Memory Musings


[Warning: This has a lot of thoughts/memories that are coming to me randomly, that I am trying to put into a chronology!]

(After wearing out records of “The Teddy Bears’ Picnic” and “On Top of Spaghetti,” and the Christmas song by Alvin & The Chipmunks), let’s begin with Mitch Miller, in our basement in Whitestone (this started my bartending career, too, now that I think of it!), and singing along to the lyrics that Mom typed up on the Underwood #5.  And “Beer Barrel Polka.”  And “Roll out those Lazy, Hazy, Crazy Days of Summer.”  And Lawrence Welk on Saturday nights.  (Such corny scenes, but hey, it was an orchestra!)  And Guy Lombardo, first on New Year’s Eves (my real intro to Tommy Dorsey & Glenn Miller-type music, etc.) on TV, and then at the Jones Beach Theater (for both musical theater and then afterward, standing in the beer tent) [we’ll talk show tunes later]…

And then my sister‘s 45’s of Bobby Vee, Bobby Dee, Bobby Darin, Bobby Vinton, et al., and Little Eva’s “Locomotion” and (I just found out it was by the Dovells — I don’t think I ever knew!) “The Bristol Stomp,” and “The Twist,” by Chubby Checker, and “Gravy (For My Mashed Potatoes)” (I just found out it was by Dee Dee Sharp — I don’t think I ever knew!)…

Ann also raised me on the Kingston Trio, Trini Lopez, Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass, and albums from several classic Broadway musicals (like The Sound of Music) (as I said, more about them & me, later)…  The first LPs that I bought were “Herman’s Hermits On Tour” and an early one by The Beatles, for a birthday present for Mom, which I then quickly borrowed and kept in my room.  Then all of The Beatles and all of The Rolling Stones, of course.  Favorites by The Stones still include “Flowers” and “Aftermath.”

I think of Dad sticking to the lighter side of FM radio (WRFM, WTFM, WPAT), like 101 Strings and Mantovani, as he rested before going to work at night.  (Hated it!)  I recall that Mom liked “Try a Little Tenderness” and “[Reach Out] I’ll Be There” (she liked singing “I’ll Be Damned…” to that one!).  Mom also would sit with me, though, and read the lyrics along with me as I played The Beatles’ “Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” (and others that I can’t recall) on the album jacket.

The Ed Sullivan Show and Hollywood Palace, on Sunday nights, and then The Smothers Brothers Show, are all fondly remembered for showcasing the new rock.  I think I saw Tommy James & the Shondells live (in the studio) on the Merv Griffin Show, thanks to Chris Teseo.

I don’t know when I switched from AM radio (WABC and WMCA) (even listening all night on a crystal set) but then came what is now known as “classic” rock.  WOR-FM, WABC-FM, WNEW-FM played whole sides of albums!  DJs Murray the K, Scot Muni, Alison Steele, Rosko, Zacherly, Jonathan Schwartz… and classic folk, too, now that I think of it.  These DJs played a very broad range of styles.  From Tim Buckley and Melanie to the Doors; from Joan Baez and The Mamas & The Papas to The Who; from Phil Ochs and Eric Anderson to Jimi Hendrix…

A major seminal moment occurred when Buddy, the boy next door (a drummer, as it happened) gave me “Fresh Cream” because he hated the song “I’m so Glad”!  Then (came “Disraeli Gears,” of course, and thirdly) I got “Wheels of Fire” for my birthday (just like I wanted!)!  Cream got me into “the blues…”  This boy from an intact home in the suburbs of NYC could really “feel” it.

Here’s another (random!) musical memory: a local kid played “Freak Out,” by The Mothers of Invention, for me, but I didn’t “get” it.  That kid dropped me.  I don’t blame him — I was a dork.  [See my later encounter with the mastermind, Frank Zappa, below.]

