Airborne


Band members                              Related acts

  line up 1 (1972-77)

- Ed Bobrowski -- lead guitar

- Barry Fields -- bass, background vocals

- Kevin McCabe -- vocals, guitar, keyboards

- Dave 'Ski' Sulewski -- drums, percussion

 

  line up 2 (1977-79)

- Ed Bobrowski -- lead guitar

NEW - Elf (aka Ed Pietrowski) -- drums, percussion  (replaced  

  Dave 'Ski' Sulewski)

- Barry Fields -- bass, background vocals

- Kevin McCabe -- vocals, guitar, keyboards

 

 

 

- Teenage Lust (Barry Fields)

 

 

 


 

Genre: rock

Rating: 3 stars ***

Title:  Airborne

Company: Tiger Lily

Catalog: TL 14045
Year:
 1976

Country/State: US

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: cut top right corner

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 5721

Price: $150.00

 

There are at least a half dozen bands with the Airborne nameplate and I own music from a couple of them.  This particular Airborne isn't the best, or the worst of the club.   That said. it is the only one with the distinction of having their album released on Morris Levy's tax scam Tiger Lily label.  That certainly gives the band and their album a certain sense of mystery.  Curiously, while most tax scam releases provide little bibliographical or performance information, 1977's "Airborne" provided quite a bit of information.  The liner notes told you:

 

- Who the band members were: lead guitarist Ed Bobrowski, former Teenage Lust bass player Barry Fields, singer/multi-instrumentalist Kevin McCabe, and drummer Dave 'Ski' Sulewski

 

Left to Right.....Ed Bobrowskii -  Kevin McCabe - Barry Fields - Ed "Elf" Pietrowski

 

- Who the songwriter(s) were: McCabe, with the exception of one Kinks cover

- Who the producers were: Fields and McCabe

 

So right off the bat you've got way more data than on your typical Tiger Lily album.

 

Musically the album featured some surprisingly enjoyable radio-friendly '70s-styled AOR.  McCabe had a likeable voice with a chameleon-like ability that allowed him to adapt to a myriad of styles including country-flavored ballad ('Woman'), conventional rock ('Give Us a Kiss'), and even a left fielded stab at reggae ('Reggae No More').  Not a perfect comparison, but if you could get your arms around an American version of 10cc you'd be in the right aural neighborhood.  The performances weren't hurt by the additional of lead guitarist Ed Bobrowski and drummer Dave 'Ski' Sulewski (the latter was particularly good).  These guys certainly didn't score any points for creativity or originality, but by the same token their performances were never less than professional and they even managed to turn some of the pedestrian tunes into something worth hearing.  Best of the lot were their nifty cover of The Kinks' 'Lola', 'Rocky Starr', and the closing rocker 'Circle of Life' (side two was much stronger than the first side).  Bet they would have been fun to see in a nightclub.

 

"Airborne" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Stop Before You Break My Heart   (Kevin McCabe)   rating: ** stars

Curiously the album actually started off with one of the weaker performances; the sentimental mid-tempo rocker 'Stop Before You Break My Heart'.  McCabe's stilted vocals  gave the song an uncomfortable Styx-like sound and the anonymous female singer who shared some of the lead vocals did little to improve the track.  Giving credit where due, Bobrowski 's slide guitar was nice.

2.) Reggae No More   (Kevin McCabe)   rating: ** stars

White guys trying to incorporate reggae flavors into their catalog are usually doomed to failure and judging 'Reggae No More', these guys were no different.  If you're old enough to remember it, this one actually sounded a little but like the 10CC. song 'Bloody Tourists'.  Since I never liked that song, this one didn't do much for me either.  

3.) Wheel of Fortune   (Kevin McCabe)   rating: ** stars

Hum, 'Wheel of Fortune' almost sounded like they were trying to pull off a Southern rock song.  Unfortunately, other than Bobrowski's solo, there wasn't much going on here.  

4.) Don't Stay Out All Night   (Kevin McCabe)   rating: ** stars

AOR bands shouldn't try to pull off boogie ...  'Don't Stay Out All Night' is a perfect example of why they shouldn't do it.  Terrible.   

5.) Chay Marie   (Kevin McCabe)   rating: *** stars 

Easily the best song on side one, the acoustic guitar propelled 'Chay Marie' had a pretty melody and a hook that actually stuck with you awhile.  The song also featured Bobrowski's best side one performance. 

 

(side 2)
1.) Rocky Starr   (Kevin McCabe)    rating: *** stars 

 I'm guessing the in-concert sound effects that opened 'Rocky Starr' were added in the studio, but who knows ...  Quite different from the rest of the album, this one actually had kind of a cool jittery, proto-punk feel to it.  Shame they didn't do more stuff in this vein.   

2.) Lola   (Ray Davies) -    rating: *** stars 

Their cover of 'Lola' won't make you forget The Kinks' original, but it wasn't half bad, with some very nice group harmonies.  I've heard far worse versions.   

3.) Woman   (Kevin McCabe)    rating: *** stars 

Another atypical performance, 'Woman' was a pretty, low-keyed, mildly country-flavored ballad that showcased some great Bobrowski guitar.   

4.) Give Us a Kiss   (Kevin McCabe)    rating: *** stars 

'Give Us a Kiss' found the band diving back into '70s AOR.  I'll readily admit to liking this one quite a bit for it's sense of humor and for the jittery arrangement.  Only complaint was the song's  abrupt ending.  

5.) Circle of Life   (Kevin McCabe)    rating: **** stars

Easily that album's best song, 'Circle of Life' had it all - a great melody; a nice McCabe vocal, and a fantastic Bobrowski's guitar pattern. 

