Archive for February, 2012

Lot of performers who made their names and fame in the 1960s tour the country recycling the old hits. Noel Paul Stookey, one-third of the legendary folk trio, Peter, Paul and Mary, certainly has plenty of hits to recycle.

Stookey greets fans at the after-party at the Side Door Cabaret

But Stookey keeps writing great songs and pushing himself as a solo artist. His Palladium show last weekend leaned heavily on his solo career and included some beautiful new material including the Brazilian inspired ditty: “Cue The Moon.” He debuted one powerful new song Saturday night – ‘Alsace Lorraine 1941′ – that had the audience leaping to its feet at the end. Not many other performers who have been at it as long as Stookey can match that.

Here are some emails I got after the show:

“Noel Paul Stookey’s concert last weekend at the Palladium was great on so many levels…especially standing ovation for ‘Alsace Lorraine 1941′ – we were privileged to be there. Please keep up the singer/songwriter series with more greats from the ’60′s folk era!” – Linda Renc

And this one:

“Noel Paul Stookey put on a great show. I don’t know which was more impressive–his magnificent vocals or the beautiful notes played on his guitar. Thank you for sharing your gifts with us!” – Kim Diaz

Photographer Frank Deak shared the shots in this post. 

Noel Paul Stookey at the Palladium - 2-18-12. Photos by Frank Deak.


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I’m going to be talking this week with Noel Paul Stookey, of Peter, Paul and Mary. His solo show two years ago was a highpoint of my four plus years running this wondeful theater. I’ll be posting a new blog interview this week in advance of his show on Saturday, Feb. 18 at 8 p.m.

But until then, here’s a reprise of my post from his February 2010 show:

 Noel Paul Stookey loves his home in Blue Hill, Maine, but February isn’t the nicest month of the year to be there. That’s one reason he’s headed to Florida for a handful of shows. He’s also holding several meetings with members of his secret society.

“I’ll be hanging out with seven devotees of the Dimpled White Orb,” Stookey told me during a recent phone call. “We’re playing golf on your beautiful Florida courses.”

Noel Paul Stookey

Stookey, best known as one of the guys with a goatee and a guitar in the legendary folk band Peter, Paul and Mary, is coming to the Palladium at the invitation of his friend and former songwriting partner, Jim Mason, who now lives in Tampa. Stookey and Mason (along with Dave Dixon) were co-writers of Peter, Paul and Mary’ s 1967 satirical hit “I Dig Rock ‘n Roll Music.”  It was one of the first times Stookey had collaborated with a songwriter other than Peter Yarrow.

“We sat down on the floor in an apartment in New York City and came up with a tune was very exciting…collaboration in that era was a brand new ballgame for me,” Stookey said. “I think (Bob) Dylan’s strong presence, ideologically, contributed to a lot of writers taking chances and speaking out of their personal perspective.”

Most critics still consider Album 1700 PP&Ms most ambitious release, with songs styles that blended rock, jazz, pop and folk. 

I was just starting high school when the album was released and immediately formed a folk-pop trio called Joe, Paul and Sherrie that played local coffee houses around Tampa Bay. We did our best to cover some of the songs from 1700 , particularly the jazz ballad “Whatshername,” but none of us knew how to play a diminished or augmented chord. 

Joe, Paul and Sherrie are happily retired but Stookey is still going strong and has “Whatshername”  on the song list for his Florida shows.

As part of the show, Stookey will talk about his longtime collaboration with Mary Travers, who died last September after a long battle with leukemia. They had been performing together – with some sabbaticals – since the early 1960s. Stookey said the time apart helped the group stay together.

“Most bands have such dire problems they break up or substitute members. We took time off. We had respect for each other and we brought that to the stage,” he said.

When Travers was diagnosed that time apart was no longer so important.

“Peter and I were there every two to three weeks. Now that she is gone there is a sadness but an awareness of just how much my life has been impacted by her.”

Back to the present: Noel Paul Stookey will appear in concert at the intimate Palladium Theater in downtown St. Petersburg on Friday, Feb. 18 at 8 p.m. Tickets are also available for a post-show reception with Stookey hosted by WEDU-TV. Call 727 822-3590 or visit www.mypalladium.org for tickets and information.

 –Paul Wilborn

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When I was hired to run the Palladium in the summer of 2007, I was lucky enough to “inherit” Jeffrey Siegel from my predecessor, Dar Webb. Jeffrey, the renowned concert pianist, had performed the previous March.

The show had been a celebration of the hand-over of the Palladium to St. Petersburg College.

Jeffrey Siegel

I wasn’t around for that concert, but each year since, Jeffrey’s concerts have been a regular feature on our seasonal calendar. His Keyboard Conversations are more than a concert. They’re a personal history lesson. A chance to share some celebrity gossip. And an evening that takes the audience inside the head and heart of the great composers.

Over the past four years, Jeffrey has shared the beautiful and melancholy music of Chopin; told stories of the triumphs and tragedies of Beethoven; and brought the music of Geoge Gershwin vividly to life.

