Friday, July 6, 2018

Music That Made Tony Marts Famous

Friday July 6


The Somers Point Beach concerts tonight feature the Music that Made Tony Marts Famous. 

From Conway Twitty, Bill Haley to Mitch Ryder, Bob Dylan and The Band, "The Music That Made Tony Mart's Famous" by The Tony Mart All stars...Bob Campanell, Danny Eyer, "Ernie T" Trionfo, Howard Isaacson, "Old School" Jimmy Glenn, Greg Pordin and Rich "Megahurtz" Kurtz, Musical Director.

Certainly Tony Marts was the center of the Rock and Roll universe at one time – and the music that came out of there is fantastic. Beginning with Spike Jones style and New Orleans schitck, through the Bill Haley and the Comets early rock and roll years, both before and after their fame. Then there was Levon and the Hawks ("The Weight," "The Night they Drove Old Dixie Down," "Up on Cripple Creek") who were taken out of there by Dylan when he “went electric,” and they were replaced by Mirch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels ("Devil with the Blue Dress") for that memorable  Labor Day weekend, 1965, one of the greatest summers on record.

When lawyer Harris Berman purchased Bay Shores some two deacedes later and razed it in 1982, he built the Waterfront, a restaurant that didn’t have live music on the menu. Then Berman turned his eyes across the street and purchased Tony Marts, but not before Eddie and the Cruisers hit town. By then Tony was getting old, and the club was mainly run by his two sons Tony and Carmen and their sister.

Of all the songs that made Tony Marts famous I recall “Fire On the Water,” that the bands played so loud it echoed down Bay Avenue and across the bay waters.
Bill Haley’s “Rock Around the Clock,” the first rock & roll song to make number one on the Pop Charts during the summer of 1955, had been released a year earlier as the B side to another forgettable song. But the ten year old son of actor Glenn Ford liked it and played it over and over on the little 45 rpm record player in his bedroom. When the director of  the movie The Blackboard Jungle visited actor Glenn Ford, and heard the song, he made it the opening song during the credits of the movie, about teenage juvenile delinquents.

With the release of the movie that summer, the song went to the top of the charts, as they “like a bullet,” and Bill Haley and the Comets went from the Hofbrau nightclub in Wildwood to Ocean City Convention Hall, the Dick Clark Show, Ed Sullivan, fame and glory.

But after a few other hits, and many popular world tours, Bill Haley and his Comets found their way back to the Jersey Shore and Tony Marts and played often.

After the costumed Comets and the suit and tied Hawks, the music took a decisive psychedelic twist and the bands discarded their costumes and jackets, grew their hair long, and preferred t-shirts to ties, like the Monkey Men.

By the time the last summer at Tony Marts came around, Tony had pretty much retired to his classic, eclectic house next door  (That was recently torn down), while the new generation ran the show at the club.

And just as a movie made “Rock Around the Clock” a hit, a movie came in to preserve Tony Marts, if only on celluloid.

The soundtrack for “Eddie and the Cruisers” included three hit songs that are on the Tony Marts hit list – “On the Darkside,” “Wild Summer Nights” and “Tender Years,” all performed by The Beaver Brown Band, who Carmen brought in to play the Somers Point Beach.

Once Tony Marts was gone, and Egos disco – no live music – was built in its place, it appeared that Somers Point “Rock and Roll” era had come to an end.
But then Nick Regine and others put together the Somers Point Beach Concerts, to keep the live music tradition going and Carmen Marotta leades the team that books the bands, as well as the free Wednesday night concerts at Kennedy Plaza on the Atlantic City Boardwalk.

While both concert venues will host some really terrific major touring acts – Marchia Ball, Taj Mahal and others, it is truly refreshing for the best local musicians and entertainers to perform on the same stage.

The music that  made Tony Marts famous is a great opportunity to feature these locals – the Tony Marts All-Stars – led by Bob Campanell, and featuring guitarist Danny Eyer, the guitar doctor Ernie “T.” Trionfro, drummer Greg Pordin, “Old School” Jimmy Glenn, smooth sax man Howard Isaacs and Rich “Megahurtz” Kurtz, who is described as the music director.

