Friends in Music-Back to the City 2 / Various
FRIENDS IN MUSIC SONGS & MUSICIANS 1. Quarter To Three -- The Big Fun Band - Bruce Gray, lead vocals; Randy Anderson, guitar, George Bell (special guest) saxophone; Nicky Bonis, bass; Woody Nordan, guitar; Chris Jones, keyboards; and Ralph Copley, drums. (See "jive talkers" in text below) 2. Working For My Baby -- The Big Fun Band. Bruce Gray, vocals; Randy Melton, keyboards; Mike Jones, guitar; Nicky Bonis, bass; and Larry Emmanuel, drums. Lenis Guess is an absolute hero in Norfolk music circles. We wish he would come home more often! (Recorded at Cyber Sounds studio, Chesapeake, Va. Randy Melton - recording engineer and participating musician for the Jack Armistead production) 3. I Shall Be Released -- Lewis McGehee, guitar and vocals; Marsha McGehee, harmony vocals. 4. Maybe It Doesn't Matter -- Mowbray Arch. Woody Nordan, guitar; Jack Armistead, tenor guitar; Angela Furr, keyboards; Nicky Bonis, bass; Tony Mirabile, drums; Lead vocals by Peggy Debellis Bruce; harmony vocals by Diana Berry and Jennifer Scharle Phipps. 5. Orange Blossom Special -- Charlie Austin, violin. Recorded at HearHere Sound Services, Quilcene, Wa. by Tom Brown. This track courtesy of Charlie Austin from his "Home Again" CD. 6. Darkest Hour -- The Big Fun Band. Bruce Gray, vocals; Randy Anderson, guitar; Nicky Bonis, bass; Chris Jones, keyboards; and Ralph Copley, drums. 7. I Hear Her Calling My Name -- The Big Fun Band. Nicky Bonis, vocals and bass guitar; Randy Anderson, guitar; Woody Nordan, guitar; Chris Jones, keyboards; and Ralph Copley, drums. 8. Own Up -- Starlight Blue. Jack Armistead, lead vocals and guitar; Woody Nordan, lead guitar; Diana Berry, solo bridge vocals and harmony; Rhonda Seymour, harmony; Randy Melton, keyboards; Nick Bonis, bass and backup harmony vocals; Robert Schley, saxophone; and Tony Mirabile, drums. 9. Hey Virginia! -- Lead vocals and guitar by Lewis McGehee; backup harmony vocals by Marsha McGehee. 10. Too Much, Too Little, Too Late! -- The Jailtones (of Norfolk, Va.) Bruce Gray, lead vocals; Nicky Bonis, vocals and bass; Ricky Winters, guitar; Randy Melton, keyboards; and Steve Morrisette, drums. (Randy Melton, recording engineer). When it comes to "jive talking," Peggy Debellis Bruce, Dickie Hoyt and I know how much fun it can be. We teamed up with Nicky Bonis and Bruce Gray to be the jive talkers on the remake of "Quarter To Three," as a tribute to Frank Guida, the legendary Norfolk, Va. producer. What great therapy it was! Gary U.S. Bonds (Gary Anderson) is a personal hero of mine. I knew The Big Fun Band could nail this song. Add guest saxophone player George Bell to the mix and hold on! What energy George provided. George beautifully filled the shoes of Gene Barge, the original sax player on the song in the 1960s and one of the greatest sax players in the history of rock and roll. Gene Barge is definitely one of our heroes from the past. George Bell is Daddy G in 2006! And what a vocal classic by Bruce Gray with a great band. Terrific drums by Ralph Copley and masterful work by guitarist Randy Anderson and keyboard player Chris Jones helped result in the magic of the 'Quarter to Three' remake. This compilation consists of 10 songs from some of the best local musicians in the Greater Norfolk, Va. area. The album was nominated for 'Album of the Year' in the Port Folio Weekly 2006 local music awards, quite an honor to all the musicians involved. I am so very proud to be the "friend in music" to the wonderful musicians on this CD. Charlie Austin, The Big Fun Band, Lewis and Marsha McGehee, Starlight Blue and Mowbray Arch. All entwined. Special thanks to Brad Rosenberg of Clay Garden Studio on Norfolk's Colley Avenue where most of these songs were recorded. His expertise speaks for itself. Thanks to Martha C. Wilson for the outstanding cover artwork. Martha's now