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Tag: Oxford Ale House

Napi: Love You Every Day, Background Singers Extraordinaire

by on Mar.01, 2016, under Music

NapiArt Small 530

Love You Ever Day was a tune I wrote in 1977 and was one of the first that Napi Browne recorded. To be exact, it was the third song we recorded during a home session over a few days during the summer of ’77 in the basement apartment of guitarist Nick Bagnasco (Nicky Nasko).

We had a control room set up in the furnace room of Nick’s house, and used my TEAC 3340S four-track machine along with a Ludwig mixing console that was also our PA mixer, along with a variety of mics, some borrowed, to record the proceedings. At one point Nick had a mic in the oven in the main part of the apartment to record his guitar. We cleared out his bedroom to set up a vocal booth, and we had guitars, bass and drums scattered throughout over the course of the two or three days. Complete chaos!

Still, this track has a very clean sound to it, some tasty guitar playing by Nick and Dan Gulino, our other lead guitarist, and a very funky percussion track by the group’s second drummer George Wilson, who had joined the group in late 1976 after Richie Catalano left the group.

It also benefits from an extraordinary group of background singers that included Jayne Olderman and Sarah and Peggy Heath. We were so lucky to have them join us on the vocal overdubs and their parts throughout are amazing. Just what I wanted for this tune, and it was a kick singing with them.

This was a bit of a departure from the group’s usual fare because in our early days most of the original material was straight-ahead rock. The song starts in a pop vein but quickly develops into something more jazz-rock oriented structurally and especially instrumentally.

I’m not sure where the inspiration came from. Well, actually I do but more on that later. Right now, I’m talking about the inspiration for the feel of the track, chord changes, melody and instrumentation. I was listening to a lot of fusion and Latin jazz in the ’70s and some of our cover list included jazz-rock material. So, that’s likely what inspired me.

Both Nick and Dan take nice solo turns on the track, Nick plays an infectious rhythm throughout and George is locked in on the funky Latin grooves. Nick takes the first solo during the main section of the song with a decidedly jazz feel. Dan takes three choruses at the end of the main section building throughout, incorporating more rock and jazz-rock ideas. Then we turn the rhythm around twice and he plays some incendiary fills against the background and lead vocals on the tag.

This song was a mainstay live in our early days. Eventually, I believe we dropped it from the set list as we wrote newer tunes.

The inspiration comes from one source emotionally, my wife, Lynne. We weren’t married yet but Lynne was an extraordinary inspiration then as she has been over the years.

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Napi Browne: Two sides to the band

by on Feb.24, 2014, under Music


The two tracks below were recorded about two years apart at different studios and with different drummers. They show off two distinct sides of the band Napi Browne, which played extensively in southern New England and Long Island in the late 1970s and early ’80s.

Napi Browne backstage at the Oxford Ale House in the late 1970s. From left, Nick Bagnasco, Dennis DeMorro, Dan Gulino and Paul Rosano

The first, Forget All About It,  is an all-out, straight-ahead rocker, written by Nick Bagnasco, one of our two lead guitarists. Nick also sang lead on the track. I used to love playing this tune. It’s an in-your-face, no-holds barred guitar rock song that never lets up. We recorded it at Paul Leka Studios in Bridgeport around 1981. Vic Steffens, who was playing live with us at the time, is on drums and he also co-produced the track.

But the band also liked to play other types of music, particularly fusion and funk, and the second tune, Phase In Phase Out, written by Dan Gulino, our other lead guitarist, displays that aspect. An instrumental, it shows off both guitar players and the rhythm section, which included Dennis DeMorro on drums.

Phase In, Phase Out was recorded at Bearville Studios in Woodstock, N.Y., and was produced by the band. We stayed up there for about three days in a little house directly opposite the Bear Restaurant. I had stayed there previously during the early ’70s with Beau Segal, drummer for Pulse and Island. At the time, we were working as session players for Sam Gordon’s Publishing house in New York.

Check out Dan’s lead on Forget All About it and the harmony guitars in the middle section. That was a trademark of the band and something Nick and Dan had worked on for years. They had a tight and tasty blend together.

The harmony guitars are also in evidence on Phase In, Phase Out. Nick takes the middle section solo and Dan plays lead all around his melody lines throughout the tune.

The band was versatile. We usually played about one set’s worth or our own tunes, including these two. Some of the bands we covered showed the range of the group as well as the original material. We played Bodhisattva by Steely Dan, Freedom, Wait Until Tomorrow and Message To Love by Hendrix, Good Times, Bad Times by Zeppelin, Jeff Beck instrumentals, including Cause We’ve Ended As Lovers on which Danny soloed, material from Les Dudek and Nils Lofgren as well as familiar club fare for the time by the likes of Bowie, ZZ Top and others, even the Beatles.


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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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