New England Music Scrapbook

The drummer is an optometrist, the bass player plays the tuba, and they all like the Mothers.1

Enter The Crow ... seven musicians and a vocalist who combine to produce a big sound well worth hearing ... and seeing. Able performers all, The Crow's byword is versatility. They can perform hard-rock, jazz or soul equally well, and really come to life when playing "Mother," a free-wheeling original, or when vocalist Donna Gaines2 sings "Tenderness."

The eight member group has been together for 10 months and has played at the Purple Onion, the Unicorn, as well as Amherst, Colby and Assumption on the college circuit. They've had auditions with Dot, Columbia, and Capitol, and plan to cut a single--and eventually an album--for RCA. Their ambition is to reproduce a technically perfect sound ... similar to a "live" performance.

Joel Franklin, drummer[,] is the optometrist and also attends Boston Architectural Center ... quite a combination. Hoby Cook plays organ and electric piano (also the leader),3 and Roger Schoen is on lead guitar.4 The horn section includes Mark Gould5 on trumpet--the "talker of the group," Peter Gannick on tenor sax,6 and Steve Schrell who plays both alto sax and a mean flute.7 Vern Miller, who played with Barry and the Remains, plays bass and occasional tuba.8

The "ultimate" collection of musicians, according to The Crow, is the Mothers. Manager Bernard Apotheker believes they're five years ahead of any other group ... and they're better "live."

The Crow has some definite ideas about music. They want to perfect all aspects of their music ... both when performing live as well as recorded sounds. But they don't want to be pegged in any particular music bag. They want to experiment with all sounds ... soul, rock, blues and Motown. To hear them is to experience an entire range of sounds ... all done well. From the Stones "Something Happened" to "Baby I Love You"9 The Crow has it. A big orchestra sound that comes across loud and clear, The Crow is something to crow about.

"The Crow," [by Rudy Bickle?], New England Teen Scene, December 1967, p. 23.

-- Posted by Alan Lewis, September 4, 2001



2. Many of our sources give Donna Summer's birth name as LaDonna Gaines.

Donna Summer graduated, a bit late, from Jeremiah E. Burke High School in Dorchester, Massachusetts. In 1977, she told Ernie Santosuosso of the Boston Globe that she was a permanent member of the glee club and sang in all the programs presented at the school. She declared, "If I couldn't have sung, I wouldn't have gone to school." Santosuosso called her first hit, "Love To Love You, Baby," "a 17-minute catalogue of ecstatic moans." He added, "She proved she could do lyrics, too." Santosuosso's notice is the only source I've ever seen recording that Donna Summer once sang and danced in an act called the Young Adults. -- Boston Globe, 11/29/1977

"Walk Away," from the Bad Girls album, and big-hit "Hot Stuff" are easily among Summer's finest records. She showed that she could perform magic by making something interesting out of the song, "MacArthur Park." "Last Dance," "On the Radio," and "She Works Hard for the Money" are a few other excellent Donna Summer recordings. And though right now we have no way of playing old vinyl, we have fond memories of "Protection" on Donna Summer (LP, Geffen, 1982), which was written by Bruce Springsteen. (He played a guitar solo on that track.)

Since Donna Summer was known as the "Disco Queen," her name brings '70s dance music to mind. One of our favorite disco records came from an unlikely quarter--"I Just Don't Feel Like Dancing" by Phil Everly (of the Everly Brothers) on his fine solo album, Living Alone (LP, Elektra, 1979). Of course, there is much irony in the song's title.

3. The New England Teen Scene article erred by giving Hoby Cook's name as "Habi Cook."

4. The New England Teen Scene article erred by giving this name as "Dave Grigahunas."

"Another laugh Donna and I had was over the guitarist's name, "Dave Grigahunas"--we wondered if this was someone's attempt to rhyme with "Big Kahunas"! Anyway, this person's real name was Dave Grigalonus and he was a guitarist, however Dave was not a member of the band this web site describes. The Crow's guitarist's name was Roger Schoen. Roger was also the graphic artist of the group, contributing to many of our posters, and our logo on the head of our drummer's kick drum." -- Hoby Cook, e-mail message, 10/9/2002

5. "Trumpet player Mark Gould went on to become a long-time member of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra in NYC and an accomplished concert and studio musician in that city." -- E-mail message, Julianne Lindsay, November 13, 2002

It is generally thought that the New York Metropolitan Opera pit orchestra is the finest in the world. Thanks go out to Julianne Lindsay for sending this impressive information.

6. The New England Teen Scene article erred by giving this name as "Don Pender."

"The name Don Pender sounds familiar, however a person of that name was never in The Crow. The tenor saxophonist's name was Peter Gannick. Peter also played flute, doubled on bass and keyboards and sang background vocals in the band." -- Hoby Cook, e-mail message, 10/9/2002

7. The New England Teen Scene article erred by giving this name as "Steve Schell."

"As your [old] footnote correctly surmises, 'Steve Schell' is in fact the alto saxophonist Steve Schrell who later appeared with trumpeter Mark Gould in the Bagatelle." -- Hoby Cook, e-mail message, 10/9/2002

8. Vern Miller, Jr., in addition to the Remains, was a member of a great Boston group, Swallow. Among mid-'60s touring rock bands, Vern Miller was the best bass player I recall.

9. "Baby I Love You" by Aretha Franklin, I guess.

We never did play the Tea Party--in fact, we did not do many Boston gigs at all. Although hind-sight casts us in something of a visionary light, we were somewhat of an anomaly in the music scene at the place and of the time. We had a black lead singer and a horn section, neither of which concepts were yet commonplace, and we used orchestral and exotic instruments on stage (tuba, bass saxophone, french horn, oboe, sitar). Most Boston club owners didn't want the hassle of having all of our gear and special sound reinforcement needs. Then too, many of the more mainstream groups of the time (thinking themselves very avant-garde) were, let's say, "skeptical" of our differences with their own mostly guitar-bass-drums-keyboard format. I can remember a gig we did at the Unicorn with Ultimate Spinach. When we started to bring our gear into the club--one of the first instruments in was the tuba--the Spinach looked at us like we all had two heads apiece... It wasn't until we opened our set with the full orchestra version of Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band that they "got it".

-- Hoby Cook, e-mail message, October 9, 2002


AN UNAUTHORIZED DONNA SUMMER WEB PAGE, with a lot of very interesting information, may be found at: Unauthorized pages most often are the best.


Notes copyright © 2001 by Alan Lewis.
All rights reserved.

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