Posts Tagged ‘Joe Kookoolis’

Book 4. Two More From the “LIVE album ” Shake A Bum” Here come…Soon and Where My Lover Has Gone

February 21, 2011 Leave a comment

Book 4. Two More From the “LIVE album ” Shake A Bum”.  Here are Soon and Where My Lover Has Gone.

Here are two more from the LIVE album “Shake A Bum” 

“Soon” is the theme from my Rock Opera “SOON”.  This may be one of my very favorite recordings of the song because of the “harp” or harmonica intro. Let’s see what you think. 

                 Soon                                                                                                                                            Scott Fagan/Joe Kookoolis

 Soon everyone will see, everyone will know, the long, long night is over  We will look and we will find we’ve left the past behind, it’s over

Soon all the world will say look we made it all the way, tho no child was ever blinder it will be a very special sun, that shines on what we’ve done, oh listen

I want you to listen..

 Soon there will come a day, our love will show the way, and all men will be brothers

And I will see that day or die, with all my life I’ll try, with every breath I’ll talk it and shout it and sing all about it

 Soon maybe not today, maybe not tonight maybe not tomorrow                But I, won’t let a chance go by, I’ll really really try, don’t you ever doubt it

 Soon there will come a day, our love will show the way, and all men will be brothers And I will see that day or die, with all my life I’ll try, with every breath I’ll talk it and shout it and sing all about it

 Soon maybe not today, maybe not tonight maybe not tomorrow But I, won’t let a chance go by, It’s a case of do or die, won’t live with out it

Soon, Soon, Soon, Oh I know it’s coming soon…

  “Where My Lover Has Gone” is a crowd favorite on gigs and online, let me know what you think.

Where My Lover Has Gone                                                                                                    Scott Fagan

 Morning comes down very heavy on me

Nothing at all like a new day should be

This morning saves it’s glory, for someone in another story

Somewhere a song, where my lover has gone

 There’s no glad surprise for these sad eyes to see

No trace of the grace that her face had for me

These grey skies have no rainbow, cause rainbows are where ever she goes

Somewhere a song where my lover has gone

Somewhere the sun is shining, good old time silver lining

Somewhere a song, where my lover has gone

 Morning comes down very heavy on me

Nothing at all like a new day should be

This morning saves it’s glory, for someone in another story

Somewhere a song, where my lover has gone

Where my lover has gone, where my lover has gone…where my lover has gone… where my lover has gone.

 We are still hard at work on the “Shake A Bum” video…that’s coming soon.

BOOK 1 The Blessed Virgins, and “LIVE” Continued…

September 22, 2010 2 comments

BOOK 1 The Blessed Virgins, and “LIVE” Continued…

So it is a gray and raining morning in 1958 and I (known for convenience and contrivance in this piece as I, Me, He, The Boy, The White Boy, the Artist and other convenient phrases (mebbe even) Scott Fagan) am standing on the edge of a road with no name other than “De RoadDoun De Road” (which was and is) he main road from town (Charlotte Amalia or Charlotte Amalie, for odd linguistic reason (mostly charitable I suspect) both are (like CariBEEan and CaRIBBYan) considered to be correct) to all points west.  Brewers Bay, Bordeaux, Flamingo Pond, Fortuna, Botney Bay, Santa Maria Bay, Pull Or Be Damned, and other romantic piratical places. I am wearing my New York City black leather Jacket  while breathing deeply of and thus absorbing at a molecular level the reality of rainy season in the beautiful, but don’t doubt it, strange, Mambo Bongo Isles.

The observant observer might notice and remark that “this white boy wearing a leather jacket by the side of the road”appears to be neither here nor there” in truth of fact or fact of matter, the  observant observer need not have been any more perceptive and insightful than a lizard, even the most casual, disinterested passerby,  in fact, any living thing (including mule, cow, goat and braying jackass) seeing him would likely register immediately that “this boy is somewhere and something else” thereby triggering an automatic and immediate “note to self” the universal trans-species translation of which would be something like “I’d better keep an eye on this guy”

What they were less likely to notice was that the odd duck out in the rain was awash with intense impressions, which were self organizing into the foundation of an interesting combination or integration of cultural (and musical) rhythms and realities.

For example, the sights and smells of that grey and rainy morning in 1958 would be lifted whole cloth to become the song “Hidaway” in 1967, which he would be screeching and yowling (singing) in a big time music publishers office in Rockefeller Center one morning in 1968 and seized on immediately by his writing partner Joe (AKA Jose Silvio Martinez) Kookoolis to convince the professional staff that the song was an integral and representative part of an “Opera” ah..a “Rock Opera” that he and the neither here nor there boy, were just about finished writing and that “of course” this entire brand new and mighty fine score would be thrown in as part of our song catalog, for the publishing agreement that we were at that very moment, there to discuss and negotiate.

