Monday, July 1, 2013

Somers Point - July 4 - 5

Thursday July 4, 2013 Bob Campanell Band - Jersey Shore Rock ‘n Roll Icon

Friday July 5, 2013 - The Jeremiah Hunter Band - Party Dance Band with original Soul Survivors and Full House.

This week we get a double douse of great, local music because July 4th falls on a Thursday,

Bob Campanell, a South Jersey native who earned his stripes in Asbury Park in its hey days, has been a staple of classic rock music in this area for decades now. A founding member and front man of the Shakes, with original E-Street drummer Vinni Lopez, Bob has been playing the special July 4th Somers Point Beach concert for many years now, and can probably hold down that gig for as long as he wants it.

I remember seeing the Shakes for the first time in the late 1970s at Mothers, which was an after hours joint just on the other side of the bridge on the Longport Blvd., and interviewing him between sets in a closet, which he had converted into an off stage dressing room. Covered with sweat from his riveting performance, Bob pulled some guitar strings from an old tin Beatles lunch box, the kind you took to grammar school, and was telling me how great the music scene was at Asbury Park, but how he wanted to expand his fan base.

That was the summer the Shakes’ original tune “Pour It Out,” was included on the WMMR “Breakout” album, a song that Bob should bring back and play again, as it still holds up well.

Later that summer I set up a small cassette tape recorder and captured a set of Bob and the Shakes live, a tape that I still play once in awhile when I want to flash back to that time and place, and you can hear the glasses tingling, the background conversations and laughter, and then the band kicking in and kicking butt.

Like Bruce the Boss, and other Asbury Park veterans, they occasionally will introduce a song with a little story, told while the bass and drummer kept up a steady beat, and one night Bob told the story of how the Shakes got an audition at the legendary nightclub on Bay Avenue, where the sign above the door read: “Through these doors walk the most beautiful girls in the world,” but when they played an original song, got the boot from Tony, who often said to his bands, “Get at a here you bums!” before breaking into “Hit the Road Jack.”

But Bob Campanell did come back, after playing a few years as the house band at Merrels in Margate, which became Gilhooleys.

With a wide repertoire of classic rock and roll songs, a great guitar and powerful voice, Bob now has a new band, usually including Danny Eyer on lead guitar.

And besides playing the annual July 4th gig at the Somers Point Beach, can also be found frequently at the Tuckahoe Inn in Beesleys Point and on occasional weekends at the Library IV on the Black Horse Pike in Williamstown. Keep up with Bob’s gigs, as well as Danny Eyer, via Facebook.

Free live music outdoors on the beach two nights in a row isn’t too much to handle, especially when the regular Friday night beach concert features another great, local South Jersey band - Jeremiah Hunter, an upbeat party band that includes some of the guys who were in the Soul Survivors.

One of them, Kenny Jeremiah, a musical consultant for the movie, “Eddie and the Cruisers,” has been playing the Jersey Shore since Bob Campanell was in school. I remember them playing high school gyms and breaking in to the pop charts in the late 1960s with the hit song, “Expressway to Your Heart.” Beep Beep, “I’ve been trying to get to you for a long time….”

Double dynamite, back to back, classic rock, local fan favorites, Thursday and Friday nights, July 4th and 5th, on the Somers Point Beach.

[Bill Kelly can be reached at (609) 425-6297]