OHO

music

Gazebo

Oho

Superb melodies imbue energized, jubilant and brilliant songs, entrancing in their beauty.

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Where Words Do Not Reach

Oho

Takes the listener to a time and place no longer present in the phenomenal world, although its spirit remains available to access through doorways such as this instrumental music provides.

"Where Words Do Not Reach" presents the instrumental music composed and performed by the artistic Baltimore collective of artists and musicians known as OHO; covering the period 1974-2015.

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Ocean City Ditty

Oho

O-C-E-A-N-C-I-TY!! Not since Ol' Blue Eyes did "New York, New York", has a song so embodied the character of a city. This song should be blaring from speakers as you roll in on Ocean Gateway, much like "Viva Las Vegas" at the Bellagio fountain pool.

"O-C-E-A-N-C-I-TY!! Not since Ol' Blue Eyes did "New York, New York", has a song so embodied the character of a city. This song should be blaring from speakers as you roll in on Ocean Gateway, much like "Viva Las Vegas" at the Bellagio fountain pool. Long live the Ditty!" -Dan Long (Bonefish Grill, Manager)

"Fantastic!"--Matt Eichorn (CEO, Musicvox Guitars) I played one of his M1-5 electric 12-string guitars on the Ditty.

The legendary OHO returns with their first CD single, Ocean City Ditty, a paean to their favorite Maryland resort town.

OHO? Aha! That's a name that rings bells. Baltimore's answer to Pink Floyd, an American underground icon, a band that came out of nowhere playing music the chroniclers swore was years ahead of its time. OHO sneaks around the musical conventions that have mummified so many others, unleashing sliders where you'd expect curve balls, fast balls where you'd expect change-ups. Part of its their sense of humor, part of it their unerring humanity. A curious anomaly, the band was totally out of synch with current musical trends when they formed in late 73, a five-piece multi-instrumental, avant garde, acid-progressive band from Baltimore with a do-it-yourself lifestyle and album/label/outlook who were either seven years too late or seventeen years too early. They remain enigmatic, but certainly made some daring music in their time. Like the Residents, these guys seem to be an artistic collective of some sort having released albums, a single, various tapes and literature demonstrating their own demented aesthetic. OHO is one of those curious oddball bands who existed in the pre-dawn of the independent label revolution. Definitely, one of a kind and all in good fun...its got to be.

The story begins around 1970 at a Baltimore club called "Bluesette." Mark O'Connor, Joe O'Sullivan and Jay Graboski played there in a group known as Quinn, setting a pattern for the next quarter century and beyond. "Blues was the thing then," remembers Mark O'Connor," and the bands were doing Taj Mahal, I-IV-V chords all night and jamming. We were playing early Edgar Winter, originals and whatever we liked. So even in an alternative club we were outsiders, and we've been going against the grain ever since." In 1971 Mark, Jay, Jay's brother/drummer Jeff and Trent Zeigen formed Little Hans, a gothic-progressive quartet featuring two keyboardists, guitar and percussion. The band recorded an epic 42 minute rock fantasy based on the Peter Pan story and a trio of songs engineered by Richard Kunc, former Director of Engineering for Frank Zappa's Bizarre-Straight record label. Mark left after a year and a few months later Little Hans disbanded.

In 1973 O'Connor with friends Steve Heck and Joe O'Sullivan began a period of crazed experimentation that would lead to their most infamous incarnation. Retiring to O'Sullivan's basement, they delved into what O'Connor describes as "really chaotic stuff, just making noise, total nihilism. We had no intention of recording, it was just a release from boredom." Taking the three initials of their last names, they called themselves OHO.

Soon the guys were putting music to a stack of free-form poetry they had written, and as things became more seriously non-serious, Jay Graboski and fusion drummer Larry Bright were invited to join. OHO was the combination of several individuals intertwined before and since in various ways. This latest collaboration resulted in a debut album that people are still reacting to.

"Okinawa" is OHOs first album now available as a 4-10" vinyl set so strong it comes in a metal box. Recorded in January 1974, it is astonishingly full of weirdness that falls somewhere in Syd Barrett-era Floydland: some psychedelia, some art noise, some bizarre theatrics; but all-around inventive and well crafted. OHO combined the theater-rock-dialogue format of Genesis with the crazed-rock styles of "Wild Man" Fischer and Capt. Beefheart. Musically more progressive than psychedelic, an hour of "Okinawa" and you'll be carried away, via a weird pastiche of post-Zappa logic and Christopher Milk-like Anglo worship, to the tangerine jungle of marshmallow madness. Germany's Hanf magazine called it "Sgt. Pepper's for the advanced listener." The record was released in July, 1974 to less than enthusiastic response, offending the conservative Baltimore community with its rawness and disregard for convention. "Okinawa" was one of the first albums released independently by an American band in the '70s. The group went through a series of harrowing experiences with individuals who said they could sell the album and ended up giving most of them away, relegating the original edition of this great album to its current staple status on the collector circuit where it usually commands a substantial minimum bid.

