Sunday, August 24, 2008

Billy Hector at the Hedger House

Billy Hector at the Hedger House - August 24 - 2008

After seeing Santana and Dylan I felt like I missed something, and maybe I did, but then I catch Billy Hector and I get it, and its great, and I think its not me afterall.

Billy's been playing irregularly at the Hedger House for some time now, and even though there's new owners, he seems to have came with the place, at least on some unlikely Sunday afternoons, outdoors, outback in the open barn, next to the bonfire pit.

The first couple times I caught Billy at the Hedger he played inside, where the accoustics are a little better, but in good weather the outdoor venue is just fine, even though Billy said he wasn't use to playing in the daylight, around the time he usually gets up after playing all night.

Billy's soaring guitar is backed by a power trio of drums and bass, usually a few guys who rotate shifts and fit in Billy's gigs whenever they don't have anything else to do, and this gig was special because it included Billy's old drummer Dan Hickey, along with standout bassist Winston Royce.

Billy was obviously glad to be back with Dan, who appears on some of Billy's recordings, and Winston seemed to be having a good time keeping up with them.

Kind of put off by Santana's Borgatta show earlier in the summer, expecting god inspired revelations, and after always being illuminated and being strangely disapointed in Dylan at the Electric Factory, a dose of Billy Hector is what I needed to get back into the grove.

You expect Santana and Dylan to reallly kick ass and take things to another level at the Big Time shows, and when it just doesn't happen, it's dissapointing, but Billy never dissapoints. He comes to play and put out.

With a repertoire of hundreds of classics, standards, blues, r & b and rock & roll tunes, you never know what he's going to do next, and it's always a good mixture, and doesn't get bogged down in any one style, however popular.

While the summer season is winding down, the Hedger House is just getting wound up. New owners, Neil and BJ Burns recently purchased the classic, historic roadhouse, and they're fixing up the joint. Opening up two doors from the main bar to what will be a new deck is the first thing you notice, but other things are happening behind the scenes.

If you notice, they're not only putting in a new deck, but the deck has an elevated stage that Neil promises will be utilized at least four nights a week. Niel's wife BJ, was a manager at the Atlantic City House of Blues (HOB) when they actually featured great blues artists, and she's booking the bands for the Hedger House. Maybe they can even put together a Hedger House Band?

The Hedger House is one of the oldest and most historic continously run businesses in the area. If you look at old maps of South Jersey, I mean going back to the 18th Century, you see vast areas of wilderness, and in the middle of it is the Hedger House. It must have been an early stagecoach stop, because it really has no other purpose for actually being there. Neil said that when he had a survey done and title search before buying the property, he was surprised at how far back it went.

It was also good to see some old friends who I never see anywhere else but at a Billy Hector show, where ever its at - John Cooch, his cuz Lisa and her friends, Jersey Central Iron club Prez Lutz, and music wiz Roger Beckwith, the editor of the classic, where you can keep up with Billy Hector and all the good bands that play live in South Jersey.

During a break I talked briefly with drummer Dan Hickey, who put on a show aside from the guitars, and he said he just got back from a tour of Europe with John Lewis Walker, an old bluesman who claims kinship with T. Bone. And Winston, the bassist, I understand, is playing in the orchestra in a Broadway play, so both of these sidemen are working hard.

At the end of his last set, someone requested "All Along the Watchtower," and having been dissapointed by Dylan, Billy, Dan and Winston got it going, and they were terriffic, and fixed my Dylan urgings.

And the Hector House, I mean the Hedger House, also featured $2 hot dogs and $3 burgers with cheese fries, and u-peel shrimp and other inexpensive muchies that will make going back there easy.

The Hedger House is back.

Billy will also be a featured attraction at this fall's Camp Jam in the Pines, Sept. 19 -20th, which I will update ASAP in a separate thread. But for the moment, it will feature, opening on Friday night, according to my man Cooch, Entrain playing Greatful Dead in reggae, as a spoof I suppose, before Billy Hector comes out and then Entrain as Entrain.

