Thursday, June 25, 2009

More On The "Local Guys"

Here's an update on how some of our Chicagoland talent will be spending THEIR summer vacations!!!

I did not see the initial note from Democracy Fading but did see Craig's reply today and echo his sentiments. What was Democracy Fading's premise?
As for something else you wrote:
>>>One of their great, over-looked ballads was "Can't You See Me Cry" from 1968. This one rose to #52 on the national charts but made Chicago's Top Ten. It was released right in between the band's two biggest national hits, "I Will Always Think About You" and "Things I'd Like To Say". It certainly deserved a better fate ... and still sounds great today. When coupled with their early "Garage Band" hits, this offers a perfect example of the diversity offered by these Chicagoland Local Heroes. (kk)

First of all, thank you very much for including the tune and for the kudos. Don't know if you already have it but I attached the acoustic version that Bruce Mattey and I recorded a couple years ago. In correspondences with Bob Sirott, he told me that "Can't You See Me Cry" was perhaps his fave Colony tune, which, of course, made me blush. And speaking of blushing, since I know we'll never get invited to the "Storytellers" TV program, let me come clean and share how that song originated.
In my early teenage years, when still living with my folks, west of Harlem Avenue between Belmont and Addison and just south of Elmwood Park, a new family moved in down the block a bit and on the opposite side of the street. It was a Polish family and they had a daughter of similar age to my own; I never heard them speak a word of English and she had a definite accent. Well, I had a ridiculous crush on the girl but I was too shy to make a move and when I mustered up every ounce of courage, she never even wanted to engage in conversation let alone anything else, so I was crestfallen to say the least. Our neighborhood had alleys behind most of the houses and there was one on her side of the street. I admit to have spent many a summer evening huddled among the garbage cans waiting patiently to catch a glimpse of her through an upstairs window. Theresa (or might have been Teresa - never found that out) spent a lot of time upstairs in what I would presume must have been her bedroom and on occasion I could see her momentarily as she passed by or, on the best of nights, when she would seemingly be pacing so I saw her a second at a time, but frequently over a 10-15 minute timeframe. Sigh ... Unrequited teenage "love", which left me so heart-broken that entire summer but did lead to the lyrics to "Can't You See Me Cry" and did not result in my arrest on peeping-Ray charges! So, to borrow from the late, great Paul Harvey, "And now you know the rrrrrrrrrrrrrest of the story ..."

And when I spend my hours looking at your window
And when I see you pass by
I begin to feel you near me
Still I know that you won't hear me
Won't you love me?
Don't you need me?
Can't you see me cry?

And as I watch you draw your shade when night is falling
I want to call your name and
Blame you for my wasted days but
I can't see you through the haze
Won't you love me?
Don't you need me?
Can't you see me cry?

Would you remember me if I ask for the name of someone who loves you?
Or would you answer that you don't know, but I look familiar?
Who loves you?
Who loves you?

So if you see me standing here beneath your window
And if it's getting late
Remember that I'll wait for you
And watch until my life is through
Won't you love me?
Don't you need me?
Can't you see me cry?

I have often wondered if she ever knew of the band that this awkward, moon-eyed kid down the street started, but, most of all, wished that she could have known the song was based on her, so, if she is on the list and you decide to share this, Kent, Miss M__z_a, I wrote "Can't You See Me Cry" as a testament to my puppy love for you!
Ray Graffia, Jr.
We've featured the acoustic version a couple of times before ... but I have NO problem sharing it again as I think it's a really nice take on a very pretty song. Always cool to get the "back story" on some of this great music. Thanks, Ray! (kk)

As for Democracy Fading's views (which inspired original NC6 member Craig Kemp to write in ... scroll down the web page to read the whole thing ... it went out on June 19th) the jist of it was basically the same old animosities we run into all the time when it comes to many of the former members of our local bands. (Bands grow and personnel changes ... it's a fact of rock and roll life. Jim Pilster recently told me that before the very first Cryan' Shames album had been released, Dave Purple had already left the band!!! And YOU guys were actually The New Colony SEVEN there for a while, too!!! lol) We've been asking for peace, love and harmony ... and an appreciation for the music ... and the fans who have stuck with these artists for 40-something years now ... for as long as we've been doing Forgotten Hits. EMBRACE your past and remember what made you do all of this in the first place. (It was indeed a VERY special night that evening at your house when the ORIGINAL New Colony Six members reunited, save Pat McBride ... the look on each and every one of your faces told the joy that was in your hearts.) Sadly, some of these 40 year old wounds still haven't healed and, as I've said SO many times before, the music sparks magical memories for the fans because it was a happier, far more innocent time ... we tend to freeze our heroes in time because they were in some way magical and mystical to us ... they had the power to affect our every mood and we hate to see ANY of you guys (and by "You Guys" I don't mean specifically YOU guys ... but ALL of the '60's Chicagoland Artists) not getting along.

