The Forum Quorum

Band members                             Related acts

  line up 1 (1967-69) 

- Brian Albano -- drums, percussion

- Roger Calleo -- vocals, keyboards, flute

- Bobby Castalado -- bass

- Sal Palazzolo -- vocals, rhythm guitar

- Sturg Pardalis -- guitar, bouzouki


  line up 2 (1969) 

- Brian Albano -- drums, percussion

- Mike Batalla -- bass (replaced Bobby Catalado)

- Roger Calleo -- vocals, keyboards, flute

- Sal Palazzolo -- vocals, rhythm guitar

- Sturg Pardalis -- guitar, bouzouki




- none known





Genre: rock

Rating: 3 stars ***

Title:  The Forum Quorum

Company: Decca

Catalog:  DL 75030

Year: 1968

Country/State: Astoria, New York

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: --

Available: 1

Catalog ID: --

Price: $50.00

From a marketing perspective this Astoria, New York based outfit seemed to have everything going for them.  Formed in 1967, Queens, New York based The Forum Quorum featured the talents of drummer Brian Albano, keyboardist Roger Calleo, bassist  Bobby Castalado, rhythm guitarist Sal Palazzolo, and lead guitarist Sturg Pardalis.  Still in their teens (Calleo had just turned 20), in addition to scoring a contract with Decca Records, during their three year existence the band managed to nab a promotional contract peddling Voxx keyboards, appeared twice on the Mike Douglas television show, appeared in the film "Mission Mars", and were featured in Leslie Lieber's book "How To Form a Rock Band".  In spite of all that publicity their 1968 album "The Forum Quorum" did nothing commercially ...


Here's what the album liner notes have to say about the group:



The truth about The Forum Quorum is stranger than all the gimmicky stories yet to be dreamed up by unborn generations of rock group promoters. So, in introducing the group's first album, let's forget all the adjectives and stick to straight, simple information. First, what's The Forum Quorum? Take five boys of mixed Greek and Italian background, all living within walking distance of each other in Astoria, New York City. Give them musical backgrounds and a desire to be top professionals in rock 'n' roll. Add an electrified bouzouki, the Greek classical guitar, plus an amplified flute for the shepherd's sound, over a driving rock beat. Drop in a father young enough to know rock, and talented enough to be the chairman of a music department in a New York Junior High School. Mix with an advertising man who grew up in the music business. That's The Forum Quorum.


The Forum: A place where people met in the Greco-Roman times to air views and exchange view.

A Quorum: Enough people on hand to make something happen.

The truth about the Forum Quorum is musicality, innovative sound and a fresh approach to music of today.

It comes from 17 year-old Sturg Pardalis, writer, lead singer, arranger, electric guitar, electric bouzouki.

It comes from 17-year old Al Palazzo, writer, lead singer rhythm guitarist

It comes from 20-year old Roger Calleo, writer, lead singer, organ flute, arranger

It comes from 18-year old Brian Albano, drummer and poetry student

It comes from 17 year old Bobby Castaldo, bass and rock historian


And now, to your ears and feet, we commend the following:

So the truth: the first folk singers and players came from the Mediterranean areas; dancing and singing spread from there to help civilize the world.  Now the circle has been completed:  American musicians use the background and instruments of Greco-Roman times, the flavor of the folks melodies, the excitement of folk dancing blended with the rock beat created here at home.  The group is made up of perfectionists, each and every one.  They rehearse every night on Strug's cellar with father Gus Pardalis on hand to help keep the music away from the trite and routine.  They are professionals  Mike Douglas called them back to his TV show and paid tribute to their sound, their appearance and their act.  The truth is there is no other group like The Forum Quorum.  Listen and we know you'll agree,  Decca has provided the forum; you can be the Quorum!"

Produced by Milt Gabler, 1968's "The Forum Quorum" featured a largely original collection of band originals.  Sturg Pardalis' father and band manager Gus contributed two songs and album included one outside cover - Parliament's '(I Wanna) Testify'.  With the exception of drummer Albano and bassist Castalado, all the other members contributed to songwriting chores and handled lead vocals. That gave the album quite a varied sound, leaving the group without much in the way of a distinctive image.  In fact other than Pardalis' occasional electric bouzouki fills, there wasn't much to distinguish these guys from the hoards of other light pop competitors like The Love Exchange, The Peppermint Trolley Company and The Split Level.  In fact songs like the sappy ballad '51st Thought' and the horrendous middle-of-the-road pop tune 'A Summer's Day' sounded like throwaway Association numbers. The band were better on blue-eyed soul performances like 'Girl Make Up Your Mind' and 'Your Turn To Cry'.  Elsewhere their cover of The Parliaments' '(I Wanna) Testify' was interesting given they turned this soul classic into a slice of Vanilla fudge-styled hard rock.  Best of the lot was the atypical, lysergic tinged single 'Misery.' 


Summary - Far from a great album, but it had moments and is still affordable.