Having already boarded the train, I heard a recording of the laid back party band that hails from Martha's Vineyard and the Hamptons, and know a lot of people who grew up with Sam on trombone, whose from Linwood and went to Mainland HS, playing in the Mainland Mustang band. I was among those who lobbied to bring Entrain down from their usual haunts to play the Friday night beach concert in Somers Point, but they got caught on the Parkway and arrived real late. When they called down and said they were on the way, though waylaid, Nick Regine asked if there were any musicians in the audience. One guy had bongos in his car, another went home to get his sax, and pretty soon they had a neat jam going, and by the time Entrain got to town, they just joined the jam. Then they were asked to come back and play the Anchorage parking lot during a Bayfest, and they went pretty much under appreciated.

Also on the Camp Jam lineup are Corinne West, the Lovell Sistersw, the Ryan Montbleau Band and Ronnie Baker Brooks, the blues guitarist I seen at the Cape May jazz fest a few years back.

What a GREAT lineup!

Check it out at:

And call for tix (856) 206-3787 or 206-2888

In the meantime, stay out of trouble and tune in to some good music.

That's it from the Jersey Pines,


Camp Jam in the Pines Fall 2008

Camp Jam in the Pines Fall 2008

Jimmy Buffett in AC

Jimmy Buffett in AC.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Tony Marts Reunion September 6, 2008

Tony Marts Reunion - September 6, 2008 - Stumpos, 8pm

Announcement from Somers Point councilman Sean McGuigan:
It is with a very heavy heart that I issued the following:

The Good Old Days Festival Committee in conjunction with The Somers Point Office of Emergency Management has decided to cancel The Good Days Festival scheduled for Saturday September 6th in Kennedy Park. This decision was made after consulting with the Somers Point Recreation Commission and reviewing the forecast with The National Weather Service. There is severe weather forecasted for the duration of the day. There is no rain date at this time.

The “5K Walk/Run for Bud” that was scheduled for 9:00 AM Saturday will now be held at 9:00 AM on Sunday September 7th at Kennedy Park.


This Tony Marts Reunion thing is getting to be a twice annual affair, once in the early summer and then again at Stumpo's on the night of the Good Old Days Picnic. At least it's happened twice so far, they are now calling it an annual affair.

While I felt like I was at a nice wedding, rather than at Tony Marts, it's back to the ballroom at Stumpo's where last year we had a blast, with Terrence Simeon, the Zydaco King, dropping by after his hot show at the picnic and Bobby Campanell and Company jamming like the real good old days.

The Good Old Days Picnic at Kennedy Park, now in its 30th year, will feature three really good local bands of different colors - Hawkins Road, Bob Sterling and the Bubba Mac Blues Band, as well as Walter "Wolfman" Washington, who leads yet another hot New Orleans band.

Hawkins Road:

Bob Sterling:

Bubba Mac Blues Band:

More on Good Old Days Picnic:

The Tony Marts Reunion later that night will also feature, Walter "Wolfman" Washington and the Roadmasters, who will withoutadoubt make things happen.

They'll be playing tunes you know from Ray and Fats, and Bobby "Blue" Bland, who I remember seeing at the Club Harlem on Kentucky Avenue in Atlantic City and at the Academy Of Music in Philly, (both times with B.B. King). So I know the "Wolfman" is going to cover these guys great, and play some original tunes as well.

The Wolfman and the Roadmasters have won the Big Easy Award for Soul & Blues, and they continue to spread the New Orleans sound around, just as The Radiators did at the Picnic three years ago, and Terrence Simeon did last year, and I assume at a show I missed at the Ocean City Music Pier earlier this summer. Hey, I can't be everywhere.

You know, when Katrina hit, all those Big Easy musicians went on the road, and spread the word about the kind of music they play down there, and we've been lucky, thanks to Carmen and Nancy, to hear a lot of it at the Good Old Days and the Somers Point Beach on Friday nights.

For those who are going to New Orleans any time soon, you can catch the Wolfman play his guitar and howl at Tipitina's on occassion or more regularly at the The Bank Street Bar, where he has the Thursday night gig down pat, except when on tour, as they are at the moment. They're just getting back from the three-day Periguett Festival in France and the Jackson Hole Arts Fest, so they should be cookin'.