In June, 1974 OHO disappeared into Sheffield studios to record the follow-up, "Vitamin OHO", a different teapot of mackerel. "Vitamin" is a colorful collision between Henry Cow and Henry VIII, adventurous, jazz-flecked, elemental, chamber music fusing psychedelic and progressive moves into one fascinating whole. More acceptably prog-complex than its forerunner, this disc still has enough screw-loose guitar, Canterbury-odd lyricism, and genial psychedelic whatsis to make a aurally arresting piece of a sonic puzzle that's slowly coming together. "Vitamin OHO", released in 1991 on Little Wing, has enough mellotron, synths and Frippian guitar work to satisfy the most discerning prog-rock fan and is reminiscent of the days when albums were visits to miniature cerebral universes.

These psychotic eruptions from the hinterlands of Towson either put Baltimore on the map or removed it entirely. In 1974, during the "Vitamin OHO" sessions, the group met with Paul Rieger who recorded OHO in various basements for a university radio program. In '75 Rieger introduced the band to producer Thomas Apple who had ironically made a small fortune by investing in the wrong company at the right time. Under the Apple auspices the band recorded the tracks that comprise the final installment of the OHO album trilogy, "Dream of the Ridiculous Band." Though these sessions '75-'76 were uncharacteristically distinguished by the band's often forced acquiescence to the taste and whim of an outside producer, O'Connor credits Apple with revitalizing the band financially, attracting prospective recording contracts with A&M and Capitol records respectively both of which OHO charmed their way out of. There were more live performances with the quintet playing city fairs, outdoor rock festivals, the occaisional college concert and anywhere anyone would allow them to perform. "OHO was incredibly interesting," recalls Paul Rieger, "just way ahead of their time. They played The Steel Workers' Hall and it was a disaster because no one knew what was going on...There'd be someone onstage dressed like a pig carrying an axe or even crucified. Later, they started getting more serious, working hard on the music and getting standing ovations which was unheard of. Back then very few local bands were using synthesizers and mellotrons." OHO's garage-progressive iconoclasm ran four years ahead of the new wave. They were called everything from proto-punk "space toads" to the strangest American band since The Residents.

"Vitamin OHO" and "Dream of the Ridiculous Band" reveal OHO as a highly competent progressive band with hints of Crimson, Genesis and Grobschnitt: a very un-American sound. Like contemporaries Happy The Man, they were inventive, with accents on complex structures, unusual time signatures, dynamics and the exceptional interplay among the two guitarists Joe O'Sullivan & J.P. Graboski, keyboard whiz Mark O'Connor, bassist Steven Heck ,aka Nuna, and drummer "Gentleman" Jeff Graboski (aka Spink). "Ecce OHO", a collection of heretofore unavailable alternates and out-takes, features this line up. These selections from '74-'75 incorporate 6 studio tracks, 3 live-in-concert tracks and one four track, Paul Rieger recording.

By early '77, entropy had OHO in tow. Wanting funds and enthusiastically bankrupt, the group was unable to sustain the previously successful fusion of five creative and volatile personalities. David Reeve replaced Jeff Graboski in providing the band with its beat (Jeff died in September, 1987). A fourth aborted album, "OHO House", was intended to move toward a more basic style of music with straightforward arrangements. A handful of songs (including "Trick Or Treat?" featured on this downloadable compilation) were begun before things fell apart, with "Nazi Hund" and cassette recordings of pre-practice jams being the most remarkable. Mark O'Connor muses, "We never had a lot of high artistic notions about the whole thing. When people didn't like the music it wasn't 'we are artists,' it was just 'piss off.' We only cared about having a good time." By then the good times had been had...for the time being.

