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The oral history of Eddie Palmieri’s Harlem River Drive


Photo outtake from Justica by Warren Flagler.


New York’s Harlem River Drive is a dividing line, a highway where the rich zip past the poor, says singer Jimmy Norman. Eddie Palmieri’s Latin-funk band of the same name tackled these hard truths, playing prisons and speaking to the common man. But the album failed to achieve the crossover financial success he had hoped for. Ultimately, Norman and Palmieri made a powerful socio-political statement that continues to resonate to this day.

Over the years, many mainstream critics have panned Eddie Palmieri’s 1971 album Harlem River Drive. The album has been called “misbegotten” and “tedious” and even “pretentious”—indeed, it was not the crossover success Palmieri and Roulette Records had hoped for, except among underground leftist radicals and, later, DJs and rare-groove aficionados. And yet it has endured in many people’s minds as the ultimate Latin soul album, a culmination of the experiments of the Nuyorican boogaloo era of the ’60s. I sat down with Eddie in a recording studio on Fifty-Third Street in New York to discuss the album and the influences that led him, vocalist Jimmy Norman, and a talented crew of Latin and R&B session musicians to create this unique yet somehow quintessential New York synthesis of funk and Afro-Cuban sounds. I also spoke on several occasions with Jimmy, who is one of the unsung heroes of American music, having worked with H. B. Barnum and David Axelrod in Los Angeles; George Benson and Quincy Jones during their Seattle periods; a pre-fame, chitlin-era Jimi Hendrix; the Coasters during their ’70s funk period; as well as writing verses for “Time Is On My Side” for Irma Thomas, vocal-coaching Bob Marley (as well as ghostwriting “Soon Come” and “Soul Rebel” for the Wailers), and making the first field recording of Rastafarian groundation ceremonies in Jamaica (led by Cedric Brooks) when he was on the island working with Danny Sims and Johnny Nash.


Originally published as “Righteous Struggle” in Wax Poetics Issue 49


In general, what factors led to your decision to make the album Harlem River Drive?

Eddie Palmieri: The record company that I was recording for was Tico, and I knew that there was only going to be Latin dance music for the artists they had, and that I would like to record something different on Roulette, the “mothership” of the company. And I got the okay from the gentleman who owned Roulette, Morris Levy. He had Tommy James and the Shondells, and they were selling a lot of records. I figured this might be a way to sell more units, no? I had the recording date, and then from there, [saxophonist/flautist] Ronnie Cuber was the one who was able to bring me the orchestra. And there was Calvin Clash, who wrote the lyrics for the compositions, and then I put the music on it. There was another gentleman that was involved named Lockie Edwards, and through him we got Jimmy Norman. Jimmy was beautiful. He brought in some great lyrics and a composition called “If (We had Peace Today).” [sings] “I’d be a butcher and cut out the greed.” It was amazing how he put it together. Ronnie was working with the Aretha Franklin orchestra, and with him was Bernard Purdie, Cornell Dupree, Gerald Jemmott. Ronnie and I were the ones that were working on the different arrangements for the different compositions. Then I had my brother Charlie come in on organ.



Jimmy Norman: I was doing a lot of background singing on different people’s music, as well as touring with the Coasters, and I got a call to do a backing vocal gig. And when I got there, it was about the Harlem River Drive album. Although the album wasn’t called that at the time. Studio was somewhere in Midtown Manhattan. I remember there was like eighteen or twenty people there, just layin’ around on the ground, in the control room, and everywhere, waitin’ on Eddie. Eddie hadn’t shown up yet.

First time you went to record with him, and Eddie hadn’t even shown up yet! 

Jimmy: Eddie came in about an hour later. When he finally came in, there was this buzz goin’ around that we might not do the session, and then I was introduced to Eddie, and he said, “You think you can sing me some songs?” And I said: “Sure!” And then I met Snookie [Calvin Clash], and he showed me these lyrics—I don’t think he had melodies to them; it was more or less like, whatever I come up with. So I went from backup singer to lead vocal. Whoever was supposed to have done the lead on it, for some reason wasn’t there. They didn’t show up. I heard later that they had a falling out the night before. I had never seen the songs before, but of course I said, “Yes!” And we ran over it a couple of times, and that was what came out of the studio.