This year he’s taking on two of the biggest names in composition – the great Russians Rachmaninoff and Tchaikovsky. Expect power, romance, darkness and light as Jeffrey plays their music – and a few laughs and perhaps some tears, as Jeffrey shares stories of the composers lives and loves.

I’m excited about Jeffrey’s Fifth Anniversary at the Palladium. And all of us at the Palladium appreciate the friends who have supported his concerts in the past – Monroe and Suzette Berkman, Thelma Rothman, and Jacquelyn Preis. We’ve also had help and support from our friends at WEDU.

If you haven’t experience a Keyboard Conversation concert with Jeffrey Siegel, you’re in for a treat. He’s played with the greatest orchestras in the world – the Berlin Philharmonic, London Symphony, Moscow State Symphony, the New York Philharmonic, and The Philadelphia Orchestra, among many others.

Please join Jeffrey and all his Florida friends on Friday, Feb. 10 for this magnificent Fifth Anniversary concert.

For tickets and information visit www.mypalladium.org.

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Normally, I’m writing about something related to the Palladium in this blog. But my buddy, Dr. Ferdie Pacheco, sent me this remembrance of his friend – the famous boxing trainer Angelo Dundee. Angelo and Ferdie were in Muhammad Ali’s corner for all the famous fights. Angelo died last week in Clearwater. – Paul

Angelo Dundee an Appreciation.

By Ferdie Pacheco

At 90 years of age. Angelo is finally gone to his just rewards.  He deserves the best.

 Angelo, more than any man I know, lived a full rich rewarding life filled with accomplishment, suffused with honor and a life of fun and free from hatred and bad feelings. 

I traveled the boxing trail with Angelo as his second banana.  Angelo needed no help in working a corner. I was there because he let me be part of that historic trek he took.  Oh, I was functional when injuries requiring a doctor.  I gave Angelo another card to play when injuries threatened the outcome of the fight.  And after the fight, we never went to an expensive emergency room.  I took care of all but the most dire of injuries, right there in a dingy dressing room, or back at our hotel room.  I came prepared for Spartan accommodations. Angelo stood by, hands folded in front of him, waiting until I finished.  Then he said, “Looks good.” And went to bed. That was what I brought to Angelo.  Of course for more than 30 years we grew close as brothers.  Brother Chris, was the best man at my wedding. Angelo was the godfather to my beloved Tina.  I don’t believe she ever appreciated the honor that that designation carried.  She was Angelo Dundee’s God child!  Angelo Dundee!

Angelo , was simply a good man.  He was kind, gentle, self effacing, incapable of hurting anyone.  He was generous to a fault.  He was always ready to help out an old boxer, or an old trainer.  Angie was an easy touch.  After the gym closed at 2:00 PM we gathered the detritus of the afternoon.  We’d have a boxer or two, at least three grey men (Sully, Sellout Moe, and Larry Golub) and any writer hanging around to get “the good stuff.”  What was the one ingredient in these lunches?  Angelo always picked up the tabAlways.   It made his wife furious.  But, it was Angie’s way. 

The word “generous” springs to mind when I think of Angie’s ease with which he gave “free” professional advice. If you wanted to learn boxing, or corner work, Angie was willing to sit down and spend hours teaching.  Of course, the best examples of this, is how Angie taught a raw kid to box and then how to win fights, and finally if you listened, how to become a champion.

 The most endearing quality Angie had was his – No holds – all encompassing love of his family.  He was the perfect husband, an all-loving father to his son Jimmy who he took to all major fights and a soft spot for his cute daughter who in her easy manner was the most accurate reflection of Angie’s way.  He was sweet, humble, gentle and caused no trouble. Who couldn’t love Terri

And the Biggest measure of Angelo’s unreserved love of family was his serf-like devotion for his older Brother Chris.  It was Chris who took the returning service man from the labor pool and made a place for Angie by his side in boxing. Not that Chris was easy. Chris was hard. Times were hard. He made Angie work a corner for $5.00.  He made Angie sleep in the gym.  He made Angie train fighters who were broke for no fee.  Angie learned the hard way.  I never heard Angie complain.  

When Angie became famous, and he had six world champions Chris would still send Angie out in his car to deliver fight tickets and pick up the cash.  Chris should have sent his teenage son, but he didn’t trust the kid like he did Angie.  And Chris always had a “piece” of any fight Angelo had.  Angie smiled and opened his wallet.  “He’s worth it.” was how Angelo saw it.  After all, he made me!  said Angie, his big of eyes brimming with tears. 

 Most people in life quickly forget who “brung them to the dance.” Angie didn’t and until he died Angie was at Chris’ side.  And it took 10 tough years for Chris to die.  Greater love hath no man.

So, the rough, tough world of boxing is short one of its brightest lights.  I’ve been deep in boxing for 30 years and I never ran into anyone like Angelo.  And I never will.

Good bye, old friend I’ll miss the little day’s lunch at the Puerto Sagua, and the huge night of the Ali fights.  And I’ll miss you.  There will never be another Angelo Dundee.

Your Pal,

Ferdie Pacheco

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