I know Bob Campanell played Tony Marts because the first time I saw him lead the Shakes at Mothers all night joint, he did a song that led into a short monologue with a steady back beat – telling the story of playing an audition at the place on Bay Avenue, where the boss took his cigar out of his mouth and said, “Youse Fired!” – then kicking into a splendid, hard hitting “Hit the Road Jack!” – and never come back no more, no more.

Bob and the Shakes came down from Asbury Park to the South Jersey Shore, something that the other singer-songwriter from Asbury Park never did, at least to perform.

With his band, that includes the incomparable guitarist Danny Eyer, Bob will blow you away on the beach and boardwalk. Solo, he plays often at happy hour at the Tuckahoe in at Beesley's Point. He still keeps his solid and flowing guitar riffs and smooth vocals to play many of the same songs – the songs that made Tony Marts famous, and the Jersey Shore the epicenter of the rock and roll universe, at least at one time.

For more on Somers Point Beach Concerts see: Somers Point Beach Concerts - William Morrow Beach

For more on the Memorable Summer of 1965 see:

Here's pix of Bob, playing guitar, and with that other guy from Asbury Park. 
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Friday, June 29, 2018

Billy Walton Band


Somers Point Beach - Free Concert Tonight - Friday June 29


Recently back from another tour of Europe, where they have a growing fan base, the Billy Walton Band puts ashore at the Somers Point Beach tonight, and are set to play the Jersey Shore bar circuit for the summer before invading Europe again in the fall.

Ten years in the making, Billy Walton thanks his mother for bringing him along to see the LBI bar bands when he was just a kid, and now he's the hottest guitarist and band leader at the Shore - and there is no second.

After slinging his guitar with Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes for a number of years, Billy headed out on his own, putting together a tight band around his stnadout guitar and vocals. There's William Paris, Walton's longtime bass guitarist and sometimes vocalist, who is known as William Paris since there's only one Billy in this band.

Backed by drummer Johnny D'Angeloand a hot horn section that provides the emphasis to most songs, Billy Walton makes his guitar shine on some classic tunes while promoting his own original songs that will someday be considered classics.

With his signature Chuck Taylor Converse All-Star black high tops, Billy moves around the stage with confidence, and his band takes his cue to move from one song to another in really moving sets that seem to go too quickly. There's no pause between songs to figure out what they're going to do next, they just plow through each set from beginning to end without stopping.

This band, after over two dozen trips abroad, this band is a great representative of real Jersey Shore Rock & Roll, and like many other bands, maybe they are better appreciated in Europe than they are at home, though the local fans are slowly catching on.

After the free Somers Point beach concert tonight - Friday June 29, they put into the Borgata Beer Garden tomorrow, do Mott's Creek on July 1, and play JFK Plaza on the Atlantic City Boardwalk on July 4th.

Other dates include: Laguna Grill in Brigantine on July 6, Tuckerton on July 7, and Breezes Bar at the Viking Boat works dock on July 9. They come back to play the Somers Point Beach with Devon Allman on July 20, do Borgata the following day and a double header at Golden Nugget Rush Lounge the same night.

I will keep you posted on where and when they will be playing throughout the summer.

Latest Album - "Soul of a Man" 

William Paris and Billy Walton Jiving Together Live 

Friday, June 22, 2018

Beaver Brown Band

John Cafferty and the Beaver Brown Band

Tonight's free Somers Point Beach Concert features John Cafferty and the Beaver Brown Band, made famous for doing the movie soundtrack for Eddie & the Cruisers, much of which was filmed at Tony Marts and the Somers Point vacinity.

The movie bombed at the box office, but when it appeared on HBO cable TV a year later, a new generation of youngsters started buying the soundtrack album and put three of the songs on the charts - "Wild Summer Nights," "On the Darkside" and "Tender Years."

Formed in 1972 at Narraghansitt, Rhode Island, they were a real garage band - taking their name from the Beaver Brown color paint cans they sat on in the garage. Establishing themselves as a popular college band, they made the local bar circuit and got some songs on the local radio before being asked to do the soundtrack for Eddie & the Cruisers.

As the story concerns an up and coming rock and roll band at the Jersey Shore, led by the dominating Eddie, the band lands a gig at Tony Marts, the Bay Avenue Somers Point nightclub that had reached its peak in the 1960s and by 1980 was for sale. The club was actually sold and was going to make its last summer run when the location scout for the movie learned about Tony Marts and booked it for the few weeks it took to make the movie.

