Incredible Broadside Brass Bed Band, The
Band members Related acts
- Mark Beiber -- washboard, harp (1972)
- Victor Bernadoni -- drums (1972)
- Bill Comeau -- vocals, guitar, harp (1972)
- Jerry Devokatis -- lead guitar (1972)
- Tim Kobela -- guitar
- Peter Levin -- banjo, kazoo, keyboards (1972)
- Thelonius Lipschitz -- bass skunk
- Carl Max -- bass, bass fraogaphone
- Paul Ossola -- bass (1972)
- Vincent dePaul Linus Pasternak -- lead guitar, violin
- Chris White -- guitar (1972)
- Bill Comeau (solo efforts)
- Pete Levin (solo efforts)
Rating: 3 stars ***
Title: The Great Grizzly Bear Hunt
Company: Poison Ring
Country/State: New Britain, Connecticut
Grade (cover/record): VG / VG
GEMM catalog ID: 5447
This is one I bought based on the label - I own a couple of other albums released by Doc Cavalier's Connecticut-based Poison Ring Records label and they've all been rather entertaining.
Singer/guitarist Bill Comeau was apparently the front man/creative engine behind the New Britain, Connecticut-based The Incredible Broadside Brass Bed Band. Comeau had apparently already recorded a couple of solo efforts for the New York City religious oriented Avant Garde label before forming The Incredible Broadside Brass Bed Band in the late 1960s. I've never heard any of his earlier work so can't comment on it.
Over the next couple of years he Incredible Broadside Brass Bed Band went through various personnel changes, but by the time they signed with Poison Ring the group consisted of Comeau, washboard player Mark Beiber, drummer Victor Bernadoni, guitarist Jerry Devokatis, banjo player/keyboardist Peter Levin, bassist Paul Ossola, and lead guitarist Vincent dePaul Linus Pasternak. The band's pet skunk Thelonius Lipschitz also got a performance credit on the liner notes.
back cover photo left to right: Pete Levin (with Thelonius Skunk), Chris White,
Victor Bernardoni, Vinnie Pasternack, Mark Bieber, and Bill Comeau
In a rather gutsy move, the band's 1972 debut "The Great Grizzly Bear Hunt" was a live set recorded before various friends and associates. Featuring a mix of Comeau originals and ragtime-flavored numbers ('Coney Island Washboard'), the results were about as far from commercial product as you could possible get. That said, the album had a certain low-tech, goofball charm that was underscored by the fact all nine tracks were recorded in one take (with a little bit of postproduction work to repair some of the major glitches). The fact that none of the members seemed to take themselves too seriously and actually sounded like they were having a ton of fun (along with an audience that sounded increasingly enthusiastic or perhaps stoned) also made a big difference. As lead singer Comeau wasn't half bad, turning in suitably gritty performances on the bluesy 'Bullfrog Blues' and 'Cocaine'. The rest of the band were never less than entertaining, generating quite a bit of energy on the Arlo Guthrie-styled storyteller title track. Certainly an atypical performance, propelled by a beautiful Levin harpsichord, the band's cover of Bob Dylan's 'I Dreamed I Saw St. Augustine' was easily the standout track and could have generated radio exposure had it been tapped as a single. As I said earlier, the bulk of the album was simply too uncommercial for most ears, but eclectic enough for the adventuresome to consider checking out. Poison Ring actually tapped the album for a single in the form of the hysterical 1950s ballad spoof 'Little Dead Surfer Girl' b/w 'Bullfrog Blues' (Poison Ring catalog number PRR-717). Frank Zappa would have been proud to have released the single ...
Grizzly Bear Hunt" track listing:
Blues (Bill Comeau) -
With an ever changing cast, the group apparently continued to performer throughout Connecticut. According to Levin's website they recorded quite a bit of additional material, though it's never seen the light of day.
Bernadoni, Levin, and Ossola continued their collaboration with the band Fancy.
Levin became an in-demand musician and producer. He's also released some solo material and has an interesting website at:
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