The Trick Is To Keep Going

Tag: Connecticut 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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The Beehive Queen

by on Jul.12, 2009, under Music


I’ve known Chris Ohlman for more than 40 years, but unfortunately have only seen her perform a handful of times. And some of those were when we were on the same bill in different groups at charity events.

cohlman-w-colbath-smallI caught The Beehive Queen and her remarkable band Rebel Montez Saturday night at Cafe Nine, a tiny club that might hold 200, in New Haven, Connecticut. Chris showed why she is one of the state’s legendary R&B/soul singers as I watched her play the first of two 90-minute sets that included original tunes from each of her five albums and a number of meticulously chosen covers that not only put her vast talents on full display but also carried a sense of blues and soul history.

One of the first groups Chris sang with in the late ’60s was called Fancy, which included her brother Vic Steffens and was based out of Wallingford, CT at Syncron Studios, later Trod Nossel, managed by Doc Cavalier.  In the ’70s, she fronted the ultra popular and ultra hot regional act The Scratch Band, which also featured G.E. Smith, later a leader of the Saturday Night Live Band, and bassist Paul Ossola, also with SNL. Chris as well has been a singer with the SNL Band since the early ’90s. (continue reading…)

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