By Joe Viglione, owner/founder Varulven Records 1976
Way back in 1983 we released Boston Anthology Vol. #1 with the John Hancock Tower as half of the album cover, the bands photographed on the right hand side of the front and back. The legendary Rolling Stones producer, Jimmy Miller, was at the home of Varulven Records, 30 Dragon Ct in Woburn at the time. Mr. Jimmy saw the records coming off the truck and marveled: “What a great idea, a compilation of Boston music” … and I’m paraphrasing him today, of course, thirty-seven years later.
Thirty-seven years later, legendary Rob Fraboni who hit the charts with The Beach Boys “Sail on Sailor” and as producer, Eric Clapton’s “Hello Old Friend,” mastered our twenty-first volume.
Mr. Fraboni engineered “Goat’s Head Soup” with Miller producing, especially the hit “Heartbreaker (Doo Doo Doo Doo Doo Doo,) which brings this almost 40 year project full circle. Miller brought me to a Keith Richards recording session and Keith said “Joe, you must meet Rob Fraboni.” That was 1988— and thirty- two years later Rob worked on this historic music compilation series, a couple of weeks before the boxed-set re-release of the aforementioned Goat’s Head Soup
I only wish I had continued the series beyond Boston Rock & Roll Anthology #20 annually, year after year. With the internet we can document to the best of our abilities the history of Boston area music by resurrecting all the previous compilations with dozens of bonus tracks – and creating new ones to put on display the power and the glory of New England area music. With companies like Discogs and AllMusic.com our music gets to more ears and eyes than ever before.
We know the music is great and hope that the public feels the same way. Many of the performers on the upcoming Volume 21 are seasoned writers and performers. These artists are important to me personally, and deserve to be heard by the widest audience possible. Joe Black of Ball and Chain, Phil DaRosa, Pamela Ruby Russell, Heidi Jo Hines and Nico of Karmacar (Heidi Jo is the daughter of our dear friend and Varulven Recording artist Jo Jo Laine as well as Denny Laine of The Moody Blues and McCartney’s Wings,) Greg Walsh solo from Pop Gun, my former roommate and brilliant guitarist/songwriter Tom Mich from the band The Facts, and Matty O, a roommate a decade after Tom!
Mike Moore’s Fire in the Field, Steve Kuchinsky and his Empty County Band, Dalie Davis, Pamela Ruby Russell, Rhode Island’s The Complaints and Reverend John Tamilio of Boston Rock & Roll Anthology #8 – just knowing their music like I do it is clear that the time has come for the return of the Anthology series on disc, inside this booklet and on the internet.
Essentially we were building a history of Boston Rock and Roll at a time when musicians weren’t thinking of downloads and the internet.
Along with Varulven Magazine – established in 1969, the 1976 emergence of Varulven Records, my first radio show in 1978 and then TV Eye, the 1979 public access television program which interviewed local artists Pastiche with Mr. Curt and Ken Scales, Mission of Burma, guest host Tom Lane of WMBR (then WTBS, MIT Radio,) The Maps with Jim Clements – who would later go on to be an important part of Boston and Arlington public access television, we were do-it-yourself DIY local media.
And here we are today releasing an album in the same week as the Rolling Stones with their engineer as our mastering engineer.
In addition to the audio we have presented since 1976, via public access television we probably have more interviews with local area artists than any other group of writers, performers and videographers. From Andy Pratt and Sal Baglio to Jon Macey, Barry Marshall, Didi Stewart, Moulty of the Barbarians (who is on Anthology #20,) Bobby Hebb of “Sunny” fame, the G Clefs, Pamela Ruby Russell – now president of Norfolk TV, all so important to this library we have built hopefully immortalizing our art for centuries to come.
The Rolling Stones have released all three bonus tracks from their new Goats Head Soup boxed set. I will be reviewing “Criss Cross,” produced by Jimmy Miller with Rob Fraboni as engineer, the three versions of “Scarlet” that Mick Jagger has decided to re-release, and “All the Rage.” Being someone who deeply appreciates the Rolling Stones, and working with two of the guys who made their magic happen, well, it’s an absolute honor.