Dust 2:58                        72:23    

20)Rock Star    Matty O                                               2:22

OPTIONS: Bonus Tracks NOT on CD
The Rolling Stone   Matt O’Connor   2:32                                            74:55

Kitoto Sunshine Love  Proud Soul Heritage    3:51                             81:38 Bonus track not on CD