The Young Ideas

Band members                             Related acts

  line up 1 (1958-65)

- Billy Fasching -- drums, percussion

- Tony Fasching -- guitar, sax, backing vocals

- Craig Gregg Kastelnick -- vocals, horns, keyboards

- Leni Martucci -- bass, backing vocals

- Tom Nicholson -- keboards, trombone, backing vocals

- Ron Russell - keyboards, bass, guitar

- Rich Samar -- sax, vocals


  line up 2 (1981)

- Ronnie Hassinger -- vocals, guitar, keyboards

- Harry O. -- vocals, drums, percussion

- Ron Russell - keyboards, bass, guitar

NEW - Michael Tisosky -- vocals, trumpet, keyboards

  (replaced Alan Gaumer)



- Kal's Kids

- Fred Milander

- Pro-Teens





Genre: pop

Rating: *** 3 stars

Title:  The Young Ideas

Company: Young Ideas Records

Catalog: LPS 92870

Country/State: Allentown, Pennsylvania

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: plays smooth with no issues

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 1928

Price: $125.00


Their history is confusing (made even more complex by the existence of a couple of bands with the same name), but this group were seemingly originally from the Allentown/Whitehall Pennsylvania area.  At least a couple of the members started their musical careers in the mid-1960s as Kal's Kids. Under that nameplate their initial break came when they won first place performing on the Ted Mack Amateur Hour television show.  That win saw them score a contract with the local Vernon label which teamed them with disc jockey/writer/producer Fred Milander (aka Frantic Freddie) to release a one-shot, mildly commercial, blue-eyed soul-styled single:


- 1967's 'Long Lonely Broken Hearted' b/w 'Oh Ronnie' (Vernon catalog number V 967-L)

 The Vernon contract brought them to the attention of Date Records which released a rollicking1968 single baring more than a little influence from the goody soap opera Dark Shadows:

 - 1968's 'Barney Buss' b/w 'Melody' (Date catalog number 2- 1614)


That was followed by a 45 for ABC:

- 1968's 'Candy Street' b/w 'Be My Baby' (ABC catalog number 45-11067)


Dropped by ABC they apparently spent some time reorienting their musical direction and by 1970 were a six piece featuring the talents of drummer Billy Fasching, brother Tony on lead guitar, Craig Gregg Kastelnik on vocals and keyboards, bassist Leni Martucci, keyboardist Tom Nicholson, bassist Ron Russell, and Rich Samar on sax.  Unable to score a deal with a major label they  returned to artistic wars with a self-financed and self-produced 1970 album "The Young Ideas".   So I'll be the first to tell you this collection wasn't exactly a ground breaking album.   The nine tunes blatantly wore the band's musical influences, including Stax-styled blue-eyed soul and an unhealthy amount of Blood, Sweat and Tears. That said, given their ages (they all looked like they were still in their teens; drummer Billing Fasching looked like he was about ten), these guys came off as amazing professional and competent.   The fact these were all original tunes (mostly penned by Kastelnik), underscored their considerable talent.  Another strength - as lead singer Kastelnik had an amazing voice.  Yeah, he occasionally sounded a bit like a younger David Clayton-Thomas, but the man had some chops.   


"The Young Ideas" track listing:

(side 1) 

1.) Stop and Think  (Craig Kastelnik) - 2:55

If you'd heard any of their earlier, highly obscure 45s, then the big, thumping Blood, Sweat and Tears-influenced horn sound on this one was going to come as a major surprise.   If you were into late-'60s horn rock this one was probably going to score high with you.  Only complaint was the song seemed to end about a minute too early.    rating: *** stars

2.) People Care   (Tony Fasching) - 4:45

Smooth, mildly jazzy-flavored ballad that showcased Tony Nicholson on keyboards.   rating: *** stars

3.) All I Ask For  (Craig Kastelnik) - 2:36

Very commercial '60s-flavored pop tune.   rating: *** stars

4.) Try To Forget  (Craig Kastelnik) - 3:25

'Try To Forget' found Kastelnik turning in his best David Clayton-Thomas impression with more than decent results.   The horn arrangements were discrete with the emphasis on Tony Fasching's guitar, Tom Nicholson's organ, and the group's nice backing vocals.   rating: *** stars

5.) Colouring Pages  (Craig Kastelnik) - 3:41

'Colouring Pages' started out as a fragile, almost Baroque influenced ballad with some nice Nicholson harpsichord in the background.  I'm a sucker for harpsichord.  The tune built up bluesy energy as it went along, making it one of the album highlights.   rating: *** stars


(side 2)

1.) That Ain't All We Gotta Say   (Tony Fasching - Craig Kastelnik - Leni Martucci - Tom Nicholson - Rich Samar) - 5:55

The album's lone "group" collaboration, 'That Ain't All We Gotta Say' found the band gingerly dipping their collective tunes into the rock jam pool.   One of the album's most rock oriented tunes with a lyric seemingly intended to showcase their activist image, the song gave Nicholson lots of room to stretch out and Billy Fasching got to close the song with a drum solo.  Unfortunately Kastelnik turned in a shrill and irritating lead vocal on the track.  rating: *** stars.  