Enough preaching!!! You can catch The New Colony Six on Sunday, July 26th, at Alpine Fest in Lake Zurich, IL, and again on Saturday, August 29th, at The Saint Viators Sock Hop in Arlington Heights. (We'll let you know if more dates develop.)
Meanwhile, Ronnie Rice fans can see Ronnie perform July 4th at Lisle Fest (with The Cryan' Shames and Dennis Tufano); July 5th at The Mt. Prospect Lions Club; July 8th at the Glendale Heights Summerfest (with The Buckinghams); July 9th at Deerfield Square Mall and September 26th at The Immaculate Conception Church in Chicago, IL. (I heard he also made a surprise "Stop By" at Danny Lake's Saturday Night True Oldies Dance Party in River Grove last weekend!)

Click here:

Click here: Ronnie Rice, Oldies, New Colony Six, Rock and Roll, Chicago

One more quick beef ... (ok, so maybe we WEREN'T done preaching yet!!!) ...

and we've addressed THIS issue before, too ...

Ronnie: if you're going to DO these "Chicago Gold" Shows, sing a few of your hits!!! You were part of The New Colony Six during their most successful period ... sing a few of these songs that we all know and love ... don't just rush through a quick rendition of "I Will Always Think About You" during which you get the AUDIENCE to sing most of the song ... sing something like "You're Gonna Be Mine" or "Treat Her Groovy" or "I Could Never Lie To You" once in a while, too. (There's always time to throw in a Johnny B. Goode jam at the end of the night with ALL of the players on stage ... don't waste your brief but valuable stage-time doing the whole "Day-O" routine ... get out there and remind us of YOUR contribution to the Chicagoland music scene!!!

Wish I could be in Chicago for the June 27 Cryan’ Shames show! Any hope it will be videotaped for those of us who can’t make it?

It wouldn't surprise me at all to find out that they're videotaping this show ... as to how to VIEW a copy is another matter, I'm sure. Let's see if any of the guys mention anything ... a clip or two (or ten) may show up on YouTube but I'm not sure how the average fan would be able to view the whole show without attending. (kk)

That being said, I talked to Jim Pilster the other night and he said that he's heard from Cryan' Shames fans who are coming in from all over the country to see this show. (However, he ALSO said that if you're coming to see faithful, note-for-note reproductions of the hits, you're probably in for a surprise. James Fairs has rearranged and reimagined some of The Shames' best known tracks ... Hooke promises a very entertaining, well-played and performed night of music ... but warns fans to keep an open mind if attending the show. The hits will be there ... you just may not immediately recognize them!!! lol) My take on this? Fairs is, without question, inventive, innovative, imaginative, inspirational and a whole bunch of other "i" words ... in fact, Hooke told me that working with him is the closest thing to "genius" he's ever seen ... but the fans want to hear the music the way they remember it ... that's what draws us to these shows in the first place. Sounds like they've spared no expense putting this thing together ... extensive rehearsals, flying in players from all over the country to perform ... Fairs has lined up the drummer from Blue Man Group, Artie Baldacci of Heartsfield, Gregg Voorhees, bass player of The Gregg Allman Band, Jeff Lantz, keyboardist for Jim Peterik's jazz project, Life Force ... along with three female back-up singers and a full horn section ... in addition original and former Cryan' Shames members like Tom Doody and Lenny Kerley have flown in from California and they've held extensive rehearsals with Hooke, the current members of the band and Chicago musical legends Gerry Stone and Dennis Conroy ... The Jamez Band sounds like they're locked, cocked and ready to rock. And let's face it ... it has ALWAYS been Jim Fairs' nature to experiment and reinvent, rather than simply rehash something he's already done ... especially something he did 40-some years ago. How will it go over? It'll be interesting to see. Personally, I think there'll be a good crowd coming out to see this show ... but I think the trade-off HAS to be giving the fans what they want alongside playing what YOU want ... even if that means doing a couple of songs TWICE that night in both their old and new arrangements. Without question, Jim (now James) Fairs was the driving force behind the original Cryan' Shames ... but sometimes "artistry" gets in the way of good-time, fun entertainment. (Guess I'm not really done preaching after all!!! lol) Yes, ALL artists should be allowed the space to grow and develop and change ... but us oldies fans are a pretty tough crowd. We know what we like and we know the memories that hearing this music again reignites. Part of the charm of this music WAS its innocence. Fans looking to see a more "faithful" Cryan' Shames show will have PLENTY of opportunities to do so this summer ... the band has over a dozen other dates already lined up, many featuring "Guest Vocalists" from the "Chicago Gold" years like Ronnie Rice, formerly of The New Colony Six, Dennis Tufano, former lead singer of The Buckinghams, Jimy Sohns of The Shadows Of Knight, Jimy Rogers, formerly of The Mauds ... heck, they've even got a few gigs backing up Sonny Geraci of The Outsiders (and I hear Hooke is trying to persuade Gary Loizzo of The American Breed to take the stage a time or two as well!) ALL these dates can be found on The Cryan' Shames' website:
Click here: The Cryan' Shames 2008 Events Schedule
Upcoming dates include:
Saturday, June 27th - Fishel Park Band Shell; Downers Grove, IL (with The Jamez Band, featuring all of the "special guests" mentioned above and original Cryan' Shames members James Fairs, Jim Pilster, Tom Doody, Gerry Stone and Dennis Conroy.)
Thursday, July 2nd - Taste Of Morton Grove
Saturday, July 4th - Lisle Fest (with Dennis Tufano and Ronnie Rice)
Thursday, July 16th - Sunday, July 19th - Four Nights at Festa Italiana in Milwaukee, WI, with special guests Sonny Geraci, Dennis Tufano and Jimy Sohns
Wednesday, July 22nd - Bensenville, IL, Music In The Park
Thursday, July 30th - Deerfield, IL
Sunday, August 16th - Bolingbrook, IL Jubilee
Saturday, September 19th - Peoria, IL (with Jimy Sohns and Dennis Tufano)

