(a borrowed pic of) The Storytellers, Danny Federici lower right
Listen – Cry With Me – MP3
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.
*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.