Jay and Mark continued to play through the new wave in Dark Side, Trixy & The Testones and Food For Worms but each of these bands is subject enough for a story of its own. The 1984 version of OHO recorded "Rocktronics", a 7 song EP produced by Jack Heyrman and WIYY DJ Ty Ford for the former's Clean Cuts records. The line-up consisted of Mark O'Connor, Jay Graboski and David Reeve from the original band, with frontman Gyro and bassist Mike Kearney from the Balkan-Bop band, Food For Worms. Roctronics' OHO was a snappy electronic group which blended new wave sensibilities before a deftly textured musical backdrop. Discouraged with the direction in which the band was being taken, O'Connor resigned. Graboski and Reeve left with the name six months later. They retired to Hit & Run studio in Rockville, MD, where over the next four years they wrote and recorded their next LP. The OHO moniker became synonymous with the word persistence.

In 1990, the eponymously entitled "OHO", released on Sky Records based in Norcross, GA, Recorded at 'Hit and Run Studio',imaginatively explored the affect of post-acoustic guitars...warily, with acid-folk edginess and trademark lyrical unpredictability. Combining Grace Hearn's stellar, unwavering vocals, bassist/engineer Steve Carr's crystalline production, Jay Graboski's assiduous songwriting and David Reeve's muscular rhythms, "OHO" encompasses elements of rock and progressive pop within impressively intricate arrangements and was listed as an "editors' choice" for 1990 in CD Review (06/91 Vol. VII Number 10). Three selections feature Jay's employment of the unorthodox, new-standard, C Pentatonic guitar tuning (C-G-D-A-E-G, from the lowest to the highest string) introduced to him by Robert Fripp in November 1985 at Guitar Craft VII near Charles Town, WV. Graboski, who has been experimenting with this tuning in his playing and songwriting ever since, remembers Fripp as having "very little respect for" the old standard tuning, calling it "an arbitrary botch."

In 1991 OHO signed with Little Wing Of Refugees based in Kastl, Germany. The label was founded in 1988 as "an answer to all the counterfeit rubbish that overflows the market," to the purpose of giving a wider audience the chance to hear great records that might be unaffordable for most as originals and unheard up to now because of their rarity. Little Wing records and compact discs were produced very carefully. Cover art and graphics were conceived in an early seventies tradition and necessary efforts are taken to guarantee the highest fidelity while remaining true to the intended sound of the master source. The label dedicated itself to the release of important but lost music of the seventies. Through the relentless persistence of label rep Ann Neumayer and the generous enthusiasm of its label owners, Rene & Gerlinda Dzaack, Refugees revealed the scope of their vision for 70s OHO music by releasing "Vitamin OHO" in 1991 and reissuing "Okinawa" in 1995 (also on vinyl and for the first time along with the previously unreleased balance from the original 1974 session masters); and "ECCE OHO" on CD in 1998, several thousand copies of which were included as part of a collaborative band/magazine/label promotional campaign in issue #28, the Summer/Fall 1998 edition of the quarterly music journal, Progression magazine. "Dream Of The Ridiculous Band", still marinating in its own juices, awaits its initial release (until then, 5 selections from this unreleased album are available at CD Baby, contained in the "Recollections Redux" OHO compilation). From July 1995 through mid-1997, Mark O'Connor, Steven Heck, Joseph O'Sullivan, Jay Graboski and David Reeve reunited for occasional performances after an eighteen year pause for the worthy cause. The 2002 OHO Music (OM052) edition of "Recollections" was also included as a CD bonus in Progression magazine #41, in the Fall 2002 issue.

In March 2008 OHO released their retrospective 2 disc CD/DVD "Bricolage" (available at CD Baby), an ambitious housecleaning consisting largely of previously unreleased sonic and video material (culled from their 1983-2008 "Mach III" phase), dominated by stunning female vocalization with tough lyrical musings, abundant hook-laden melodies, and intriguing arrangements of their jubilant, jangly folk/prog/rock.

21st Century OHO continues to play locally off and on as a trio consisting of keyboardist/vocalist, Ray Jozwiak, drummer/percussionist/vocalist, David Reeve, and guitarist/vocalist, Jay Graboski. In 2009 the band began work recording their proposed 50+ minute suite of new material, "AHORA!" And as "imagination stretches to match the long reach of time," look for it sometime after 2016. More at www.OhoMusic.com.

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Recollections (Redux)

Oho

"Recollections (Redux)" is a colorful collision between early Genesis and Zappa: adventurous, jazz-flecked, elemental, chamber music fusing psychedelic and progressive moves into one fascinating whole.

