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Tag: Carl Donnell

Pulse: Two Unreleased

by on Aug.26, 2015, under Music

Pulse, the original six-piece band, from left: Carl Donnell, Peter Neri, Paul Rosano, Rich Bednarczyk, Beau Segal and Jeff Potter.

The two tunes below were intended for the second Pulse album, Reach For The Sun, which never saw the light of day.

Both were written while the original six-piece band was together but weren’t arranged and recorded until 1969 during the transition period to a four-piece group that included second guitarist Harvey Thurott along with Beau Segal, Paul Rosano and Peter Neri.

Sometime Sunshine was the only tune on which Peter and I collaborated in Pulse.  Peter wrote the main part of the song in late 1968, during a hiatus from the band for several months. When he came back in late ’68/early ’69 he had written a plethora of outstanding tunes that included Too Much Lovin’ (the Pulse album opener), Hypnotized, Garden Of Love and Days Of My Life (another unreleased gem), among others.

Sometime Sunshine was one of the band’s favorites of these tunes but Peter had no bridge for it. In early 1969 I had a song fragment that I believed would work in the middle of the tune. We tried it and somehow we made it happen in that little rehearsal shed at the back of the parking lot at Syncron Studios, our home base.

The song also became a showcase for the contrasting guitar tones and styles of Peter (Guild) and Harvey (Strat) as you can hear in the middle section call and answers between the two. And it was one of the highlights of the four-piece band’s live set.

Peter sang the middle section and I joined him in unison and harmony, one of my first recorded vocals.

The other tune, Heaven Help Me was one of my early compositions. At that time, I couldn’t pull off the opening acoustic and voice section of the tune so I taught the melody and changes to Peter, who developed the fingering style acoustic part and sang the melody exactly as I wanted it. I always thought that was amazing.

I sing the middle section, which still included Richie Bednarczyk on Steinway Grand, which attests to this being recorded during the transition, and Peter and I sing in unison mostly on the third section, which concludes the 7-minute tune.

An interesting side note on this song:

A license to use the song in a film by a Yale student was granted for an undisclosed (by my manager) sum of money. In fact, I didn’t even hear about this until weeks later when one of my fellow band mates mentioned it. When I went into the office of my manager/producer/publisher, he looked sheepishly at me, feigning disbelief that I didn’t know. He wouldn’t tell me for what the granting of the song’s rights were sold. Eventually, I was handed a check for $100, not an insignificant sum in the late ’60s, but for some reason I always felt it wasn’t commensurate with what it should have been.

One of the things that made me feel this was that when my manager’s accountant handed me the check he smirked and sarcastically remarked that I didn’t deserve to receive that much! Ah, the music business. Yet another familiar tale.

Anyways, I always liked both of these tunes and they were an indicator of where the band was headed. Unfortunately, this version of Pulse was no more after December of 1970. That then led to the New York-based Island.

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Pulse: Days Of My Life

by on Jun.07, 2013, under Music



Days Of My Life was a track recorded after the first Pulse album was finished and was intended for a second album from the original six-piece group based in Wallingford, Conn., at Syncron Studios.

The tune was written by Peter Neri and indicated his development as a writer. Peter had a wealth of material during this period and Days Of My Life was one of his best compositions to date. It showed off the band’s playing in a jazzier blues style along with Carl Donnell’s accomplished vocals and the band’s intricate arrangement of the track, always spearheaded by drummer Beau Segal.

We all make significant contributions to this track from Peter’s driving rhythm guitar to Jeff’s outstanding harp fills and solo to Richie’s keyboard layers. We were all very much involved in the construction of this one.

The tune was recorded in 1969 and is one of the best of the unreleased tracks by the band. It’s hard to say how many tracks are in the can that never saw the light of day, but it has to be in the 15 to 20 range but probably higher. Check out the video below.

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Pulse: My Old Boy

by on Mar.06, 2013, under Music


My Old Boy is the B-side of a single from the Pulse album from 1969. The tune is interesting because it’s quite different from anything else on the album.

The album is heavily blues-rock oriented and most of the tracks are in the four-to-five minute range with some longer. But this track, which was written by our drummer Beau Segal and Harvey Thurott, a guitarist and friend who would become a member of the four-piece Pulse in 1970, shows another side of the band and is packed with just about everything you can fit into 2 minutes, 36 seconds.

I always believed the opening track of the album, Too Much Lovin’ was the single to pull from it. The A-side actually turned out to be a track I felt was even less commercial than either of these songs, my own Another Woman.

Beau may have been trying to write a single with My Old Boy. He failed miserably and instead created a whirlwind of a track that never lets up from its infectious opening rhythm guitar riff to the phased (old fashioned phasing) harmony vocals and relentless melody lines in the verses and bridge.

There’s some outstanding guitar playing by Peter Neri, although some of it is, if not buried, sitting in the background, and the arrangement overall is inspired with a lot of tight twists and turns.

I believe we played this tune live but not that often, and I’m pretty sure that live Peter used to alternate lines in the verse on the lead vocal with our singer Carl Donnell because of the breathless melody.

Mastered from vinyl. Listen for the crackles.


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Concerts Vol. 8: The Doors

by on Aug.27, 2009, under Music


In the spring of 1968 I was studying at Berklee School of Music in Boston and going back to Connecticut on weekends to rehearse and play out on the club circuit with Pulse.

jim-morrison-live-1-smallI lived on upper Commonwealth Avenue, not far from the dorm I had lived in when I was at Boston University, with two female roommates: Julie and Betty. They had a small two-room apartment. When you entered there was a living room to the right, a bedroom to the left and a small kitchen and bath in the center of the apartment.

Although Love Me Two Times by The Doors was a song I liked and that Pulse had covered in some of its early gigs in the beginning of 1968, I was not really a Doors fan. Our singer, Carl Donnell (Augusto) was though and he convinced us to put the interesting take on a blues shuffle tune in our set.

Carl recently told me how Peter Neri and I came to him with a Cream album and turned him on to the English blues-rock group, but was disheartened when he brought the first Doors album to a rehersal and we were pretty much indifferent to it. That raised a laugh. (continue reading…)

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