First major concert?  Murray the K’s extravaganza [1967?], (with Robert Walker) featuring (several songs each! by) The Who, Cream, Mitch Ryder, The Mandala, The Blues Project, and others… then amazing shows at Hunter College (again, thanks to my sister), starting with Richie Havens (opened by Flip Wilson!) (I went to this show with my sister), and then with The Jefferson Airplane (with George Dowd, whose mother mine spoke with, so that he could go into the city!), and then Cream, Jimi Hendrix [03-02-1968?] and The Doors, for which Ann got me in with the fraternity guys who produced the shows, and I took tickets, in order to sit down when the bands started!), and Ten Years After, to which I took a date, Karen Consor, and, since Canned Heat didn’t show up, TYA played a double-long set — that was fine with/better for me!!  (This was before Woodstock!)… then my time at the Fillmore East [circa 1969-1970], starting with Iron Butterfly (and introducing their label-mates, Led Zeppelin, as the opening act!!) (on a date with Joni Vassilakos, my friend’s sister) Steppenwolf, Jethro Tull, Chicago Transit Authority, The Grateful Dead, Brian Auger & The Trinity, Grand Funk Railroad, Santana, Lee Michaels (those last two with Chris Teseo), The Who (doing all of “Tommy”)…

Oh, that reminds me of Herbert Mueller, and us up in his room sharing turns with the headphones.  Back to LPs, again, “Tommy” by The Who [1969?], and Jethro Tull’s “Stand Up,” “This Was,” & “Benefit”.  Of course now I’ll jump over to Michael Depraida‘s basement, and I have fond memories of him fooling me with “The Who Sell Out” (by saying it was Radio London!), and me bringing over Jimi’s “Are You Experienced” to much less enthusiasm than mine!  This year also brought Woodstock, and I’ve told people that I weighed the large cost ($15?) but really I knew that my parents wouldn’t let me go “camp out” at something like that.  So I left home, instead…

I think of Madeleine Swirsky‘s musical influence on me with Judy Collins and Charles Aznavour and Laura Nyro and Oscar Brown, Jr., and then even “Switched on Bach”…

When I think about living in the Bronx [1970?], I first remember both The Jackson Five’s “ABC-123” album and several LPs by Grand Funk Railroad!  Was it me, with a great breadth of emotional reactions?  Do kids these days have it??

My time living in Manhattan [1971?] (and working at McCann-Erickson!) is brought back to mind especially by both Elton John’s and Diana Ross’s eponymous efforts, still “classics” for me.  [I think of Carol Zuckerman (Morelli), the only friend that I still have from a once tight gang.]  [Bill Reed got me up on the dance floor at one of the many office parties there.]  Oh, now I distinctly recall Al Green’s “Let’s Stay Together” from that era/place.  Sherry Fitzgerald got me into mellow stuff like Cat Stevens and Bessie Smith and Donovan and George Harrison (“All Things Must Pass” and “The Concert for Bangladesh” both came out around then)…  [(Well I must have left my key in the door one night, because) one night I came back to my roach-infested hovel of the slum I lovingly called ‘home’ and there was no stereo, no speakers, no turntable, no LPs, etc.  I was devastated and scared, from the violation…] [later to be repeated in Great Neck, and to B, in Brooklyn…]  Sherry and I liked Van Morrison, who was the opening act at the Fillmore, and left when Fleetwood Mac came on!  We also went to see Dr. John, the Night Tripper, at the Beacon, once, and I think that Kevin Gorman (or was that Herbert Mueller?) was putting his hand on her leg!  Other music that comes to mind, now that I’m playing “Weasels Ripped My Flesh,” by The Mothers of Invention,” is that Ronny Struwe bought that album for me because I picked it up in a record store.  I tried to tell him that I was just checking out the (weird) cover!  Well I respected it, and played it through many years, and have grown to love it.  Also now I think of “New Morning,” from this period too, experienced because Bill Reed bought it for me for my birthday, I think.  It was not his type of music — and not really mine, either — but I guess that a record shopkeeper recommended this (then) new collection by Bob Dylan.  I played it through many years, also, and have grown to love it, too.