OHO? Aha! That's a name that rings bells. Baltimore's answer to Pink Floyd, an American underground icon, a band that came out of nowhere playing music the chroniclers swore was years ahead of its time. OHO sneaks around the musical conventions that have mummified so many others, unleashing sliders where you'd expect curve balls, fast balls where you'd expect change-ups. Part of its their sense of humor, part of it their unerring humanity. A curious anomaly, the band was totally out of synch with current musical trends when they formed in late 73, a five-piece multi-instrumental, avant garde, acid-progressive band from Baltimore with a do-it-yourself lifestyle and album/label/outlook who were either seven years too late or seventeen years too early. They remain enigmatic, but certainly made some daring music in their time. Like the Residents, these guys seem to be an artistic collective of some sort having released albums, a single, various tapes and literature demonstrating their own demented aesthetic. OHO is one of those curious oddball bands who existed in the pre-dawn of the independent label revolution. Definitely, one of a kind and all in good fun...its got to be.

The story begins around 1970 at a Baltimore club called "Bluesette." Mark O'Connor, Joe O'Sullivan and Jay Graboski played there in a group known as Quinn, setting a pattern for the next quarter century and beyond. "Blues was the thing then," remembers Mark O'Connor," and the bands were doing Taj Mahal, I-IV-V chords all night and jamming. We were playing early Edgar Winter, originals and whatever we liked. So even in an alternative club we were outsiders, and we've been going against the grain ever since." In 1971 Mark, Jay, Jay's brother/drummer Jeff and Trent Zeigen formed Little Hans, a gothic-progressive quartet featuring two keyboardists, guitar and percussion. The band recorded an epic 42 minute rock fantasy based on the Peter Pan story and a trio of songs engineered by Richard Kunc, former Director of Engineering for Frank Zappa's Bizarre-Straight record label. Mark left after a year and a few months later Little Hans disbanded.

In 1973 O'Connor with friends Steve Heck and Joe O'Sullivan began a period of crazed experimentation that would lead to their most infamous incarnation. Retiring to O'Sullivan's basement, they delved into what O'Connor describes as "really chaotic stuff, just making noise, total nihilism. We had no intention of recording, it was just a release from boredom." Taking the three initials of their last names, they called themselves OHO.

Soon the guys were putting music to a stack of free-form poetry they had written, and as things became more seriously non-serious, Jay Graboski and fusion drummer Larry Bright were invited to join. OHO was the combination of several individuals intertwined before and since in various ways. This latest collaboration resulted in a debut album that people are still reacting to.

"Okinawa" is OHOs first album now available as a 4-10" vinyl set so strong it comes in a metal box. Recorded in January 1974, it is astonishingly full of weirdness that falls somewhere in Syd Barrett-era Floydland: some psychedelia, some art noise, some bizarre theatrics; but all-around inventive and well crafted. OHO combined the theater-rock-dialogue format of Genesis with the crazed-rock styles of "Wild Man" Fischer and Capt. Beefheart. Musically more progressive than psychedelic, an hour of "Okinawa" and you'll be carried away, via a weird pastiche of post-Zappa logic and Christopher Milk-like Anglo worship, to the tangerine jungle of marshmallow madness. Germany's Hanf magazine called it "Sgt. Pepper's for the advanced listener." The record was released in July, 1974 to less than enthusiastic response, offending the conservative Baltimore community with its rawness and disregard for convention. "Okinawa" was one of the first albums released independently by an American band in the '70s. The group went through a series of harrowing experiences with individuals who said they could sell the album and ended up giving most of them away, relegating the original edition of this great album to its current staple status on the collector circuit where it usually commands a substantial minimum bid.

In June, 1974 OHO disappeared into Sheffield studios to record the follow-up, "Vitamin OHO", a different teapot of mackerel. "Vitamin" is a colorful collision between Henry Cow and Henry VIII, adventurous, jazz-flecked, elemental, chamber music fusing psychedelic and progressive moves into one fascinating whole. More acceptably prog-complex than its forerunner, this disc still has enough screw-loose guitar, Canterbury-odd lyricism, and genial psychedelic whatsis to make a aurally arresting piece of a sonic puzzle that's slowly coming together. "Vitamin OHO", released in 1991 on Little Wing, has enough mellotron, synths and Frippian guitar work to satisfy the most discerning prog-rock fan and is reminiscent of the days when albums were visits to miniature cerebral universes.

