The song was about an old girlfriend until it was repurposed, becoming a heartfelt ode to the departed Florence Ballard of the Supremes.“That seemed like such bad news to me and such sad news,” said Forbert at the time. “She wasn’t really taken care of by the music business, which is not a new story.”
After having traveled the performer’s road for decades, Mr. Forbert knows what he’s talking about.
Dubbed “the new Dylan” in 1978 because of his magical debut recording Alive on Arrival, Forbert learned guitar at age 11 in Meridan, Mississippi. He toiled with local bands before moving to New York City at the age of 21, and singing in Grand Central Station while attracting notice on the Manhattan club circuit.
1979’s Jackrabbit Slim reached the Top 20, largely because of the aforementioned Romeo’s Tune.
After that, Forbert has traveled the road of recording deals and recording deals gone awry, eventually re-emerging as an independent artist, and long recognized as one of folk music’s most hard-working and beloved artists.
Saturday night, March 24th brings one of the most talented and influential folk duos ever to take the stage, that never had a hit – yet they’ve been performing together for decades. The measure of their success hasn’t been in hits, but in their consistent output of evocative and beautifully-written and composed songs.
Rex Fowler and Neal Schulman formed Aztec Two Step singing songs that entranced audiences with their James Taylor / Simon & Garfunkel-esque songwriting and delicate harmonies. Their current tour, Debut to New, continues that theme of excellence while celebrating all of four decades performing together.
They met at a chance meeting on open stage at a Boston coffee house in 1971, deciding to name themselves after a poem by Lawrence Ferlinghetti, and releasing their eponymously-named first album shortly thereafter. Since then, they’ve received the New York Music Award for Best Folk Album in 1986, and have performed on Late Night With David Letterman, The King Biscuit Flour Hour, and World Cafe Live.
In 1999, PBS aired a terrific documentary about the band, No-Hit Wonders – a testament to their originality, longevity, and recognition from music industry greats like David Bromberg and the radio personality Pete Fornatele.
Bromberg said, “I’ve always believed that you need to have a touch of madness to create any art, and the music that Neal and Rex make together is beautiful. It has depth; and sometimes they get this spooky quality that really reaches me.”
In all likelihood, it will reach you as well.
For tickets, visit the Mauch Chunk Opera House website.