Back in the 1970’s and early 1980’s, the New England area coffeehouse/folk concert stages (Passim, the Nameless Coffeehouse, and others) were graced with a wealth of local songwriting and performing talent.
Some (as best I know/recall), like Bob Holmes, Pete Kairo, Jill Stein (more recently better known as the 2012 Green Party candidate for president), and Rich Johnson, remained mostly known in the area. Some, like Betsy Rose, Cathy Winter, Paul Geremia, George Gritzbach, and Guy van Duser and Billy Novick, went on to achieve some greater degree of visibility. (Note, if not quite disclaimer: I was doing folk music reviews for the Boston Globe, Boston Herald, and various other local/folk publications, and even got to do liner notes for one album each by Holmes and Gritzbach.)
To my happy surprise, I see an e-flyer in my local library (in Newton, Mass.) that the two are doing a performance on Monday evening, August 11, 2014, as part of their apparently annual reunion tour (Zamcheck is a former native Newtonite, it turns out).
I am looking forward to being among the audience, with the cover of their first album, FANTASY RAG (1975) in hand for long-overdue autographs.
Norman plays strong barrel-house piano, and writes amazing songs. Suzy has a strong, bluesy voice, with burlesque fashion sense that mixes feather boas and a coffeepot for a purse.
The duo got together in classic fashion, with Norman responding to Suzy’s classified ad in the Boston Phoenix, “Singer, red-hot mama, seeks piano player strong enough to hold on to me.”
Together, they did a unique mix of blues, jazz, honky-tonk, cabaret and fun that made them always a pleasure to see and listen to. (I’ve gathered some YouTube URLs, below.)
They apparently went their separate ways in the late 80’s. Happily, over the past few years, they’ve been doing east and west coats reunion gigs.
I’ve missed seeing them. I’m looking forward to seeing them again like crazy.
If you can’t be there, catch some videos, and then go hunt down their recordings.