June 2005
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Chris Robison

Plus
The Music
Of
Michael
Cohen

 Everyone Involved

EVERYONE INVOLVED during a rehearsal session in 1972. From left to right: Oskar Lanchester (percussion), Gillian Dickinson (vocals),  Nigel Stewart (keyboards, vocals), Michael Klein (guitar, vocals), Peter Granger (sound engineer), James Asher (drums, violin, piano). (Several key players wouldn't come up to the roof for this picture.)


embossed "Either/Or" LP cover

Either/Or was the name of the (only) album performed and recorded by Everyone Involved. I wrote all the lyrics and produced the album. I suspect the track you probably want to put on your website is "A Gay Song" but please feel free to use as many tracks as you like. The whole point of the album was not to produce a consumer item so we all contributed what we could afford which produced a print run of 1000 copies which was divided equally between the sixteen contributors. The only rule was that they were not to be sold and to this end it actually says on the disk label: "This record is free. If you paid for it you were conned." 
Because we were trying to make as many copies as we could for as little money as we could, we used plain white albums (before the Beatles!) and embossed them with the title. So the only way I can send you the "design" is to use an image I produced for my own CD copies. (Above.) Hope this is all helpful.
 
All the best. 

Alan Wakeman

*********************************
Above, an email I received from Alan Wakeman, the producer and co-writer of the 1972 "Either/Or" album.

 

Read the script for the show...

Playlist               (airdate June 27, 2005)
Everyone Involved - A Gay Song (1972)
Michael Cohen - The Last Angry Young Man (1973)
Michael Cohen - Bitterfeast (1973)
Mike Cohen - Danny and the Central Park Snow (1973)
Mike Cohen - Orion (1973)
Michael Cohen - In A Dream, Again (1976)
Steam - Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye (1969)
Chris Robison Interview
Elephant's Memory - Power Boogie (1972)
Chris Robison - Doctor Doctor (1973)
Chris Robison - Lookin' For a Boy Tonight (1973)
Chris Robison - Mocha Almond Boy (1973)
Chris Robison - I'll Be Your Man (1974)
Chris Robison - Tony Pony (1974)
Chris Robison - Southern Philly Boy (1975, unreleased)
Ronnie Spector - I'm Gonna Stay With My Baby Tonight (1974)
Stumblebunny - Young Stuff (1979)
Papa Chris & Steve - See Me See You (1994)
Chris Robison - I'm Gonna Stay With My Baby Tonight (1974)


Alan Wakeman

Above, Alan Wakeman, year unknown

Note: many of the photos on this page
contain a second image if you pass
your cursor over them

Michael Cohen

1/24/51 -- 11/28/97

Michael Cohen was a singer/songwriter on the Folkways label whose very gay album was released in 1973, very early for openly gay material, especially for a reasonably sized, established label like Folkways. Not much is known about Cohen except what can be found on the liner notes of his three albums (which contained no bio info). If you have any information on him, please let me know. Below, his first, self-produced album, from 1973. He brought several of its songs to his Folkways release, (right) which came out the same year.

Mike Cohen (self titled), 1973   Michael Cohen - What Did You Expect, 1973

Here's a close-up of the sticker from the bottom right corner
of the cover of Cohen's "What Did You Expect?" LP 

2nd album, back cover

Below, "Some of Us Had To Live," from 1976

Michael Cohen - Some Of Us Had To Live, 1976

While I have very few images to share with you of Michael Cohen, I do have
the lyric booklets from the albums, and enlargements of the back covers,
which can be found on my Michael Cohen page
      

Chris Robison

Chris Robison & His Many-Hand Band

 

Manchild

Chris Robison's career covered a lot of territory. This spanned from being in the touring band Steam, in the band Elephant's Memory, in the Velvert Turner Group, recording with Keith Richards, John Phillips, Gene Simmons, Paul Stanley, Link Wray, Robert Gordon and John Lennon; in his own band Stumblebunny, his solo albums and his children's album.

No, he wasn't on the recording of "Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye," but then the guys pictured here weren't either. That song was produced in the studio by Paul Leka, who when it became a hit then found a band to go out on the road to tour with the song. Chris was in that touring band. That was his first taste of musical success, in 1969, and great experience for his work in bands later.

Steam LP

Chris released two solo albums. The first, in 1973 was "Chris Robison and his Many Hand Band," and it was among the first to contain openly gay songs. And the marketing was geared to shine a light on that. Below is an ad that ran in After Dark magazine. Gee, it only cost $4.95, including shipping! You won't find it for that today, as both it and his followup album, "Manchild" (1974) are very rare. On the first album Chris did it all, all the vocals, all the instruments.

