I'm excited and proud to share these links : http://www.sundazed.com/ VARIOUS ARTISTS Title: Don't Press Your Luck! The IN Sound of 60's Connecticut Format: 2xLP Set (ALSO ON CD, BUT LP HAS 5 EXTRA CUTS] Cat #: LP 5219 LIMITED EDITION, NUMBERED PRESSING OF 1000! The pounding garage-rock din emanating from the jungles of deepest Connecticut could overwhelm the senses, causing the weary NY commuter to become disoriented! Who knew that the most deranged ‘66-‘68 teenage mayhem imaginable would come from Wallingford’s Trod Nossel Studios, whose owner/producer Thomas “Doc” Cavalier (a former dentist) recorded top-flight acts as diverse as the tough ‘n’ melodic Shags (“Don’t Press Your Luck”), the R&B-consumed Wildweeds (“No Good to Cry,” featuring a Pre-NRBQ Al Anderson on vocals) and fuzzed-out punks the Bram Rigg Set (“I Can Only Give You Everything”). SUNDAZED presents, on double-LP vinyl and compact disc, the high-impact, garage-rock havoc—at least two-thirds of it totally unreleased—that finally tears the lid off Connecticut’s best-kept rock ‘n’ roll secret! TRACK LISTING 1. I Can Only Give You Everything: Bram Rigg Set 2. Don't Press Your Luck: The Shags 3. Help Me: George's Boys* 4. Too Many Lies: The Lively Ones* 5. Take the Time Be Yourself: Bram Rigg Set 6. Hide Away: The Shags 7. ‘SSS’ Happenin’ Here: Uranus and the Five Moons* 8. Sleepless Nights: Bram Rigg Set* 9. You're Cutting Out: Fourth Ryke* 10. I Paid My Dues: The Bearies* 11. Radio Spot: WAVZ Radio Jingle: The Shags 12. No Good to Cry: The Wildweeds 13. Think: The Lively Ones* 14. I Can't Explain: Bram Rigg Set* 15. Breathe in My Ear: The Shags 16. Please Leave: Fourth Ryke* 17. Radio Spot: Specter's Radio Ad: The Shags 18. Nothing Remains: Uranus and the Five Moons* 19. You Don't Love Me: Bram Rigg Set* 20. Come Back to Me: The Shags* 21. I Love the Way You Love Me: Bram Rigg Set* 22. I’m Dreaming: The Wildweeds LP Bonus Track 23. Your Groove: Uranus and the Five Moons LP Bonus Track 24. Hey, Little Girl: The Shags LP Bonus Track 25. Sticks and Stones: George’s Boys* LP Bonus Track 26. Bad News for Me: The Bearies* LP Bonus Track 27. Make a Record with the Shags: The Shags* *previously unissued http://www.hartfordadvocate.com/article.cfm?aid=5932 Thursday, February 21, 2008 The Shags Connecticut's biggest band of the 60's is featured on a new anthology from Trod Nossel Studios By Alan Bisbort To hear Tom Violante tell it, the Nutmeg State got its rocks off in the late 1960s. Violante was a vocalist and guitarist in the Shags, one of the state's most popular bands. They were so popular, in fact, that some members of the band took stage names (Violante's was Tommy Roberts). "We all had stage names then, to prevent people from finding out where we lived," he said. "We were popular, sort of like the state's homegrown Beatles. If people knew where we were rehearsing, every kid on the block and for miles around would be snooping in the windows. Our parents thought it was cute, but it could really be tough." The Shags shared stages, fans and a recording studio — Trod Nossel in Wallingford — with the likes of Bram Rigg Set, Uranus and the Five Moons, Fourth Ryke, the Wildweeds, the Bearies, the Lively Ones and the mysterious George's Boys, all of whom left behind some righteously raw singles as well as a vault of previously unreleased material. Happily, some of this neglected music, and its fascinating back-story, is now available on Don't Press Your Luck!: The In Sound of 60's Connecticut (Sundazed), a new anthology of "garage and psych howlers from the vaults of Trod Nossel Studios." The title track is, fittingly, by the Shags, at their most menacing. The album should come with this warning: "This music could be harmful to small children and animals if played too loud." That's intended as a compliment. The one name around which all this musical history revolves is Thomas Cavalier, D.M.D., arguably the only dentist to ever give Phil Spector a serious run for his money. In 1966, the 34-year-old "Doc" Cavalier had a thriving oral surgery practice on Dixwell Avenue in Hamden when he contracted a bad and ultimately incurable case of rock 'n' roll fever. After seeing the Shags perform at West Haven's House of Zodiac, Cavalier was smitten. He volunteered to help the band. As Violante remembers it, "He said he didn't know anything about the business but was certain he could help us." Since the Shags were in thrall to the Beatles, the band members wondered if this "slick business man" with the $400 Petrocelli suits might be their Brian Epstein. "We knew he had deep pockets because he was a dentist, so maybe he could sign our loans we were going to get our equipment with," said Violante. Cavalier not only became the Shags' manager, he was an inseparable member of the pack, as well as a surrogate