"The Forum Quorum " track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Girl Make Up Your Mind   (Sal Palazzolo - Sturg Pardalis - Roger Calleo) - 3:08    rating: **** stars

Given the pop-ish album cover, 'Girl Make Up Your Mind' was certainly a surprise to my ears - imagine The Young Rascals deciding they wanted to become a garage band after having dabbled with too much of an certain illicit substance.  Blue-eyed soul crashing into garage with a lysergic edge.  The song's also unique in that it features a flute solo that I can actually stand. From the liner notes: "Sal, Roger and Sturg wrote it.  Bouzouki flute, beat ...  all here.  Sturg has lead vocals."

2.) Monlogue   (Gus Pardalis) - 2:40  rating: **** stars

The ballad 'Monologue' was interesting for the multi-part vocal arrangement, a modest lysergic edge and Sturg Pardalis' electric bouzouki fills.  "In the Bob Dylan Manner; but original Forum Quorum think and playing.  Roger asks the lyrical question."

3.) 51st Thought   (Sal Palazzolo) - 3:38   rating: ** stars

A little flute goes a long way; in this case too far.  The album's first disappointment, '51st Thought' was a sappy ballad that sounded like it had been written for commercial potential.  "Sal sings his own composition.  Moody balladry with flute and bouzouki; especially melodic."

4.) There's No Runnin' Away   (Sturg Pardalis) - 2:59

Opening up with some engaging Roger Calleo organ moves and Latin percussion, 'There's No Runnin' Away' demonstrated these guys could handle more than commercial pop songs, though I found Pardalis' vocals a bit strained.  "Upbeat and moving; Sturg wrote, arranged and sings it.  Forum Quorum sound."

5.) A Summer's Day   (Sturg Pardalis) - 2:22   rating: * star

Geez - 'A Summer's Day was a simply horrible middle-of-the-road pop song that might appeal to your grandma.  "Sturg sings his own words to his own music.  For anybody who has ever had a summer romance."

6.) Misery   (Roger Calleo) - 2:36  rating: **** stars

Side one's best performance, 'Misery' sported a strong melody and a nice balance between blue-eyed soul, top-40 pop and a slight lysergic flavor (especially at the end of the tune).  YouTube had a poor quality clip of the band performing the song during a live 1967 appearance on The Mike Douglas Show:  "Soul in counterpart,  Roger sings his own song,  Sturg came up with the creative arrangement.The track was tapped as the album's lead-off single:





- 1968's 'Misery' b/w 'Just the Same' (Decca catalog number 32425)







(side 2)

1.) Your Turn to Cry   (Roger Calleo) - 2:42  rating: **** stars

The one blue-eyed performance that could have given Felix Cavaliere and company a run for their money !!!  "Roger wrote this.  Lyrics by Sal.  Roger Sings.  The group drives."  Decca tapped it as a promotional single:




- 1968's 'Your Turn To Cry' b/w 'No More Tears' (Decca catalog number 32340)






2.) No More Tears   (Gus Pardalis) - 2:55   rating: *** stars

With the exception of some nice bass work from Bobby Castalado, 'No More Tears' was a rather forgettable ballad.  The song was included in the soundtrack to the Everett Rosenthal produced 1968 film "Mission Mars."  No idea what the bikini clad women have to do with the movie's plot. "Theme from a motion picture.  Thoughts shared by all who lobe and are left alone for a moment or a year.  Uninhibited singing by Sturg and truly lovely flute and bass passages."






3.) (I Wanna) Testify   (Darwin Taylor - George Clinton) - 4:50  rating; *** stars

"The Forum Quorum takes on a rock standard and applies its own standards to the performance.  Sturg arranged, with The Forum Quorum's producer, Milt Gabler, knowledgeably aided by his sound staff of Rudy May and George Chandler, adding the electronic touches that helped make the difference.  Roger is lead vocal.  Sturg, lead guitar.Well that's an interesting description.  Not sure I would deem this song as a rock classic.  Musically this sounded like something The Vanilla Fudge would have recorded.  Not bad, but the heavy rock arrangement squeezed out every last ounce of soul inspiration.

4.) Just the Same   (Sturg Pardalis) - 2:42  rating; *** stars

Opening up with some Calleo flute and waves of Calleo's Voxx organ, 'Just the Same' had a very commercial '60s pop flavor.  Imagine The Association colliding with Herbie Mann ...  "Sturg contributes another rock ballad original.  This time he picks up the 12-string guitar to mesh Roger's flute improvisations.  Sturg, of course, vocals."

5.) Synopsis (instrumental)   (Sturg Pardalis - Roger Calleo) - 3:52   rating: *** stars

"A group effort recapping the entire album.  Roger and Sturg laid it out; everybody had a chance to shape it to the right conclusion.  Instrumentally a bold adventure.In spite of the liner notes, the instrumental 'Synopsis' wasn't anything awe inspiring.