The Vinyl Dialogues Blog

Stories behind memorable albums of the 1970s as told by the artists

Category: The Vinyl Dialogues Book Page 4 of 16

Were it not for thin walls, England Dan & John Ford Coley’s biggest hit wouldn’t have happened

Sometimes, thin walls can be a good thing. For England Dan (Seals) & John Ford Coley, thin walls were responsible for making “I’d Really Love to See You Tonight” a hit single.

After being dropped by A&M Records in early 1976, the duo wandered for a year or so, not because they were lost, according to Coley, but because they were perfecting their craft in the hopes of landing another record deal. And then their manager, Susan Joseph, brought them the song, “I’d Really Love to See You Tonight,” written by Mississippi-based songwriter Parker McGee.

“We really didn’t want to do it,” said Coley in an interview for The Vinyl Dialogues Volume I, which features a chapter on the making of the duo’s 1976 album, Knights are Forever. “We thought it was more of a female song. But our manager said, ‘Please try it,’ so we did.”

They brought … Read more

Seeing the original Jersey Boy Frankie Valli live: Oh, what a night!

While sitting around killing time, people watching and shooting the breeze before the Frankie Valli concert Saturday night, Feb. 9, at the Hard Rock Casino in Atlantic City, it occurred to me that we were about to witness a quintessential New Jersey event.

Here was the original Jersey Boy performing at a casino in the state’s premiere entertainment town, a town in which he’s played for nearly 60 years. It’s as classic a scene as the Rat Pack playing the Sands in Las Vegas in the early 1960s. If you’re gonna see Frankie Valli live — especially for the first time like we were — what better place than at a casino in Atlantic City, N.J.?

So I said to The Blonde Accountant, “Why wouldn’t the cast of The Sopranos show up tonight to support one of their own?” Given that the iconic HBO series about a New Jersey crime … Read more

The story of the Bar-Kays will be forever tragically linked to Otis Redding

Otis Redding had just finished a show at the Mid-South Coliseum in Memphis, Tennessee, and wanted to check out the local music scene in the spring of 1967.

So he started asking people what the hottest club in town was at the time and was told there was a place called the Hippodrome that was currently featuring a young band called the Bar-Kays.

Redding made his way to the Hippodrome to check out the Bar-Kays and was so impressed with the band that he sat in for a set.

“He was so amazed when he sat in with us that he asked us if we would be his touring band right then,” said James Alexander, the young bassist for the Bar-Kays, which also included Ronnie Caldwell on electric organ, Phalon Jones on saxophone, Jimmy King on guitar, Carl Cunningham on drums and trumpeter Ben Cauley. “But we were underage and … Read more

With George Martin producing, America was always looking for the ‘egg-and-bacon’ take

It wouldn’t be an America concert if it didn’t include the mention of George Martin. And the band’s Dec. 7, 2018, concert at the Santander Performing Arts Center in Reading, PA, would be no different.

So just how did legendary Beatles producer Martin end up working with the Dewey Bunnell, Gerry Beckley and Dan Peek of America? And what role did bacon and eggs play in that pairing?

As detailed in Volume I of The Vinyl Dialogues, there were days during long recording sessions when Dewey Bunnell would look forward to the “egg-and-bacon take.”

Bunnell, Beckley and Peek were recording their fourth studio album, Holiday, in 1974 at AIR Studios in London. They were working with Martin, who had produced all of the Beatles’ original albums.

Bunnell remembers it as a special time. During the days of recording the album, he and his bandmates would frequent a little cafe in … Read more

The Hooters and The Doobie Brothers: Rushing the stage at any age

A weekend of rock and roll ended with me doing something I don’t normally do — rushing the stage for the band’s encore.

Of all the concerts I’ve seen, I don’t ever recall rushing the stage. I think that’s because I normally don’t sit close enough to the stage for most shows. I once sat in the front row for an oldies show and there was no place to rush to. I was already there. Mostly, though, I sit in the cheap seats, the ones so far away from the stage you’d need to hail a cab to get up front.

The other aspect is at this age, I don’t “rush” to go anywhere. I usually mosey, lumber, meander or traipse, with an occasional dilly-dally thrown in, and when I’m really motivated, a lollygag or two.

The music weekend kicked off Nov. 2 with a show by The Hooters, a … Read more

John Sebastian reminds us of the magic of The Lovin’ Spoonful at inaugural Pocono Folk Festival

Singer-songwriter and Rock and Roll Hall of Famer John Sebastian was the headliner for the inaugural Pocono Folk Festival Sept. 15 in Delaware Water Gap, Pennsylvania, and he reminded us – as he has for more than 50 years – just how good his band The Lovin’ Spoonful was in the mid- to late-1960s.

With hits like “Do You Believe in Magic,” “You Didn’t Have to Be So Nice,” “Daydream,” “Did You Ever Have to Make Up Your Mind,” Summer in the City,” Nashville Cats” and “Darling Be Home Soon,” Sebastian has written on his website that, “We were grateful to the Beatles for reminding us of our rock and roll roots, but we wanted to cut out the English middlemen, so to speak, and get down to making this new music as an ‘American’ band.” Which is exactly what the Spoonful did from 1965 to 1970

Sebastian is a … Read more

Still riding the ‘Love Train’ with The O’Jays

Kenny Gamble had written a song, but it wasn’t complete. He was stuck without a second verse, and he couldn’t quite get it.

But The O’Jays were in the studio – Sigma Sound Studios at 12th and Race in Philadelphia – and ready to go. They had already laid down nine other tracks for an album as well as the background vocals to the final song and were anxious to see how the rest of it would sound.

Gamble called for a five-minute break, left the recording booth and retired to a small back room at Sigma Sound to work on writing the second verse of the song.

The O’Jays – Walter Williams, Eddie Levert and William Powell – thought that a couple of songs for the album had the potential to be something special. They had a technique they used with background vocals – they would double and sometimes … Read more

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