After Dark ad, 1973

Gypsy Frog labels   Chris & Tony Pony

Above, the LP labels of his two solo albums, and from the back of the "Manchild" album a great guitar shot of Chris with Tony Pony, who was the inspiration for several songs. The photo was tiny on the album cover, only 1 1/2" high, so scaling it up lost a little definition; would love to see the shots not used...:)

Elephant's Memory

Elephant's Memory   EM 45 with Chris' song "Power Boogie"

  EM "Angels Forever"    Elephant's Memory, 1974..that's Chris on the left

It's been said that Elephant's Memory grabbed their 15 minutes of fame in 1972 when John Lennon discovered the group and used them as the backing band for his album "Sometime in New York City." But they did more than that; two songs from their first album "Elephant's Memory" (Buddah, 1969) made it onto the "Midnight Cowboy" soundtrack, bringing some acclaim. Chris Robison had two stints with the group, from circa 1970-1972 and again in 1974. On their Apple label LP, also called "Elephant's Memory" Chris sang backups and one of his songs, "Power Boogie," made the LP and featured John & Yoko backing up the track, which they also produced. On their 1974 album, "Angels Forever," Chris took a much more active role, playing keyboards, singing and writing or co-writing several tracks.

The Allmusic Guide had this to say about Chris' contribution to the LP: "Keyboard player Chris Robison's "Tonite" is the best original on the disc. With the right production it could have been a big '70's hit, a surprising diamond in the rough that demands repeated spins. The fabulous Thunderthighs (who backed up Lou Reed, Genya Ravan, and many others) shows up, adding something special to the mix. Boy, if there were a few "Tonite"-type songs on this, "Angels Forever" would almost get the fame of the group's recordings with John and Yoko, and David Peel."

Buddah 45

Fresh on the heels of his second album he was able to place a 45 of "I'm Gonna Stay With My Baby Tonight" on Buddah, but alas, as the label was on a steady decline the proper promotion was not there. The song however has been covered by a number of artists, especially in Europe.

Upper Right, another review at the time of the release of his first album.

NY Dolls' "Tokyo Dolls Live" LP

Above, in 1975 David Johansen and Sylvain Sylvain of the NY Dolls backed up by Peter Jordan and Chris Robison toured Japan, and the result was the LP "Tokyo Dolls Live."

review of 1st LP

Below, review of the Buddah 45 from Cash Box, 3/14/74.

review of Buddah 45 from Cash Box, 1974

Below, Ronnie Spector (of the Ronettes) included a cocky cover version of "Tonite" on her 1980 "Siren" album.

Ronnie Spector LP "Siren"

Stumblebunny

Stumblebunny EP

Stumblebunny's very rare 4-song EP contained the tracks
"Bad Habits," "Can't Remember," "Valium"
and Chris' standard, "Tonite."

 

 

In 1978 Chris started up a new band, called Stumblebunny, along with Peter Jordan (who he had toured with the Dolls in Japan). They put together a 4-song EP and shopped it around. Famed 60's producer Richard Gottehrer (Strangeloves, Blondie, and a host of Girl Groups, like the Angels) scooped them up and signed them. The next year came an LP, "While You Were Out," released unfortunately only in Germany. A shame, it could have and deserved to be a hit.

Chris on back of Stumblebunny LP

Stumblebunny EP, 1978   Stumblebunny 45, 1979

Above, the EP and a UK pressing of the 45, below, German 45 and LP

Stumblebunny German 45      Stumblebunny LP, 1979

In 1994 Chris and music partner Steve Farrell released an acclaimed children's album, inspired by his family. Yes, in the 80's Chris started a family and sons Tiger and Dex became his focus. Their mother was a good friend of Peter Allen and he became their godfather. The kids, by the way, are pictured on the CD cover and helped sing on the recording. Chris sent me some "candids" below with Peter and the kids, and below right is Chris and Tony Pony, in a pic from 2004. The song from the "Manchild" album, "Tony Pony," among other songs were inspired by Tony Pony.

 Papa Chris & Steve CD, 1994   Peter, Tiger, Dex, Chris

Peter Allen and Tiger   Tony Pony & Chris Robison, 2004

www.ChrisRobison.net

from Fag Rag, 1974


If you're read this far and still want more,
I've got a whole extra page of articles on Chris.
Click to get there.

And, I got some nice feedback from Chris in December 2010. He has
been focusing more ane more again lately on his music, and has been reviving work he has never made public. He wrote me "Thank you
for starting my inner-being back 'home' with that 2005 interview. I am forever grateful!"