What happened to Siegel-Schwall?
I've been asked; Why are there are no dates for Siegel-Schwall on the calendar?
It's a long and beautiful story I will share the short version here off the top of my head and get it more finessed down the line and start adding details. But for now, here's the story:
This will be my first official status report on Siegel-Schwall.
Live performances of Siegel-Schwall will, quite sadly, be a thing of the past, much like my memory. Now you are going to ask; Why? Me too. I ask myself this everyday.
A few years ago when all the band members surpassed their 70th year on this earth, Rollo quipped; (referring to our record album released in 1970 titled Siegel-Schwall 70 ) Well, looks like 'Siegel-Schwall 70' is going to have a whole new meaning!
Sambo Arthur Irby - 5th member of Siegel-Schwall
We asked the young Sambo Arthur Irby to join us a while back to help Sam who was turning 80, and to add some extra energy to the performance. He brought the Siegel-Schwall band to a new level and audiences really loved him. He sang and played drums and also greatly added to the personality on stage. As it turns out, the very person we relied upon to take care of the rest of us, got sick. We still hung in there and took good care of each other, but for the last few gigs it was getting really tough on all of us.
In the most recent past it was hard to accept a Siegel-Schwall date knowing about the thin ice we were walking on, but the promoters were insistent, I wanted to play music with these guys, and most importantly, I felt a responsible to the fans, and that's what made it happen.
Most importantly I love my brother Jim and all my band mates. In the 52 some years we have been working closely together I can remember two arguments. I think we beat the world's record for getting along. This does not mean however we don't have some wild stories to share with you.
It was a beautiful experience to be with these guys. I wanted to continue to share these great icons, personalities and artists with you. But all good things come to an end. I'm so glad we treated each other with love (the members of the band and the audience), and we consistently created great performances together (the members, the management, and the audiences), and we can all look back and smile.
The Siegel-Schwall band will live on. I will make it my responsibility to make the recordings available and our best work on the RCA/Wooden Nickel label which has not been available maybe for 25 years is now available on this website. I have three digital version of the albums up now and the others will come soon.
Also for those that subscribe to the newsletter there is already a download you will receive of Corky Siegel, Jim Schwall Two Man Blues Band, that was recorded shortly after Jim and I met in 1965. Quite an historic piece.
And I will be sharing videos, stories, and more free downloads. The newsletter will be our main connection for any updates on Siegel-Scwall (as well as everything else I am doing).
Chamber Blues will also be inviting Individual members from Siegel-Schwall as guest artists..
Siegel-Schwall was my life
From meeting Jim in 1964, to the summer of 1968, learning to play music with Jim, learning to write and perform with Siegel-Schwall, this was my life. I can't separate anything I do from Jim, from Siegel-Schwall, from all it's members and all our memories. Not possible. So for those of you who loved and love Siegel-Schwall, I'm with you.
In 1968 I was introduced to Symphonic Blues by Seiji Ozawa and William Russo and was slowly steeped into this new experience. The rest of 1968 I toured the West Coast with Sam Lay, John Sauter (bass), and Jim McCarty (guitar) which brought another style to my experience. Then there was another version of Corky Siegel Band with Thom Blecka and Albert Joseph, and Kenny Pruett for part of 1969. In 1969 Siegel-Schwall continued again until 1974. This was the most artistic and productive time for Siegel-Schwall. (Very short term members: Sam Lay & John Sauter and the permanent members: Rollo Radford (Bass) and Shelly Plotkin (Drums). I went solo from 1974 till 1981 and then put together another Corky band that included Bobby Diamond (guitar), Frank Donaldson & later Ron Kaplan (drums), Rollo (bass), Jim Tuillo (filling in on bass). I will talk to Jim about sharing his experiences with other bands and his incredible singer-songwriter journey as I develop the Siegel-Schwall pages. In 1983 I began writing Chamber Blues which started performances in 1987. Siegel-Schwall also began again in 1987, urged on by WXRT, but this time with Sam Lay. This changed Siegel-Schwall into more of a blues band as we featured Sam Lay above all the other members. Our last performance was at the Turner Ballroom, March 25, 2016.
From all the members of Siegel-Schwall ...
Thursday night gigs at Pepper's Lounge- 1965
Bass: Bob Anderson, Blueblood, Jack Meyers ... Drums: Francis Clay, Bob Anderson, S.P. Leary, Mack Arnold,
From Big Johns and Mother Blues gigs in 1966
Bass: Josh Davidson, Jack Dawson, Drums: Russ Chadwick
From Quite Knight Gigs in 1969
Bass: John Sauter, Drums: Sam Lay
From Quite Knight Gigs in 1970 - 1974
Bass: Rollo Radford, Drums: Shelly Plotkin
From 1987 - 2016
Bass: Rollo Radford, Drums: Sam Lay
... we say; "Thank you!"
That's the short answer. Stay tuned. I have tons of stories and Jim and Rollo and Sam will all contribute here. It should turn out to be a blast.
Thank you all for the 52 years of support.