By Larry Jaffee
The Summer of Love (that would be 1967 for non-babyboomers) was resurrected early this month on two consecutive weekends at The Drom, an acoustically great sounding club in Manhattan’s Alphabet City.
Local band The Wyld Olde Souls, making a rare club appearance, brought good vibes and multiple-voice female harmonies with them, as they’re Celtic psychedelic folk sound echoes the best of the Jefferson Airplane and the Incredible String Band.
The band first caught my attention last February when they performed at a George Harrison tribute concert headlined by Roberta Flack at the Ethical Culture Society.
Ivy Vale is the lead vocalist, the ringleader in the wicca hat, providing a maternal presence to the flock amid acoustic strumming by her husband Rick Reil (who also leads the British-influenced power pop rock band The Grip Weeds) and co-vocalist Kristin Pinell Reil, Melissa Davis provides further sweet supporting vocals. Meanwhile, Naren Budhakar keeps the beat on his tables, traditionally dressed in Indian garb, injecting some Eastern mysticism to the pleasant – and at times – haunting tunes.
The band played most of their recent self-released album, Ensoulment, the follow-up to a six-song mini album, Poems From the Astral Plane, from 2000. “There have been births, deaths, break-ups, marriages, degrees, reunions . . . . we always thought we’d get this album out sooner, but real life dramas have a way of taking over,” explained Vale in the new CD’s press release.
At the WFMU Record Fair at the Sundazed Records table, I ran into Rick Reil, who I learned was moonlighting as a drummer in yet another band, the legendary The Left Banke, whose original member George Cameron was signing LP covers for Sundazed, which recently reissued on vinyl and CD The Left Banke’s first two albums. Best known as a one-hit wonder, The Left Banke’s “Walk Away Renee” goes down in my book as one of the greatest singles of all time.
I learned that George, in fact, was planning to sing with The Wyld Olde Souls that coming Friday night at The Drom. And it was at that gig, after they encored with “Walk Away Renee,” George told me that The Left Banke were going to being playing two shows there at the club eight days later.
The reconfigured Left Banke also had in tow original member Tom Finn, who recruited Mike Fornatele to share on lead vocals.
Like many other rock bands, The Left Banke never reached their full potential, as a result of a series of misfortunes of bad management, in-fighting and label politics. But they were left with a #6 hit in 1966, and three albums.
Reconstituted, The Left Banke at the Drom had 10 people on stage, to deliver a Phil Spector-like Wall of Sound to replicate the “baroque rock” aural sheen that permeated its vintage records. “We’re not getting rich off this,” promised Finn. They’re working on a new album.
Reconstituted Left Banke, June 201, Joe\’s Pub1