Locals Only #3 – The Storytellers – Cry With Me b/w Danny Federici RIP

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(a borrowed pic of) The Storytellers, Danny Federici lower right

Listen – Cry With Me – MP3

Greetings all.
I had previously hinted that I’d be kicking off the week with that cover of the Outer Limits tune, but late last week I read the sad news that E Street Band organist Danny Federici had passed away.
I know that many of the folks that stop by here may not be big Springsteen fans (I grew up one town over from Freehold and 20 minutes from Asbury Park, so there was really no way around it). I happen to love much of what he did up to ‘Darkness on the Edge of Town’, but that’s really neither here nor there. The Iron Leg-gy thing about Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band is that among their ranks dwelt a couple of players (the Boss and Little Steven included) that were a part of the local 60 garage punk experience.
Monmouth County had a fairly fertile scene in the mid-60’s, with a number of teen clubs and some very cool 45s by local acts like the Mods, Inmates, Motifs, Hallmarks and the Storytellers.
That last band just happened to include Danny Federici on organ and singer/songwriter Billy Chinnock, who went on to record a few well regarded LPs in the 70’s and 80’s. The Storytellers 45 ‘Cry With Me’, on the Trystero label is one of the rarer local punk 45s – I don’t have an OG, so I lifted the track from a mid-80s comp called ‘Psychedelic Disaster Whirl’ – and try as I might I’ve never been able to score a copy (I don’t think I’ve ever seen one for sale).
Though most of the local material I’ve found (or heard on comps) is solid, I’d have to say that the Storytellers ‘Cry With Me’ is one of the finest; a real slice of teen angst with some great fuzz guitar (though the organ is WAY down in the mix).
Federici, who went on to play with Springsteen in late 60’s bands like Child and Steel Mill displayed his chops (on organ and accordion) much more prominently on albums like ‘The Wild, The Innocent and the E Street Shuffle’, but for fans of that wild 60s punk sound, his biggest bang was pushing that combo organ behind the Storytellers.
I hope you dig it.

Peace
Larry

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*Springsteen recorded two tracks (right here in Brick, NJ!!) with his own band the Castiles, but they never went beyond the acetate stage and have never been released. I have a tape somewhere of the Castiles playing at a teen club in 1967. Very lo-fi, but with some interesting song choices. I’ll have to dig it out some day and digi-ma-tize it.

PS Make sure to stop by Funky16Corners for a new podcast.

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8 Comments

  1. Killer track, Larry! While it’s true that Springsteen has never been the hippest name to drop in the collector circuit, the fact is that he made some great records (Wild Innocent, BTR and Darkness being my faves by far) – and as a kid I got hip to a variety of classic acts (Mitch Ryder, Bobby Fuller, the Searchers and the Animals, to name just a few) via cover songs that I heard on various Bruce bootlegs. While I don’t listen to him much these days, his music paved the way for my appreciation of a wide variety of cool sounds, for which I am eternally grateful…

    Re: Danny – The E Street Band circa ’75-’82 was also the very dictionary definition of a “band”; every player had an immediately recognizable individual sound, yet they all meshed together beautifully, and Danny’s organ and glockenspeil were as integral to the E Street sound as Clarence’s sax. He will definitely be missed…

  2. Dan
    Good point about Springsteen as a conduit of sorts for other sounds. He’s always had extremely good taste in cover material and his early records, especially the first three, display a wide range of influences.
    I agree with you as well about the “band” concept, which seems to be lost these days. I remember feeling that way about the Band and the early Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers albums, where they had a distinct sound as a group that was kind of above and beyond the songs themselves.
    Larry

  3. Sure looks like Springsteen in that photo.

  4. The guy in the middle? I know. Trust me, it’s not.
    L

  5. I will identify the musicians in the picture. Clockwise from the left: Jimmy (English) Meltzer-vocals, percussion (singing harmony on this track), Bill Wolf-bass, Larry Lerner-drums, Danny Federici-organ. Seated in the center: Bill Chinnock-lead guitar, vocals. The B side is another Bill Chinnock original, “Little Boy Sad”, and you can really hear Danny’s organ on that one. This was the first recording Danny made playing organ.

  6. Thanks for the info. I’ve never seen a listing for the members of the Storytellers so I appreciate the input.
    L

  7. Very cool tune. It sounds to me after hearing Cry With Me, that The Storytellers were definitely a band to be reckoned with. Somehow though, I get the distinct impression that The Story Tellers unfortunately got lost in the “E Street Shuffle”. Too bad.

  8. The song “Cry With Me” was an original composition that was written by group leader Billy Chinnock and it was recorded by his band The Story Tellers. These guys were very popular at the Jersey shore during the late 1960’s and they attracted a large following in a prelude to Bruce Springsteen.


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