It was almost a year in making it. There would be times when the studio would be packed with people just laying all over the place, and then Eddie would come in late and decide that he didn’t want to work that day. He’d say, “Hey, we’re doing it another day.” It was very relaxed, and I don’t speak Spanish. Thank God somebody there spoke English. It ended up being like one of those “happenings,” really. Every day, I was looking forward to going to some studio. We was going to different studios, and, in fact, near the end of it, we ended up going to a studio on Forty-Second Street; it was a film studio. We recorded it on the audio part of film, which would open up as many tracks as we needed. So we ended up finishing it finally, and still no one knew who I was! We took the music back to Roulette, Morris Levy, and went into his office to play it, and people ran out of all of the offices, coming in, to find out who this was and what this was all about. And as a result, the guy asked me who I was, and was I hooked up with anybody, and would I be interested in doing something more? And of course I saw it as an opportunity to get my own album. I did a four-song demo that never came out.

Eddie Palmieri with Harlem River Drive, from Live at Sing Sing.

Eddie Palmieri with Harlem River Drive, from Live at Sing Sing.


Eddie, how did you meet Calvin Clash?

Eddie: We knew each other from the scene. He was a Black guy born in Harlem who used to come out to see the orchestra [La Perfecta]. We called him “Snookie.” He would come to all the dances where I played. He was a fan, and a writer. He used to go out with his book, always writing words to songs, the lyrics, on the go.

He liked rock and soul music; he knew what was happening with Hendrix. When he brought in the lyrics to me, that made it gel. So we all got together in a rehearsal studio to see what would happen. I was singing the musical lines to Ronnie, “The Seeds of Life,” for example, which is a rocker. I did the melody to Snookie’s words.

There’s some great cowbell on that. 

Eddie: That’s my old friend Manny Oquendo playing timbales. When Bernard Purdie came in to do the overdub, I remember he said, “Listen, take everybody off and just leave me the guy who’s playing that cowbell, exactly that, ’cause his timing’s impeccable.” That’s who he followed, and that’s how we got the traps on it. Because they were on the road a lot also, going in and out [with Aretha Franklin], so we weren’t able to grab [the R&B session musicians] during the recording, so they came in after.

Jimmy, was that the first time you had really been exposed to Latin music, or did you ever go to night clubs and check it out live?

Jimmy: When I came to New York, it was like every corner, almost, had congas and timbales and cats singing rumba and stuff on it. So I grew accustomed to that just by being a part of the ambience. But as far as knowing anything about Latin music, I didn’t really. I was in the Caribbean in Jamaica with Bob Marley but never in a Latin country. I’d never been around it; I’d never been around Latin musicians at the time. I knew who Eddie was because I knew the records of some of the Latin jazz players like Joe Loco. I knew about Pucho Brown, Willie Bobo, and I listened to the Latin jazz of Stan Kenton, Machito, Cal Tjader. It was mellow and instrumental, so I liked it. At the HRD sessions, some guys couldn’t speak too much English, but there was a few who could speak pretty well. Making it easier. Ronnie and Eddie were directing me. I had met Ronnie years earlier, when we were working with George Benson.

So Ronnie was the one who called you to the session?

Jimmy: No, actually a guy named Arthur Jenkins called me at the request of Lockie, who was involved in the Coasters. Arthur was a percussionist, one of the guys who I went to Jamaica with to work with Bob Marley and the Wailers. I ran into Latin music when I went to play at places like the Cheetah, and those clubs in the Bronx. But I had never actually recorded that kind of thing before. It was interesting getting into that scene with Eddie, because I remember walking to one of those little Spanish clubs and digging it, especially after smoking ganja. And I looked around and saw Spanish kids acting like most of the Black kids did when I was coming up. Like the little girls in the stairway, boys whispering to them, just doing all kinds of regular teenage stuff. Actually, walking around after a while, I was understanding everything that was going on. Seemed like I understood the language, I understood everything that was happening. It wasn’t so different, really. So that was my introduction into the music being created itself. Later, I think we only performed HRD once at the Cheetah live.

On the album, it says “The Theory of ‘If’ By Jimmy Norman.” So you came up with the concept for “If (We Had Peace Today)?” 

Jimmy: I came up with that; I wrote the song. And it was just that he asked me if I had a song that I wanted to add to the mix. There was all this war going on, brothers getting killed or messed up. And I more or less arranged it in the sense of telling Ronnie what to play.

This image, photographed in Harlem, New York, in 1963, was the basis for the cover of Harlem River Drive. Photo by Leonard Freed.

This image, photographed in Harlem, New York, in 1963, was the basis for the cover of Harlem River Drive. Photo by Leonard Freed.


