There were many cool clubs to play at in the general NY area back in the ‘70s and early ‘80s, and Long Island also had its fair share. Most notable to me, was the great club in the quiet town of Roslyn, NY known as “My Father’s Place”. This was club of very huge capacity, (I believe it was once a bowling alley), and you could see any act imaginable there in those days. I used to play there quite often with Happy and Artie Traum, as well as other folks…and I could always see friend there when they were passing through, such as Ry Cooder and others.
There was a great radio station on Long Island at the time called WLIR-FM, and they were really starting to play the heck out of my second album for Rounder Records, called “Hot Pickups”. This album had many “radio hits” around the world, and in the NY area, WLIR and the legendary WNEW really had me as a big part of their rotation at the time.
As it turned out, WLIR would broadcast live concerts from My Father’s Place every week, and they would garner great listening audiences, especially if they were artists whose records got played quite a bit on the station. My record was huge on there, and sure enough, one day they called us to do a live radio broadcast concert there.
I can recall trying to get all my relatives to come, so I could fill up the place, always thinking that maybe the crowd wouldn’t be so big.
Well, as it turned out, we were driving out there for the gig, and as we were listening to WLIR on the radio, they announced “all tickets for the Arlen Roth show are already sold out, so if you don’t have tickets, turn around and go home!” When I heard this, I nearly jumped through the roof of the car, ad I can still hear my bass player, Tony Brown telling me to “calm down and take it easy!” Well, needless to say, it was tough to really calm down, and when I hit that stage, and heard that thunder of support from the 800 plus sold out fans, I was a little nervous, but still channeled that nervous energy into a very powerful show. The reaction was nothing short of stupendous, and we did three encores, and of course, the dynamic of all this being captured on the radio was even more exciting. Recently a fan from somewhere in the US sent me a cd of this show, which was great since I had long since lost the tape I had of it that had been made off the air, back in 1979.
It was definitely one of my most exciting nights ever performing, and because it was so huge, they immediately wanted me back the following week, to share the bill with a band called “Thrills” whom I had never heard of. Apparently neither had the crowd, which this time numbered maybe 50, and of course, no one thought I’d be back in only a week………..so all those folks at the first “sold out” concert had no idea I’d be back so soon! Something like that should only happen once or twice a year, tops!
In any event, those were great times, great memories and great music! An era when live music was still “king”, even though Disco was taking a big chunk out of it!
Check out ARLEN ROTH'S LESSON OF THE DAY