 The smell of my leather jacket was always a thing of wonder to me and no less so that morning. It filled my head with a secret satisfaction, a confident security likely well-known to the well armored since time began.

In my head is music, specifically or essentially the  liberation theology of rock and roll but shot through, tinted and tinged with related  genre upon genre and sub genre upon sub genre and reshaped by the crisscrossing  cultural realities that it would be tasked to represent.  

In my eyes, the most fantastic green and blues filtered through and bordered or framed by low hanging silver clouds that make the sky no more than 300 feet high.

In my sniffer, a soggy sweet perfumed mix of rain, cow dung, salty sea and the fruit salad scent of wild tropical flora, and  ah…in my heart the first deep stirrings of love for “The Girl with The Golden Skin” It’s a fine case of time and place all over the place. And a good example of how it is/was to be me then and now, or perhaps more accurately now and then, meaning sometimes…

In that moment however, the white boy is acutely  aware that he is the “poorest” white boy that he has ever known or even ever seen, his sense of self is unfortunately now somewhat negatively impacted by shame related to this, and the knowledge  that his pitifully alcoholic  step father (yes the Mother dear  has for reasons best know to God and those few of his angels who fully comprehend the effects of paternal suicide on a  nine-year old daughter, rape at 16 as a first sexual experience, in an alley in Washington DC, the befogglement of early mid-stage alcoholism and the mind-boggling conflicting mis-information (coming from in side and outside the mind) related to so-called co-dependency, hooked up with Howard again) who as mentioned before, is an extremely public and universally disrespected  drunkard and laughing-stock of the community.

 What’s the community? Well as we all know (both here and there) they are many and varied.

he community of most  immediate concern to the boy at that time, would have been the 8 to 10 older “native” boys (known as “Dem Boy) in his immediate section of the Island” The Dem Boy community in number and position is  mirrored and repeated all across the land (the I land) “Dem Boy” are the seemingly magically omnipresent absolutely judgemental shapers of values, morality and behaviors for any younger boy subject to their pressures. “Dem Boy” are the gatekeepers of conditional acceptance (it would be interesting to know which society where in the world this “Dem Boy” social structure developed) or eternal dis-approval and damnation  in young man land. Rather, “local young tough guy man landl” meaning the young man land of the economically disadvantaged, as opposed to young men of privilege land (color or cash) who are contemptuously dismissed by “Dem Boy” (in the short form) as “Auntie-men” or in the long form as “schupid auntie-man muddah skunts”

 All of that to suggest and illustrate that the young “neither here nor there white boy” felt very strongly that he had much to prove and consequently was (by circumstance, environment and temperament) on his way to becoming “something else” or more specifically, an “other than ordinary recording  artist”, whose interesting integration of cultures and music, would someday prove uniquely unusual and confusing to major labels, record bin organizers, and music writers, (most recently one self-aggrandizing and insulting “know it all know nothing” from  Toronto, Canada). 

So,  the boy by the side of the road with no name, turned out to be a white artist from the predominately black West Indies whose integration of his own cultural and musical influences, continues to present it’s self in most interesting  and amusing ways. entertaining even as in the “LIVE “currently in production”  “Shake A Bum” album by Scott Fagan and The MAAC Island Band,

Yes indeed, It is interesting, to say the least, to see and understand so clearly how things express and work themselves out.

As further illustration of the potential for joy inherent in the great cultural combo platter of life described, here is a rough mix (pre back ground vocals) of the “neither here nor there boy by the side of the road’s” composition and current recording of his somewhat tantric and liberating mantra “Shake A Bum”

Book 4, Scott Fagan And The MAAC Island Band at The 35th Annual Middletown Fair

June 15, 2010 1 comment

BOOK 4. Scott Fagan And The MAAC Island Band at The 35th Annual Middletown Fair.

 Up in the states, I am a member of and involved with The MAAC (Middletown Area Arts Collective) MAAC is located in Middletown Pennsylvania, a gritty little town that was once a crossroads of the old canal system (The Union and Pennsylvania Canals met and joined here) then a railroad town, an/industrial center and finally the home of Olmstead Air Force Base.

 All of those economic engines have come and gone (the base closed in the sixties) and with them, much of the heart and spirit of the place and its people. The town is most recently known for being the location of the notorious and near catastrophic Three Mile Island Nuke plant meltdown. A not inappropriate illustration of the present state of the Middletown, and its burgers.

