In the early 1960's folk music ruled the musical airwaves. The Kingston Trio, Peter Paul & Mary, Bob Dylan and many others dominated. ABC had a program aptly entitled "Hootenanny" which was filmed at different college campuses each week. We were on it with The Chad Mitchell Trio, Judy Collins, The Tarriers, Eddy Arnold and Glenn Yarbrough from The US Naval Academy. Needless to say an unforgettable experience.
1961 -THE MERRYMEN STORY
Anyone out there old enough to remember The Ted Mack Amateur Hour? It was the American Idol of its day. Alan and I were very audacious even then. We were big Kingston Trio fans and formed a group called The Merrymen, with our buddy Jim Wightman. We auditioned for the Ted Mack show and actually got accepted. We were on the show in December of 1961 and sang the Kingston song "Molly Dee". Here is the footage from the show. I was 17 and a freshman at Baruch College.
THE MERV GRIFFIN SHOW
It was July of 1963. We were headlining at The Shadows in Virginia Beach. This was to be a very special night for us. Our excitement was palpable. Our very first appearance on national TV was about to happen on The Merv Griffin Show, co-starring with Carol Channing and Jonathan Winters. We sang two songs; our signature opener "Railroad Bill" and a Hebrew folksong "Vaichazkem". We were a hit. Which was fortunate because our family was in the audience. I had so much hair back then.
TELL OLD BILL
People ask me why I have singled this song out for special attention. The reason is that we recorded it on our first album with Mercury Records as a slow and moving ballad. In 2011 we retooled it into a really cool up tempo and soulful rendition and sang it for the first time at a live concert. The interesting part is that when we got to the end of the song we spontaneously invented a new ending on the spot and it really worked. The audience really loved it and so did we. t was so funny.
Being a Gaslight Singer was an amazing experience for me, Earl Mann, Martha Velez and Alan Alcabes. Can you imagine being just 18 years old and travelling all over the country performing at some of the best clubs and college campuses? Being on national TV? And most incredible of all, performing with some of your musical heroes. The Gaslight Singers shared the stage with icons such as Bob Dylan, The Chad Mitchell Trio, Tom Paxton, Glenn Yarbrough, Judy Collins, and so many more. We remain close friends to this day and still perform when the opportunity arises. We recently were honored to perform at the farewell concert by The Chad Mitchell Trio. It's been an unbelievable journey.
Wynken Blynken and Nod at The Gate of Horn Chicago
The Gate of Horn was one of the premier folk and blues clubs in Chicago. We headlined there often. Here we are performing a classic song written by Carly and Lucy Simon..
The Chad Mitchell Trio Farewell Concert
What an unbelievable experience it was to be invited to perform at the farewell performance of the legendary Chad Mitchell Trio. The event was held at the Bethesda Jazz and Supper Club and sponsored by the World Folk Music Association. We enjoyed a warm relationship with the trio back in the 1960's and were thrilled to share the stage with Tom Paxton as well. You can purchase the entire concert on WFMA's website. Here is the link.
songs from the heart