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LEGENDS OF THE LIGHTHOUSE CONCERT: A TIME FOR MEMORIES AND REMEMBRANCE … THOSE WHO PLAYED DID SO IN THE NAME OF ALL WHO COULDN’T … RECOLLECTIONS OF QUARRY, ESPECIALLY THE SPECIAL BOND BETWEEN DAVE CARRON AND MICK VALENTI

By DAN VALENTI

PLANET VALENTI News and Commentary

(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, MONDAY, SEPT. 17, 2012) — “So many people have come and gone. Their faces fade as the years go by.” 

That song, by the band Boston, came to mind while reflecting on the magic afternoon and evening spent with friends one week and a day ago. The success of the Legends of the Lighthouse reunion concert wasn’t in the 1,500 who turned out. It wasn’t in the fabulous display of musical virtuosity displayed by a busload of musicians, all locally grown. Where was the barometer by which we can best judge “success” in this case?

Want to find it?

The Definition of Success: In the Eyes of a Friend

Look into the eyes of a friend you haven’t seen in more than 40 years, picking up right where you left off (THE PLANET and Steve Coltrara, for example). Feel the hug of a mate whose life took him away and beyond, back in the a weekend, and resurrecting the enchanted, almost shamanistic mojo that did then and does now form the superglue-bond of enduring love.

We like to think that all of the musicians from back in the 60s, 70s, and a bit beyond who are no longer with us were present that day in their absence. We can’t name them all for fear of leaving some out. That being said, THE PLANET felt four special losses that day, between the notes of every song by every band. In those gaps of silence between notes that make music possible, we find the spirits of all who have passed on, preceding us on the eventual fate that shall be ours, too.

These four good friends were Dave Carron, Danny Velika, Johnny Soldato, and Bob Gabriel.

Dave and Danny, Mick’s Mates

Dave and Danny were band mates in my brother Mick’s band, QUARRY. Johnny and Bob were for years a part of Mick’s QUICK FOX.

What do we say when the wordless language of music, which once brought us all together a generation and 10 ago, floats through the air and weaves its euphonious thread? Nothing. The music “speaks” for itself, truly the universal language. This language has an amazing grammatical ability: To bring back to vividness the memory and spirit of departed friends.

There were stories Sunday, Sept. 9, at the Boys Club, about these men and others. Friends dedicated songs to the memory of their comrades in instruments. Dry eyes could not mask tear-filled souls. Tears revealed the depths of affection. They were the tears of wistfulness, of a once-pleasant time that you know can never come again … but did for one magical afternoon and evening.

Dave Carron: We Found Out in Texas

Dave Carron had a voice to rival Robert Plant of Led Zeppelin. We found that out at the Texas International Pops Festival (TIPF), held two weeks after the original Woodstock on Labor Day Weekend.

THE QUARRY played on the free stage as Woodstock’s house band. The promoter of the TIPF attended, scouting talent to fill the bill at his event. He signed QUARRY, not as house band but to play the main stage along with Led Zeppelin (also Santana, Janis Joplin, Ten Years After, and others). The festival, produced at the Texas Speedway, attracted 150,000 people.

Here is a screen grab from the TIPF website:

—– 00 —–

It was Labor Day weekend, 1969, two weeks after Woodstock, and thousands of hippies and lovers of peace and music converged on the small town of Lewisville, just north of Dallas, at the Texas Pop Festival  to be and to see and to hear the music of    B.B.KingCanned HeatChicagoDelaney & Bonnie & Friends,   Freddie KingGrand Funk RailroadHerbie Mann,   Incredible String BandJames Cotton Blues BandJanis Joplin,   Johnny WinterLed ZeppelinNazzThe Quarry, Rotary Connection,   Sam & DaveSantanaShiva’s HeadbandSly & the Family Stone,  Space OperaSpiritSweetwaterTen Years After and Tony Joe White!

—– 00 —–

Archives Lost in a Fire, though Some Remains

The bulk of QUARRY’s archives, sadly, were lost in a warehouse fire, and THE PLANET probably has one of the best collections of remaining material. That being said, we know there is material out there to be had for the asking — probably studio tapes and live-performance tapes out there that we don’t have. We would ask anyone who knows of such tapes (or photos) to contact us at danvalenti@verizon.net.