It’s the kind of environment in which art is not taken seriously, if, taken at all. The kind of “banged in the noggin” environment where art is likely to be considered (when considered) a serious waste of time.

It is the intention of MAAC or the Collective, to transform the town into a center for the arts and artists. I am a very active supporter of that idea for a number of reasons, and if you’ve been reading the Mem.wa?  Reasons, the genesis of which, I don’t have to explain.

 Moreover, however and in addition, I am strumulated by  (as if I needed any more challenges)  the idea of  collective consciousness in action and  the fun in  making music with folks lacking in big city disillusionment, who actually still make music for the love of it.

(You certainly have my permission to assume or conclude that my own constellation of motivations for making music may be somewhat more constrangled with conflicting complexities than the simple pursuit of joy however, believe it or not, the joy  found in the “magic moments” in-side the transformational experience of singing/making music, is still the jumbo juice of it all.)

 We are going to be doing a one hour concert at the upcoming 35th Annual Middletown  Fair, and I am looking forward to the gig. Here is our little local one sheet and the boys (and girl) in the band.


 SCOTT FAGAN and The MAAC ISLAND BAND have been tearing it up at the Middletown Area Arts Collective since Scott came up from  St. Thomas at the beginning of May.

Scott Fagan (Singer) has been an international recording artist since he left high school in St. Thomas Virgin Islands to sign with Columbia Records in 1964. He presently divides his time between The MAAC collective in Middletown and his home in St. Thomas, Virgin Islands.

Some reviews…

  • Cashbox Magazine:
    Spinal Tap melodies…His range is phenomenal
  • Billboard:
    “A Poet”
  • William Krasilovsky, Author, THIS BUSINESS OF MUSIC, l & ll:
    “Scott Fagan is a genius. I’ll certify that.”                                                                      


Rafael “El Jefe” Martinez, (El Congero) Rafael was born in Armaguerros, Puerto Rico; he has been a “Congero” for over twenty Five years and a “Pennsylvaniero”since 1973.

 Drew Washington, (Bass) Originally from New Mexico, Drew appeared at the MAAC Gallery in Middletown one winter night for an open jam and immediately became the BASS Man of Choice for the MAAC ISLAND BAND. Drew has been playing at the highest levels, for over thirty Years.

Tim Griesemer (Drums) is well known through out Pennsylvania (and beyond) for his extraordinary gifts as a drummer. He is master of a wide variety of percussion instruments and has made it his business to “pass it on”

Barbara  Vajda… is a Croatian Steelton Guitar Goddess with a long musical history in Pennsylvania. After a hiatus to raise little ones, The Goddess is back with SCOTT FAGAN and the MAAC ISLAND BAND.

 Friends of MAAC may pop up or chime in as the spirit moves them and time will allow.

Sound Engineering for SCOTT FAGAN the MAAC ISLAND BAND is by digitaldave, 30 Years on the knobs.

CONTACT Tim Griesemer Home 717-944-3023 Cell 717-439-1919 or Scott Fagan 717-592-0853   

My little joke is that at sixty-four, opportunity is once again knocking at the door, the problem is finding my glasses my walker and my wig and then getting my shakity self to the door in time, or possibly, even hearing the blasted knocking in the first place, or if I do hear the K’ NOK  figgerin’ out what the heck it is. I’m a tellin’ ya..

 The gig is over, and we did a great job. I am very grateful to the “Great Artist” for giving me the gift and ability to sing, I just love to sing..And thanks to all that is good, I was able to sing like a banshee.

We have another gig,(this time a two hour concert) scheduled from five to seven on the 26th of June here in Middletown, at the old log cabin down by Swatara Creek. (No I’m not kidding,  for reals)

The new CD “Scott Fagan’s The Virgin Island Songs, Live in Concert” will be coming out in July with the new recording of “Surrender To The Sun” as the single. While we are trying to promote the release, we will be busy recording The MAAC Island Band and my self, live in Middletown.

Playing live shows and singing up a storm is great fun for me and I hope that we will be able to gig and that I will be able to  continue singing as well as I am for a long long time. In order to do that, we need to find an agent able to book the gigs.

It’s a new world and the dawning of a new paradigm for music and the relationship between music creators and them that love music. I wish that my beautiful partner the Great Cocacola (Kookoolis) and the many friends of “SOON” were still around to see this day. What a Cabruncle the Music Business did to the Music Business… We will sing and play and, “The Great Artist” willing, love, clear thinking and collective effort, will find a way…yep! Continues…


Book 2. And Book 4. “Surrender To The Sun”

March 24, 2010 2 comments

Book 2. And Book 4. “SURRENDER TO THE SUN”

I wrote todays post recently, on the day of the vocal session for the new recording of “Surrender To The Sun” here’s the song and the lyric.

