various artists (The Counterweight Record)

Band members                              Related acts

  line up 1 (1970)

- Angel Colon -- guitar

- Kenya Dworkin -- vocals, guitar

- Joe Eccles -- flute

- Frank Forziano -- drums

- Bob Hamilton -- vocals, percussion

- Sam Goldstein -- guitar

- Max Hirshkowitz -- guitar

- Tom Kassaware -- guitar

- Ed Lisciandro -- vocals, rhythm guitar

- Mike Neville -- bass, backing vocals

- Tommy Rega - slide guitar. guitar

- Dana Romberg -- backing harmonies

- Michele Scarvon -- keyboards

- Mike SIlverman - vocals, guitar

- Ed Strnad -- effects

- George Zarr -- vocals, guitar, bass, autoharp





- none known





Genre: folk

Rating: 2 stars **

Title:  The Counterweight Record

Company: private press

Catalog: SZ333

Country/State: Brooklyn, New York

Grade (cover/record): VG/VG

Comments: minor soiling

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 5595

Price: $50.00


Yeap this one's pretty weird and obscure ...  From the liner notes:


"What is this album about?  I'm glad I asked that question.  The Counterweight Record is the end result of the gathering of various unknown-but-talented musicians, singers, and songwriters ranging form a mere 16 to an equally mere 23.  Serving as ringmasters, quasi-producers, and pseudo-recording engineers are an artist and cartoonist who like joggling knobs and switches.  The purposes??  Well, in answer to my question, to stuff under one record jack the silly and the serious, the sappy ad the sad, the simple and the semi-symphonic, the clod-dancers, and the tree surgeon.  Recorded in conditions that varied from studios to the back of panel trucks, the results are certainly a soothing balm to the bleeding eardrum.  So anyway, me and my old lady like it."


And from something I found on the internet:


"At Brooklyn Polytechnic in 1972 I bought the first Teac 4-channel reel-to-reel deck, the 2340.  Fantastic overdub & synch capabilities at a consumer price point. This thing weighed about 60 pounds, but technically it was "portable." I got a lot of mileage out of it. With friends, I produced a complete album ("The Counterweight Record"), had it cut and pressed, even drew the label and album jacket artwork. (Master cut by former AUDIO magazine answer man, Joe Giovanelli.)


Ed Strnad"


So what's this thing really sound like?  Well imagine a college kid deciding to ask all his dorm mates to help him record an album.  You'd probably get a couple of kids with real talent, lots of friends with modest talent, and a couple of folks who were simply clueless about the whole thing.  So let me break some of the 15 selections down into those three categories.


The good:

- Surrounded by folkish material, 'Look Inside of Me' by the band New York Central was a totally unexpected surprise.  Killer slice of rock and roll.  Shame they weren't allowed to record more stuff.

- Kenya Dworkin had one of those fantastic crystal clear voices that was stunning.  Her performances on the pretty acoustic ballads 'Simple Shade of Truth', 'When You Are Gone' and 'Little Children' were easily the album highlights.  Would have been interesting to see her framed by a psych-tinged rock band.

- Mike Silverman's ' Hitch-Hiker's Song' was saved from oblivion by his dry, raspy voice, an interesting lyric, and Tom Rega's tasty jazzy electric guitar.


The indifferent:

- 'Rubber Baby Buggy Boogie-Woogie' was simply the guys seeing what they could do in the studio; mindless but slightly diverting 

- 'Sewer-Side' zzzzzzzzzzz


The bad:

- Zarr's 'You're the Shoehorn' was the kind of stuff you'd expect to hear on the Doctor Demento show - horrible country-flavored number with lyrics that couldn't have even been funny in 1973.

- 'Booba-Lang' - Hideous idea and execution.  One good thing to say is that it was short.


By the way, from a technical standpoint the results actually sounded quite good.  Ed Strnad and George Zarr may have recorded this stuff on a shoestring, but they put considerable effort into the results and most of the 16 selections sound very good on quality headphones, or a good stereo system.


"The Counterweight Record" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Nicholl's Road (instrumental  (Angel Colon - Tom Kassaware) - 1:15

2.) You're the Shoehorn (For My Triple-D Sized Love)   (George Zarr) - 2:10

3.) Simple Shade of Truth   (Kenya Dworkin) - 2:05

4.) Sewer-Side   (Max Hirshkowitz - Kent) - 2:50

5.) Rubber Baby Buggy Boogie-Woogie   (George Zarr) - 1:45

6.) Aftermath   (Sam Goldstein) - 1:00

7.) When You Are Gone   (George Zarr - Kenya Dworkin) - 3:35

8.) Hitch-Hiker's Song   (Mike Silverman) - 5:15


(side 2)
1.) Little Children   (Kenya Dworkin) - 1:42

2.) King David   (Mike Silverman) - 3:05

3.) Angel Cake   (George Zarr) - 3:30

4.) Booba-Lang - 1:15

5.) Look Inside of Me (New York Central) - 3:00

6.) Morgan   (Mike Silverman) - 2:45

7.) Happy   (George Zarr) - 2:00




In case anyone was interested, Strnad went on to enjoy modest as a writer, having released ten books the last time checked.  And as you can see from his comments below, he's absolutetly correct - I haven't penned a single book.





So here's an interesting note that Mr. Stmad sent me:


Hi, I don't know who you are or how you ever got a copy of my 36-year-old student-produced LP, "The Counterweight Record," but I gotta admit you gave it a remarkably fair review! And I like how you sussed-out extra info on me and the other performers. (Hey, what do you mean Strnad went on to have "modest success" as a writer?... Do *you* have TEN books published by major publishers?!? :)  That's pretty good, considering most writers never get published!)


You have a good ear not only for musical talent, instantly picking out the best performers on the CW Record (Kenya Dworkin and New York Central), but also for being able to appreciate the care I tried to take with the audio quality of the recording, considering I was a poor 21-year-old student working on a shoestring budget with NO professional studio involved.  But I was/am an audiophile, too.

There are long but boring stories behind everyone who worked or sang on that record, but I'll spare you the details. Suffice it to say most of us are still above the sod and get our thrills by seeing this relic of our past become a weird item puzzled over on various websites like yours. Keep up the great work!!

Best regards,

 Ed Strnad

October 2009