Local pedestrians dressed in 50s outfits to get in the movie, and the author of the book P.F. Kluge came to town to watch some of the filming. He had been a Vineland high school teacher who frequented the Jersey Shore nightclubs when he wrote the book, and went on to teach college literature.

One major difference between the book and the movie is the book that "Wordman" - played by Tom Berringer in the film, gives to Eddie and inspires him. In the book Walt Whitman's "Leaves of Grass" is the book, and the band drives Eddie's 57 Chevy to Whitman's Camden home, that sits in the middle of a ghetto. In the movie Whitman is edited out and replaced by an eccentric European poet who reportedly faked his own death in order to live in obscurity, something that Eddie does in the followup film - Eddie Lives.

In any case, the movie accurately captures Tony Marts on celluloid as it was the last summer of its existence.

Bay Shores, the nightclub across Bay Avenue from Somers Point, was also purchased by attorney Harris Berman, who raized both clubs within a year of each other and on the bay built the Waterfront at the old Bay Shores site, and Egos nightclub where Tony Marts was located.

Both buildings still stand, the Waterfront a first class restaurant with a nice deck and soft jazz music on summer nights, while Egos is now owned by Dr. Trocki, the plastic surgeon who was also Mike Tyson's doctor in his corner at Atlantic City fights.

Trocki also purchased the old Point Pub, Corletto's and later Mayer's Marina and Egg Harbor Boats, all at distress auctions.

When the two rock and roll nightclubs - Bay Shores and Tony Marts were razed, and the live music era appeared to have come to an end, Nick Regina took a job with the city's school system and funneled some money razed from local business to bring live music back to Bay Avenue at the William Morrow beach.

Carmen Marotta, who played a bar tender in the Eddie and the Cruisers movie, has kept his hand in the music business through his Tony Marts Presents company that books the bands at both the Somers Point beach on Friday nights, and the bandstand at Kennedy Plaza on the boardwalk in Atlantic City on Wednesdays nights.

Carmen and Nancy Marotta go to New Orleans every year for the jazz fest and always bring back some really great acts - some of which are booked at one or both of the free outdoor venues this summer, including Marchia Ball, Johnny Sansone and Dwayne Dopsie and the Zydeco Hellraisers.

The first Somers Point beach concert last Friday featured Countdown to Ecstasy - a tribute to Steely Dan. If you missed the cover band, you can still catch the real deal as Steely Dan, at least half of the duo will perform at the Camden Pavillion and Borgatta in October.

Jersey Shore Nightbeat: SOMERS POINT BEACH CONCERTS 2018

Jersey Shore Nightbeat: Atlantic City Boardwalk Concerts at Kennedy Plaza 2018

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Atlantic City Boardwalk Concerts at Kennedy Plaza 2018

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On The Atlantic City Boardwalk at Kennedy Plaza • Wednesday Evenings @ 7PM
In the event of inclement weather all shows will be moved to The Showboat Hotel. 

Bring your festival chairs & dancing shoes!!

~ June 20th ~
New Orleans' Dirty Dozen Brass Band

~ June 27th ~
Legendary Gary US Bonds

~ July 4th ~
Springsteen’s Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame Drummer
Vini “Mad Dog” Lopez & The Billy Walton Band

~ July 11th ~
Marcia Ball & Her Band

~ July 18th ~
Reggae Stars Third World

~ July 25th ~
"The Weight" Tribute Band

~ August 1st ~
Johnny Sansone's "Jersey Gumbo"
Starring George Porter, Jr. & John Fohl

~ August 8th ~
John Cafferty & Beaver Brown Band
Original band from the movie "Eddie & The Cruisers" artists perform their hits “Tender Years,” “On the Darkside” and “Wild Summer Nights.”