Warner Brother has at least an hour of live footage of QUARRY in concert, but it will not release it as part of its intellectual copyright on Woodstock. Okay, but we are asking anyone who might have snapshots, fliers, ads, or tapes to contact us.

QUARRY was formed by Mick Valenti from the QUARRYMEN, and it featured Dave Carron, Danny Velika, and Mike Furey. The band achieved the status of “almost famous,” but a break away from taking it to the next level, which was the Big Time. PErhaps the apex of their run came in Texas.

Besides the information on the TIPF website, we have found two photos that provide evidence of QUARRY on the main stage at the TIPF. The first is a color snapshot, taken from about 30 rows back in the audience. In it, you can see the band’s equipment and instruments — amps, Mick’s drums, more amps, and at extreme stage right (as the viewer sees it) Dave Carron, with his guitar. He’s wearing a white top. The picture appears to be taken right before or after a performance.

The second photo shows Dave, probably backstage, picking out a chord. To his left is a Texas lawman-cowboy-rancher type, maybe part of staff or security.

We publish both photos here, for the first time:

 

Main stage, Texas International Pops Festival. QUARRY’s equipment, with amps surrounding Mick Valenti’s drums, and, at far right, Dave Carron.

Backstage, Texas International Pops Festival. Dave Carron of QUARRY, with “Tex” Security.

Our Silence Said it All

QUARRY achieved a measure of fame and attention, but the Big Deal never came. They didn’t graduate from an opening act at major concerts, though they headlined at a lot of smaller venues. Dave Carron and Mick Valenti wrote the original music, with Danny throwing in the occasional gem. Dave and Mick found in each other musical soulmates, that rare case of a prodigy meeting his musical match, which happened when these two guys formed their bond. Perhaps there was too much talent to fit the confines of one band, and after five years, Mick and Dave went their separate ways, to careers apart from each other.

Still, wherever they went, whenever they played, Mick took a part of Dave with him, and Dave took a piece of Mick.

On Sunday, Sept. 9, during the Legends, we hung out mostly in the green room or back stage. We took one turn out in the audience, and we ran into Wendy, Dave’s effervescent wife (we won’t say widow, because Dave is alive in memory, in the metaphysics of the afterlife, and in the mind of God). Wendy and THE PLANET embraced each other in a long, wordless hug.

We work with and in words, not musical notes, and in that embrace, THE PLANET found ourselves not needed words, phrases, or syllables. As the music washed over us, our silence said it all.

Dave and Danny, Johnny and Bob, have passed on. Mike Furey is out of music. Mick is still going strong, having made of his gift the profession of a lifetime. In some way, with every note of music he plays or writes, there is contained the memory of everyone with whom he has ever played.

Music invokes.

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A NOONTIDE FOLLOWING, BACK INTO OUR WEEK, WE EMBRACE THE ONCOMING OF FALL AND ITS CRISPNESS. WE HAVE GRATITUDE IN OUR HEARTS FOR ALL THAT IS.

“OPEN THE WINDOW, AUNT MILLIE.”

LOVE TO ALL.

 

17 Responses to “LEGENDS OF THE LIGHTHOUSE CONCERT: A TIME FOR MEMORIES AND REMEMBRANCE … THOSE WHO PLAYED DID SO IN THE NAME OF ALL WHO COULDN’T … RECOLLECTIONS OF QUARRY, ESPECIALLY THE SPECIAL BOND BETWEEN DAVE CARRON AND MICK VALENTI”

  1. Giacometti
    September 16, 2012 at 8:07 pm #

    A portrait of Dave Carron once stood within a Public Mural on Northrupt Street ( between Bradford St. and Union St. ) in
    Pittsfield…a panoramic view of Park Square which was painted
    in 1987 and later destroyed by the GOB’s for no reason at all…

  2. Mike Dermody
    September 17, 2012 at 5:23 am #

    Dan, great pic of Dave but I would have to say, judging from the microphone in front of him, that this is a stage shot and that “Tex”,clapping his hands in the background is enjoying himself.

    ps: Tell Mick thanks for the CD’s. Beatlesque indeed!

