Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Bobby Cole - LIFE ROLLS ON

   According to Library of Congress records (yes, this blog does actual research), in 1967 Jack Lonshein’s Concentric Records registered several tunes written by Bobby Cole. These include “The Debutant,” (that's the masculine spelling, the female is debutante) “Never Ask the Hour,” “When She was In Love With Me,” “Get Off Looking Good,” “At the Darkest Hour,” “I Never Saw the Shadows” and “Checkerboard Life.” Among others.

    An acetate demo was made for one side of what I assume was going to be the follow-up to Bobby’s “A Point of View” album. The tracks, in order, are: “Get Off Looking Good,” “Drink this Cup,” “Life Rolls On,” “The Midnight Flower,” “How the Lonely Spend Their Time” and “When She Was In Love With Me.”

    The upbeat “Life Rolls On” could have been a single, b/w “I Never Saw the Shadows.” Those two tracks, and most of what Concentric copyrighted eventually surfaced via a CD-R on Jack Lonshein’s invented “A Different Journey” label.  

    Technically, Concentric registered the copyright so Jack had some authority to unauthorized bootleg. Maybe? The songs are copyrighted to "Robert Cole," though. Jack apparently didn’t toss any royalties to the Cole estate, but who knows how many copies were sold and if he even knew an address for any of Bobby's estranged family, and if they or perhaps Karen (the woman he was living with) was in charge of the estate. The CD-R, in these early days of the Net, was not sold through eBay or promoted via YouTube, but was pretty much only discovered by someone doing a Google search and finding the now defunct JazzmanRecords (Ron Meyers) website. The photo above was probably taken by Ron Meyers, hence the sort of oddball credit line. 

LIFE ROLLS ON - listen online, download. NO ego passwords. NO self-entitled Paypal demand. NO dodgy download site from Eurotrashia or Putinville

I NEVER SAW THE SHADOWS - listen online, download, etc.


Marie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Marie said...

Once again, sir, thank you for keeping Bobby's music and memory alive. Your stories of you and Bobby at the Dakota will be treasured by Bobby's family, I'm sure. I'm going to share your blog link on the Facebook page, and will put up a video with the lyrics displayed. These are just treasures! With luck, I should soon be receiving one of the CDs released after his death. It sounds like you have all of them, and I'm thankful they're in your good care.

Yes, a lot of confusion through the past 20+ years regarding who has rights to Bobby's recordings and compositions. Long story short, it appears that everything written and recorded after the Columbia/Date recordings belongs to his surviving family.

Although Ron took a lot of photos of Bobby, the session featuring close-ups of Bobby in a black turtleneck were photographed by a different professional photographer.

Take care, and I hope you're about to have a very happy new year.

Ill Folks said...

Hi Marie,

Nice to see the Facebook page flourishing, and people contributing. (Enjoyed the Marcus Dagan anecdotes.)

As far as I know, there were 3 CDs sold on that defunct website: "Gone But Not Forgotten" (which is now the "Point of View" Japanese import), "The Rehearsal Tapes" and "More Ideas from Bobby Cole," which included a lot of the Concentric acetates (but apparently not "The Debutant").

Not sure what happened to Jack. I heard he was blind and in a nursing home. Does that mean his artwork, Concentric masters and ephemera are packed in a storage facility somewhere?

Interesting to see the YouTube posting from the days of Louis Falco. Not sure what to make of the co-credit. I thought Bobby wrote "Caviar" by himself, but some sources give a co-write credit to Alcantara. The Lincoln Center Library has a video on "Caviar," which seems to be credited as coming from an overseas broadcast. I'm assuming the YouTube thing is that broadcast, and that it references that the dance was first performed at the Roundabout.

Yes, there are still some Cole miners out there, puzzling over these little details, and always hopeful of finding some new gem.

Marie said...

Speaking of Cole mining (excellent turn of phrase, BTW), a contributor to a Judy Garland fan page posted a photo of Judy in a limo in 1967, accompanied by an unidentified couple. Dee confirmed that she and Bobby were sitting with Judy. What a treat! There are so few photos of Bobby out there.

According to an old blog post by Ron Meyers, Bobby also recorded some demos, including: "Mack the Knife," "The Song is You," "I Love Paris," "No Moon at All," "Let There Be Love," "Don't Worry 'Bout Me," and "The Big Hurt." Maybe he and Jack included them on "More Ideas..."?

I discovered online, not too long ago, that Ron died in 2012, and his wife Jeri died in 2011. They had been living in North Carolina. And Jack died in 2015 and is buried in Quantico National Cemetery in Virginia. According to his friend and biographer David Brown, "I was met [at Jack's apartment building] by the doorman who told me that Jack was forced to move to a retirement home due to failing health. All of his belongings were either tossed on the sidewalk or donated to the Salvation Army. Most of his original paintings ended up at a Salvation Army thrift shop where they were bought up by random customers." I can't even -- it's all too sad for words.

The Louis Falco years are another puzzle. Anna Falco-Lane posted the video with music credit to Burt Alcantara. I think, but am not sure, that the ballet was re-choreographed and Bobby composed new music, somewhere around 1980. I might contact Anna and see if she can shed any light.

Ill Folks said...

Hi Marie, only "The Big Hurt" is on the "More Ideas" CD. The scant liner notes mention that "two other CDs are available mail order from Jazzman Records, 7033 Spandril Lane, Charlotte, NC..." $20 including postage and handling.

Yeah, I thought Jack had come to a sad end. I have that self-published book/brochure that was full of Jack's album covers and artwork. Really a shame that there was nobody, or no time, to do better by him, and instead leave it to the Salvation Army. Odd to think there might be a thrift shop trying to sell that Concentric album cover portrait of Bobby.

According to the NY Times review, 1977 yes, "CAVIAR remains pure joy. It has a new score by Robert Cole, which is harder on the ears. If anything the piece has lost its innocence. At its premiere, CAVIAR offered a live rock ensemble that had a name to do with "Pot" and the whimsy of the composer..." Why Falco asked Bobby to create new music...nobody seems to know. Burt Alcantar was credited with the music on VERTICAL BURN. The Times reviewer insisted, "Mr. Falco's central idea of dancers dancing around Marisol's foam rubber fish and identifying with them remains a stroke of brilliance."

The music on Anna's clip is certainly experimental, and not what one might expect from Bobby Cole. I wonder if this is the clip that played on Netherlands TV all those years ago, and is now in the permanent (non circulating, go there to watch it) collection at the Lincoln Center Library.

Marie said...

I just found the Louis Falco fan page on Facebook, started in 2014, but no new posts since 2015. There's a photo of Vertical Burn at the Holland Festival. Bobby is there! I'm posting to the FB right now. And I will definitely contact Anna soon.