As one Cresent City reviewer put it, "Seeing Walter “Wolfman” Washington perform with his current outfit, the Roadmasters, is akin to taking a history lesson on black music in America with the exception that sitting down and taking notes is not an option. With his breadth of experience and seemingly endless repertoire, each of his highly danceable shows is one-of-a-kind. Like the greatest jazzmen, Washington channels his everyday life into his music. Depending on the setting, the band plays the blues, R&B, soul, funk, jazz and everything in between with pure heart."

What more can you ask for? If you're not yet convinced, check out:

As at all Tony Marts Reunions, besides really good music, there will be Tony Mart T-Shirts, a trivia and dance contest, full service bar and food available. Stumpo's Italian is great, as anyone whose done time in Cape May knows, and the Maryland Avenue Somers Point restaurant is convenient and has plenty of free parking (unlike Cape May).

Limited Reserved seating is $15, or general admission at $10. For reservations or more information call (609) 653-6069 or email Nancy and Carmen at TONYMARTO@AOL.COM.

And tell them you read about it at Bill Kelly's Jersey Shore Nightbeat Blog.

More to come on this one, when I get around to it, especially the headliners at the this year's picnic at Kennedy park that same day.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Dylan at the Electric Factory 08 08 08

Dylan at the Electric Factory August 8, 2008

When Dylan's tour schedule was announced and three local shows were listed, the Electric Factory in Philly seemed like it would be the best place, at least compared to the Asbury Park Convention Hall and the Borgatta in Atlantic City.

I had seen Santana at Borgatta, and its a big showroom, and the Asbury Park show is in a theater, so the EFC seemed like the best bet at the time, and I got two tickets off line.

Around noon on the day of the show - today, I called Barbeque Jim Campbell in Media, Pa. and asked him if he wanted to go to see Dylan. Jim said he had just heard about the show on the radio and was thinking about it when I called, a clear case of ESP.

We had seen Dylan together, with my brother Leo, at the Tower Theater sometime in the 80s. I can get the exact date because it was Paulie Gregory's 21st birthday, which we discovered later that night when we got back to the shore.

Barbeque Jim has a little cottege in Ocean City, which he occassionally rents out, and lives in a little shack - the Toy Box, out back, next to the barbeque and the bikes. He's a surfer dude, commercial artist and photographer who had been to China in the late 70s, right after Nixon.

I was thinking about this when I got stuck in traffic in Chinatown, looking for the Electric Factory. This is the new Electric Factory, at least its only been there ten years or so. I had been to the original Electric Factory, over on the other end of town, back in the late 60s. It was set up in an old tire wherehouse.

The new Electric Factory appears to have been a factory or a wherehouse too. But I couldn't find it when I went looking for it. I got stuck in a parade in Chinatown, celebrating the opening of the Olympics in Bejing) as I wanted to do a drive by of the EFC before going over to 2nd street to meet Jim at the Kyber Pass. Although I found a parking spot not far away, the Kyber was crowded with a young, mainly male, 20 somethings, of a punk rock nature, so I went down the street to the Sassafras, a little classier, upscale joint with open air French doors and some seats at the bar.

After settling in with a Youngling Lager draugt, I looked out the door and could see Jim waltzing up the street, so I didn't have to go back to the Kyber to look for him.

Not having seen each other in quite a while, we did a quick update on our lives, he just got back from Argentina where he went on a cowboy venture trip with some buddies, and I gave him a rundown on Santana and Levon Helm and a few other shows I've seen recently.

Then, after getting directions from the bartender, we jumped in our cars and I followed him to the Electric Factory, which we passed and then parked a few blocks away, just across the street from the Edgar Allen Poe House, with Poe's portrait painted as a mural on the side of a nearby wall, and a giant Raven sculpture in the side yard garden. The house and the house next door have been restored nicely, and the neighorhood is on the upside.

The new Electric Factory is bigger than the old one, I think, as it has a second floor balcony, which has a long bar against the wall and seats you look down to the stage. Since I bought the tickets ($65), Jimmy bought the beers, Yinglings $6 drafts a cup. By the end of the night, I don't know who got the better deal, him or me.

My Browns Mills friend Timmy, who went to the Asbury Park show, and whose been to the new EFC before, told me to get there early and grab a seat in a secluded section near the stage on the second floor, but they were reserved for VIPs, and we had to settle for a stage left overlook. But the sound was good and we could see most of the stage.