~ August 15th ~
Shemeka Copeland Band
Chicago's Queen of the Blues

~ August 22nd ~
AC Airshow Funkfest Starring Ivan Neville & Dumpstafunk
Remember Jones Tribute To Amy Winehouse

  ~ August 29th ~
"Mad Dogs & Englishmen" by Remember Jones
Tribute to Joe Cocker, Beatles, Rolling Stones, & Leon Russell

~ September 5th ~
The "Maestro" Taj Mahal
Four Time Grammy Award winner spans 5 decades of music from his 1969 performance at Woodstock to perform the finale concert of the 2018 CRDA Concert Series in 2018.  Taj Mahal recently won his 4th Grammy for his collaboration with Keb Mo on “Tajmo”  - Taj received 4 Blues Hall of Fame Foundation Awards.  Fans have followed his incredible career for nearly 50 years with many remembering “Gone Fishin’ Blues” performed at Woodstock.

For more info call 609-653-6069
or Email 




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COUNTDOWN TO ECSTASY 11 Great Musicians Performing a Tribute to Steely Dan

June 22

John Cafferty & The Beaver Brown Bande...Original Multi-Million Selling "Eddie & The Cruisers" Recording Artists; "Big Bob" Ernano & The Brandon Ireland Band; Somers Point Historical Society Night

June 29

THE BILLY WALTON BAND Our Own Jersey Shore Rock & Soul Guitar Hero & "Asbury Juke"

July 4

"JERSEY GIRLS DO IT RIGHT" Tribute to Female Pop Rockers starring Patty Blee, Geri Mingori, Ci Bon, Sunday Grasso, Rosie "O'reilly" Gazarra with The Tony Mart Allstars
July 6

From Conway Twitty, Bill Haley to Mitch Ryder, Bob Dylan and The Band, "The Music That Made Tony Mart's Famous" by The Tony Mart Allstars...Bob Campanell, Danny Eyer, "Ernie T" Trionfo, Howard Isaacson, "Old School" Jimmy Glenn, Greg Pordin and Rich "Megahurtz" Kurtz, Musical Director
July 13

MARCIA BALL & HER BAND Grammy Nominated, Muti-Award Winning Swamp Boogie Piano Queen
July 20

THE DEVON ALLMAN PROJECT AND THE BILLY WALTON BAND The Devon Allman Project, Living Legacy Of Southern Rock and Blues; The Billy Walton Band, Jersey Shore Rock & Soul Guitar Hero
July 27

Sgt. Pepper/51 White Album/50, starring Glen Burtnik from Styx, Elo and Beatlemania
Aug. 3

LOUISIANA HOUSE ROCKIN' PARTY Starring New Orleans Award Winner Johnny Sansone and Grammy Nominated Dwayne Dopsie & The Zydeco Hellraisers
Aug. 10

CHESS RECORDS TRIBUTE Muddy Waters, Buddy Guy, Howlin' Wolf and John Lee Hooker performed by The Nick Moss Band with Special Guests "Little Charley" Baty and Dennis Gruenling
Aug. 17

THE DANE ANTHONY BAND Premier Party Dance Band...Motown, Elvis Presley, Fats Domino, Dance Favorites
Aug. 24

Country Rock, Reggae, Classic Rock and "Parrothead" Favorites
Aug. 31

WORLD RENOWN BONERAMA WITH DAVE MALONE FROM THE RADIATORS Brassy Funk, Fishhead Funk, New Orleans R&B, Classic Rock and Roll
Sept. 2

THE ORIGINAL COWSILLS FAMILY BAND & CLASSIC POP TRIBUTE Performing their Multi-Million Selling Pop Hits "Hair", "Indian Lake", "The Flower Girl"; Classic Pop Tribute by Dr. Phil & The Heart Attacks
Sept. 7

Multi-Award Winning, Grammy Nominated Son of Clifton Chenier, The Father of Electric Zydeco

Live Events For more info call 609-653-6069 or Email TONYMARTO@AOL.COM

Saturday, May 26, 2018

Josie Kellys Public House

Josie Kellys Public House

Image result for Macs Somers Point

At some point in his life every Irishman wants to own his own bar, and for Dermot Lloyd that time has come.

Originally from Limerick, Ireland, Dermot attended college in Birmingham England, where he studied Hospitality and Business Management. He worked in first class hotels and managed the West Gate Pub in Cork, Ireland before being recruited by a group of Irishmen who opened a series of Irish pubs called Ri Ra, a Gaelic saying that loosely translates to "King of Good Times."

After opening new Ri Ra pubs in Atlanta, Charlotte and in Atlantic City at the Trop, he has gone out on his own and is now preparing to open Josie Kelly's Public House in Somers Point.

