NIGHTFALL - Boston: America's Next Music Capital
Vol1 No1 - April 1, 1975
Written By: D.B Shrier
Boston is rapidly becoming one of the major centers for music talent in America. Record companies, which are very selective about whom they record have taken notice of Boston’s native talent by signing over 12 local groups in the last several years.
What is striking about this trend is that these Boston recording artist represent a wide range of musical styles. Other cities, such as Nashville and Detroit, or associated with only one style or sound. The sheer quantity as well as quality of this music indicates that Boston may already be the next center for music
In the rock and roll category, the J . Geils band Is one of the consistently hot groups on the national scene. Five of their albums have been ”gold” sold $1 million worth, and the latest on Atlantic, tales from the Vinyl Jungle is currently climbing the charts. If record sales aren’t the only criterion for judging music, the Geils band has been wildly acclaimed by hard to please rock critics as one of the premiere bands of its kind, with high marks going to Peter Wolf's singing and energetic showmanship.
Aerosmith, on Columbia records, a Boston band with a British flavor, recently made national waves with a hit single, 'Dream On'. There are two albums, ‘Aerosmith’ and ‘Get Your Wings' have received good promotion from Columbia and have been very well received by record buyers everywhere not only in New England.
Boston now has one of the nations top R & B groups - Tavares, which consist of five members of the Tavares family. They have had several hit singles, including ‘Check It Out’ and ‘She’s Gone’. Their singles and albums for Capitol Records have been highly Capitol Records have been highly successful on the pop charts. This chart crossing is called the "crossover" phenomenon, which indicates broad popular acceptance of a groups music. One of today’s big trends in music is this soul-pop crossover, Tavares is produced by the famous team of Lambert and Porter, who incidentally, have recently produced two singles by a 14 year old Roxbury girl, Margo Thunder, on the Capitol – distributed label, Haven Records.
Any discussion of the Boston scene must include Maria Muldaur, whose recent album on Warner Bros. Had gained her national prominence of a kind never approached during her days with the Kweskin Jug Band.
Livingston Taylor, of course is a Boston favorite with a national following. His albums for the Capricorn label are steady sellers and are noted for their high musical quality and artistic integrity.
Peter Casperson is not a recording artist, but a record producer and personal manager. His company, Castle Music of Brighton, has been responsible for Jonathan Edwards, 'Sunshine' (1 million Seller) and several albums for that artist on the Atco label. He also manages and produces Orphan, who have had three albums on London Records. Martin Mull, Capricorn Records, also owes his success to Casperson. Most recently he has signed another of his acts, Travis shook and the club wow, two little David Records, which is distributed by Warner Bros..
Another example of a major record producer who is based in the Boston area is Steve Bakker. He was formally general manager of the ABC – Impulse label and was responsible for bringing out many jazz albums. He now holds the position of exclusive independent producer for Clive Davis' Arista/Freedom Records, formally Bell Records.
Several record companies recently have opened offices in Boston, indicating that they want to keep a close watch on the Boston scene. A & M records now has an office; Warner Bros. has an artist relations man in town; and it is rumored that capital will soon have a location here BASF records has its American headquarters in nearby Bedford.
What is it about Boston that creates such a promising environment for musical talent?
It is very hard to pin down reasons for this. Several factors, however, stand out. There are many clubs in Cambridge and Boston which allow groups to play original material. These clubs are attended by students from numerous schools and colleges who are looking for music that is different from what they hear on the radio. This situation encourages many performers to experiment with their music, which often leads to an original distinctive sound for their groups. Some of these groups develop an intense following, play at the colleges, get written about in the extremely active Boston rock press and end up with a record contract.
The near future holds a lot of promise for several local groups which are now seeking record contracts. The ambitions are a 10 piece R & B group managed by Howard Davenport, whose offices are located next-door to the famous Sugar Shack, where the Ambitions have been headliners. They have acquired a considerable reputation without yet having had a record. Larry Wedgworth‘s heavy lead singing and the group superb choreography already put them in the category of the Temptations. Davenport also handles The Charmers and The Authentic‘s, two groups to watch in the future.