Who came up with the whole concept of Harlem River Drive, including the song itself, and the metaphor as a symbol for the inequalities of modern society. Also who came up with the texture of the song cycles, this mix of Nuyorican and Afro-American elements?

Eddie: It was a combined situation, combined effort between Calvin Clash, myself, Jimmy, and then with Ronnie. When he soloed on the “Harlem River Drive” theme, he was just amazing; he took over that whole recording session and put his soul into it! He had a bandana on like Geronimo, if I remember. At that time, he used to walk around with it on, and he came in and just played on and on! And I was trying to stop him after a measure, so the solo could be shorter, and then he’s just getting warmer and hotter. And I just said to Fred [Weinberg, the engineer,] “Ah, don’t worry about it; just let him keep going.” And “Idle Hands,” I really liked that one. It was written by Marilyn Herscher.* [Marilyn’s husband] Ira and his brother David Hirscher used to work with Orquesta Broadway; they were friends of mine. Ira played piano, and David played bass. He was a dear friend of Barry Rogers too.

Barry Rogers played on “Seeds of Life.”

Eddie: Yeah, Barry and I had already separated, approximately since 1968. And then he went to form Dreams with Michael Brecker and Randy Brecker, then he went on his own. We met later again in ’74 and ’75. He was the best.

I know guitarist Bob Bianco was important to you—taught musical theory, politics.

Eddie: He was teaching the Henry George course downtown [on] Progress and Poverty [a treatise on the causes of inequality written by George in 1879]. Political economy. Marilyn and Ira used to take that class, and Barry, he was the one that took me to Bob Bianco in the first place. The U.S. is richest country, all this immense wealth, side by side with the most intense poverty, racial prejudice; how is that possible? The investigation, the search for the answers to that question was quite interesting. Plus things like Martin Luther King. And that’s where the lyrics of Calvin Clash were quite complimentary, that he was writing at that time, because he lived it also, you see. He lived that “Broken Home” life as a kid, so it all meshed together. At the same time, there was revolt in the street, the protests, Young Lords, and I had played out at the prisons with them, so I knew the deal already.

Harlem River Drive - Eddie Palmieri

Bianco was playing guitar with you since 1969’s Justicia, which was your first political statement, almost like a rehearsal for Harlem River Drive. It was one of the first Latin concept albums, with Ismael Quintana singing in Spanish about social justice. And you did a soulful protest song in English, “Everything Is Everything.”

Eddie: That was also inspired by my reading Henry George; I was taking off on that, which went with everything I already knew myself from my own experiences growing up. Title comes from that slang “everything’s everything,” like, everything will be okay, but I used that, turned it upside down to say that everything is not everything, because of the conditions that existed on the street.

Who came up with that heavy bass line?

Eddie: Bob Bianco and me, we came up with that number in the studio, but David Hirscher was the bassist. The funny thing was, the recording studio was called Incredible Sounds, owned by Morris Levy. He had just picked it up for some reason or another, and it was winter, and there was no heat in there, so before each track, we had to remove the gloves, and then record! It was incredible that Levy had us record in such a bad place!

And that’s your voice on “Everything Is Everything”?

Eddie: Yes, that’s my voice on there. I never sang again, because I told George Goldner, who was producing Justicia, “If I sing this, I’m liable to kill someone. I’m gonna kill ya; you know my voice is not so good.” I was kidding around, but I really didn’t want to do it. But he says, “No, no, Eddie, you’re the one to do it. You gotta sing this number!” So I recorded it, and I sang it, and he died! [laughs] He died, poor George, right after, and I always think it was because of my terrible singing…

No, no, because that’s not really singing, that’s more like rapping, like a beat poet. You’re not responsible. 

Eddie: Right. And Bob Bianco came to that recording [session] just to hear me sing on that tune, but then he ended up playing guitar on it, gave it at rock flavor, so I gave him cowriting credit. The piano that’s on there, that sounds like a honky-tonk, it was vastly out of tune, a mess, and we recorded with it all the way through, in that cold studio, and still the album was a hit!

Do you feel like this idea for Harlem River Drive could only happen when you were in the studio with these guys working things out?