Dylan came out and instead of strapping on a guiter, surprisingly sat down at the keyboards as his five man combo back up band got ready. Guitar, base, keys, violin, guitar and Dylan on keys, harp and vocals.

You expect Dylan to do things a little different every show, and I couldn't even begin to compare it with the other shows I've seen - Dylan and the Band at the Spectrum in the 70s, Dylan at the Tower in the 80s, Dylan at the Taj in the 90s, all terriffic performances.

This time, it seems Dylan is in a lounge act mode, and Jimmy even compared it to Leon Redbone.
Unlike the Tower show, where he came out roaring with "All Along the Watchtower," and kept ratching it up a notch every song, this time it seemed he was playing keys with his combo at a lounge. A traditional version of "Lay, Lady Lay" got the crowd going, and some of the songs were recognizable rock & roll, but there were a few songs that just seemed out of place. Maybe I just didn't get them.

Then, just as I was about to complain, Dylan jumps into a real nice version of "Ballad of a Thin Man" singing, "You don't know what's happening here, do you Mister Jones?"

Doing some new arrangements of some older songs, and some new songs off his latest album, Dylan refrained from playing any of his popular hits, and I guess he doesn't have to.

As the reluctant poet laurient of my generation, Dylan has reached the pinacle of respect, and like Santana and a few others, god like status in the music industry, and yet, he's also the artist who has taken the mantel of Whitman, Longfellow and Frost. And there really is no second.

Okay, so Bruce comes in second if you keep taking votes.

So like Whitman, who took the ferry across the river from Camden 150 years ago, and gave readings of his poetry at churches, auditoriums and theaters, Dylan can come in and do and say whatever he wants, and there will always be a standing room only full house to hear him out.

But the guy who came out and startled us with "Once upon a time, you dressed so fine, threw the bums a dime, didn't you?", this time came out with his lounge act combo and entertained us for an hour and a half, did a two song encore, and then split.

Those who were there, mainly old hippies and a few young kids, can say they saw Dylan at the Electric Factory in Philly, but you expect the gods to move you more. You expect the gods to kick ass, and leave you knowing that you saw the poet laurient of our age.

Old Walt Whitman, grey beard and fat, may have electrified his audience when he sang his Leaves of Grass, but Dylan, Whitman's heir to the title, came out with his lounge act.

Perhaps the lounge lizard will metamorphize into a menacing minator once again, before he gets to the Borgatta, but my thoughts on it is that he's going to have to reach a little deeper into his soul and bring out some fire and brimstone if he's going to kick ass like the gods, as he has and will once again. I hope I'm there.

First reports from Asbury Park indicate a better show, which included "Like A Rolling Stone" in the encore, and while Bruce and Patti were stage left, and reportedly practiced a few songs with Dylan that afternoon, he didn't take the stage, despite the calls for "Bruce, Bruce."

Dylan, at 67, and the most influencial songwriter of his generation, is a head and a shoulder above Bruce when it comes to ranking poet laurients, though Bruce can still catch up, while Bob has to seal is fate before its too late.

For more views of this show:

1. - /tour/2008-08-08-electric-factoryCat's In The Well

BK 02:33am 080908

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Electric Factory

August 8, 2008

1.Cat's In The Well (Bob on keyboard, Donnie on violin)
2.Lay, Lady, Lay (Bob on keyboard, Donnie on pedal steel, Stu on acoustic guitar)
3.The Levee's Gonna Break
(Bob on keyboard, Donnie on electric mandolin, Tony on standup bass)
(Bob on keyboard and harp, Donnie on electric mandolin, Tony on standup bass)
5.Tangled Up In Blue
(Bob on keyboard, Donnie on pedal steel, Stu on acoustic guitar, Tony on standup bass)
6.Things Have Changed (Bob on keyboard, Donnie on violin)
7.Spirit On The Water
(Bob on keyboard and harp, Donnie on pedal steel, Tony on standup bass)
8.Honest With Me (Bob on keyboard, Donnie on lap steel)
9.Beyond The Horizon
(Bob on keyboard and harp, Donnie on pedal steel, Tony on standup bass)
10.It's Alright, Ma (I'm Only Bleeding)
(Bob on keyboard, Donnie on banjo, Tony on standup bass)
11.Tryin' To Get To Heaven (Bob on keyboard, Donnie on pedal steel)
12.Highway 61 Revisited (Bob on keyboard, Donnie on lap steel)
13. Nettie Moore (Bob on keyboard, Donnie on viola, Stu on acoustic guitar)
14.Summer Days (Bob on keyboard, Donnie on pedal steel, Tony on standup bass)
15.Ballad Of A Thin Man (Bob on keyboard and harp, Donnie on lap steel)
16. Thunder On The Mountain
(Bob on keyboard, Donnie on lap steel, Stu on acoustic guitar)
17. Blowin' In The Wind
(Bob on keyboard and harp, Donnie on violin, Stu on acoustic guitar)

