Another Italian kid from South Philly Joseph Dominick Tarsia died on November 1st at age 88. Cameo-Parkway...TSOP...Sigma Sound...Philadelphia International Records....He made all the talent "sound" better! RIP
Jim Stewart, age 92, died on December 5th. Starting out as a moonlighting fiddle player in a country band, he started a recording studio that ultimately became Stax Records. The label released 800 singles performed by the likes of Otis Redding, Sam & Dave (who I saw live at the Fillmore East on Second Avenue and East 6th Street in 1969), Isaac Hayes, Wilson Pickett (who had the Crazy Legs contest at the Apollo Theater), The Staple Singers, Booker T. and the M.G.'s. and, of course, Rufus Thomas and his daughter Carla.
In the summer of 1969 I caught a 2nd alarm in the corner building right next to the Fillmore East while the Fillmore was crowded with people. It was a 5 story under renovation, with fire on 4 floors. I believe a Chief was passing by and gave the 2nd alarm as a verbal. We were 2nd. Due on the box that came over the bells as a second alarm. What a surprise! As his aide was on the radio he went into the Fillmore, got on the stage to stop the music and have everyone exit the building. The band would have none of the guy on their stage, and punched him. Somehow he got the message across and most people started filling out into the street. When we showed up, there were hundreds gathered outside watching the fire.
Stretching a 2 1/2, and moving a charged line and putting out fire on the 2nd 3rd and 4th floors, we got a unit citation. With just under a year on the job, it was my first ribbon, which I wore proudly.
.Just a typical 60's day in the East Village. My then brother-in-law was an usher at Fillmore East. He snuck me in the back door to see Sam & Dave and their 12 piece soul band...great performers. The "mary jane" smoke was so thick one would have thought the place was already on fire.
Another time he took me to a "rathskeller" in Greenwich Village for dinner. The place had maybe six tables. There was live entertainment- some fruitcake playing a ukulele. The next time I see Tiny Tim, he's on the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson.
Sad to report that Charles Graci, a.k.a. Charlie Gracie passed away near Philadelphia Pa. this past Friday 12/16/22 at the age of 86. One of his hits was "Butterfly" around 1957-58 I think. Rest in Peace and thanks for the memories.