Visiting New Paltz got me concerts from Patti Smith, John Prine, Steve Goodman, Olatunji & the Drums of Passion, (Art Blakey or was that Max Roach?), Steve Forbert, and a festival with Vassar Clements, David Bromberg, McCoy Tyner, Ry Cooder, Sonny Rollins…

Then came the (living) upstate years, [1972-1976?].  My first bartending job, at The Homestead [whose owner I met through the Democratic Party in that Republican town!], on Main Street, got me even further out of my shy shell.  There I specifically recall the closing song we’d play, to mellow out the bikers & hippies: “Let’s Get Together,” by The Youngbloods.  Then I followed the young man [whose name then was Robbie Depuis (?), who also was in a great rockin’ blues band called Chrome Willie and the Sparks, and then when he went to California — and made a big hit record: “Steal Away”! — it became Robbie Dupree] who left there up to the next place that he left, St. Blaise, also on Main Street (both of them are now gone).  There, in a more intellectual, pipe-smoking, beret-wearing, chess-playing kind of place, I was really in charge, and played all kinds of records, and really remember the “What’s Going On?” collection by Marvin Gaye, there.  My roommate at that time, Steven Diskin, and I shared a lot (of music), including a flighty jaunt to New Orleans to see what we could see.  This came to include John Mayall and company, including (my new discovery) Freddy Robinson on guitar.  I also remember discovering Mahavishnu’s “Birds of Fire” collection, on a road-trip down to NYC with someone else, during which I swallowed a joint because we were stopped by the police.  Wow, I thought that the drummer, who I later learned to be Billy Cobham, was in the back seat!  My third bartending gig, at Backstage, (further up Main Street!) gave me another musical experience: disco!  “Don’t Rock the Boat (Baby),” “Here Comes the [BT] Express,” and “The Hustle” were played (and ‘marched’ around to!) many times each, each night.  (Nobody from New Paltz went there!)

Then in Binnewater with no radio (and no concerts), but stacks & bins of discounted LPs.  (And many cartons of Jonathan W. Lee‘s LPs; our big mutual love was Chuck Mangione.)  I got into a lot of jazz; mainly guitarists, but many trumpeters, mostly, too… coming to mind, right now, are George Benson and Kenny Burrell; Freddie Hubbard, Stanley Turrentine, Milt Jackson; Etta James; Howlin’ Wolf; Johnny Nash (“I Can See Clearly Now”) [I think of my housemate in Binnewater, Steve Argila] [2008-11-25: Steve reminded me that we used to catch Eddie Kirkland play blues guitar in the bars of New Paltz, and also that we once met Tony Bennett in the audience upstairs at Seventh Avenue South — he told us that it was nice to meet us!]; Eric Clapton’s “I Shot the Sheriff” — which began my whole long love of reggae — and reminds me to list Bob Marley as one of my favorites of all time); Aretha Franklin (an earlier favorite of all time)… I went through extended periods with both of those…

Then back downstate, first with DJ Les Davis, playing jazz on the great WRVR, and then with the “new wave” of the great WLIR (remember Malibu Sue?).  One great example remains Talking Heads, and of theirs, the collection “Remain in Light”…  The Clash & Joe Jackson for punky stuff; XTC & Ultravox for electronic stuff; Squeeze for great pop tunes, Yaz/Yazoo & then Erasure (and later, yes, Madonna) for catchy dance stuff…

