2007   AUGUST 25   #237

Nuptials In New Jersey!


The bulk of this material was recorded live at a wedding reception somewhere in Northern New Jersey, sometime in the mid-1980s. The band hired for the occasion was the Harry Sands Orchestra, Mr. Sands being the drummer, lead vocalist, and MC. The other players are unknown.

This tape succeeds and enlightens on a number of levels. For one thing, it does take you right there, to a real New Jersey wedding reception, giving you every important element, from the intro of the bride and groom through the 'Hokey Pokey' (and Sands' brilliant 'everybody coicle, make a grea-big coicle'), right down to the signoff and the band actually congratulating itself on a job well done! Also, it gloriously allows Mr. Sands to reveal his full credentials as an musical 'outsider', both behind the drum kit and on the microphone. It also includes everything that give wedding bands a bad name: the corny (and demeaning) patter, the complete lack of real groove and taste, the horns blaring continuously over and through vocals, the rhythm section guys throwing needless jazz quotes in whenever possible, the hideous quality of the vocals themselves, the botched-up lyrics (especially Sands, who sounds like he is near seizure in trying to remember some of the words), and much more.

There are two remarkable elements to think about here. One is that, out of all the great bands available in this part of the country, these people chose and elected to hire Harry Sands of their own free will, and no doubt pay him a princely sum. They certainly had access to quality bands, and could preview them easily via their gigs, live showcases, or video, but this is the direction they chose. And, sadly, it points up the fact that if you get enough drinks into anybody, the quality of the entertainment becomes less important, as witnessed by the fact that, despite the music, it seems as if a good time was had by all. Now, you can have the same good time that the attendees of Joseph and Elizabeth's Wedding had, only in a slightly different way.

Intro (#1), Just You And I (#2), and Circle Dance-Hokey Pokey (#21) were featured in 2003 on the project (day #65).

01 Intro (0:32)
02 Just You And I (2:27)
03 The More I See You (1:50)
04 Celebration (1:42)
05 Salute To The Dancers (0:04)
06 New York, New York (3:11)
07 Dancing In The Dark (sax solo) (1:07)
08 You Are So Beautiful (4:29)
09 Dinner (0:14)
10 Happy Birthday (0:42)
11 Johnny B. Goode (0:43)
12 Earth Angel (2:19)
13 Teenager In Love (1:22)
14 To All The Girls I Loved Before (3:57)
15 Garter Removal (0:35)
16 MacNamara's Band (0:35)
17 Twist And Shout (1:57)
18 Shout (1:16)
19 I Just Called To Say I Love You (5:07)
20 Just A Gigolo - I Ain't Got Nobody (4:28)
21 Circle Dance And Hokey Pokey (4:40)
22 Just You And I (reprise) (2:32)
23 Goodnight And Congratulations (0:24)


As an added bonus (as if one were necessary), we have a rare inside glimpse at a club date orchestra in rehearsal. The Don Reynolds Orchestra is another wedding band from Jersey that has some very unique takes on the dance music of the day. While they have decidedly more ability and precision than Sands' outfit, the Reynolds unit may be even more wayward and brazen in the taste department. While this is not recorded live in front of an audience, it gives a good representation of what people who hired this band were getting at their party.

24 Centerfold (4:46)
25 Truly (6:20)
26 Celebration (3:52)
27 What I Did For Love (2:17)
28 I Will Survive (3:29)
29 Abracadabra (3:04)
30 I Write The Songs (2:37)

- Contributed by: Hoppy Stone