 

Certainly not the best release on Tiger Lily, but had a couple of really good tracks (especially on side two).

 

I haven't spent a great deal of time looking for any of the members, but Fields (now known as Dr. Barry Fields)  was also a member of the band Teenage Lust and then became a pastor based in Easton, Pennsylvania where he runs The Father’s House Christian Fellowship.

 

So on a lark I sent Dr. Fields an email.  He was more than gracious in telling me a little bit about the band.

 

i Scott,

"I left the band Teenage Lust in 1972 and decided to join some of my hometown friends in forming a band.  Airborne was literally a group made up of friends from my New Jersey hometown.  Ed Bobrowski and I were in a High School band together called the After-Beats. We’d played together since 1965.  Dave "Ski" Selewski was also a friend from High School and Kevin McCabe was the leader of a rival High School band called The Bex. Kevin was a very talented song writer. We had plenty of original songs to play. We recorded many of them. Some were good and some were not so good. Contrary to what some people may think, Airborne did not use any material from the Teenage Lust catalog.  In general Airborne's music was a lot more proficient than the stuff Teenage Lust had been doing.   

When I was in Teenage Lust, one of the management companies that had a major interest in the band was The Milton Leavey Agency. A man by the name of Bob West worked for Milton Leavey. Bob started his own company and did some management for Airborne. Bob was having trouble getting Airborne a major record deal so he got us signed with Morris Levy’s Roulette-affiliated Tiger Lily label. Everything on our end was handled by Bob West. He arranged everything. Bob brought the contracts which Kevin and I signed. Tiger Lily asked for band pictures and we provided them, but as you know they didn't use them, rather used a generic cover on which they drew little airplanes in a corner of the jacket.  The contract we signed stated that we were to receive up front money and we actually did get something. I think it was $2,500.00. I could be wrong on the amount, it was a long time ago.  I recently looked for the contract but I could not find my copy.  

At tthe time we were signed by Tiger Lily, we had already recorded a master tape.  The material for what became the Airborne album had been recorded at the Record Plant with Shelly Yakus and Dennis Ferrente producing. The track Lola was recorded at Intermedia sound in Boston with George Caldwell. (George was a friend of Keith Richards). There’s also a 10" demo disk that we put together to try to get a record deal. It features some tracks that are not on the LP.  Anyhow, at the time we did know that Tiger Lily was a shady operation, although Tommy James did pretty well with Morris Levy and Roulette. As I said, we wanted something that would help us get a major deal.  

We knew when the record was released. Again, I can't be sure but I think we were given 50 copies and Bob thought we could use this deal to get a major label deal.   At that time Kevin's wife worked for Transcontinent Records. They were a large record distribution company in New Jersey. She arranged for them to distribute the record. I know they ordered hundreds of copies. Our fans (as well as ourselves) called all of the record shops in central Jersey and requested the album. So they started ordering copies. It did sell locally, though we never knew how many copies of the album were pressed, let alone sold.. Ironically, we never met or spoke to anyone from Tiger Lily or Roulette.  We were actually working on material for our next LP when Bob suddenly died.

 

Ironically when the LP was released the original line up was no longer together. It was just Kevin and me. We got back together and started playing local shows. It was very difficult for a band to get work in those days that played all original material. We played a lot of showcases at Max's and CBGBs and other clubs in New York and New Jersey. They didn't pay the bills. We were starting to get some notice from industry people so we got a new manager. This manager did a lot of work for us.  Nothing panned out.  He actually was using us for his own contacts. We didn't know it but he was a large scale drug dealer. He got us a loft in New Brunswick, New Jersey as rehearsal space and he used it for a drug warehouse. I really didn't know.  One night the police busted the loft and his whole drug and porn operation. He went to jail.  Our drummer Ski did some time in jail as well. We got Elf to play drums and started to play shows again without management.  Industry people would not talk to us without management. I was in no hurry to find another manager at this point. 

 

Kevin and I floundered around for a bit afterward. I moved about an hour away from him and we just didn't do anything else again. I moved in 1977 and I think we kind of packed it in in 79 or 80. We had other personnel during that time but nothing ever went any where.

 

How did I go from bass player to pastor ?  First, as I said before I still do play bass. S o I really didn't switch anything. My wife and I became born again Christians in 1975. We both started attending church and studying the Bible. Shortly after, I started playing in a Christian rock band. After 5 years in that band, I started my own band. We played a lot of shows and events in the Tri state area. NJ, NY and PA. At the same time we started having meetings in our house and we realized that we had a calling to pastor. A true pastor is not a job, it's a calling by God. We stepped out in faith and started a church in 1997 in New Jersey. We relocated the church to Easton, PA. In 2001.  Our church is totally contemporary in style, while maintaining a very conservative approach to the teachings of the bible. Our worship style is similar to pop classic rock.  My two adult sons are the worship leaders.  They both a very gifted musicians.  I fill in on bass occasionally. I also own and operate a home remodeling company for the last 30 years, which my oldest son works now.

 

So, there you have it. A very nut shell overview of my story.  If I can be of any other help to you. I would be glad to try.  I don't know if you saw my web site, it is www.tfhcf.org  I also have a lot of pics from my rock days to present  on Facebook under the heading Barry Fields.

 

By the way, I am in contact with Ed Bobrowski on Facebook. I have not heard from Kevin or Ski in years. If you are on Facebook, look on my profile under photos. If you click on the album "bands" you will find pix of Teenage Lust and Airborne. Ski played on all of the tracks on the album however he was replaced by Ed Pietrowski / AKA "Elf", who is pictured in the picture you posted of Airborne on your web page.

 

Barry Fields, June 2010

 

 

 

 

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