AMY ANNELLE

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THE NEXT GREENER MEADOW

Hello friends from a smokey valley in eastern Pennsylvania. Vultures have been seen circling above the worksite. Ration cards, day labouring on the border between 'ain't no more coal' and 'ain't no more steel'. Rrrrrrrrrright across the road I am from Fred Waring and the Pennsylvanians' abandoned World Headquarters, The Castle Inn Music Hall. Are you with me? Fred Waring had a huge band and choral group that made pop music and toured the world from the 1920s until 1984. That's when Fred had his stroke, and traveled on. I used to have a 5,000 gram 10" record of his group that was just a beautiful, black-and white one-microphoned teetotalin' chiffon and cufflinked time-warp. Grandmas could argue from the grave or brown velvet La-Z-Boy about the relative merits of Lawrence Welk and his bubble machine, and Fred Waring and his Pennsylvanians. He hung with the heavies, like Frank Sinatra. cross him and you might wake up with cement boots on, catching your breath between the pier and the water. Fred Waring's performance hall is but a ghost hall now--nobody smoking cigarettes and drinking highballs in the grand foyer, nobody warming up in the little tile-floored warm-up rooms. The acoustics however are FANTASTIC, and remain intact. And so we were, in the darkest hours the other night, recording some songs courtesy of a pried-open window and a very long extension cord, man it was sounding good when we met the state trooper. The time warp was over and the ghosts took off. We saw handcuffs and the back of the cruiser. The cop said it was a felony and assumed that we were smoking crack up there. Smoking crack in Fred Waring's abandned rehearsal hall??? This is the Poconos. I would think the place saw more martini blackouts than crack rocks.