Former Alan Mann & The Free Arts Band member, Larry Saklad, has released a brand new recording of Christmas On The Block, both in honor of this legendary local favorite and to Alan’s 28th anniversary of it’s first release in 1983. Saklad was Mann’s original piano/keyboard man who also released another recording of this song in ’95, tracked & mixed @ Art Inst Of Phila and aired on Street Beat, then local show hosted by Cyndy Drue (WMMR, now @ WMGK); years later he felt it was overproduced and not authentic to the original, which this new recording aimed at correcting and succeeds, including Alan’s favorite- a 12 string Guild guitar! All that’s missing is the second grade kids singing ala Mann’s track.
The story goes something like…
… Alan Mann was late getting home to his girlfriend, and somewhere in West Phila-Overbrook, had a vision of the wonderful lights decorating a School For The Blind, feeling both the irony and magic of how that must be for those students, that “their’s is the most beautiful Christmas On The Block”, and had the whole song written by the time he arrived.
History and tradition have surrounded this folk song ever since it’s first low-fi release and subsequent early MTV video, which also recieved full support from Yoko Ono, and had loyal fans’ requests thru-out these passing years. But Alan never had the chance to produce a true studio quality recording of it before he was gone. Larry relays how not two weeks before, Alan Mann spoke at length with him near 24th on Walnut, Phila, outside his mgr’s brownstone, about re-joining the Alan Mann Band, that he missed piano…
“Ultimately,” states Saklad, “this has been a labor of love, and the only listener that really matters is Alan himself, who I can only hope is mighty happy about how this brand new recording turned out!” albeit 28 years later.
You can find all related news at http://sakladmusic.com and certainly have a listen starting Tues Nov 29. Then on Thurs Dec 1, 8pm is the live show and debut of “Christmas On The Block” at Grape Room, 105 Grape St, Manayunk, Phila, when you can witness SAKLAD in concert w Bryan Cooper drums/perc, Kim De Meo featured vocals, and more guests for this special song, along with Roger Silverberg & Friends [NY, from Phila]. Everyone is welcome to sing along 🙂 more Gig info
*Christmas On The Block updates since release + Help Request
Robin Robison (Alan Mann’s sister) “You did a fantastic job with Christmas On The Block” & “would love for you to do this, anything to keep his name, voice, memory alive”.
Kenn Kweder “Excellent job Larry!!! way to go!”
Helen Leicht WXPN debuted it Wed 12/7 (9:40am) 88.5 Phila/S Jersey, 104.9 Lehigh Valley, 90.5 Worton/Baltimore, 88.7 Lancaster/York, 99.7 Harrisburg
Mark Rogers WSTW heard an adv copy “Hey Larry, it sounds great!” airs it Sun 12/18!
Charlie Silvestri includes COTB for Up Close And Acoustic Holidays Edition (37 mins in)
thnx for all help~ request airplay of this local favorite & new rcdg, best wishes, ~Larry
12/12 updates+ live w/ Kweder @ Dobbs 12/11~
Michael Tearson– thanks for the Christmas on the Block 2011 CD, Larry. what a lovely piece of music! radiothatdoesntsuck.com It’ll debut on site stream 4 times Tuesday 9am 3pm 9 3am Wed. then avail on demand & free~ Tearson’s Some Xmas Songs Not By Heart Pt1
http://rtds.ca/wimpy/wimpy_player.htm song is 68min 37sec in, next to last & spotlighted. Hi bit rate 192 Hi Def radio! http://rtds.ca
Kathi Ransome– Larry, many thanks for the Cd, I promise to give it a good home and might even possibly wear it out, listening to it. It was really magic hearing you and Kenn perform “Christmas on the Block” last night. I got goosebumps and chills….of course. Thank you so so much. Much Love… the pleasure was all mine, Larry! the audience was so with you for that song, it touched everyone, especially Alan’s friends and fans. Nice work!
Len Allen– that was awesome……great job Larry and Kenn…….really enjoyed that song
Andi Charkow– Nice singing last night!
Allan Rosen– ^Yes Larry^…you sound great and a perfect song too! Heshey Schlachterman seemed really happy to see so many familiar faces, just great vibes everywhere.
Bob Crawford– It was great hearing it live! It’s my favorite Christmas song by far! I still have the 45!!!!
Larry Saklad– a really specially great XX, thankyou Kathi & Kenn & all us @ The Legendary Dobbs. so many many friends- the bitter erased by the oh-so-sweet, raise our glasses to GOOSEBUMPS (it’s my next album yaknow)
Wendy Barnhart Galluzzo– singer Free Arts Band ’77-9, WOW! I can feel the LOVE all the way here in the desert of AZ,,,Way to go Larry, I know how important this song was for you to do in such a way to make everyone stop- take a moment to feel & remember,,,RIP dear Alan
Ross Landy WBZH– Hey Larry — mind if I play this on my show tonight? [oh yeah!] it’ll be on Journey to Midnight tonight, 9pm – 12 eastern time WBZH 1370-AM Pottstown, PA (www.wbzh.net). Support this great song while you support community radio! Thanks!
Dan Herman– Hi Larry, I have chosen to spin Christmas On The Block in my final show 2011. This show is a bit of an RCB tradition, indie segments + originals. Fans can hear Radio Crystal Blue: (1) FeedPlayer http://sites.google.com/site/radiocrystalblue & www.radiocrystalblue.net (2)Podcast: RSS www.bigcontact.com/radiocrystalblu/rss & www.bigcontact.com/radiocrystalblu
Greg G on the Z– Thanks for passin’ this along! I am a huge fan of Alan Mann especially his “Christmas On The Block”. It’ll be spun on my Rockin’ Roots Christmas show Wed Dec 21st [Roots-Rock/Americana radio show “Roots Rock Review” airs every Wednesday 6- 10pm EST Z88.9FM, 95.1FM, 100.7FM broadcasting from NJ, streaming ‘live’ www.z889.org ]
Christmas On The Block by Larry Saklad © Alan Mann ’83, featuring Kenn Kweder blues-harp, Kim De Meo vocal. HD 320kbs mp3
Kenn Kweder out-take Christmas On The Block by Larry Saklad met w/ Kenn Kweder 11/26 gig, recording his blues-harp in true mobile fashion- my car! (love the new tech). Between sets he brought out a “C” harp w/ my lap top playing thru headphones, zoom recorder on dash (24bit), and nailed it!!! here’s an out-take just before the 2nd run thru 🙂 added a really nice touch & spice, more hood feeling, thnx man