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Video from 1976 Unearthed! – blog July 31 ’14

Video from 1976 Unearthed!

A little while ago I got an email from Orleans fan, Mark Murphy (yes, you can email me directly from the OrleansOnline website Contact Us page). Mark basically said, “Hey … look what I found on YouTube!”

Now, I was sure that I was aware of pretty much all there is of Orleans video footage — especially older stuff, ’cause there just isn’t that much of it. Most of what’s usable had been incorporated into the History of Orleans DVD produced by Greg Rike at GRP Studios in Altamonte, FL back in 2011. But, being curious as to what he might have found from 1976, I went looking.

To my amazement, I watched 3 separate posts … pieces of a show we did at the Capital Theater in Passaic, NJ on October 15th, 1976. Not only was the audio mix good, the video was actually a professional multi-camera shoot, albeit in black & white and grainy, as was typical of that era. Most importantly, these videos are possibly the ONLY live capture of Orleans as a 5-piece band, at the top of our game!

Waking & Dreaming and The Bum

What I Need jam

Still The One

Besides the 3 Orleans founders … John Hall, Larry Hoppen and Wells Kelly … and me (Lance Hoppen, who was recruited before any of the recording started), there was a young Jerry Marotta on drums and percussion. Jerry, who joined us prior to recording the Waking & Dreaming album and played drums on Still the One, later went on to work with Hall & Oates (Kiss on My List, etc) and then graduated to a 10-year tenure with Peter Gabriel. But Orleans was his first pro gig!

I also took notice of an add-on percussionist on congas, whom I initially assumed to be Sam Clayton. That would have meant this was from one of the many shows we did with Little Feat (one of the Orleans guys’ most favorite bands of all time!) Later on, thinking about it, I realized that the player could have also been the drummer for Valerie Carter, who opened the 3-act Jackson Browne tour we were on that year.

Valerie was, at that time, an unknown artist. She later found a home for herself as a backup singer with James Taylor. She was just a little tiny thing but, boy, could she sing big! I found myself watching and listening from the wings during her opening sets and, I must admit, I also found myself smitten with her. That part did not go well for me, as I recall … but that’s another story and not for public consumption. I digress.

When I forwarded these video links to John Hall, he was as taken aback as I was. As he replied, “It’s like opening up a time capsule!” I asked him if he could identify the conga player and he, like me, was uncertain. And he, like me, cannot remember the name of Valerie’s drummer (unfortunately, and no disrespect intended).

I then by chance happened to stumble across a listing of Jackson Browne tour dates for 1976 and, sure enough, Passaic NJ was on the list. This ended the debate as to whether or not this was Sam Clayton or Valerie’s drummer.

But here’s the question for all of you Orleans-ophiles: Is there someone out there who CAN identify by name the percussionist in these videos? If so, please add that to the comments section below.

Is there anyone out there who was actually there at this show? Or maybe just anyone who saw this version of the band in 1976 and the JB tour? It would be nice to hear any of your remembrances (because ours are so foggy, at best) 🙂



One Response to “Video from 1976 Unearthed!”

joemeo Says:
August 7th, 2014 at 10:26 AM

I saw the 1976 tour show with Jackson Brown at Binghampton – I was a grad student at Cornell and was trying to win my girlfriend back – it did not work but the band blew me away as always and the jam with Jackson and his band at the end of the show was great ! I am and will remain a life-long fan – I’m still having fun !!

Cheers, Joe Meo

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