2.) It's My Memory  (Craig Kastelnik) - 3:27

'It's My Memory' found the band returning to commercial ballad territory.   Decent, but nothing particularly memorable - imagine The Classics IV with horns tacked on.   rating: *** stars

3.) Maybe It's The Way  (Craig Kastelnik) - 3:24

I'm going to give this one an extra star for the song's funky edge and the fact Tony Fasching turned in a pair of cool Steve Cropper-styled guitar solos.  rating: **** stars

4.) I Found Sunshine  (Craig Kastelnik) - 5:14

Nice blues tinged ballad with some more tasty Fasching guitar.  The tune got even better when Billy Fasching's drum solo kicked in and the song went off in a much heavier rock direction.  I'm surprised the solo hasn't been sampled dozens of times.  Wonder what they would have sounded like with a bit more of this in the play list?   rating: **** stars






Genre: pop

Rating: 3 stars ***

Title:  Through the Years

Company: Century

Catalog: DRP-5822

Country/State: Allentown, Pennsylvania

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: --

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 5

Price: $40.00


By the early 1980s the line up featured singer/multi-instrumentalist Ronnie Hassinger, singer/drummer Harry O, multi-instrumentalist  Ron Russell, and singer/guitarist Michael Tisosky.  Unable to interest a major label, they released another self-financed album on the vanity Century label.   So here's what the liner notes have to say about these guys ....


"Ronnie (Hassinger), Harry (O), Mike (Tisosky) and Ron (Russell( - four individuals - but collectively they're something more than the sum of the parts.  Together they're The Young Ideas.  Originally all from Philadelphia, three of these guys have been playing together for fifteen years - and the fourth's been with the band for almost 5 years now.  This degree of experience, plus the unique instrumentation and versatility of The Young Ideas explains their appeal to all ages and groups.   On stage The Young Ideas play a wide variety of music - Top 40, swing, country, rock, and oldies.  This album is an abbreviated representation.  Included are songs that seem to be the most popular with you - their friends and fans.  In addition to the familiar tunes you will hear on this record, there are also two brand new original songs - both written by Ronnie Hassinger.  This is a new phase of their music, a new horizon that The Young Ideas hope to further explore and expand in the future."  Yeap, that should pretty much make you want to vomit.


Unintentionally "Through the Years" has to be one of the strangest and funniest albums in my collection.  Judging by the back cover photos they sure didn't look like they'd been playing professionally for 15 years ... There's no release date on my copy of the album, but if  you actually listened to the sound and thought about when some of these songs were released it was clear this came out in the early 1980s.  Two good examples - Kenny Rogers had a hit with the dreadful 'Through the Years' in 1980, while The Stones' 'Start Me Up' was a hit in 1981.  Regardless of the release date with three strong singers in Hassinger, O, and Tisosky, musically the collection was all over the genre map giving one the impression it was specifically intended to showcase the band's versatility - "hey hire us for your wedding since we can play virtually anything ..."    



"Through the Years" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Through the Years - 2:44

I have to admit that the sound quality on 'Through the Years' was surprisingly good - far better than you would have expected from a vanity project.  The same was true for their performance.  The bad news was they picked a truly hideous song to cover ...  Hard to believe anyone could turn in a performance that made Kenny Rogers look good, but these guys managed to do it.   rating: * star

2.) Lou Rawls Medley - 5:08

Compared to the opener, their 'Lou Rawls Medley' was at least listenable.  Harry O had a nice, soulful voice, though it was just a touch too MOR smooth for his own good.  That said, it must have been hysterical to see a scruffy, young white guy turning in his best Lou Rawls impersonation.   rating: * star

3.) Tribute To the Stones - 7:34

Having turned in two of the lamest-assed songs you've ever heard the band unexpectedly plunged headlong into a killer set of Stones covers - serious, Tisosky's snarling, snotty lead vocals combined with Hassinger's taunt lead guitar were quite impressive.   rating: *** stars

4.) You Are my Love   (Ronnie Hassinger) - 2:13

One of the two 'new' Hassinger songs, the breezy ballad 'You Are My Love' sported some of the cheesiest synthesizers you've ever heard.  This one was very much in the Christopher Cross / Rupert Holmes mold which means most folks are going to hate it with a passion.   rating: * star

5.) New York, New York - 3:08

Give Harry-O credit for sounding like a middle aged crooner on their cover of 'New York, New York'.  'Course, outside of a wedding party, I have no idea why anyone would want to hear this version.   rating: * star


(side 2)
1.) I Can't Take It No More   (Ronnie Hassinger) 

Side two started with the second Hassinger original - ' I Can't Take It No More'.  I have to admit this one was a surprisingly good slice of top-40 pop fluff.  The song had a catchy melody, a nice Tisosky guitar solo, and Hassinger's best vocal - when he dropped the chameleon-like qualities his voice was quite attractive.  Like 100 times better than anything Orleans or Pablo Cruise ever recorded.   Shame they didn't feature more stuff in this vein.  rating: *** stars  

2.) History of Swing (instrumental)

Showcasing Tisosky on trumpet, the instrumental 'History of Swing' found the group firmly back in the 'we-can-do-everything' mode.   The title was a pretty good indicator of what to expect so I'm guessing this was meant to please the grandparents in the crowd.   rating: * star

3.) Mr. Bojangles 

Hum, interesting to hear a classic track like 'Mr. Bojangles' reduced to bland elevator music.   rating: * star

4.) Jailhouse Rock

Wow, their cover of the rock chestnut 'Jailhouse Rock' had absolutely no redeeming value.  They actually managed to turn the song into something you'd never want to hear again ...   rating: no stars

5.) Anytime Is Party Time

The album closed with their 'dance' medley which included spectacularly bad covers of rap ('Kurtis Blow's The Breaks'), disco (Kool and the Gang's 'Celebrate'), and soul covers (The O'Jay's 'Living for the Weekend'). The party sound effects just made it funnier.   rating: * star


Clearly most folks won't want anything to do with this one, but there's a small group of you that will find this to be a must-own.