My time working at Radio TV Reports (1977-1986) clearly/hazily recalls (connected/underground forays to Grand Central Station, with) co-worker Mike Eisengart (I remember liking the spastic drumming of My “Sharona,” by The Knack, and of “Roxanne,” by The Police).  We would party from doorway to bar to hall to pub to many concerts… like a double bill of Elvis Costello & Squeeze; Public Image Limited; The B-52s; Elvis Costello; The Clash; Santana; Lou Reed, all in NYC; The Grateful Dead; and at the club My Father’s Place, in Roslyn, L.I.  First remembered, there: Ultravox… Black Uhuru… David Johansen… [and the Count Basie Orchestra… and Asleep at the Wheel, both without Mike]… and then at the IMAC, in Huntington, L.I.  There I caught acts like Al DiMeola, Pieces of a Dream, Najee, Astrud Gilberto…  During this time my other favorite DJ was Peter Bochan (WBAI-FM) (“All Mixed Up” and “A Shortcut through…”) and from time to time I would catch a Phil Schaap marathon (on WKCR-FM) of (every alternate take! of) Charlie Parker or Lester Young…  I have really been trying, but can only recall piano/ballet practice-type music, with Nancy Unger.  Oh, she did get me an 8-track tape machine (when I wanted a cassette machine!).  [Years later I realized that we had even less in common than I had thought.]

At Salomon Brothers (1986-1996) [during which time I started collecting CDs] I got PCs and Macs (in the early 90s?) (the mainframe folks could now play ‘Pong’ if the IBM mainframe system was down!).  And then Internet.  And then a ‘browser,’ in version 1 of Mosaic.  I (wasn’t exactly sure what I was doing, but) realized that I could ‘search’ for things I wanted, so (naturally) I looked up ‘music.’  There were dozens [sic] of websites with that word on them!  The most exciting?, that of a [virtual] ‘band’ (called Hit Me!) (“a cross between James Brown & The Beatles; a mixture of peanut butter & Pez”) created by Derek Sivers (now often referred to as a godfather of indie music-making and -marketing).  This pioneer had made a CD in his bedroom, recording himself playing the guitar, piano, bass, and vocals, and adding only the drums of/by a friend (where is Rodney now?).  There were even samples on the site.  I downloaded them to my net-connected-PC (with no sound card).  And had to move them to my Mac to hear them!  They were more than well-produced and catchy.  I wrote to this creative artist and he responded.  We became e-pals.  When he assembled a band to play the songs live, I went to see them.  I was further hooked.  I accompanied them to gigs and conferences from Boston to NYC to Philadelphia, as one of their biggest fans.  But Derek wearied of the touring and also saw the need for an outlet for the growing amount of (musical) ‘product’ that could be made without a mysterious ‘major label’ contract (or ‘distribution’ — ahh, that’s a major rub).  Enter CD Baby!  First in his apartment in Astoria, Queens.  Then from a barn in Woodstock, NY.  Now in a warehouse right near the airport in Portland, OR, and with (so far) 256,505 (and counting) artists selling their music — 4,846,140 CDs have been sold online to customers, worldwide, and $91,858,919 has been paid directly to the artists!

At the Philadelphia Music Conference, I met Noel Ramos from Mixx magazine.  I started sending him my thoughts, and for a short while I was a columnist, my musings being run under the banner “Rayve Reviews”!

Favorite shows during this era include Pat Metheny, with Kenny Chin (B was not available for this to be our first date!), and Erasure, also with Kenny — with whom I had Depeche Mode (and The Nutcracker Suite, for some reason!) in common, too — and the Allman Brothers Band, all at the Beacon Theater.  And The Grateful Dead — for the third time in three decades — with Sandy Stern.

