Clinton St. Quarterly, Vol. 3 No. 2 Summer 1981

a® « W UP WITH /N THE SUMMER of ’75, a group of local yokels joined their East Coast kin at the Rounder Records studio in Sommerville, Massachusetts, to produce Have Moicy, an album that made the top-ten lists of America’s two most prestigious rock critics—Robert Cristgau of the Village Voice and John Rockwell of the N. Y. Times. Cristgau called it “a fuckin’ masterpiece—the best record of the year.” In the music world, that’s equivalent to the Blazer’s ’77 title, yet these talented folks—descendents of America’s longest-running, least-known original band, the Holy Modal Rounders—remain almost unknown beyond their devoted and loving bohemian-shitkicker following. Have Moicy was recorded by whichever members of the extended Rounder family happened to be on the East Coast at the time. It was undoubtedly a typical Rounder production, as chaotic and spontaneous as only they can be, with their time-tested talents and musical roots in perfect constellation. Have Moicy featured the King of the Vermont ski lodge circuit, Michael Hurley; Holy Modal Rounder’s co-founder Peter Stam- pfel, who led the East Coast branch, the Unholy Modal Rounders; plus Jeffrey Frederick of the Clamtones (at that time composed of deacons of both Holy and Unholy congregations) and his clamette, vocalist Jill Gross. As this might indicate, it would take a present day Boswell to actually chart the history of the Rounders in their many incarnations. Their impact on Portland’s music scene has been substantial for years, yet local critics contribute to a conspiracy of silence by talking of Portland’s recording history as starting with Paul Revere and the Louie Louie boys with a 20-year hiatus before Seafood, Johnny and the Wipers came along. Many of these latest raves are playing at Euphoria—named after Rounder Robin Remailly’s song and largely built through their drawing power at a time when the OLCC was as stingy with their liquor licenses as Fernando Valenzuela is with runs. It took playing to packed houses with apple juice for spirits to convince the OLCC that something worthwhile was going down on Produce Row. We’ll try to lift the curtain a bit on this bizarre and talented group of crazies who inspired the naming of Rounder Records, has been escorted to the state line by ’Barna’s finest, and accused of “destroying country music.” /N 1962, Steve Weber, “a sexy, skinny 19 year old version of Li’l Abner” fresh from Bucks County, PA, arrived in the Big Apple. Before he signed on for the amphetamine wars, Weber teamed up with Peter Stampfel to produce Holy Modal Rounders 1&2, a “unique brand of music that sounded like what you might hear on the old 78’s that had STAMPFEL TO PRODUCE A "UNIQUE BRAND OF MUSIC THAT SOUNDED LIKE WHAT YOU MIGHT HEAR ON THE come from southern rural junk shops and been pickled in marijuana juice.” The young pickers set the folk world on fire. Unfortunately for them, that world extended across only four blocks of New York’s Greenwich Village and a smaller portion of Harvard Square. Weber and Stampfel had emersed themselves in traditional American music. The love they had for that music rang true and clear at a 1963 marathon 72-hour benefit for the Cambridge Children’s Hospital where they played all night and into the next day, thus outlasting Eric Von Schmidt, Jim Kweskin and other folk luminaries to inspire a group of fans who would later found Rounder Records. Q TEVE’S YOUTH in Bucks V County was spent greasing railroad tracks so that the trains would slide a half mile from the station and growing up with second, third, and in some cases fourth generation geeks from America’s oldest socialist county. While the rest of Amerca was living amidst the sterile ’50s, Weber, future Rounder Robin Remailly, Michael Hurley and Perry Miller (aka Jesse Colin Young) were getting a unique upbringing. They hung out 30 Clinton St. Quarterly Layout by Eric Edwards