“Surrender To The Sun”            (by Scott Fagan and Susan Minsky)

Go down by the sea, surrender to the sun, find the one you used to be, forget what time has done.

Go down by the sea and heal your heart, too many memories, are tearing you apart

Your eyes show, your tired so of love of lose or win, old friends know, you’ve got to go, and let your heart begin again


Your eyes show, your tired so of love of lose or win, old friends know, you’ve got to go, and let your heart begin again

Go down by the sea, surrender to the sun, find the one you used to be, forget what time has done.

Go down by the sea and heal your heart, too many memories, are tearing you apart, their’re tearing you apart…

 It’s a simple, surprisingly beautiful lyric that I wrote while visiting Patty and The Bix in their pad overlooking Hull Bay, in St. Thomas in 1976    We recorded it not long after as the “Theme Song” for a Canadian Film called “Recommendation For Mercy” (The film was about a young Canadian teenage boy, who had been accused and convicted of Murdering his sweetheart, lots of folks felt very strongly that he was innocent and had been railroaded by the authorities. I am happy to report that his conviction was recently set aside, he was declared innocent and released from prison. 

 (You can find the original recording on youtube or at Warren Schatz produced and arranged it, and it was released by RCA as a single with “Many Sunny Places” on the other side.

 “Surrender To The Sun” went to become #1 on what was then the #1 station in New York City, however it was never distributed beyond New York, so no one outside of New York ever heard it. It was a beautiful record, and led Sid Bernstien to the verge of singing me to a management deal. Had he done so things might heve been very different. Why no distribution? I don’t know. Why no signing? Yo no se…

Nevertheless the recording did bring about quite a positive change with at least one neighbor of mine, I lived on the NE corner of 76th and West End in those days and there was a fellow living at 76 and Broadway, who had a powerful resentment towards me, having to do with fire hydrants and curbing dogs (his dogs) and other city silliness. I couldn’t walk up 76 street at night ‘cause when I did, inevitably a baggie full of doggie nitro, would come flying down from his 10th floor window, I had some mighty close calls. When “Surrender To The Sun” was #1, he confronted me on the sidewalk one day wanting to know if I was the Scott Fagan on the record. Expecting God knows what, I confessed that I was. He stepped forward and stuck out his hand and said “My name is Bob Brown, and I think that your performance on “Surrender To The Sun” is the first perfect vocal that I’ve ever heard.

I was mighty relieved, Bob turned out to be a great piano player with his own state of the art eight track studio. We did a number of recordings together including the original sessions for “Sandy The Bluenosed Reindeer” (song and story) and a demo (the only recording anywhere) of “Sure Has Been Good Loving You Baby” which you can find here…

Bob Brown was a great and mighty piano player, singer and personality, I hope his is alive and well and rolling in the clover. Hiya Bob!

In any case “Surrender To The Sun” is one of a number of songs that I have written that I don’t believe have had a fair shot at finding their audience, (including “Sure Has Been Good” which I wrote with my partner “The Great Cocacola” Joe Kookoolis. In the 60’s) I have recorded a few of them more than once, in an effort to find their audience.

We recorded “Surrender To The Sun” for “Dreams Should Never Die” (The V.I. Songs Vol ll) as an interesting Latin Calypso arrangement, with a beautiful guitar solo by Jeff Medina. (Worlds champeen guitar from Trinidad by way of St. Thomas) When I wrote the Musical “The Virgin Islands Songs” I realized I wanted to reprise more of  what we had captured in the original recording. Interestingly, Jeff Medina and I have been working together on and off since I recorded the original, and put a band together called “ting”(as in Scott Fagan and Ting which has meaning in the islands) because Sid Bernstein was going to sign me and we thought that we would be going on the road to promote the record. Yo no se! 

In any case, life, fate, destiny, happenstance, persistence, determination, luck, irony, serendipity, Warren Schatz and God’s good Grace has allowed me another whack at the tune, another chance to record this beautiful song with this beautiful arrangement (and with what I have learned over these long years in spite of my self)

I will give it the very best of my heart and soul for once and for all.           I hope to make it one for the ages. Or as they say at the old Sixto Escobar stadium “Un Bataso Largo”

Ok now, the session is over and I have done my vocal, I was in good voice, I sang it with all my heart, it is a beautiful song, beautifully arranged, beautifully played, beautifully produced, and beautifully we shall see once again if we can get it to the people, and if we can, if they will embrace it.