In the most recent 15 wonderful years with B (starting in 1993) — who’s really got great and diverse taste, we’ve been to lots of concerts.  Our first date was with the Sea Cliff Chamber Players, to which I had a subscription for many years.  I took many dates to see this chamber orchestra, but B was the last one!  Then I think of major favorites Béla Fleck & The Flecktones, in some 10 different venues [* See UPdate pm 7/6/18]; Elvis Costello (one of my newer favorites of all time), in various modes, also some 10 times; Marianne Faithfull (at The Supper Club and at the Hunter College Playhouse and at BAM); the Del McCoury Band (at St. Ann’s church, in Brooklyn); Ravi Shankar (Carnegie Hall); k.d. lang (Radio City Music Hall); Stephane Grappelli (Carnegie Hall) (and also, I pushed B up to get my handshake from him, at the Blue Note club!); Tony Bennett (Radio City Music Hall); Barbra Streisand, Bruce Springsteen, Elton John, The Who (all at Madison Square Garden); Chick Corea Elektric Band [loved their debut CD from 1986!] (The Bottom Line); Bjork, Elvis Costello & Burt Bacharach, Liza Minnelli (all at Radio City Music Hall); Steve Morse (several times in various places); Cornershop (Irving Plaza); Jah Wobble (at Jivamukti Yoga Studio, the Knitting Factory, and Avalon); Sinead O’Connor (with the Sly & Robbie Band! and Burning Spear!) (Webster Hall); Popa Chubby (BB King’s); Was (Not Was) (BB King’s and The Gramercy Theater — that second time with Sandy Stern); Emmylou Harris, Brian Wilson, David Byrne and Caetano Veloso (all at Carnegie Hall); The Sabri Brothers (BAM); Stanley Clarke opening for George Benson (Beacon Theater); Larry Coryell, Billy Cobham, Diane Schuur (all at the Blue Note); Laurie Anderson (at Town Hall?); Afro-Cuban All-Stars, Steve Naive; (both at Town Hall); Marshall Crenshaw (Maxwell’s); Andrea Marcovicci, Don Byron, Olu Dara, Mecca Bodega, Eric Johnson (all at Symphony Space); Dya Singh (in a school cafeteria somewhere in Australia!); Prince (one of my newer favorites of all time) (at MSG and at Continental Arena, the same week); and others — to be continued…

Then there was one actual experience being ‘in’ a [“it’s OK, I’m with the”] ‘band’ [besides Hit Me; oh wait, now I remember helping Project Object load in to a gig at Maxwell’s!]! Our friend Frank Diaz had created a CD of great music, and was auditioning people to help him play (something like) it, live.  I hung around and started working the mixing board (a dream come true!).  I was along on several performances, including a coffeehouse that complained about the volume (cool!) and Tierney’s Tavern.  Several vocalists didn’t work out, and Frank realized that I both knew all the songs, and had a good sense of rhythm.  We started rehearsing as a duo, including tracks from his second (unreleased) CD!  We got me some percussion toys and worked on our act.  For a short, but very exciting, while, I was ‘Rayve’ again, and I was in dial M“!  But then Frank (saw how much fun I was having with my other hobby, and) got involved with photography, too.  And then raising a child.  And then writing a book.  And then blogging…


Now I collect music in the MP3 and FLAC (and WMA, if I have to) formats.

Favorite composer and player, of late?  (And I’ve got a lot of catching up to do.)  Frank Zappa (now one of my favorites for all time).  Smart, creative, diverse, prolific, documenting… a classical-like composer of jazzy rocking melodic noise that’s all charted out.  With space(s).  It’s really hard to explain…  I never saw Frank play, but caught his son, Dweezil, leading the Zappa Plays Zappa (ZPZ) band on Halloween nights in 2006 and 2007.

Favorite album of 2007 (released in 2006, apparently): “Night Ripper” by Girl Talk, which is the stage name of musician Gregg Gillis.  He specializes in ‘mashup’ style remixes, in which he uses often a dozen or more unauthorized samples from different songs to create a new song.  The whole collection of cuts runs together in one big mix, and I can pick recognize so many riffs or beats from many works by older artists; I’m sure younger people know the ones I don’t, and vice versa.

Really random: I mentioned CTA (which became Chicago) above.  They and BS&T were the cross-overs to get me from rock to jazz.  [Like Cream and Ten Years After (which added an organ to the power blues-rock trio that Cream was) brought electricity (and speed?) to “the blues.”]  They brought horns to the electric guitar & bass and drums.  [I think of my departed friend and mentor Bill Reed, who got tickets to every night of Chicago’s stand at Carnegie Hall!]  [The major concerts that I remember with Bill were Les McCann & Eddie Harris/Roberta Flack in Central Park, Sly & The Family Stone/Rare Earth at MSG, and Aretha Franklin at Philharmonic Hall.)