Eddie: No, the concepts were there already in my mind. I knew what it was going to sound like, except what they would play individually, the soloing and that, we knew it was going to be really heavy on the rhythm section, because I was bringing in the deep guys, the conga, timbal, bass. It was going to be quite really authentic Latin rhythm, driving, and the [brass] arrangement was going to be complementary to that, swinging. Except that we brought in the soul musicians, and plus it was gonna be sung in English, so the combination of all of that, I already conceived of what it would sound like. Except when you heard things like when Cornell Dupree played, in overdubs, and then the tumbao bass line that Gerry Jemmott added, that was something else! But it still falls in with the structure, and I knew that it would work.

You had already been playing at prisons when you, Jimmy, and Ismael Quintana brought the Harlem River Drive concept to Sing Sing and recorded Live at Sing Sing, volumes one and two. 

Eddie: I just saw the engineer from Sing Sing, Vicente Cartagena. He lives in Puerto Rico now. I’ll never forget: just before we get started, he goes, “Eddie, the audience is eighty percent Black! They won’t like our music!” Then I say, “No kidding! Just open the curtain, and don’t worry about it, we got it covered, you know.” And we played, and they went wild with it.

Jimmy, what did you think about playing in a prison?

Jimmy: It was great, man. I was playing it like it was Johnny Cash. It was interesting. And especially when I looked out into the audience and saw all these Black faces. It left quite an impression, believe me. And then of course there was Felipe Luciano, who was on the bill. He used to be one of the Last Poets, so he did “My Pretty Nigger,” and the place went wild, man. He blew people’s minds, and they had their fists in the air. And by the time Eddie came out, they were really primed for him.

Harlem River Drive Live at Sing Sing

“Jibaro/My Pretty Nigger” was from the Original Last Poets 1971 album, Right On! Eddie, how did you two meet?

Eddie: Felipe [and] I had met through a gentleman named Mickey Meléndez [the cofounder of the Young Lords]. Mickey was the one that I had read the poetry of, and the Young Lords accompanied me to certain prisons; we did Louisville, Attica, we also did Riker’s Island, we did the women’s prison. I used to go there and play; we didn’t charge them any cover money. They used to send me some kind of budget later, but first, I used to just go and play, do what ever we can for them. At that time, the idea of recording at Sing Sing prison came about also. I’ll never forget the gentleman that recorded us there, Joe Cain, who was working for the company, Tico Records. He was beautiful, one of the top producers, a great trumpet player, and a great arranger.

Jimmy: It was a very important part of my career and I had worked with everyone. Jimmy Hendrix, Johnny Nash and Bob Marley, Lloyd Price, H.B. Barnum and David Axelrod. I had the Stones cover my lyrics [“Time Is On My Side”], but I think my consciousness expanded with Eddie. It was very spiritual, what we did was natural, like it was meant to be. So, I can just say that I’ve been very fortunate to have met Charlie and Eddie because they both were beautiful people.

On volume one, you do “Azúcar Part 2 and 3,” which is the only time on these recordings that you get the Spanish and English on the same song.

Eddie: “Part 1” was the original recording [from 1965’s Azúcar Pa’Ti/Sugar For You]. So “Part 2 and 3” came from playing “Azúcar” [live at Sing Sing], and then Jimmy went into “Sugar.”

And you guys just spontaneously put it together onstage?

Eddie: Right.

An improvised anthem and a natural fusion of the Spanglish kind of thing.

Eddie: Yeah, I know. The audience inspired it—inmates from both groups.

It’s mostly Latin songs on both albums, but, Jimmy, you sang a new song, “Somebody’s Sons,” that is on the second volume.

Jimmy: I remember in the morning, on the way to the prison, Eddie had an idea that he talked to me about, writing a song for his wife. And the song was going to be called “White Caps.” He explained how he saw it and everything, and how the introduction was going to be, and I said, “Cool.” But what happened was that Eddie, when he called me out [onstage]—he called me out with the introduction of “White Caps”—he acted like I already had written the song, you know?

And he had just told you about it before the performance?

Jimmy: Right. And I had to invent lyrics on the spot. But what happened was that I had been thinking earlier, too, like what do you say to a group of people who you never seen before, and you don’t know anything about? What would they want to hear? From a songwriter’s standpoint. And I came up with the idea for the song, “Somebody’s Sons.” [sings] “I don’t care what you say / People shouldn’t be treated that way / I don’t know what they done / But they’re all somebody’s son.”

You made that up on the spot?

Jimmy: I started to think about it when we knew we would be playing the prison, but I had never gotten it together until Eddie threw it at me onstage.

Eddie, did you get any exposure to the early ’70s Cuban music, like Los Van Van and Irakere? Because some of that early stuff sounds like you, and it seemed like they were listening to U.S. funk and soul and jazz too.