I’m fully charged, it was done in one take. We did another as a “safety”  and now I feel ready to do at least four, four hour sets for forty thousand people..or carry on from here ‘til dawn.

There is always the question of what to do to come down. This (post performance time) is a dangerous time for singers and musicians, as we have such an intense level of energy, begging to be burned. It used to go to the wenches, but tonight I think I’ll walk it off. I’ll go down by the sea at Lindbergh, and surrender to the cool night breeze and sing to my self up and down the beach until the energy is back to manageable.

We sent the track with the vocals oback to Warren via “You Send” (an online company that allows for the transfer of large music files, fairly quickly) so that he can do the mix. I am anxious to see what he thinks of the work that we have done.

I have a long history with the Wonderschatz, whereas Derrick recorded my voice for the first (but hopefully not the last) time yesterday, Warren has been recording my voice for forty five years. Consequently he is familiar with the instrument and how to mike it (which microphones to use, at what volume, what the bass, mid range and treble concerns and settings ought to be and so on) He started as a recording engineer at Associated Studios on 7th Avenue (above the Metropole) between 48th and 49th streets in New York City, just after I came to New York and started doing demos there in 1964. Many young singers (my self among them) got their early recording experience in demo sessions, doing the vocals for the “latest and greatest” new song from this, that or the next writing team or publishing company. Demo sessions were often stressful and certainly hard work.

You would show up, and there would be a song or two or three that you had never heard before in your life. A collection of professional studio musicians and other, often female, background singers (each one more beautiful and exciting than the next..and all very very good). And you. Often the youngest, and in the beginning at least, certainly the greenest. And above all (yes pun intended) there was the omnipresent tick tock “every moment is money” clock on the wall.

Demo sessions were scheduled for one to two hours at the most. The expectation was that without question, the tracks and vocals were all going to get done within the time allotted. No ifs ands or buhbuhbuhbut’s about it and boy, you don’t want to be the one who is gumming up the works. It was like a crazy musical version of “The Weakest Link”.

“Dear Lord don’t let me forget how this odd melodic change goes in the second release, and have to go back to the islands to explain to one and all why the singin’ fool of a white boy from dung de road is a big fat failure already,”..Or “Dear God don’t let me have to go back and tell Doc that he was wrong about me, that I am just a goofy teenager (with a fondness for drink) from the Islands, who ought to be learning how to whittle coconut trees into toothpicks or free dive Queen Conch sixty at a time, a hundred feet down off hammerhead point” . or “Dear Lord God, what about me poor Mudder”

These and many other things were banging around in my head as I would step into the vocal booth to sing the lead and “make this song a hit!” but I have to confess that there was no more powerful consideration or, immeadiate, heart pounding inspiration for me, than to be singing with the “oh so ultra divine Angeles of the ‘OU WAA”. The background singer girls. I loved them then and I love them now.

Good God awmighty, I just love those girls.

Any way, Warren was the engineer on many of those sessions, and he, like all the rest of us was subject to the tyranny of the tick tock and the idea of the instant elimination of he that faltered. In short, he learned to get it right, quick! (And has been getting it right for forty five years). Those demo sessions were, all things considered, heady, exciting, great fun and above all intensely educational. (Did I mention the beautiful background singer girls?)

Will the Wonderschatz listen and say, “oh poor Scotty, his future is way behind him. They were right, he left his best performance echoing through the catacombs beneath the Pilgrimage Theater in Los Angeles, thirty seven years ago, or, unfortunately I left his best performance in the trash bin, on twenty feet of edited eight track in 1976”. Or might he say “Hmm, the boy has finally learned how to sing a little, s’bout time” or “Too bad he’s finally learned how to sing, but now his instrument’s gone all wavery and quavery all over the place”.

At least I have a comeback prepared for the last possibility. It goes like this, “Oh Yeah? Well If you were sixty four and you tried to sing a song like that, I bet you’d sound all wavery and quavery all over the place too!”  The fact is, if all I can do is waver and quaver all over the place, even I would acknowledge that perhaps I really ought to reconsider “whittling as a way of life”.

Ah well, I do hope he likes it, I just have to wait and see…I’ll be looking for his email today And here it is, is what Warren had to say.. “I LOVE this vocal! So heartfelt and special. Boy!!! You still got it son!”

Sheesh!! What a relief! God bless the Wonderschatz. And now the work begins. We have to accomplish something that we have never been able to do before, and that is to get a Scott Fagan recording to its audience. How to do it? How to do it? We will have to work on that next.