Oh!  2008 is the year that I (finally) got a set of drums!  After several gifts of guitars (that I didn’t want) from people, B (got me, and) got me real bongos (oh how I used to pine for them in the Sears catalog!).  But they were not enough, [after having done some shopping for them when I had promised dear young sickly Eric Joseph Mohr that I had some for him to play]…  After air-drumming, even in person, with all the best — having seen Ron Bushy and John Bonham and Ginger Baker and Mitch Mitchell and Keith Moon… and then Bernard Purdie, Duffy Jackson, Billy Cobham, Dave Weckl and Rod Morgenstein… and most recently Joe Travers (ZPZ) impressed me (more than Terry Bozzio’s flash on a thousand objects) [I would like to have seen Vinnie Colaiuta]…

… but it’s sure not as easy as it looks; now I have to learn how to play them!  I really believe that I have a great sense of rhythm (as Mom always told me!) and a great sense of time; I just have to figure out the logistics of the dynamics of the physics of the living organism… oh yeah, and how to multi-task my extremities (to different parts of the same groove)!

… to be continued…


Now it’s time for favorite bass players: first Jack Bruce, I suppose, Jack Cassidy, and Noel Redding — for rock; I’m learning to appreciate John Entwhistle more; in recent years, Dave LaRue; I’ve mentioned Stanley Clarke — for jazz, and John Pattitucci, too; Robbie Shakespeare — for reggae; nowadays we love the droning sub-sonic dub of Jah Wobble; and the most versatile and most exciting (and yet so humble — we’ve met him several times!) Victor Wooten.

… to be continued…

My time at Nauna’s Bella Casa (2006-2009) is spent with Italian music, a small number of selections purported to come over a satellite.  Only one tune by Dean Martin, none by Frank SInatra.  Many (minor) classics, like “Volare,” “Domani,” “Al di La,” “Non Dimenticar,” “Innamorata,” “On an Evening in Roma,” “Oh Marie,” “Funiculi Funicula,” and a lot of accordion music that sounds more French to me.  (Sadly,) nothing really operatic — no “Dona e mobile” (or whatever).  Once in a while a new one seems to pop in, somehow.  It’s somewhat torturous, but I make due.  My offer to bring in (hundreds of) CDs was declined, however, because we have this great/sophisticated system!  [If only the place had red & white checkered tablecloths and candles held by Chianti bottles in baskets, it would be a much classier “red sauce” joint!]

More random concert memories: Stuff, Mose Allison, Ray Charles, Bob Marley & The Wailers (thanks again for waiting at the Apollo Theater, and getting those tickets to those great seats, Steve!), Peter Tosh, George Benson, George Benson with the Count Basie Orchestra, Marshall Crenshaw, Tito Puente, Earl Klugh, Ziggy Marley & The Melody Makers, Cibbo Matto, Lyle Lovett, Jack Bruce, XTC, the Dead Boys, Sonny Terry & Brownie McGee, John Hammond, Johnny Winter, Jonny Lang, Jethro Tull (once early on, and then twice in one week, with Wayne Torman), the Allman Brothers Band (once with my newphew Douglas), the Talking Heads big band, Phoebe Snow, Chuck Mangione, Hall & Oates, Todd Rundgren, Rufus Thomas, Burning Spear, Third World, Culture, Steel Pulse, Noel Pointer, Willie Nelson, Preston Reed, Tim Hardin, Miles Davis (opening for!) Laura Nyro, Buster Poindexter, Monte Alexander, Dave Valentin, B.B. King, Bob Dylan, David Grisman, Kenny Barron, John McLaughlin, Ron Carter, Garaj Mahal (with Fareed Haque), Wynton Marsalis, Kronos Quartet, Andy Statman, Uri Caine, Elton John and Billy Joel, The Roches, Moby, Ani DiFranco, The Band, DLG, Jonatha Brooke, Yothu Yindi, John Pizzarelli, Larry Carlton, Freddy Cole, Corey Glover, Harry Connick with orchestra, The Brecker Brothers, Majek Fashek, The Mighty Sparrow, Jorma Kaukonen, Blue Angel (with Cyndi Lauper!), Joe Cocker and the Grease Band, Peter Gabriel, The Plasmatics, Taj Mahal, Mahavishnu Project, Mel Torme, UB 40, Antibalas, Pink Floyd, Traffic, Ruben Blades, Dave Brubeck, Stanley Jordan, Charlie Byrd/Barney Kessel/Herb Ellis, Milo Z, Carole King, The Fabulous Flemtones, Chuck Mangione, Oscar Brown, Jr., Jack Dejohnette, The Jazz Passengers with Roy Nathanson (with Elvis Costello and Debbie Harry), Dixie Dregs, Steve Morse Band, “Oh Brother Where Art Thou” tour (with Alison Kraus) (with Jerry Douglas), David Johansen and the Harry Smiths, Neil Diamond, The Jazz Mandolin Project, Chick Corea (solo/acoustic), The Chick Corea Elektric Band, Victor Wooten and JD Blair, Robert Glasper Trio, Lil’ Bastad (Mark Bowers on guitar; Gary Foote on bass), Steve Vai (in ZPZ 2006), Elvin Jones… and I can still remember where I saw each of these…