Eddie: Yeah, because after the ’60s, they went into more of a jazz-funk-type thing over there. But I would say that the free-form electric things [I did], organ and echo effects and all that, it was more from Miles Davis and what he was doing then, like In a Silent Way, Bitches Brew. When it started, electric piano and guitar, [spaced-out] stuff, I saw it succeed with the kids, and I said, “Oh, wow!” That’s where you get the compositions like “Broken Home” and “The Mod Scene.” The title of “The Mod Scene” comes from a bar that was across the street from the Village Gate [the former New York club where jazz and Latin coexisted and collaborated for decades]. We played there on one occasion to a mixed crowd.

And you were listening to socially conscious R&B like Curtis Mayfield, James Brown, and Marvin Gaye?

Eddie: Well, you heard those numbers on the radio, and I listened to them, and they were big hits, so, yeah, but I would say that it was Otis Redding’s type of music first that I was turned on to by Barry Rogers that I started to be influenced by, and I said, “Oh, wow. Dig this! Deep!”

Were you satisfied with the results of Harlem River Drive?

Eddie: My expectations for it weren’t fulfilled as far as sales and commercial success, you know. I thought maybe I would make it big with this. But the wrong audience loved it and took it underground.

It became a cult favorite!

Eddie: Right, but that was not my intention!

So you were trying to cross over in terms of commercial success, getting a wider audience in general, not in terms of crossing over to a particular audience.

Eddie: Well, because I already had a Black audience, you know. As a matter of fact, La Perfecta was the most favorite of the Black American audience in the Latin dance world. In the Palladium, we would fill it up on Sunday, and we were their favorite orchestra. I never thought of it as trying to get the Blacks, specifically; I just wanted to get Harlem River Drive recorded, and for Roulette, which in my head was, if I’m gonna have a possibility to sell more records, it has to be this move. And it could never happen on Tico—that was too Latin—and when we asked to record on Roulette, [Levy] gave us a shot.

Jimmy, were people receptive to Harlem River Drive?

Jimmy: I don’t think anyone really understood what Harlem River Drive was, or who Harlem River Drive was! Even though I felt like what we were doing came natural, a lot of folks wasn’t ready for it. It got all confused when Bobbi Humphrey came out with her own “Harlem River Drive” record, and they started calling her band Harlem River Drive. But my backup singers, [Lorene] “Pinky” Hanchard and Alvin Taylor, were known as the Harlem River Drive Singers. So, to me, we were the rightful ones, because of the message in the song. In reality, Harlem River Drive was a dividing line, a highway where all the rich people just zip past the ghetto, and here we are, just watching them go by.

Did you ever listen to any of the other socially conscious funk-rock bands that dabbled in Latin rhythms, like Mandrill, War, Cymande, Jimmy Castor?

Jimmy: Sure, I loved those bands. I was almost a manager for Mandrill, I knew them when they started. Jimmy Castor was someone that I had met uptown [in Harlem]; he was working at Smalls Paradise. Actually, I was on the road with him when he was back with the Teenagers, and we was doin’ some gigs together. Anyway, when I was in New York with the Coasters, sometimes I’d sit in with his band. My producer, whose name was Johnny Rimely, had heard about Jimmy and asked me to come up there to see him. And I wasn’t a producer at that time, but I was telling my producer that Jimmy was happening. I helped Jimmy get a contract with Smash. I was in the studio at the time “Hey Leroy” was recorded, and Jimmy wanted to give me credit for it and everything, because I was instrumental in getting everything together, but, in fact, I don’t know if my name ever appeared on it.

Eddie: I remember my band and I saw War once in Vienna. We were doing a substitute for Gil Scott-Heron—Gil loved Latin and especially La Perfecta. Anyway, I saw the keyboard player [Lonnie Jordan], and he was playing two pianos, and after the show, I tell him, “I was really impressed with the two pianos, the way you move your hands around.” And he said, “You like that?” And I said, “Yeah.” And he said, “Well, I picked it up from you!”

When did you first play electric piano?

Eddie: I would say in those recordings in those years, they were a turning point in my playing because of the electric [piano]. I used it for everything: Harlem River Drive, Sing Sing, Vamanos Pa’l Monte, At the University of Puerto Rico in 1971. I was playing it because my brother was on organ, so I had to match his electric thing. It had more attack.

Who was making all of the wacky noises in the live concerts at Sing Sing and the University?