(Thanks Ed & Michelle for the phone call and Mike and Zac Kline for the emails)

Band Members
Bob Dylan - keyboard, harp
Tony Garnier - bass
George Recile - drums
Stu Kimball - rhythm guitar
Denny Freeman - lead guitar
Donnie Herron - violin, viola, banjo, electric mandolin, pedal steel, lap steel

Thursday, August 7, 2008

George Naame RIP

I first met George Naame at a Cape May County Bridge Commission meeting in a small board room in a government building somewhere off the Parkway near the Court House.

The Bridge Commission board was deciding whether or not to allow the Maloney's Bike-a-thon to ride their bicycles across the Commission's bridges.

It was a heavy issue at the time, as whenever something good happens, there's always someone to compain, and I guess it's a sure sign you are on to something when a group of administrative bureaucrats try to stop you from riding bicycles across a bridge.

George was making the case that bicycles have as much right to use the bridges as cars or pedestrians, but the commission was balking at the idea of 2,000 bicycles using their bridges at the same time, causing a public hazard, they said.

And while the other suits on the board nodded their heads and looked approvingly at one another, the room was full of avid bicyclists who were afronted at the idea of bicycles being banned from the bridges, when after all, they don't pollute the air, take up parking spaces and are healthy to ride. What's the issue?

After a while, about an hour or so of bickering back and forth, the Commission decided to ask their attorney's opinion, and all looked to the old man to the right of the chairman, who had to be politely awaken from his slomber, and who could blame him? I forget the guys name now, but they named the toll both at the base of the Ocean City - Longport Bridge after him, an old time Ocean City lawyer, probably a Republican.

They woke him up with a tap to the shoulder, and Mr. Esq. asked to have the question repeated, and then, after the recording secretary repeated the question, said, "Insurance." And then went back into his trance.

And the end result was the bike-a-thon could use the bridges of Cape May County if they paid their way, just like cars, a quarter a piece at the time, I think, get insurance for all the riders and anything untowed that could possibly happen to them enroute.

Done deal. The Maloney's Bike-A-Thon continued, then an for the next twenty or twenty five years there-after, raising hundreds of thousands of dollars for the local American Cancer Society, getting tens of thousands of healthy participants to ride the 30 miles or so, and have a real good time doing it.

After that, I'm proud to say that me and George became good friends, and Maloney's was always a stop on my return trip from Atlantic City for a number of years.

I'd always write a Bike-a-thon preview in the SandPaper and George would always thank me for "being in his corner."

Maloney's was a great bar and restaurant, and should still be there, instead of the quaint, cold, empty, for-rent, condos that replaced the heart and soul of the Margate community.

Maloney's was a great Irish bar before George bought it, and kept it's name, knowing it worked. The son of Judge, George Naame, Jr. was of Lebanese extraction, and was set up in the bar business by Stumpy Orman, the old racketts boss from the golden age of the mob in Atlantic City.

I think George worked at first with Don Dunleavy (Now at Maynards, God Bless Him), at the Mug, formerlly O'Byrnes on the Somers Point - Longport Blvd. in EHT, just on the other side of the bay bridge. O'Byrnes became the Mug, and then the Purple Villa, before Andrew Cornaglia, of the Anchorage, bought it and created Mothers (named after the bar in the Peter Gunn TV show).

George then took over the Elbo Room in Margate, with Stumpy Orman's blessing, and then the bar at the Lafayette Hotel in Atlantic City (Where the Beatles stayed when they were in town), before buying Maloney's.

