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Related: New York music - 1980s music - art music
During the mid 1980s, Steven Hall participated in a small ensemble consisting of Mustafa Ahmed, himself, Elodie Lauten, Peter Zummo and Arthur Russell. [Nov 2006]
Steven Hall emailFrom: Steven Hall
Date: Fri, 10 Mar 2000 09:19:02 EST
Subject: Russell update
Hi Jah--first a few facts--yes Lola Blank was Bob Blank's wife (their son Kenny Blank is the teen tv star--and a musical prodigy)--Bob was one of Arthur's favorite engineer/producers and was one of the first people in the business to recognize Arthur's quirky genius--Arthur's other favorite engineer/producer was Mark Freedman whose studio Battery Sound in an amazing penthouse location with a view of the World Trade Center was like Arthur's second home for many years--when Mark was finished for the day he would set everything up and give Arthur the keys and Arthur would work all night alone and often sleep there.
Killer Whale was Arthur's nickname for himself. I was introduced to Arthur by Allen Ginsberg (I was 19)--he took to me to a solo concert of Arthur's in a place on the Bowery (not CBGB's) and Allen said "you have to hear this guy--he's like William Carlos Williams only he sings"--then Arthur and I played in Allen's band together--Arthur was Allen's first music teacher and taught Allen about basic musical forms such as the raga and 12 bar blues Arthur and I had several bands together--the first was an accoustic folk/country duo called The Sailboats (we performed at Mickey Ruskin's Lower Manhattan Ocean Club) then later we called ourselves Palo then under the name Bright and Early we recorded an album for Sleeping Bag which went as far as test pressing but was never released--I also played in his touring band called Singing Tractors which included Mustafa/Elodie Lauten (the vocalist on the amazing disco track "Miracle") and Peter Z and Kent Gorshin (not sure of that spelling)
Disco trivia--it is me who is whistling on "(I want to) Tell You Today" Another interesting item--did you know that Arthur was commissioned by the famous theatre director Robert Wilson to compose a full length modern opera? It was only performed once--in Washington DC and it's his greatest work. This is all I can think of right now--more later--when I return to nyc next week I start work on a new version of "Let's Go Swimming"--I will be working with Mustafa's teenage son on this one.
Also I sent a link to your site to Dave Hill (I hadn't heard from him for a while)--I will leave it up to him if he wants to contact you directly--he informs me that now that Point Records (who had the option on new releases and started but did not finish the ambitious Arthur remix project) has been acquired by Decca and somehow things have eased up and Dave Hill will be working on some Arthur releases soon--I don't know if this will be the remix project (including the remix by me and Steve D'Acquisto of "Miracle") or some new releases--I will keep you updated on that I hope this stuff is helpful.
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