And for the smart asses who keep asking "So when did Ronnie Rice become the lead singer of The Cryan' Shames?" ... he DIDN'T. Kudos to Hooke for helping to keep this GREAT Chicagoland music alive by presenting the forum for some of our favorite artists like Ronnie Rice, Dennis Tufano, Jimy Rogers, Jimy Sohns and others to join them on stage and sing a few of their hits for a VERY appreciative audience. His whole "Chicago Gold" concept is EXACTLY what we've been pushing for for YEARS now ... a Soundstage Taping or A Taste Of Chicago Concert would be a GREAT way to show our appreciation for this great music that we all grew up with. (Hooke even suggested a concert dedicating the naming of a Chicagoland Street, "Dick Biondi Way" for ANOTHER Chicagoland Legend ... man, what a cool idea THAT would be!!!) There's plenty of room out there for ALL of our local heroes ... and NOTHING would please us more than to see ALL these artists unite together for some KILLER shows. Hats off to Jim Pilster for getting the ball rolling ... now we just need a few more of you to join in.


VERY special thanks to Jim Pilster, James Fairs and Tom Doody for sending us a recording of their new work up of the vintage Cryan' Shames hit "First Train To California" ... just a sneak preview of what The Jamez Band will sound like on Saturday Night. This is a GREAT rendition, by the way ... can't wait to see the show. (Man, I hope the weather breaks for you guys ... these 100+ degree heat-index days have been kicking EVERYBODY's butt here lately!!!) kk

Carl Giammarese was kind enough to share a couple of brand new Buckinghams tracks with us a few weeks ago for our "Brand New Music From Some Of Your Old Favorites" Series. The Bucks are STILL making great music ... and have several dates coming up:
Sunday, June 28th - Cicero Community Park
Friday, July 3rd - Elmwood Park Freedom Festival
Wednesday, July 8th - Glendale Heights Summerfest
Friday, July 17th - Green Acres Campground; Marinette, WI
Saturday, July 18th - Kane County Fair; St. Charles, IL
Saturday, July 25th - Watertown Arena; Watertown, NY
Thursday, July 30th - Leach Amphitheater; Oshkosh, WI
Wednesday, August 5th - Music in the Park; Bensenville, IL
Saturday, August 15th - Wood Dale, IL
Thursday, August 20th - Cooper River Park; Pennsauken, NJ
Saturday, August 29th - Highland Park, IL
Saturday, September 12th - Agri-Civic Center; Albemarle, NC
Friday, October 2nd - North Wildwood Amphitheater; North Wildwood, NJ

Meanwhile, former lead singer Dennis Tufano will be appearing on Saturday, July 4th, with Ronnie Rice and The Cryan' Shames at Lisle's "Eyes To The Skies" Fest; Thursday, July 16th - Sunday, July 19th at Festa Italiana in Milwaukee, WI (along with The Cryan' Shames, Sonny Geraci and Jimy Sohns, former lead singer of The Shadows Of Knight); Saturday, August 1st at Streetsboro Family Days in Streetsboro, Ohio (with Sonny Geraci); Saturday, August 8th, in Henderson, NV with (check out THIS line-up!!!) Ron Dante, Tony Burrows, Bo Donaldson and the Heywoods and The Ohio Express and on Sunday, August 16th, at The Bolingbrook, IL Jubilee (with The Cryan' Shames)

Click here: The Buckinghams - Home Page

Click here: As Long As I’m Singing The Music of Bobby Darin

and, speaking of Jimy Sohns and The Shadows Of Knight, let's give a shout-out to HIS web page, too!