Jose Kelly's is not a franchise, and is named after Dermot's paternal grandmother, who was from Adare, County Limerick, but she won't be paying the bills or taxes, as only her Irish spirit carries on.

After looking for the right location for a few years and missing a few opportunities, Dermot came upon the shutted Sandi Point, that most people remembrer as Mac's.

Taking it's name from the original owner named Harold Megronigle, - that Dermot says is an Ulster Irish name. The building began as a Clam Bar off the alley until Megronigle opened Mac's in 1924.  But after it was sold to the Previti family, Italians from the Ducktown section of Atlantic City, it became famous for its Italian cusine, but kept the Mac's name for the 60 years they ran the place.

For many years it was one of five - first class five star restaurnats in Somers Point, along with Daniel's (Antolini), Harry's Inn (Buddy Styer) - now Clancy's By the Bay, Chi Chi's (another Previti) and the Crab Trap (the only survivor). Dermot hopes to reestablish that legend.

Dermot and his wife Kathleen, who is from Atlantic City, have two sons - Seamus and Cal, and recently moved into a new house in Linwood where the Previtii family lived, so they feel a spiritual bond with the family that ran the place so successfully for many years.

They liked the big building with a parking lot, large bar room, comfortable dining room, side ballroom for special events, and a small upstairs bar that Dermot will one day convert into a Whiskey lounge. Having been schooled in the history and processing of the strong drink, and acquiring an official Whiskey degree, he knows his stuff.

After the Previti family era ended, Sandi Point was operated by a husband and wife team who had previously managed the first class Smithville Inn. Redecorating the old Mac's with a granite bar and wall to wall carpets and fine dining, they failed to bring the first class clientel back, and closed two years ago.

Since a typical Irish pub doesn't sport a granite bar and wall to wall carpets, they were the first to go as Dermot imagined what he could do to bring the Irish motif to life, and decided on Mahogany bars and to add a few fireplaces.

"At the very heart it's a local bar in a nice neighborhood,"  Dermot says in his thick Irish brogue while taking a break from the redecorating. "It must be relevant to the community, a vibrant place, and I just want to feed into that and fit in."

After having a vacant business next to them for two years, the Gregorys are glad to see the Irish move in, as competition only raises the bar and helps businss. Gregory Gregory says, "The best seasons we've ever had - everyone had a great year."

"I'm not trying to be a Crab Trap or a Gregory's, Charlie's or Anchorge," says Dermot, "I will learn from them to see how they've thrived y the community for so long, and try to fit in among them with my own theme, and work side by side with those guys. I'm going to anchor down, get settled in, and learn how to be a local like them."

According to Dermot, "The elements of an Irish pub is its a place to meet friends, have a drink and something to eat, listen to music and enjoy sports, and I'm sports crazy!"

Although he wanted to be open by late June and have his friends Derick Warfield and the Wolftones open the place, their tour dates now preclude that from happening, but he will be open for the second round of the World Cup football, and will have TVs covering the local sports as well, including baseball, soccer and golf.

"When you walk into an Irish pub," Dermot says, "there's businesmen in suits and ties at a corner table, some men in work clothes at the bar, and some young people meeting to go out on the town for the night, and they all coexist in the same place."

Irish music will be part of the deal, especially during Sundays typical Irish brunch, as everyone whose been to Ireland knows that breakfast is the biggest meal of the day.

"Irish cusine is no longer just meat and potatoes," he says, as Ireland has seen an influx of major Eurpean chefs, and "every time I go back it's improved, adding different elements to what is now Irish cusine."

Having been to an English culinary school himself, and his mother Margarete being a retired culinary school teacher, the motif will be casual but the cusine will be first class. The menu, he says, will be a hybird of American standards and traditional Irish, with hamburgers and sandwiches along with Irish brisket, Shepards pie and stew.

Besides the Irish and Scotch whiskeys, there will be a variety of good beers on tap, Guinness of course, as well as Smithwicks, Harp and Red Ale.

There will be a happy hour on weekdays and afternoon tea will be served from 2-6pm.

Josie Kelly's Public House will not be a seaonsal establishment, when they open in early July they will  stay open all year, as they are in it for the long run.

As they announced themselves on social media with a quote from William Butler Yeats: "There are no strangers here, just friends who haven't met yet."