    • danvalenti
      September 17, 2012 at 3:47 pm #

      MIKE
      Could very well be. I couldn’t tell. It’s a frame grab from a film shot there by an amateur filmmaker using 16mm equipment, which means the footage is likely in broadcast format.

  3. outfox
    September 17, 2012 at 9:21 am #

    Dave Carron’s vocals and images of him are on YouTube in a video called “Don’t Hold On”. I

  4. Beacon Hill Mob
    September 17, 2012 at 9:37 am #

    Dan,

    I’ll add a loss a musical venues, county wide:

    1) and most significant, The Music Inn

    The VERY BEST of rock (THE BAND, Kinks, Hot Fing Tuna…..), blues ( BB and Muddy, Bromberg/Bloomfield, Bonnie Rait,, folk (Baez, Seeger , Arlo……), country/southern (Jerry Jeff., Allman Bros, Marshall Tucker, Outlaws, Charliey D, ….., local talent (Shenandoah……) , etc

    2) Bucksteep Manor

    3) Woodys roadhouse

    4) Dreamaway Lodge in it’s original configuration with Mama and Terry running the show. (not to denigrate the current owners)

    5) O B joyfuls

    6) Showboat in New Lebanon

    7) Southfields Sportsman Club

  5. Larry
    September 17, 2012 at 5:09 pm #

    Holy shit B H M. You got around! what the he’ll is the showboat and Southfields Sportmans club?

    Music Inn was incredible…. Stones, The Who

  6. tito
    September 17, 2012 at 5:42 pm #

    The Showboat was a bar in New Lebanon shaped like a boat fifties and sixties genre.

    • Blind Justice
      September 18, 2012 at 3:01 pm #

      Areosmith played there before hitting it big

  7. Giacometti
    September 17, 2012 at 6:57 pm #

    Did anyone go to ” The Studio ” Mort Cooperman’s ( Lone Star Cafe ) in the old England Brothers Building on North St. where the house band was ” The Band ” and hundreds of musicians played from Jefferson Starship to the Big Man Clarence Clemons every weekend between 1998 and 2000. Downtown Pittsfield was
    really rockin’

    • danvalenti
      September 18, 2012 at 8:53 am #

      GIACO
      Yes, I remember it well. Mort was a good man who tried his best.

  8. Kevin
    September 17, 2012 at 9:23 pm #

    Wow Quarry got around too! Great to know a band from Pittsfield played those important historic festivals. Thanks DV. Say hi to Mick. Saw him at legends concert he was fantastic.

    • danvalenti
      September 18, 2012 at 8:52 am #

      Will do, KEVIN

  9. Ron Kitterman
    September 18, 2012 at 3:20 am #

    Wow I remember Mort Cooperman, he tried to renovate the old England Brother’s. One year PHS had thier Prom there. Talk about the gob’s getting in your way that guy never had a chance.

    • danvalenti
      September 18, 2012 at 8:52 am #

      Mort had ambitious plans for England Brothers, and sank a lot of his own money into bringing them to life. It wasn’t to be. I don’t recall the politics of the situation, but it would not surprise me to learn that it was as Ron says, a GOB production.

  10. The professor (and Mary Ann
    September 18, 2012 at 4:38 pm #

    A beautiful,heart felt tribute,DV.Thanks for the memories!Peace and gratitude,P and MA

  11. Giacometti
    September 18, 2012 at 11:53 pm #

    Mort Cooperman at one time had Shelly Schiltz from the Phillip Morris Agency view ” The Studio ” because Mort wanted to start a large scale production at that site…but when the GOB arranged for the City to give the building to City Savings Bank so that they could build their new Legacy Bank … Mort took his dreams to Brooklyn and started another venue with Shelly and the William Morris Agency and soon attracted Robert Di Nero to their project
    The Tri Becca Arts Festival…later to grow into The Tri Becca Film Festival…which Mort still runs with Di Nero and the William Morris Agency. while Pittsfield has just another bank thanks to the GOB’s

    • danvalenti
      September 19, 2012 at 12:18 pm #

      GIACOMETTI
      Great story. I’m going to post this as a main feature as “Another One Pittsfield Lost.”