You would think with all his connections, his dad being a Judge and his former partners being with Stumpy Orman, he could expand Maloney's without too many problems, but they fought him at first but George expanded Maloney's into two buildings, the original bar on the west side, and the beef & beer on the east side, which became a nice resaurant with really good food.

The original bar was always a shot and beer bar(s) with a little bumper pool table and some pin ball machines and great juke box. It was also a good sports bar and had weekend DJs that spun sing along songs the girls would get drunk and sing to, like "Sweek Caroline," etc.

I liked the old hard wood of the beef & beer and the food, which was good for under $10, seafood and steaks. There was the bar along the west wall and a two rows of tables and an upstairs they opened when they got really busy in the summers. A big moose head hung above the juke box was a the end of the bar towards the kitchen. George went to some of the auctions for the furniture of the old Atlantic City hotels before they blew them up, and filled the place with antiques, as well as a few garages.

Sean Donnally was George's main man and general manager for decades, until he missed an insurance payment and they got hit by a DWI lawsuit that George had to settle out of his own pocket. Sean then went to Yesterdays in Marmora and the Mays Landing Country Club, where he worked for the Frasers.

Timmy was another guy who was always at Maloney's, bartending at night and living upstairs in a room during the day. He stand six foot ten, Ikabod Craine thin and bones guy with a good sense of humor, and knows everybody in town.

After one particularly busy summer in the early 70s, George Naame and a few of his friends and regular customers decided to take a bicycle trip on the Saturday after Labor Day, their first real break after a successful summer. They would ride from Maloney's south to Ocean City and down Ocean Drive to Cape May, where they would meet their wives and girl friends at Carney's and have dinner before driving back.

They had so much fun it became a yearly trip they started to look forward to, and they increased in numbers to a dozen and then a few dozen and after three years they had to get a friend with a truck to bring all their bikes back.

When one of their numbers got sick, and died of cancer, they decided to make the bike-a-thon a benefit for the Cancer Society, in their friend's name, and by then had a few hundred riders, and raised thousands of dollars.

That's when the Cape May County Bridge Commission got suspicous, and stepped in, but didn't stop them, now with 2,000 riders, and raising hundreds of thousands of dollars for charity.

After a few years of bringing the bikes back in trucks, they made a round a bout route, that was about the same distance, but went through Somers Point, Upper Township, down Route 9 to Sea Isle City causeway and back Ocean Drive through Ocean City to Margate, where they had a big barbeque chicken block party.

Billy Rafferty, USMC, and former Mack & Manco pizza waiter, worked the door at Maloney's for a number of particuarly formative summers, and before him, Tom Murphy worked carving the beef & beer while in law school.

Maloney's was just a real good pub and restaurant, a real asset to the community, one of the things that made it a community.

I don't know what made George sell Maloney's to the developers, some guys who came to town from Philly and lived in their car for awhile. But before they closed they had a few parties, one I attended, when Tom Murphy was the guest bartender for a few hours, and a lot of the old timers came buy to pay their last respects.

I'll try to dig up the Nightbeat I wrote on that last call at Maloney's.

I guess that was the last time I saw George.

He looked good then, and I think he felt good about getting out of the business, but I could never understand why Maloney's had to disapear, just like the Longport Inn, Moylan's and the wood clapboard joint that jutted out into the Longport Bay that was owned by Kelly Voght that reminded me of Bayshores.

Even though both are gone forever, George Naame and Maloney's will be forever linked together in the memories of all those lucky ones who were there.

God Bless George Naame.


NAAME, GEORGE T. JR., 76 - of Egg Harbor Township, died suddenly on August 1, 2008. Born in Atlantic City, he was a lifelong local who owned and operated the famous "Maloney's" in Margate. George's 30 plus years hosting his annual "Bike-A-Thon" enabled him to contribute to the American Cancer Society along with many local charities. George had a great appreciation and lust for life. He will be sadly missed by his loving wife of 46 years, Barbara Naame; daughter, Renee Swain and husband Jerry; sons, George T. Naame III and wife Chrissy, and Damon Naame and wife Robin; grandchildren, Chelsea Burns, Katia and George Naame, and Kaden and Kyle Naame; sister Magorie Cook and husband Howell, predeceased by sister Nancy Miller; along with many nieces, nephews, cousins and friends like family. Friends are invited to call at the George H. Wimberg Funeral Home, 1707 New Road, Linwood, Wednesday August 6, from 5pm to 8:30 p.m. Services to follow at 8:30pm. Donations in his memory can be made to the American Cancer Society, 626 N. Shore Road, Absecon NJ 08201.

