The Pacesetters

OK. THE PACESETTERS? What the heck is that all about. Well, read on and you’ll know:

I was looking for a tune on the net the other day and my Attention Deficit kicked in and I wound up here. “OK, what’s the significance?” you might ask?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O6vqJFVP9KQ&feature=related

This band, actually mis-spelled on the 45 pictured, The Pacesetters, was my bass instructor’s band when I was 13 years old! This recording was probably 1963-64. Written by Jesse Hill a blues pianist I believe.

So dig the guitar solo, remembering that this was before Fender 150’s or Ernie Ball Super Slinkies. I can even tell you what guitars they played: Lead: Fender Jaguar. Rhythm: Fender Jazzmaster. Bass: Fender Jazz Bass. And there is no discussion of pre or Post CBS cause back then it was Fender, period.

Also, dig the vocal. An eye-talian white dude from Long Island. Also played the sax solo (see Lenny below). Self taught on sax.

The Pacesetters gained some acclaim locally (LI NY) and opened for the Young Rascals on their first tour ever! The maiden voyage was a dump of a bar in Lindenhurst (could have been Amityville) called The Whistle Stop.

I cc’d Nick D’Allessandro on this and hope he will provide some corrections/additions and I will put this up on my website.

The lineup:

Drummer: hmm, last name Bensini? I think first name Pete? He was killed in the 60’s in an accident while driving a work van. He was an appliance repair guy and this was before the gov’t insisted on cages for the passenger area in vans. His van stopped but the gear in the back kept moving. A crime! Best right foot in the business.

Bass: John LaSalle John and Pete were a LOCK with the bass/kick drum. John had adult onset MD (I believe, and passed away in the late ’60’s?).

Sax and Lead Vocals: Lenny Albergo. Lenny was one of the craziest, funniest people I have ever known. Famous for giving everyone incredible nicknames. Mine was Eimac Putz. Eimac was a mfr of very large broadcast vacuum tubes and putz, well… Lenny died in a fire caused by smoking in bed (so it was theorized) in the 90’s? I lost track of Lenny so couldn’t tell you an exact date.

Lead Guitar: Nick D’Allessandro. My first and best instructor. Brilliant musician and guitarist. Ears of gold. I had the great fortune of playing in a band with Nick in the 70’s called Octopus which was an 8 piece (thus the name) jazz/rock group comprised of some truly amazing musicians. As I recall, everyone in the horn section had their PhD in Music. One of the highlights of my career. Not necessarily a highlight, but notable is that Octopus opened for Edgar Winter in ’71 or ’72. A very interesting experience. Oh, get a glass of wine in me and ask about the night that Octopus opened for and was the back up band for The Cadillacs (They Often Called Me Speedo But My Real Name Is Mr. Earl).

Rhythm Guitar: Ron LaSalle. Ron and I were very good friends through the late 60’s and 70’s. Rhythm guitar nowadays is just kinda of a strum thing but to Ron it was SCIENCE. His playing kept everything on track. I also had the feeling it was Ron’s passion for the business end of the process that kept things going for the Pacesetters. Ron was also very instrumental in helping out my band, The Dimensions (1965-68) and taught us how to get gigs, get paid, record and just become better at what we did. I am forever grateful to Ron. BTW, Ron also let me drive his ’64 Black Vette convertible to my Junior Prom and ’67 Blue Sting Ray to my Senior Prom. Talk about chick magnets!

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