New Jersey Stage
New Jersey Stage on social media


This article is from our magazine. To view it in its original format, click here

Sorrows And Promises:
Greenwich Village in the 1960s

By Gary Wien

originally published: 09/21/2015

Sorrows And Promises: Greenwich Village  in the 1960sA year before his fatal plane crash, Buddy Holly moved to an apartment in Greenwich Village where he recorded his final demos.  Like many local musicians, Holly used to perform in Washington Square Park.  Locals say he often went unnoticed, blending in as just another musician despite having songs on the top of the charts.  But he didn’t just live in the Village, unbeknownst to many music fans, Holly was also on top of the emerging folk scene.  

“The legend goes that he was going to the clubs, but especially The Village Vanguard,” explained Richard Barone.  “I live behind the Vanguard so when I first started reading about this it hit me that I’m in the middle of what was the hotbed of that activity.”

Barone, who became famous in the 1980s as part of the influential new wave band, The Bongos, is currently paying tribute to the artists in his neighborhood who helped usher in the singer-songwriter movement with a record called Sorrows & Promises: Greenwich Village in the 1960s.  The album begins with “Learning the Game” by Buddy Holly, one of the last songs he ever recorded.

The record features Barone reinterpreting songs by artists like Tim Hardin, John Sebastian, Phil Ochs, Eric Andersen, Janis Ian, Dion, and Bob Dylan.  Songs which were likely all written within a 5 blocks of where Barone has lived since the mid-1980s.  

He’s joined on the record by several guests including John Sebastian, Dion, Nellie McKay, and Alison Moorer. Mitchell Cohen, a long-time music critic and A&R executive (Arista, Columbia, and Verve) suggested the concept of the album to Barone and is working with him on selecting the material. Steve Addabbo (who has worked as a producer, engineer, and musician on albums by Suzanne Vega, Shawn Colvin, and Eric Andersen) is producing the record.



The article continues after this ad

 


Barone believes this was a pivotal period for songwriters; one in which artists began singing songs that they wrote about their own lives and situations.

“It was so direct,” said Barone.  “That was a new thing then.  Now we just take it for granted when you hear a song on the radio that the artists wrote it themselves.  But in those days, that wasn’t the case… the days of the early singer-songwriter are exciting to me because it was true self expression — full and complete self expression and Buddy Holly was spearheading that.”

According to Barone, when The Bongos started out as a trio they were very influenced by The Crickets (Buddy Holly’s band).  He describes his band as trying to develop a sound that was akin to Buddy Holly meets Donna Summer.  The emerging clubs at the time were rock/disco clubs and so the band sought a sound that would be applicable at a dance club.

“We wanted to get a sound that was Buddy Holly which would translate to the beat people could relate to on the dance floor at the time,” said Barone.  “If you listen to early Bongos songs like ‘Glow in the Dark’ or even ‘The Bulrushes.’ Those songs were very influenced by Buddy Holly and the Crickets.”

The songs on Sorrows & Promises are ones that are somewhat lost in the history of the sixties because of the tremendous evolution of music — and recorded music — which took place during the decade.  While the sixties began with folk music featuring a guitar and maybe a harmonica, it ended with orchestral layers from bands like The Beatles and The Byrds.  Even songs by Dylan bore little resemblance to the bare bones approach he used at the start of the decade.

Together, the songs not only paint a portrait of the immense talent located within Greenwich Village at the time, but they symbolize the sixties as a whole.  And each has its own story such as Dion’s “The Road I’m On (Gloria),” which was an early B-side for the artist.

“I think (Dion) was touched when I told him I was going to do that song because it was an early song of his and not well covered,” explained Barone.  “It’s a very personal song.  It was a song to Gloria Stavers, who was the editor of 16 Magazine.  Dion and her were a couple. I believe the lyrics hint of a breakup, but also hint that he was taking a different path than he was as a pop singer.  He was taking on a more singer-songwriter path.  He’s singing, ‘The road I’m on won’t bring you home.’  I think he means he’s going to be his own musician and not necessarily what the Belmonts were.  That’s my interpretation and how I approached it when I sang it.  It’s another symbolic song about the singer-songwriter movement.”

The title of the record comes from a mashup of the first two songs - “Don’t Make Promises” by Tim Hardin and “Pack Up Your Sorrows” by Richard and Mimi Farina.

“I thought that was symbolic of the promise of the sixties and the sorrow of the sixties,” recalled Barone.  “Of course, the most important part of the record’s title for the public is ‘Greenwich Village of the 1960s’ because that says exactly where these songs came from - literally a few blocks radius from where I live.”

