The Trick Is To Keep Going

Tag: ’80s rock

Napi Browne: Street Talkin’ Ways

by on Aug.01, 2013, under Music


The tune Street Talkin’ Ways was written by Dan Gulino and Paul Rosano, probably in early 1980, and was a staple in the live set for Napi Browne, a regional Northeast rock band in the late 1970s and early ’80s, mostly based in Connecticut.

Napi Browne backstage at Toad’s Place, circa 1980-81. Clockwise from top right, Dan Gulino, lead guitar and vocals, Vic Steffens, drums and vocals, Nick Bagnasco, lead guitar and lead vocals, and Paul Rosano, bass and lead vocals.

The tracks below are an early demo in which the lyric Street Talkin’ Ways isn’t even in the song, and the finished track that we recorded in 1981 at Paul Leka’s Studios in Bridgeport with the other founding member of the band Nick Bagnasco. Vic Steffens played drums on the track and also set up the recording date and helped us produce the track. Vic was playing live with us at the time.

The demo was recorded in my living room in Fair Haven. I lived right next door to Dan and I remember we got together at his place in his music room to work on a tune. He had the original musical idea for the song, particularly the chord changes and rhythm. We sat down and I started to come up with a melody and we worked on an early lyrical idea for the song. We worked on it together and separately for several days.

It was Dan who came up with the lyrical idea Street Talkin’ Ways and the attitude for the song about a tough-minded girl friend. After that, the rest of the lyrics started pouring out and the tune was finished pretty quickly. We brought it to Nick and Vic and arranged it over at Nick’s house, our rehearsal space, and started playing it live. By the time we hit the studio we had been playing this song for quite a while. Nick plays a stinging solo that is so well-suited to the track, every phrase builds on the previous one. I believe he used his Les Paul although it might have been his Tele.

Napi Browne played at Toad’s Place, The Arcadia Ballroom, over on Whalley Avenue, and The Oxford Ale House on Whitney, regularly during the band’s playing days, late 1976 to 1981. The photo above was taken in between sets at Toad’s Place. Looks like we were having a good time.


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Napi Browne: Let’s Get Right To It

by on Mar.18, 2013, under Music


Napi Browne was a Connecticut rock band based in New Haven in the mid-to-late 1970s and early ’80s. The band was formed in August 1976, started playing in September, and played its last gig in Westerley, R.I., during the summer of 1980.

The two lead guitarists, Nick Baganasco and Dan Gulino, and the bass player Paul Rosano were together for the life of the band. Four drummers were in the band at various times over the roughly four years: Rich Catalano, George Wilson, Dennis DeMorro and Vic Steffens.

Songs written by Nick, Dan and Paul were recorded in various settings while the band was together, from Bearsville Studios, near Woodstock, N.Y., to Paul Leka’s studio in Bridgeport, and even in Nick’s basement early on in 1977, during which we had a mic in Nick’s oven at one point to record a guitar track.

Let’s Get Right To It (video below) was recorded in Bridgeport with Vic Steffens on drums. The song was chosen as the opening track for WHCN’s Homespun compilation album of Connecticut bands, which was released in 1980.

This tune was pretty much a complete collaboration among the three writers. I can’t remember exactly who came up with the original concept for the song, but I do remember working on it in Nick’s living room at his cottage in East Haven with acoustic and electric guitars with small amps.

I believe it was probably Danny or Nick or perhaps both who had the original musical idea, and I contributed mainly with the melody and lyrics, although it really was one of the few songs on which we equally collaborated. Nick tells me at the start of working the tune up, he sang lead. I don’t remember that. But he says he just wasn’t feeling it, so I gave it a go and felt comfortable with it.

Danny takes the solo, a short but vibrant and compelling statement, and there is three-part guitar harmony, along with three-part vocal harmony, on the choruses. Paul Gabriel was at the studio that night, so the guys asked him if he would sit in so they could record the three-part guitar harmony in one overdub, and he graciously accepted.

We produced this session ourselves and did the first mix on the track, but later brought in Jeff Cannata to tweak the mix a little and he did a nice job of bringing out certain aspects of the track that give it drive, particularly on the build toward the ending.

Here’s the tune with an accompanying video.


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Lofgren’s acoustic duet show creative, uplifting

by on Jul.25, 2011, under Music


It you’ve forgotten how good a guitar player Nils Lofgren is or for that matter how good a singer and songwriter he is, you should take in his latest Acoustic Duet show. Many probably don’t realize the depth of talent Bruce Springsteen’s guitar player possesses. But Lofgren has been around since his teens in the late 1960s and has continued to create a catalogue of classic rock tunes on a string of creative albeit somewhat overlooked albums.

Nils Lofgren Live 1 SmallWhen I noticed Lofgren would be playing at the Ridgefield Playhouse in late June, I quickly scooped up tickets for a venue I like a lot and an artist I had never seen in a solo atmosphere. Although an ardent fan, I didn’t know what to expect from a solo show. I figured a couple of acoustic guitars and Lofgren weaving through his most memorable compositions with perhaps help from one of his brothers. It was anything but.

He’s on acoustic for much of the night, but it has big, embellished sonics by his use of a number of effects that give it a rich texture, with chorus- and doubling-style layers almost sounding like a keyboard at times. Before he gets to it though, Lofgren comes out and plays a tune on electric harp, and he’s very musical on the unusual instrument, then rips into Too Many Miles with a Stratocaster that rocks the house, accompanied by the remarkable Greg Varlotta on electric keyboards. (continue reading…)

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