living in LA. It was quite a moving experience for all involved in making this CD. There was a time delay because Peggy DeBellis (lead singer, Mowbray Arch) had a tree fall on her car during a severe thunderstorm and suffered a broken back. She was enthused when she was asked to be a part of this project. We waited six months for her to recover. She recovered and added her magic along with harmonizing vocalists Jennifer Scharle and Diana Berry. Lewis McGehee was once the opening act on a Bruce Hornsby tour. Lewis recruited his wife, Marsha, to sing harmony on his songs for Vol. II. She did the same in 1996 when the part one disc of 'Friends in Music' was recorded and featured Lewis' regional hits 'Katie Don't Go' and 'Lost In My Suffering,' both originally produced and recorded by Jac-Jen Publishing company. For this project I asked Lewis to record Dylan's 'I Shall Be Released' after hearing (Lewis) perform it live on the main stage at Norfolk's Town Point Park on the Elizabeth River for a 'Thank Goodness it's Friday (TGIF) concert on the Elizabeth River (The river that separates Norfolk, Va. from Portsmouth, Va.). I'll take the blame for his long guitar preludes. I wanted Lewis to show his fantastic talent picking his guitar. We had a blast in the studio - Marsha has the voice of an angel just like Jennifer Scharle, Diana Berry, Angela Furr and Peggy DeBellis (who I put together to form 'Mowbray Arch' to sing my song 'Maybe It Doesn't Matter.') They were fantastic. Lead guitar genius Woody Nordan, bass boss Nick Bonis, and drummer talent Tony Mirabile carried the song into a 'that's a neat little song' category. George Bell, an original Rhondel with the famous 'Bill Deal & The Rhondels' (The same Rhondels that did a remake of the Tams' 'I've Been Hurt' song in the 60s and 'May I' - originally by Maurice Williams and the Zodiacs), was also magical in the studio as he played the part that sax great Gene Barge did on the original recording of 'Quarter to Three.' The song was enhanced further in the remake by the great voice of Bruce Gray - a leader of the Big Fun Band along with bass playing talent Nicky Bonis. The energy in the studio that day was also magical. Fiddle player Charlie Austin once played with the great Box Car Willie in Branson. His solo version of 'Orange Blossom Special' is indeed unique. Starlight Blue, a seven member group put together for the song 'Own Up,' was led by guitar great Woody Nordan and yours truly. The song has been called a Rod Stewart sound alike in local reviews. Rhonda Seymour, co-writer of this song, provided great vocal help in the fade-out. Diana Berry came through like the angel she is in performing the female solo. Jack Armistead was hoarse that day and did indeed sound like Rod Stewart. (He's honored for the comparison to Rod Stewart). Nick Bonis added fun and fitting harmonizing vocals and shines throughout the song. Keyboard player Randy Melton, (Producer Armistead hired Randy as the recording studio engineer for this song), drummer Tony Mirabile and sax man Robert Schley were valuable players. The remake of 'Quarter to Three' is the first time that a Norfolk based band has performed the song on CD since it became a 1960s hit under the guidance of Frank Guida. So you might say this 'new Norfolk Sound' - is an authentic tribute to a bygone era in rock n' roll. Gary U.S. Bonds and Lenis Guess are two of my biggest heroes along with the late Joe Pope of the Tams (No song by Joe on this album but I just wanted to acknowledge him as a hero of mine in music) and also the late Norman Johnson of the early 1960's Showmen (and later with the Chairmen of the Board). I hereby dedicate this Volume II series of songs to all of our friends in music anywhere in the world that they might be. May music always be your friend and may we always be your friends in music! -- Jack Armistead, Producer.