The Village has always been an artistic community and this record pays tribute to an important part of its history.  “It’s literally a village, a community, and that’s the spirit of this album,” continued Barone.  “This album is a musical reflection of that community.  All of the songs were likely written and performed for the first time here in the Village.”

Serendipitously, The Museum of the City of New York is currently presenting an exhibit entitled, “Folk City: New York and the Folk Music Revival,” which is a perfect companion to Barone’s album project.  The exhibit examines the City’s role as the center of the folk music revival from its beginnings in the thirties and forties to its heyday in the fifties and sixties, as well as its continuing legacy.  The exhibit is on display until January 10, 2016.

“New York, which has been the source of so much creativity throughout its history, was central to the folk music revival that swept the country and became one of the remarkable phenomena of the 20th Century,” said Susan Henshaw Jones, Ronay Menschel Director of The

Museum of the City of New York.  “Folk music spawned a whole culture, and the legacy continues today in New York and far beyond.  This exhibition and our related public programs explore the revival and will let visitors experience it in a fascinating and joyous way.”

Two of the public programs will showcase artists from the Sorrows & Promises album.  The first is a performance by Eric Andersen on Friday, November 6.  The second is a special performance by Richard Barone based on the album on Thursday, December 3.  Both shows will take place at The Museum of the City of New York (1220 Fifth Avenue).

“Even though I love writing songs and doing albums of songs that I wrote, this gives me a whole other way of working,” said Barone.  “I’m interpreting such a large body of work. It’s not just doing a cover song on an album, it’s a whole album of covers that are specifically from my neighborhood.  It’s so important that songs outlive their composers, that they continue to be interpreted and embraced as the classics that they are.”





For more by this author, click here






Daniil Trifonov performs Schumann's Piano Concerto in NJSO debut
(NEWARK, NJ) -- Daniil Trifonov, Musical America’s 2019 Artist of the Year, performs Schumann’s Piano Concerto in his NJSO debut, January 25–27, in the final program of the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra’s 2019 Winter Festival, “Music Speaks.” Music Director Xian Zhang conducts the program, which also features Strauss’ Also sprach Zarathustra and the NJSO premiere of Scriabin’s Poem of Ecstasy. Performances take place on January 25 at 8:00pm at NJPAC in Newark, January 26 at 8:00pm at State Theatre New Jersey in New Brunswick and January 27 at 3:00pm at Mayo Performing Arts Center in Morristown.
Audible and NJPAC Present "Jazz in the Key of Ellison"
(NEWARK, NJ) -- The New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC) and Audible have announced the first three national performance dates of “Jazz in the Key of Ellison,” celebrating the musical world of the esteemed African-American novelist, critic and scholar Ralph Ellison and his remarkable collection of jazz recordings.
Centenary Stage Presents Michael Davis and the New Wonders
(HACKETTSTOWN, NJ) -- Centenary Stage Company’s annual January Thaw Music Festival returns to the Lackland Performing Arts Center featuring three musical guest artists throughout the month of January. The series launches on Saturday, January 12, 2019 at 8:00pm in the Lackland Performing Arts Center with Michael Davis and the New Wonders.
Billy Joel to Celebrate 70th Birthday at MSG
(NEW YORK, NY) -- The Madison Square Garden Company announced that the 64th consecutive show by legendary musician and MSG franchise, Billy Joel, on Thursday, May 9, 2019 takes place on his 70th birthday! The  show will be Joel’s 110th all-time performance at The Garden.
Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Presents Motor City Live: A Motown Christmas
(ATLANTIC CITY, NJ) -- Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City has extended Motor City Live: A Tribute to Motown through the month of December with a special Motor City Live: A Motown Christmas. Along with your favorite Motown classics, you’ll hear some Motor City versions of your favorite Holiday songs sprinkled in like “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” from The Temptations, Aretha Franklin’s “Winter Wonderland,” “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus” and “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” from the Jackson 5, Smokey Robinson’s “Jingle Bells” and much more.