… to be continued…

This all started with a plug for Rachael Sage, early on in the main part of my blog!  I’ve seen her play at least a half-dozen times.  Damn, I’ve dropped a lot of cash on listening experiences, eh?!

And then there are (as I’ve alluded, above) Broadway shows!  Early on, I recall “Anything Goes” at the Westbury Music Fair (when it was a tent!); many (like South Pacific?) at Jones Beach Theater; “Fiddler on the Roof;” “Cats,” “Miss Saigon,” “Les Miserables,” “Man of La Mancha,” “Phantom of the Opera,” “Beauty and the Beast,” “Kiss of the Spider Woman,” “Chicago,” “42nd Street.”  “Company,” “Follies,” and “Purlie” when I lived in town and hung out with a show biz crowd.

Then, with B, “Guys and Dolls,” “Oklahoma,” and “Mamma Mia.”  And “Company,” “Follies,” “Assassins,” “Pacific Overtures,” “A Little Night Music,” “Into the Woods,” “Sunday in the Park with George,” “Gypsy” [oh, I also saw “Passion” and “Candide,” before B] — all by Stephen Sondheim (one of my favorites of all time)!  B always remembers when I first played the Company CD for her, especially how I related [read that “cried”] to the songs “Sorry/Grateful” and “Being Alive.”

Other favorite DJs?  I used to enjoy Felix Hernandez doing “Rhythm Review,” with a lot of Motown (favorites include The Temptations and The Four Tops), etc., and now Delphine Blue — “Shocking Blue” on both WBAI-FM and East Village, and Jeannie Hopper, on WBAI-FM, with “Liquid Sound Lounge.”

Best Pop Songwriters: Elvis Costello.  The Beatles.  Paul Simon.  Billy Joel.

Bands I Never Really Cared For: Boston & Kansas & America (or Alabama, for that matter); Journey & Foreigner; Bob Seeger, Tom Petty & John Cougar Mellencamp; AC-DC or Metallica or Kiss, or all the head-bangers that Mike Edmonds liked (except Van Halen); The Eagles, REM, Steely Dan (they do have a lot of tasty solos and catchy tunes, though); I still don’t know the difference between Nirvana and Pearl Jam — I think I missed the whole ‘grunge’ period;

Artists I Am Sad About Never Having Seen: James Brown, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Frank Zappa, Jeff Buckley (oh, his “Grace” album is a desert island disc!)…

So what kind of music do I prefer these days?  Funky Industrial Ethnic; Soulful ElectronicWorld; Hip-/Trip-Hop Jungle House; Danceable Jazzy Techno; and many Variations of Heavy, but never L I T E… **

Update on 8/14/2010

Space-jam-wise, I’ve gotten into Disco Biscuits (except for the vocals).  And so, when I met my (West Orange!) neighbor Wiley, and he told me that he made this, I was very pleased.  I hope to catch them in action, soon…!  And he turned me on to STS9.