father to his musicians. He arranged gigs and transportation, allowed bands to rehearse in his basement and eat meals with his family. He also booked time at Syncron Studio, a manufacturing and testing site for microphones that also doubled as a four-track recording venue. When Syncron ran into financial troubles the following year, Cavalier plunked down $75,000 to buy the studio, rechristening it Trod Nossel, a MAD magazine-like name the origin of which is shrouded in the mists of time. "He's really one of the most unusual guys I've ever met," said Violante. "He gave up dentistry to manage Bram Rigg Set and the Shags ... How crazy is that?" Until that time, Cavalier had never been inside a studio, but he turned out to be a quick study behind a control booth console. Indeed, over the next 35 years, he became proficient enough to oversee recording sessions by the likes of Steppenwolf, Fleetwood Mac, Donovan, the Raspberries, Joe Cocker, Taj Mahal, Chick Corea, proto-punker Mick Farren, and (yes) Michael Bolton. But the real treasures in Cavalier's archive date from these raw, righteous early sessions. That's when recording was a passion and not an attempt to polish marketable goods — though Cavalier had some success there too, especially with the Wildweeds's single, "No Good to Cry," a tour de force for an impossibly-young Al Anderson, and "I Call Your Name" by the Shags. Before his untimely death in 2005, Cavalier told this reporter, "I was producing Bram Rigg Set, a rock band that took their names off two gravestones in Cheshire. [Jeff Jerema's Sundazed liner notes say the name was a combination of Bram Stoker and Diana Rigg, chosen because it sounded British]. The band's drummer was Bennett Segel, whose father owned Oakdale Theatre and the lead singer was a guy from Hamden who went by the stage name Damon Roby [real name: Bob Schlosser]." Cavalier was fond of the pronoun "we." Of Bram Rigg Set — six cuts by whom are included on Don't Press Your Luck! — he said, "Musically we arrived on the same bus as the Who's My Generation but, you might say, we were no longer on the bus, but were walking on our own. We were alternative before there was that term. It's difficult to describe that time, because good music was everywhere. The Shack in Watertown, the Sherry Shack on Route 1 in Branford, the Camaro Club in Westbrook." The Shags regularly played these clubs as well as larger venues like the Bushnell, Woolsey Hall at Yale, and the Oakdale, often opening for national acts like the Byrds, Lovin' Spoonful, Paul Revere and the Raiders, Chad & Jeremy, Peter & Gordon, the Rascals and the Animals. And then there was one memorable show at Kennedy Stadium when, opening for the Righteous Brothers, they were hit by lightning. "I don't remember anything after getting zapped," said Violante. Rob DeRosa remembers the Shags mania well. As a teenager, too young to vote or drink but not too young to rock, DeRosa used to follow bands like the Shags, Bram Rigg Set and the Wildweeds around. That is to say, he and his friends would be driven by their parents to places where these shaggy-haired bands were playing. "It was exciting because they were the first bands in the area who had their own thing," said DeRosa, who now hosts a weekly radio show called "Homegrown," dedicated to musical artists from Connecticut (Thursdays, 5:05 p.m., 88.1 FM, www.wesufm.org). "They weren't just playing teen centers; they had publicity photos and managers and they released singles. I still have some of the records that I bought back then." The first bona fide rock concert DeRosa ever attended was at the Oakdale Theater, where the Shags and the Bluebeats opened for the Byrds. "The Shags really had the image down," said DeRosa. "They were like the British beat bands of the time, all wearing the same suits and arriving at concerts in a giant hearse. It was a bit contrived but it was part of that image and the fun." DeRosa was Cheshire Academy classmates with the Bram Rigg Set's drummer, Bennett Segal, whose father owned the Oakdale. "Bram Rigg was more polished and heavy sounding, not garage music at all," said DeRosa, who worked as Trod Nossel's publicity manager for a year. "Segal was a real pretty boy, too. It's a shame they didn't go anywhere with their music, but I guess they got married and moved away." (Indeed, Beau Segal now lives in the Netherlands and Damon Roby, the heartthrob singer, now lives in the DC area under his real name.) True, most of the bands featured on the Sundazed disc had only these cuts as evidence of their moments of glory. For example, the Lively Ones, from Waterbury, were together only six months, long enough for Cavalier to get "Too Many Lies" and "Think" on tape (but never released as recordings). The band broke up when Ralph Calabrese, its lead singer, was