Melissa Etheridge LIVE! at the State Theatre
The lobby of the State Theatre in New Brunswick, NJ, is buzzing with activity this Friday, November 30, 2018 evening as rock music fans ready themselves for a special Holiday Show by singer/songwriter Melissa Etheridge!
Join The Greater South Jersey Chorus For "A Winter's Night" (Or Afternoon)
The holidays bring many special things and, for me, one of the best is the music. It sets a mood, invokes memories, soothes the soul and provides a seasonal soundtrack for my life.
An Interview with Chip Davis Of Mannheim Steamroller Christmas
You can experience the magic of the holidays — Steamroller-style — when Mannheim Steamroller Christmas by Chip Davis makes a tour stop this Thursday, December 6, 2018, at New Brunswick, NJ’s historic State Theatre.
Max Weinberg’s Jukebox LIVE! at the Grunin Center
Something is different about tonight’s November 18, 2018 concert at Toms River, NJ’s Grunin Center for the Arts starring Max Weinberg, celebrated drummer from Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band!
PHOTOS: Matt O'Ree Band at The Stone Pony in Asbury Park
(ASBURY PARK, NJ) -- The Matt O'Ree Band returned to The Stone Pony in Asbury Park on Friday, November 16 and photographer Estelle Massry of Coucou Photography was on hand to take some photos.  David Bryan from Bon Jovi was one of the special guests that night.






Event calendar
Saturday, Dec 15, 2018


MUSIC

DOWNSTREAM @ The Saint, Asbury Park - 7:30pm

LIFE OF AGONY/SICK OF IT ALL @ The Stone Pony, Asbury Park - 6:30pm

JOHNNY O @ Lobby Bar at Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Atlantic City, Atlantic City - 10:00pm

WEIRD SCIENCE @ Hard Rock Cafe at Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Atlantic City, Atlantic City - 10:00pm

The THE BAND Band @ Darress Theatre, Boonton - 8:00pm

Brian Fallon @ Crossroads (Garwood), Garwood - 8:00pm

KASHMIR THE LIVE LED ZEPPELIN SHOW @ The Strand Theater, Lakewood - 8:00pm

Holiday POPS! @ Richardson Auditorium in Alexander Hall, Princeton - 3:00pm and 6:00pm

TAKING BACK SUNDAY @ Starland Ballroom, Sayreville - 7:00pm

Classic Stones Live! The Complete Rolling Stones Tribute Show @ South Orange Performing Arts Center (SOPAC), South Orange - 8:00pm

The Beat Tells @ Lizzie Rose Music Room, Tuckerton - 7:30pm

The Metropolitan Opera: La Traviata @ Pollak Theatre @ Monmouth University, West Long Branch - 1:00pm







THEATRE

Elf, The Musical @ Surflight Theatre, Beach Haven - 2:00pm and 7:00pm and 7:30pm

A Christmas Story @ Pax Amicus Castle Theatre, Budd Lake - 8:00pm

An Actor's Carol @ Cape May Stage, Cape May - 3:00pm and 7:30pm

Seussical @ CDC Theatre, Cranford - 7:30pm

Peter Pan @ Axelrod Performing Arts Center, Deal Park - 7:30pm

A CHRISTMAS CAROL @ Bergen Performing Arts Center (bergenPAC), Englewood - 8:00pm

Irving Berlin's Holiday Inn @ Paper Mill Playhouse, Millburn - 1:30pm and 7:00pm

RODGERS & HAMMERSTEIN'S THE KING AND I - BASED ON THE LINCOLN CENTER THEATER PRODUCTION @ State Theatre New Jersey, New Brunswick - 2:00pm and 8:00pm

A Wonderful Life @ Broadway Theatre of Pitman, Pitman - 8:00pm

Junie B. Jones The Musical at Black Box PAC @ Black Box PAC, Teaneck - 11:00am

A Charlie Brown Christmas @ Studio Playhouse Upper Montclair, Upper Montclair - 1:30pm and 3:30pm

Hudson Theatre Works presents "And My True Love Gave To Me" @ Hudson Theatre Works, Weehawken - 8:00pm


COMEDY

Louie Anderson @ Mainstage @ Union County Performing Arts Center (UCPAC), Rahway - 8:00pm


DANCE

NEW JERSEY BALLET’S NUTCRACKER WITH NEW JERSEY SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA @ Mayo Performing Arts Center (MPAC), Morristown - 1:00pm and 6:00pm

Forces of Nature Dance Theatre with special guest Sweet Honey In The Rock @ Victoria Theater @ New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC), Newark - 2:00pm and 7:30pm


FILM

Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas in Concert Live to Film @ Prudential Hall @ New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC), Newark - 2:00pm and 7:30pm

View all events










 






















For more on our awards, click here








New Jersey Stage © 2018 by Wine Time Media, LLC | PO Box 140, Spring Lake, NJ 07762 (732) 280-7625 | info@newjerseystage.com

Images used on this site have been sent to us from publicists, artists, and PR firms.
If there is a problem with the rights to any image, please contact us and we will look into the matter.