Raspberries, James Gang come together

Posted By on September 16, 2009

They always do the second Sunday of every September, when rock musicians who constitute the cream of legacy Cleveland bands get together in Russell at the country home of Buddy and Carol Maver. Members of the Raspberries, the James Gang, associates of the Michael Stanley Band, Rastus, Wild Horses, The Secret, and more blast through everything from “Route 66” to vintage Santana to jazz classics—saxman Ernie Krivda fuels these—while survivors of the record industry and the occasional journalist soak up the sun. Hank LoConti, founder of the legendary Agora, dropped by. Another storied visitor: Roger Abramson, a legendary Cleveland promoter who once managed Eli Radish.

Guitarists Wally Bryson (l) and Billy Sullivan

That’s Wally Bryson on the left, Billy Sullivan on the right.

Like many others at this get-together, Buddy figures in my book, “Cleveland Rock & Roll Memories.” He’s an affable host, a good drummer (his rhythms animated Rainbow Canyon, Charade and Quantrill’s Raiders) and a soulful singer who can still hit the high notes. On Sept. 14, the weather was gorgeous, the vibes good, and the food—the culinarily talented Carol is a generous hostess—was wonderful.

There were the chronic no-shows, like Raspberry throat Eric Carmen, favorite Cleveland son Michael Stanley and the singularly reclusive Joe Walsh (who doesn’t live anywhere nearby anyway). But there were plenty of notables, like Raspberries lead guitarist Wally Bryson, James Gang drummer Jimmy Fox, and the redoubtable guitarist Billy Sullivan.

It’s a bittersweet event, and not because of the music, which, for the most part, is timeless. But the “reunion” itself shows how far the Cleveland music scene has shrunk since its glory days in the ‘60s and ‘70s, when clubs, arenas, radio and records were a seamless, powerful blend. It’s only at Buddy’s that all of those elements come together. It’s telling it’s by invitation only.


One Response to “Raspberries, James Gang come together”

  1. Mitch says:

    Buddy’s party is like a yearly class reunion where everyone can reminisce and tell tales of their misspent youth, wasted opportunities and wild stories. The stories are the best part for me, mostly because they cant be repeated outside this gathering (because either no one would believe them or outsiders shouldn’t really know the things you’ve done” 🙂

Leave a Reply

About the author

I'm a veteran critic and business writer who reads and listens and writes about music, books, hotels and travel. I've been in the business for many years and still enjoy it. My pride and joy is my book, Cleveland Rock & Roll Memories. Follow me on Twitter: http://twitter.com/CarloWolff