Eddie: My brother. On the [Hammond] B-3 organ! It had all these stops. [simulates whistling and other beeping noises; laughs] But he knew that instrument. I couldn’t believe it. Excellent! The best organ solo in Latin music in my opinion was taken by him in the song “Vamanos Pa’l Monte.” A monster! It will never be equaled. I can say it will never be equaled what he played on that tune. It was rocking!

That song was about getting away from the evils of inner-city ghetto life, getting back to the country to party. Speaking of organ and rocking, was your reaction to Santana and Latin rock? Did you recognize a similar sensibility?

Eddie: Whew, yeah! Well, Santana, what happened with Santana was quite interesting, because his manager, Bill Graham, used to live in New York, and later when he would come back into New York to deal with his business, he’d say to me, “Carlos is coming in, and I would like you and Tito to come by and get together…” So we would come by, and sit in with him [at the Fillmore East, for instance]. Bill was an old mambero from way back when he danced at the Palladium. So he was trying to get us in on his rock thing. And Carlos, he really loved Tito Puente, too. Not only his playing, but the person. And so Bill would ask me, and I would go in there and do a thing with them, a live number sitting in, and that’s how we met. But then, in 1974 when I went to California, I was actually able to go to Carlos’s house, I was brought by Coke Escovedo. All those West Coast guys loved our music.

What is your favorite tune from Harlem River Drive? What’s the one you still love most?

Eddie: There are three from that album that I love the most. “Seeds of Life,” “Broken Home,” “Idle Hands,” of course. That’s heavy. It rocks. And then the playing of Ronnie Cuber, there where he soloed.

When was the first time that Ronnie recorded with you?

Eddie: He recorded with me on Vamanos Pa’l Monte. We overdubbed him after the main tracks were laid down. And at the same time we were doing HRD. And then later [in 1974] when I was with Harvey [Averne], he did The Sun of Latin Music with me, but he didn’t do Sentido [1973]. He was a busy guy. He went to Puerto Rico with me for the gig at the University too.

I wanted to ask you about “Condiciones Que Existen” from Sentido. That has the same feel as Harlem River Drive in terms of the funkiness, the social theme. Where did that come out of?

Eddie: I wanted to make an entertaining funky Latin tune, of course, but also under the serious heading of the “conditions that exist” that I had learned about with Bob Bianco in the political doctrine of Henry George. [raps] Under the existing conditions, I cannot be free. And let me be, the conditions that I see. It’s all within that coro [chorus].

Finally, what did you think of the cover of Harlem River Drive with the kids in the sprinkler?

Eddie: It was the second album cover that was proposed!

Really? They had a different cover first?

Eddie: Yes they certainly did: my head coming out of a vagina.


Eddie: Seeds of life! And Morris Levy stopped that.

Who put that art together?

Eddie: It was the Roulette art department [Ruby Mazur’s studio]. And I said, “Holy smokes!” And Morris Levy yells when he sees it, “How could I show this to my mother?” It was like he had to test every cover with his mother or something. And then the art department guys all went and they shot hoop for a while to clear their heads, and then they tried it again.

That photo was actually taken by Leonard Freed, who shot a lot of civil rights photographs, and they never credited him. They made it a duo-tone, very stark black and white contrast. That original photo comes from an exhibit and book called Black and White in America from 1968.

Eddie: I didn’t know. You seem to know a lot more than I remember about this record!

Jimmy: I’m so proud of the Harlem River Drive album. I think it’s one of my most prized memories to have participated. How it came about [and] the results were amazing. Because I think it was before its time. Way before its time. Sometimes I ask myself, how did we do it?

* Correction: Contrary to statements made in the printed article The Oral History of Eddie Palmieri and Harlem River DriveMarilyn Kane aka Marilyn Herscher states she is the sole composer of music and lyrics as well as the copyright owner of the song “Idle Hands” from the LP Harlem River Drive. She was married to Ira Herscher at the time of the recording of Harlem River Drive; however, he did not write the music or the lyrics to the song as stated in the article. According to Ms. Kane, Bob Bianco came up with the song title and inspired the composition, but did not write the music or the lyrics. In a recent email communication to Wax Poetics, Ms. Kane commented that she and Bianco were good friends, “and I insisted that he get credit as co-writer of the lyrics. Actually, the music and the lyrics came to me simultaneously. To my recollection, Bob Bianco wasn’t present at the recording session.” We regret any mis-information or confusion generated by this error in song attribution.


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