Ten lost souls in a sad café Prayin’ like hell to keep the devil away
Me all alone at a microphone
Tryin’ to get my song to the heart of the audience
I was trudging down Broadway in the rain back in 1981, my umbrella in front of me against the wind. When I literally ran into Marshal Rosenberg who was trudging up Broadway. Our umbrella’s smashed into one another and we bounced back on our heels in a real Three Stooges moment. OK, a Two Stooges moment.
“Wow, I was just thinking about you”, he said “’cause Tom Rush needs a bass player and you can sing too! I told him he should call you.” Well, OK then. Eight million people in the Naked City and I literally run into a life-changing gig, just like that.
Marshal and I became Tom’s rhythm section and for the next 15 years we did some amazing shows including the now legendary Club 47 Concert Series. We played at Symphony Hall in Boston, The Kennedy Center, Carnegie Hall, numerous sheds and festivals, a PBS special and other TV shows. The Club 47 shows featured guest artists like: Steve Goodman, Emmy Lou Harris, Bonnie Raitt, Judy Collins, David Bromberg, Mimi Farena, Maria Muldaur, Christine Lavin, Patty Larkin, Shawn Colvin, Jennifer Warnes, Peter Rowan, even Bo Diddley showed up once. It was a travelling tent show, a veritable who’s who of Americana and we backed up everyone.
Tom had a circle of musicians in his band including David Buskin and Robin Batteau. I had known them from working and hanging out at the various NYC music clubs uptown and in The Village.
Around that time David and Robin landed staff writing jobs with two different music production companies and were about to change the Ad Music landscape of American broadcasting with killer hooks like: “The Heartbeat of America” (Chevrolet), “Be All That You Can Be” (The US Army), “Good Times Great Taste” (McDonalds), “Your True Voice” (AT&T) and so many other campaigns that you’d be hard pressed to turn on a radio or TV and NOT hear one of their tunes.
That success gave them freedom to promote their own careers. Marshal and I tagged along for the ride and the four of us had a ball. We were selling out shows up and down the East coast. What kept the audience coming back however, were not the jingles. It was their songs and their personalities. They are two of the smartest songwriters I ever met: intelligent lyrics paired with glorious melodies and rich harmony. Equal parts vaudevillians and troubadours, their performances can leave and audience in tears of laughter or emotion. Honestly, if I didn’t see it with my own eyes I wouldn’t believe it either! They are eclectic and unique that’s for sure.
Stuff happens, careers evolve and people move on.
Maybe it's my destiny
Maybe it's my star
Maybe I'm just too dumb to quit
Since those days we’ve stayed in touch and seen each other from time to time. We did the occasional recording session or a show now and then. Marshal was in the Bacon Brothers with me for 10 years. We all stayed in the biz and continued to make music. In fact, for the last five or six years B&B have reunited with Marshal and tour as a trio. They’re out there reconnecting with old fans and finding new ones. They even cut a great new record called Love Remembered, Love Forgot produced by Neale Eckstein.
David Buskin, Robin Batteau and Marshal Aaron Rosenberg out in the the sun “in a field full of folkies”!
Last May they invited me to join them for a show. It was the most fun I’ve had with my clothes on in a long time. So we booked a date at The Turning Point on November 14. I’ll be opening and they’ll join me on a couple of my tunes then I’ll join them for a full set.
Well that old '68 keeps jumpin' the track
And if the women don't kill me I'll keep comin' back
To the only lover I never deceived, the one that I just can't leave
The heart of the audience
- from "The Heart Of The Audience by Buskin and Batteau
I can’t wait to sing and play with my old friends again. Hope to see you there.
No YouTube video can do them justice but check out classic B&B gems like: “Guinevere”, “When I Need You Most Of All”, “Boy With The Violin”, “Outside” or “These Nights”. It’s songwriting of the highest caliber.