Click here: The Shadows of Knight Official Website

And let's not forget The Ides Of March ... these guys'll be kicking ass and taking prisoners all summer long. (Talk about keeping your original members intact, THESE Boys From Berwyn, friends and bandmates since High School, have become the eternal Boys Of Summer, getting back together for every outdoor concert season and wowing the crowds again with their dynamic performances. The cool thing about an Ides Of March show is that you don't only get the hits from THAT band, but you also get to hear music from Survivor and some of the hits that leader Jim Peterik wrote for .38 Special ... along with some other powerful covers that have delighted audiences for decades now.) It'll be one of the best shows you'll see all summer if you can catch The Ides Of March at any of these upcoming dates:
June 26th - Summer Concert Series; Erie, PA
June 27th - Summerfest; Cicero, IL
July 3rd - Elmwood Park Festival; Elmwood Park, IL (with The Buckinghams)
July 11th - City Fest; West Chicago, IL
July 12th - Summerfest; McHenry, IL
August 1st - Pig In The Pine Ribfest; St. Germain, WI
August 8th - Lemont, IL Block Party
August 9th - Northbrook, IL Summer City Series
August 13th - Fraze Pavillion; Kettering, Ohio (with The Edgar Winter Group)
August 15th - The Wood Dale Summer Street Fair; Wood Dale, IL
Click here: The Ides Of March Flash Intro

and Jimy Rogers, formerly of The Mauds, and now fronting Blue Truth ...
Saturday, June 27th - Gabe's Backstage Lounge; Highland, IL
Thursday, July 2nd - Deerfield, IL
Sunday, July 12th - Westmont Muddy Waters Blues Tribute; Westmont, IL
Saturday, August 1st - Aurora, IL; Rock The Fox
Thursday, August 6th - Evanston, IL
Friday, August 7th - Skokie, IL
Friday, August 21st - The Pavillion; Northbrook, IL
(More shows coming)
Click here: Blue Truth Chicago — Rock Soul & Blues — Tellin' Like It Is!

We're proud to promote ALL of our Chicagoland Artists and thank them from the bottom of our hearts for the GREAT music and memories they've given us over the years. Hope to see some of you out at some of these shows!!!


>>>A few weeks ago you mentioned how it would be so great to have all the 60's Chicago groups appearing on one stage. It did happened quite a few years ago (my memory is hazy but I would guess about 10-15 years) at Holiday Star Plaza. The show had the Ides of March, Shadows of Knight, Cryan' Shames, Ronnie Rice (but not the NC Six) but the real coup was getting Dennis Tufano (first time he appeared in ages!!! ... and I know he has recently surfaced last year back performing again) and, catch this ... the AMERICAN BREED (I BELIEVE IT WAS ALL THE ORIGINAL MEMBERS). It was a great show to say the least!! (Mike De Martino)

Mike, I am actually amazed that SO MANY Chicago heroes are performing for us all still! You should be ecstatic, for not many old locals perform regularly in most cities. I put the question to Gary Loizzo yesterday about any Breed reunion possibilities. We'll see if he answers. I mentioned to him that last week while listening to WGN's Nick Digilio show, i heard a jingle for "Terry's" and I knew it was him on lead singing. He responded that I had a good ear and that Terry had gotten a lot of mileage out of the jingle as he recorded it in 1977!!! WOW!! WLSClark

I put that show together at Star Plaza ... it was a great night of music. I've been talking to Gary Loizzo about joining us up on stage a few times this summer. I would love to get the lead singers from some of these other "Chicago Gold" Bands to come up on stage with us and sing a few of their hits. That's what it's all about ... and is why you'll see guys like Ronnie Rice and Dennis Tufano and Jimy Sohns and Jimy Rogers performing with The Shames this summer. It's all about keeping this music alive and these guys are great singers who should be up there doing their hits. Jim Pilster / J.C. Hooke / The Cryan' Shames

I couldn't agree with you more, Jimmy ... hope to be able to see ALL of our Local Heroes sometime this summer! (kk)