… to be continued…

Update on 12/13/14 [!]

I’ve been volunteering at (the not-for-profit organization) South Orange Performing Arts Center (SOPAC) since I first got in through several freebies (an open staged reading of a play, “The Girl in the Frame”; somehow I won a pair of tickets to see Ben Taylor, and then to see Norbert Leo Butz, one of which was through Baristanet, I think; and when the Swing Sabroso show in the park was moved indoors, due to rain [that’s a whole ‘nother story, that involves me getting there so early, to (beat the crowds, and) make sure that I got a ticket, that I ran into a friend—right by the stage door—who knew a band member, who just walked out of it. I asked if I could get backstage, for a minute, to check it out; that fellow introduced me to leader Ray Rodriguez as his “friend.” Ray (graciously, as ever, as I’ve come to know) invited me to hang out for—and photograph—the whole show! Well now I’m Facebook friends with all ten members, and have see this band swing hard several times!].) Now I’ve sold merch or ushered or taken tickets, and then caught the shows by Jane Monheit, Shawn Colvin, Johnny Winter [RIP!], Richard Thompson, Iris Dement + Red Molly [I gifted a pair of earned comps, to that show, to friends!], Suzanne Vega, Richie Furay, Ramsey Lewis, Manhattan Transfer [RIP the leader, Tim Hauser, two weeks later!], The Wailers, David Bromberg Big Band, Get The Led Out… [I also gifted a pair of earned “comps,” to The Smithereens show (that I didn’t attend), to other friends!] [I also gifted a pair of earned comps, to Dave Mason’s “Traffic Jam” (that I am on stand-by for), to other friends!]

I’ve also attended shows by Lil’ Bastad, Mike Griot & Friends, and Wincey Terry, upstairs in The Loft, as a guest photographer…

… to be continued…

* Update on 7/6/2018 [!]
I’ve been thinking/saying that I saw The Flecktones 10 times, for a wwwhile, now, but can only remember 4 + 2 + 1 [Béla duets]! Planting Fields Arboretum (in a tent, in the gardens), Tramps (club) (lower west Manhattan), Town Hall (midtown Manhattan), Troy (NY) Savings Bank (concert hall upstairs!). Then Béla & Abigail Washburn(-Fleck) at SOPAC. Then in 2017 a double-bill with the (almost) original Chick Corea Elektric Band, at the Count Basie Theater (Red Bank, NJ) [the nine players battled/jammed at the end! (A dream [that I didn’t even know that I had,] come true!)] and in 2018 at the Capitol Theatre (Port Chester, NY) (my first time, there!). Drawing a total blank on other shows/venues… Weird!

** 7/6/2018
Now describing my taste, besides liking “good” music, as “eclectric” — eclectic and electric!

Best shows this (2017-2018) year:  Béla at both Count Basie and The Capitol; and Dweezil Zappa, at both The Mayo (Morristown, NJ) and The Wellmont Theatre (Montclair, NJ).



3 Responses to Memory Musings

  1. Hi R–very interesting musical journey.

    How is that drum learning coming?

    I was listening to the radio the other day (xm) and heard Sugar Shack (Gilmer), a quirky ’60’s song.

    I’m struck by how many young people in the ’60’s picked up instruments and taught themselves and went on to write and play some wonderful music.

  2. Whitestone George says:

    Did you see Willie Nelson with us in Nassau? Then you left out Waylon Jennings and Jesse Colter. And I dig Prince too. Saw his purple show at the same venue.

  3. Raymond Helfrich says:

    I was thinking of a great Willie Nelson show (in a smaller venue) years later, but yes, I did see Willie and Waylon… and don’t remember the third player (with you)! Good catch/thank you, George! Who did you go see, at the Fillmore East with me? And did you go to the Electric Circus with me? (Those sure were musical adventures!)

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