These psychotic eruptions from the hinterlands of Towson either put Baltimore on the map or removed it entirely. In 1974, during the "Vitamin OHO" sessions, the group met with Paul Rieger who recorded OHO in various basements for a university radio program. In '75 Rieger introduced the band to producer Thomas Apple who had ironically made a small fortune by investing in the wrong company at the right time. Under the Apple auspices the band recorded the tracks that comprise the final installment of the OHO album trilogy, "Dream of the Ridiculous Band." Though these sessions '75-'76 were uncharacteristically distinguished by the band's often forced acquiescence to the taste and whim of an outside producer, O'Connor credits Apple with revitalizing the band financially, attracting prospective recording contracts with A&M and Capitol records respectively both of which OHO charmed their way out of. There were more live performances with the quintet playing city fairs, outdoor rock festivals, the occaisional college concert and anywhere anyone would allow them to perform. "OHO was incredibly interesting," recalls Paul Rieger, "just way ahead of their time. They played The Steel Workers' Hall and it was a disaster because no one knew what was going on...There'd be someone onstage dressed like a pig carrying an axe or even crucified. Later, they started getting more serious, working hard on the music and getting standing ovations which was unheard of. Back then very few local bands were using synthesizers and mellotrons." OHO's garage-progressive iconoclasm ran four years ahead of the new wave. They were called everything from proto-punk "space toads" to the strangest American band since The Residents.

"Vitamin OHO" and "Dream of the Ridiculous Band" reveal OHO as a highly competent progressive band with hints of Crimson, Genesis and Grobschnitt: a very un-American sound. Like contemporaries Happy The Man, they were inventive, with accents on complex structures, unusual time signatures, dynamics and the exceptional interplay among the two guitarists Joe O'Sullivan & J.P. Graboski, keyboard whiz Mark O'Connor, bassist Steven Heck ,aka Nuna, and drummer "Gentleman" Jeff Graboski (aka Spink). "Ecce OHO", a collection of heretofore unavailable alternates and out-takes, features this line up. These selections from '74-'75 incorporate 6 studio tracks, 3 live-in-concert tracks and one four track, Paul Rieger recording.

By early '77, entropy had OHO in tow. Wanting funds and enthusiastically bankrupt, the group was unable to sustain the previously successful fusion of five creative and volatile personalities. David Reeve replaced Jeff Graboski in providing the band with its beat (Jeff died in September, 1987). A fourth aborted album, "OHO House", was intended to move toward a more basic style of music with straightforward arrangements. A handful of songs (including "Trick Or Treat?" featured on this downloadable compilation) were begun before things fell apart, with "Nazi Hund" and cassette recordings of pre-practice jams being the most remarkable. Mark O'Connor muses, "We never had a lot of high artistic notions about the whole thing. When people didn't like the music it wasn't 'we are artists,' it was just 'piss off.' We only cared about having a good time." By then the good times had been had...for the time being.

Jay and Mark continued to play through the new wave in Dark Side, Trixy & The Testones and Food For Worms but each of these bands is subject enough for a story of its own. The 1984 version of OHO recorded "Rocktronics", a 7 song EP produced by Jack Heyrman and WIYY DJ Ty Ford for the former's Clean Cuts records. The line-up consisted of Mark O'Connor, Jay Graboski and David Reeve from the original band, with frontman Gyro and bassist Mike Kearney from the Balkan-Bop band, Food For Worms. Roctronics' OHO was a snappy electronic group which blended new wave sensibilities before a deftly textured musical backdrop. Discouraged with the direction in which the band was being taken, O'Connor resigned. Graboski and Reeve left with the name six months later. They retired to Hit & Run studio in Rockville, MD, where over the next four years they wrote and recorded their next LP. The OHO moniker became synonymous with the word persistence.

In 1990, the eponymously entitled "OHO", released on Sky Records based in Norcross, GA, Recorded at 'Hit and Run Studio',imaginatively explored the affect of post-acoustic guitars...warily, with acid-folk edginess and trademark lyrical unpredictability. Combining Grace Hearn's stellar, unwavering vocals, bassist/engineer Steve Carr's crystalline production, Jay Graboski's assiduous songwriting and David Reeve's muscular rhythms, "OHO" encompasses elements of rock and progressive pop within impressively intricate arrangements and was listed as an "editors' choice" for 1990 in CD Review (06/91 Vol. VII Number 10). Three selections feature Jay's employment of the unorthodox, new-standard, C Pentatonic guitar tuning (C-G-D-A-E-G, from the lowest to the highest string) introduced to him by Robert Fripp in November 1985 at Guitar Craft VII near Charles Town, WV. Graboski, who has been experimenting with this tuning in his playing and songwriting ever since, remembers Fripp as having "very little respect for" the old standard tuning, calling it "an arbitrary botch."