drafted, though Calabrese later joined the Blues Menagerie, which put out one album on Buddah. The Wildweeds hung on for a few more years and had some regional hit singles. An exceptionally good compilation and history of the Wildwoods was released in 2002 by Confidential Records, No Good To Cry: The Best of the Wildweeds, compiled largely of Trod Nossel-recorded tracks. Briefly, the Shags and Bram Rigg Set joined forces under the name Pulse, which cut an album that occasionally shows up fetching top dollar on Internet auction sites. Violante kept a version of the Shags going into the 1990s but found that getting bookings for a five-piece band was increasingly difficult. He now fronts two smaller bands — Key West Trio and Kokomo — that stay busy working the summer concerts from Maine to New Jersey. When Doc Cavalier's daughter, Darlene, who now manages Trod Nossel, called Violante to tell him Sundazed was interested in releasing some of the Shags' old singles as well as unreleased material in the studio's archive, he was pleased but a bit wary. The sound quality of some of the old material was raw, to say the least. "Sundazed did a terrific job of remastering the tapes," he said. "They sound 10 times better than they did before." He is particularly fond of the track "Breathe in my Ear" because "we [he, Carl Donnell and Johnny Stanton] wrote the song and recorded it in one sitting, then began performing it on stage that night." He also likes the fact that it was "banned in the South" for what was thought to be sex-themed lyrics. Violante good-naturedly feigns worry over all those old Shags fans coming out of the woodwork. "This is 40 years too late," he said, laughing. "I can't be a rock star at 61." What’s Up, Doc: The Sundazed disc, broken down Though Sundazed labels the songs on Don’t Press Your Luck! “garage and psych howlers,” you can hear just every pop trend of the late 1960s echoing through the tracks. The title track by the Shags was obviously written and recorded under the influence of an understandable passion for the Zombies, and “SSS Happening Here’ by Uranus and the Five Moons sounds like an outtake from Donovan’s electric banana days, though it ends with a nice little James Brown yelp. Standing apart, as polished and professional is “No Good to Cry” by Wildweeds, sung by the inimitable Al Anderson. This is blue-eyed soul at its absolute best, but certainly not “garage” or “psych.” It just happened to have been recorded at Trod Nossel Studios and perhaps will serve as a hook for wavering buyers. Bram Rigg Set were a gifted group of musicians who were clearly enamored of the Who, shown to nice effect on “Take the Time Be Yourself” (written for them by Cavalier); also included here are competent cover versions of Them’s “I Can Only Give You Everything” and the Who’s “I Can’t Explain” included here. Radio spots by the Shags for WAVZ radio station and Specter’s Gift Shop in New Haven give the disc the feel of the Who’s Sell Out. The most curious of these documentary cuts is “Make a Record with the Shags,” on which the band demonstrates Syncron Studios’ overdubbing capabilities. At one point, a profoundly un-hip announcer says, “Reverberation may be added, if desired.” Yes, it is, the Shags seem to say! The most garage-like and howling of all the tracks belong to three bands given short shrift by Jeff Jerema in his otherwise engaging liner notes: George’s Boys, Fourth Ryke and the Bearies. In all fairness, little or nothing is known about these bands now, but they each have a unique, non-derivative sound. George’s Boys, according to Jerema, were purportedly an earlier incarnation of Bram Rigg Set with which the surviving members now “politely disclaim any involvement.” One has to wonder why they’d not want to be associated with a monster track like “Help Me,” which overshadows the Shadows of Knight and is seedier than the Seeds. Ditto, Fourth Ryke’s “You’re Cutting Out,” which opens with the deservedly immortal lines, “1950 was the year your mother brought you forth/ And since that time you’ve made me feel I’m better off a corpse” and ends with a blood-curdling scream, presumably the final words of the singer before he kills himself. And then there are the Bearies, whose “I Paid My Dues” had hit potential. Tragically, all of these tracks are listed as “previously unissued.” Indeed, the biggest mystery to Don’t Press Your Luck! may be that Cavalier sat on this treasure trove for more than 40 years. And the obvious question is: What other treasures are we likely to find in Trod Nossel’s archives, just begging for a Volume 2? Final recommendation: If you have a turntable, the vinyl release of this platter has five more bonus tracks than the CD, including one by the Bearies (“Bad News for Me”) and another by George’s Boys (“Sticks and Stones”).