Band members Related acts
line up 1 (1976-78)
- Rob Fahey --vocals, lead guitar, keyboards
- Nick Longo (RIP 1983) -- vocals, bass, keyboards, guitar
- Tony Vegas -- vocals, drums, percussion, keyboards,
- Rob Fahey (solo efforts)
- Rob Fahey and the Pieces
- Maxx (Tony Vegas)
- The Ravens (Rob Fahey)
Rating: 3 stars ***
Title: Hollins Ferry
Company: Port City
Country/State: Baltimore, Maryland
Grade (cover/record): NM/NM
Comments: sealed copy
Catalog ID: 2846
Ever been late to a party ? That might be an appropriate analogy for Baltimore's Hollins Ferry. Listening to this set of glistening pop-rock, you get the feeling that if it had been released a couple of years earlier, rather than in the midst of disco, punk, and new wave madness, it might have been huge.
The brainchild of singer/guitarist Rick Fahey, Hollins Ferry was formed in 1976. Fahey was a music major attending Towson State when he formed the group with multi-instrumentalist Nick Longo and drummer Tony Vegas. The trio became popular on Baltimore's club scene, but demos sent to major labels went nowhere so in 1977 the trio elected to record an album on the small Port City label.
For fans of highly melodic pop-rock, 1977's self-produced "Hollins Ferry" is one of those undiscovered gems. With three strong songwriters and Fahey and Longo both capable singers, it's the kind of album Badfinger, Eric Carmen and the Raspberries, or Emitt Rhodes would have proudly released. Most of the eleven tracks were built using the same recipe - to quote Fahey himself " .. a progressive, Beatle-like pop sound with strong melodies and thoughtful, if romantically oriented, lyrics." That pretty much covers tunes like the opening rocker 'Take My Love', 'Lonely City' and 'Turn You Back'. The one exception to the rule book came in the form of Fahey's 'The Journey' which had a mild progressive flavor. So it's not an album that's original, or groundbreaking in any sense of the word. Instead it's an album that reflects a clear love for certain musical genres (all which I happen to enjoy) and some first-rate musicianship. Both the album and the band deserved a far better fate.
Ferry" track listing:
1.) Take My Love (Rick Fahey) - 3:14 rating: **** stars
Hum, who would have expected three guys from Baltimore to out Badfinger Badfinger ? 'Take My Love' was the kind of melodic jangle-rock that bands like Badfinger and Eric Carmen and The Raspberries could only dream of concocting. As far as I can tell, there's no live Hollins Ferry out there, but YouTube does have a 2012 cover of the song by Fahey and his band The Pieces. Still trying to figure out how they fit the band in the small; bar: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RoxBrBxDFEE
2.) Downtown Menagerie (Nick Longo) - 2:50 rating: **** stars
Built on a hypnotic Fahey riff, I've always wondered how long it took these guys to get the English accents and intricate harmonies down ? Can't say they portray a particularly pretty picture of Baltimore. Nice solo from Fahey. Lyrically imagine a Baltimore version of 'Lovely Rita' with a side order of 'Penny Lane' ...
3.) Sparkles (Tony Vegas) - 4:41
4.) Lonely City (Rick Fahey) - 4:20 rating: **** stars
'Lonely City' showed the band could toughen up their sound without losing their penchant for great melodies. Hate Nick Longo's rhythm guitar riff on this one since you can't get it out of your head.
5.) Surprise (Tony Vegas) - 3:39 rating: **** stars
Powered by chiming acoustic guitars and the band's lilting harmony vocals, 'Surprise' returned to a distinctive Badfinger sound. Very top-40 commercial tune. Shame nobody was listening to the band.
1.) Too Bad About Sorrows (Nick Longo) - 3:03 rating: *** stars
With a very retro sound, 'Too Bad About Sorrows ' was probably the album's most Beatles flavored tune. As much as I love the sound, Longo and company sounded like they were trying a tad too hard on this one. Damn if the chorus isn't catchy ...
2.) Morning Breezes (Rick Fahey) - 3:53
3.) Turn Your Back (Rick Fahey) - 4:10 rating: **** stars
Another 'broken heart' track where Fahey toughens up their sound with credible results. Not exactly Bad Company, or Zeppelin, but built on another killer guitar riff, this one was insidiously catchy.
4.) Patent Leather Lady (Nick Longo) - 2:31
'Patent Leather Lady' was another Beatles-influenced rocker. The local Maryland PBS station recorded the trio playing a couple of tunes including this one. Note Longo playing a left handed Hofner violin bass on the attached video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cHUXCIKRL58
5.) The Journey (Rick Fahey) - 3:32 rating: *** stars
Given the song's progressive flavors and lyrics, I'm guessing 'The Journey' might have been a carryover from Fahey's previous band Wizard. You won't mistake them for ELP, or Yes, but it wasn't a total wipeout. YouTube has a PBS performance of this one at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3AhASD1eBjg
6.) Love You Forever (Tony Vegas - Nick Longo) - 4:01
For Hollins Ferry collectors, 'Turn Your Back' was included on a 1978 compilation released by Baltimore radio station WKTK - 105.
Fahey went on to a moment of success with The Ravens and is still plugging away as a Baltimore-based performer. He has a website at: http://robfahey.com/
Longo died of lymphoma in 1983.
Vegas relocated to Rehoboth Bead, Delaware and still works in local bands.
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