Published in The Press of Atlantic City from 8/4/2008 - 8/5/2008

Robert Hazard RIP

Robert Hazard RIP

Robert Hazard and the Heroes played a lot of bars around Philadelphia and the Jersey Shore. I first caught them at Red's in Margate (aka White House) before making the big time, and at the strip joint on the side road to the Black Horse Pike in Pleasantville afterwards.

I was in Philly when the Stones played JFK, with Journey and George Thorogood and the Delaware Destroyers opening for them, and hooking up with Kurt Loder there, along with 100,000 other people.

The old stadium, where Dempsy fought Tunney in the 20s, was in its last days, and none of the toilets worked, there was an inch deep water and piss and girls were using the men's room.

The press box was up in the massive girders that made you think you were in a Zeplin.

I didn't enjoy it very much, never got close to the Stones, as I had been at the Spectrum twice and later in Atlantic City for Steel Wheels.

I do recall hooking up with Loder, and he too was pretty disguested with the whole scene.

The last thing I recall was leaving him in the parking lot, and I think he walked off with David Fricke, to go to Center City to Dobbs and have a beer, while I got my car and drove back to the Shore. The rest of that night is now part of Robert Hazard's history.

Year's later, after Robert had his flash in the pan on the Big Time circuit, he landed in Cape May, where we were neighbors for a few years, me living in Cape May Point and him and his wife running an antique shop (Rocking Chair?) in West Cape May, that I had to ride pass a few times a day.

When I was putting together the 75th Annivesary Party for the Flanders, I got an entertainment budget from Jim Dwyer which allowed me to book some bands from different generations, which included Mike Pedicin, Sr. ("Shake a Hand" and still alive God Bless Him), Dick Richards Boccelli and the Original Comets ("Rock Around the Clock") and Robert Hazard, who brought three guys to back him.

When the sound system started to fuck up, Robert said it was no problem, and he put away the electic guitar and pulled out the acoustic guitar and toned down the set a bit, but put on a great show.

I got Michael Tierson (of MMR fame) to be the MC. I hear MT every Friday night on WBBC - Burlington County College, and on Sirus, doing classic themes for each show, and I'm sure he will soon do one on Robert Hazard. [Give me some advance notice Mike].

It's interesting that Robert is the son of a Philadelphia Opera singer, who now lives in Strathmere, N.J.

Cyndi Lauper was in Berlin for Roger Walter's The Wall production, circa 1991, where I talked with her backstage for a little while (with Shenade O'Conner). Cyndi was also at the album release party for the Wall soundtrack and video at the USS Intrepid aircraft carrier in NYC.

When I told that to Robert, that I had seen Cyndi in Berlin and New York City, he said to me, "Next time you see her tell her I have another song for her."

Will do, Robert, will do.


Official History:

AP Obits in the News:


Robert Hazard

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Robert Hazard, a songwriter and musician from Philadelphia who wrote the 1983 Cyndi Lauper hit "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun," has died. He was 59.

Hazard died Tuesday after a brief illness, his record label, Rykodisc, said in a statement. His wife, Susan, told The Philadelphia Inquirer her husband died unexpectedly after surgery at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.

Hazard, born Robert Rimato, led the band Robert Hazard and the Heroes, a fixture in Philadelphia clubs through the mid-1980s. In an online posting a few years ago, he recalled how he got his big break when music journalist Kurt Loder, who was in town to review a concert, happened to stop into a bar where he was performing.

That led to a 1981 article about his band in Rolling Stone, and his song "Escalator of Life" became a hit soon after.

Recently, he played country music with a band called The Hombres. His latest album, "Troubadour," was released in October.

In recent years, Hazard and his wife ran an antiques shop near their home in Old Forge, N.Y.







Girls Just Want to Have Fun (1981 Cyndi Lauper)

1979 Demo:

Escalator of Life (1982)