After seven months of doing children’s music, it’s always a treat to get together with the Gordys and play some old-fashioned grown-up Rock’n’Roll. The Gordys are a rag-tag collection of local folks like me who love to sing and play when the kids are otherwise occupied. Over the years we’ve managed to accumulate guitarists, bassists, keyboardists, sax players, singers, even an accordionist. And we’ve managed to put together a nice repertoire of tunes that we’ve played up and down the lengths of Hoboken (plus one show in Bayonne).
This was our fourth annual concert at Sinatra Park on the banks of the Hudson River. We went with a “greatest-hits” set, rehashing some of our greatest tunes rather than wasting valuable rehearsal time on new material.
This year we had a one-hour set following local rock star Bill McGarvey. He did two songs that I’d been thinking of bringing to the Gordys—”American Girl” by Tom Petty, and The Pixies’ “Here Comes Your Man.” Thank goodness I didn’t push for those tunes—that’s the musical equivalent of wearing the same dress as the hostess at a party.
We did our best Beatles, Springsteen and even the Partridge Family, in front of a huge crowd (I think the entire congregation of the Synagogue comes every year). This year’s band was made up of Howard Olah-Reiken (guitar, vocals); Rob Harari (keyboards, trumpet); Adam Laden (guitars, sax, vocals); Pamela Strell (vocals, percussion); Barbara Arnett (accordion); Christopher Speich (drums); me (guitars, harmonica, vocals); and new member Justin Micheal on bass, replacing the semi-retired Jorge Fernandez.
We only had three or four big rehearsals before the set. I think the combination of talented musicians playing the songs they love made for a beautiful, entertaining night. The two big highlights were the ever-popular klezmer set, and a guest appearance by Geri Fallo and her friend Wendy Setzer. We’d been badgering Geri for an entire year (literally, we began about an hour after we finished the 2007 Gordys show) to get up and sing with us, and finally she relented. Not only did she agree to sing with us (provided she could bring a friend for moral support), she surprised the whole band by choosing a They Might Be Giants song, “The Sun is a Mass of Incandescent Gas.”
Thus are legends born.
Photos courtesy of Jeffery Vock
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