Allen Harris Band

Band members                             Related acts

  line up 1 (1875)

- Christine Cordone -- vocals

- Allen Harris (RIP 2012) -- vocals, guitar

- Robert Leon -- guitar, percussion

- Michael Kimmel -- drums

- Robert Rosenblatt -- percussion

- Larry J. Smith -- percussion

- Kim Wroble -- bass, backing vocals



- none known





Genre: pop

Rating: **** (4 stars)

Title:  Oceans Between Us

Company: TappanZee/Columbia

Catalog: JC-35364

Year: 1978

Country/State: US

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: original lyric inner sleeve

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 4679

Price: $15.00

Cost: $66.00


Having found this album at a yard sale I was going to pass on it due to the fact Bob James' Tappan Zee label primarily focused on jazz artists.  The back cover band picture didn't exactly inspire me, but Harris and company just didn't look like jazz hipsters. Good thing I picked the album up since 1978's "Oceans Between Us" is a surprisingly impressive debut. Co-produced by James and Joe Jorgensen, I'll readily at that I'm at somewhat of a loss to articulate why I like this album so much.  There isn't anything particularly original here and every time I spin the album I find myself playing 'spot the influences'.  On the other hand Harris has a voice that's quite attractive and versatile.  Along with second lead singer Christine Cordone the pair turn in some beautiful harmony vocal performances on material such as the title track and 'Goodnight My Lady'. The backing band is also quite good (particularly guitarist Robert Leon) and on tracks like 'Snow Blind' Harris and company show they can rock with considerable conviction.  Elsewhere, 'Broadway Life' is kind of interesting for it's weird mesh of Springsteen urban woe and jazz moves (courtesy of Herbert Laws' funky Latin-flavored flute solo).  In case you care, 'Oceans Between Us' b/w '???' was released as a single (Tappan Zee/Columbia catalog number 3-10865).  By the way, I'm still curious to know how these guys got signed to James' Tappan Zee label.  As far as I know, they're the only non-jazz act signed to the label ...

"Oceans Between Us" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Ocean Between Us   (Allen Harris) - 4:44

2.) Goodnight My Lady   (Allen Harris - Stephen Capan) - 3:18

3.) Snow Blond   (Allen Harris) - 4:10

4.) Broadway Life   (Allen Harris - Larry J. Smith) - 6:05


(side 2)
1.) Actress   (Allen Harris) - 3:50

2.) All In a Dream  (Larry J. Smith - Christien Cordone) - 3:31

3.) Changes   (Robert Leon - Allen Harris - Christine Cordone) - 3:43

4.) Borderline   (Allen Harris) - 5:44


So this unexpected email showed up in my account:



Stumbled upon your site.  It is a long story about how the Allen Harris Band got signed to Tappan Zee Records.  I believe they were the first band signed to Tappan Zee which was Bob James' subsidiary label under Columbia.  The band was much better than the album, both in their live performances and in their self-produced tapes.  At that time and place Bob James was not the right producer for the band.  He threw me out of the studio.  While the album was disappointing, the accomplishment of Allen in going from nothing to releasing an album in less than a year is impressive.


First the bad news:  Allen died, of cancer, a few years ago [he died in February 2012].  I unfortunately missed my last chance to see him, as it turned out, in the summer of 07 when he was in Gloversville for a get together with some friends of ours.  The last time I saw him was probably in the 80s.  I found some stuff that he recorded in later years on-line, but I've only heard snippets of it.  I think Rob died in 2005, of a heart attack.  The last time I saw him was probably in the late 80s or early 90s.


I was with the band from its inception until its demise.  I did a lot of things, sometimes at different times, sometimes simultaneously: roady, road manager, light man, sound engineer, booking agent, bookkeeper, investor (unintentionally, and unbelievably considering the difficulty of getting blood from a stone), emergency bass player, and probably others I've forgotten.  After thinking about it, I guess Bob didn't actually throw me out of the studio.  He just let me know that there was no need for me to be there.


Here's a link to a video of the band:



Tim Scribner (July 2013)