NEWS – The Paley Network (Not CBS)

One night we were lying in bed and I was recounting to Jolean stories from my long career as a rock and roll obsessive when the subject strayed towards my time in Boston around 1973/4. The town had gone Springsteen crazy and so was I but, beyond that, there was a robust local music scene, largely curated by WBCN and, for me, Charles Laquidera and his morning show, The Big Mattress. Ruling the roost, of course, was J. Geils Band, who no longer qualified as a local band really. Aerosmith released their first album during this time and Dream On was a big local hit. I saw them opening up for out of town bands all the time.

Then there were the Modern Lovers who I saw playing a college mixer (in addition to running into Jonathan singing in the park in Cambridge from time to time). The Allston All-Stars were a popular band in the rock/soul mode who did a version of Trying to Live My Life Without You that compared very favorably with the version released by Brinsley Schwarz on New Favorites at around the same time. Then there was Sidewinder. They had a song that WBCN played like it was a top ten hit called Streetwalker (“You’re such a sweet talker but you’re just a Streetwalker…”). I was into it. And so I told Jolean “I remember that song so well though it’s probably been 40 years since I’ve heard it. I’d love to hear it again.” What she suggested next is the nut of this story but before I get there, first I need to digress a bit. A few months ago, Marc Nathan came up from Nashville to visit, as he does from time to time, and accompanying him was his good friend Cait Brennan, who I was glad to meet. The reason for their trip: Cait had just recorded her first album which was full of great songs so Marc was doing his best to introduce her to as many New York record people as he could.Cait also had a gig at the Rockwood and it was her first time in New York so the whole thing was very exciting. One of the appointments Marc set up was with legendary music guy, founder and major domo of Sire records, Seymour Stein. And Seymour bit. He liked the songs. He liked the record. He was ready to make a deal and the deal he offered was to finance some demo sessions and to bring in Andy Paley as producer. Andy’s resume is astounding. He has worked as producer or performer or writer or co-writer with so many different artists I can hardly begin to list them here but I’d say, maybe, he’s most identified with Brian Wilson, Jonathan Richman (see how everything is coming together? Just wait) and, of course, The Paley Brothers

but, in my mind, he is just as importantly the leader of that great lost Boston band Sidewinder. And so, to climb back into bed with Jolean, as I was lamenting the absence of Streetwalker in my life, having told her the very few degrees of separation between me and Andy, Jolean said “Why don’t you contact Cait and have her ask him if he has an mp3 of the song he can send you? I bet he’d be pleased to know there was somebody still interested in the song after all this time.” And so I did. I messengered  Cait on FB. “Am I remembering right, that you’re recording demos with Andy paley? How are you doing, by the way? Can you do me a big flavor? Ask Andy if he has a recording of the sidewinders doing Streetwalker? It was a WBCN hit in 1974, I’ve had it in my head these last 40 years but I don’t believe I’ve ever owned a recording in any format.” And she responded “I will definitely ask Andy about the Sidewinders recording.” Well, I was very pleased with myself. I spoke to Cait, Cait said okay, maybe it would happen. I called Marc later, related the events. “Why didn’t you just call me? I’m in touch with Andy. I could’ve gotten it.” I got the sense he was offended but it turns out I read him wrong. He was motivated. He was persistent and on 7/15, two weeks after I had initially contacted Cait, Marc messengered me with this: “Yours”

I looked up the track list online and there it was – Streetwalker – the grail. Now, this is a story of friendship and how touched and pleased I am by the kindness of friends. There’s an ironic twist though. Marc FedExed the album to me Thursday for guaranteed delivery on Saturday and here it is Monday and it still has not been delivered. Who knows? Maybe it’s lost. Maybe it’ll never get here but I will still be very happy with how it all happened. Maybe the delivery person left it at the door and someone stole it and she’ll listen to it and will also get hooked on magic that is Streetwalker. God works in wondrous ways.

One Response to “NEWS – The Paley Network (Not CBS)”

  1. mdnathanpreds Says:

    1. USPS, not FEDEX … see Tracking info on your FB page
    2. When I found it, the guy said “I have two left…” So, what? You didn’t think I’d have a spare just in case? (GRIN)

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