Well hello fans. I really love the reviews. If you want some more background here is some. The writer and producer ( Carmine Calabro) and I have known each other since kindergarten. We have played together since our elementary school band. We were in many bands together in the 60's like "The Rubber Duck". Carmine is a brilliant musician composer and producer. We remain good friends today. Rob Meade and I are the founders of "Cross Island" and Raja Records. Rob and I have played together since 1974. Cross Island (formerly known as New Life Orchestra) was formed in 1975. Original members included: Joann Greco lead vocals (daughter of the great jazz pianist Buddy Greco). Joann provided the inspirational vocals on East of the Apple. Larry Galterio, keyboards. John Distefano, guitar and Rob Meade lead guitar and percussion and myself Andy Cacciatore on drums. Rob and I still remain good friends. I have been playing drums, timpani, percussion, and banjo in Louisville, Kentucky. Rob is still recording and performing in the New York area. Long Island was a Mecca for great bands and musicians in the 60's 70's and 80's Billy Joel and The Young Rascals come to mind. Hey thanks for listening and keep your ears open for some other fine treasures soon to be released from Cross Island. check us out on Facebook New Life Orchestra and Cross Island Sincerely, Andrew Cacciatore
FYI: There is a lot of "back story" to this release. The producer/composer/arranger (CC) and the executive producer (AJC) are from Freeport, NY. This village was integrated back in the 1960s. Calabro was one of the first band leaders with a strategy of inclusion. The production was recorded at Kingdom Sound in Syosset NY with Clay Hutchison (Gloria Gaynor, Taylor Dayne, Mariah Carey) at the board. The record garnered significant radio airplay as part of the LI Promotion program as well as selling out the first pressing upon its release.
There's a certain type of optimism that only disco can convey. It's not the air-headed and shallow Pollyanna optimism that detractors will use as a sign of disco's superficiality. Instead it's stories and moods of uplift where it's needed the most; there are analyses of disco that place it precisely next to and akin to punk instead of the traditional idea that they are opposed. The rough idea there is that both punk and disco covet escapism as a natural part of coping with something. In New York City of the 70s, everyone was coping with life on some level, between blackouts and bankruptcy. In 1977 New York State made its new theme song (by Steve Karmen) the official state theme, and some new optimism about the city so slighted by the nation, not to mention President Ford, emerged. This is the time that birthed the I Love NY promotional effort that still exists today.
There's undoubtedly more backstory to this record that I am not aware of, but it's a disco tune ABOUT Long Island itself and the label itself reads "FOR SPECIAL LONG ISLAND PROMOTION." The group vocalists perform this in classic soul "call and response" form, with a nice funky midtempo backing. The lyrics are optimistic about Long Island in an interesting way ("Everywhere you go, Long Island is a paradise, you should get to know...") but the mood of the song has a certain something that perhaps indicates that Long Island is on the way up but not exactly there. To contextualize, it was only 20-odd years before this record that Levittown was developed as the first engineered "model suburb" in the country and one that was strictly restricted against minorities. Black Long Island suburbs also later developed, but the concept of the suburbs still maintained the idea of segregation and division by the time of this 1978 release. This appears to be African-Americans singing about the Long Island that was on its way, but perhaps not yet fully in existence. Either way, the track is really smooth and well produced, and the B-side is a longer mix with drastically fewer vocals. Hard to find but worth it.