In 1991 OHO signed with Little Wing Of Refugees based in Kastl, Germany. The label was founded in 1988 as "an answer to all the counterfeit rubbish that overflows the market," to the purpose of giving a wider audience the chance to hear great records that might be unaffordable for most as originals and unheard up to now because of their rarity. Little Wing records and compact discs were produced very carefully. Cover art and graphics were conceived in an early seventies tradition and necessary efforts are taken to guarantee the highest fidelity while remaining true to the intended sound of the master source. The label dedicated itself to the release of important but lost music of the seventies. Through the relentless persistence of label rep Ann Neumayer and the generous enthusiasm of its label owners, Rene & Gerlinda Dzaack, Refugees revealed the scope of their vision for 70s OHO music by releasing "Vitamin OHO" in 1991 and reissuing "Okinawa" in 1995 (also on vinyl and for the first time along with the previously unreleased balance from the original 1974 session masters); and "ECCE OHO" on CD in 1998, several thousand copies of which were included as part of a collaborative band/magazine/label promotional campaign in issue #28, the Summer/Fall 1998 edition of the quarterly music journal, Progression magazine. "Dream Of The Ridiculous Band", still marinating in its own juices, awaits its initial release (until then, 5 selections from this unreleased album are available at CD Baby, contained in the "Recollections Redux" OHO compilation). From July 1995 through mid-1997, Mark O'Connor, Steven Heck, Joseph O'Sullivan, Jay Graboski and David Reeve reunited for occasional performances after an eighteen year pause for the worthy cause. The 2002 OHO Music (OM052) edition of "Recollections" was also included as a CD bonus in Progression magazine #41, in the Fall 2002 issue.

In March 2008 OHO released their retrospective 2 disc CD/DVD "Bricolage" (available at CD Baby), an ambitious housecleaning consisting largely of previously unreleased sonic and video material (culled from their 1983-2008 "Mach III" phase), dominated by stunning female vocalization with tough lyrical musings, abundant hook-laden melodies, and intriguing arrangements of their jubilant, jangly folk/prog/rock.

21st Century OHO continues to play locally off and on as a trio consisting of keyboardist/vocalist, Ray Jozwiak, drummer/percussionist/vocalist, David Reeve, and guitarist/vocalist, Jay Graboski. In 2009 the band began work recording their proposed 50+ minute suite of new material, "AHORA!" And as "imagination stretches to match the long reach of time," look for it sometime after 2016. More at www.OhoMusic.com.

Notes on the tunes: (Tracks 3-15 from 1974-1976)

1) "Arclight" (Graboski)-(2010) an example of the music born of Guitar Craft experiences (1985-2005). We trust this will suffice as a satisfying example of the way OHO music has been affected by our involvement with and within GC. Robt. Fripp called it “A good piece of work.” Jay's parts (in 3, 4, 5, and in 7) were performed on a Martin Backpacker guitar. Guitars: Matt and Jay Graboski Drums/percussion: David Reeve Fretless Bass: Bennett Davis Violin: Sue Tice Keyboards: Bill Pratt

2) “The Plague” (Graboski/O’Connor)-1974 vintage music tracks (from "ECCE OHO!") overdubbed in 2008 with the lead vocals and the acoustic guitarism of El Sledge, (Matt Graboski). “The Plague” (inspired by Albert Camus’ novel about the WWII invasion of North Africa) is Matt’s favorite OHO song. Check out the 2011 Bratt TV video at www.youtube.com/watch?v=YJ9NUB90IDI or at www.rockadromerecords.com/tag/oho/ where videographer Bill Pratt married super 8mm film of a rare 1975 live OHO performance, (the only known existing OHO film) to more recent footage. Guitars/lead vocal: Matt Graboski Guitars: Joe O'Sullivan and Jay Graboski Keys: Mark O'Connor Drums: Jeffrey J. Graboski Bass: Steve Heck

3) “Seldom Bought ”(GOHOG), “Lois Jane” (Graboski) and “Hogshead” (O’Connor & O’Sullivan) are presented here as “The Three” in segue, mimicking the way we played them in concert. All are found on "Vitamin OHO." Dreams served as hors d’oeuvres on oppositional platters prelude the dancing before the slaying begins. “Lois Jane”-ankle-socked babootchka fond of lime phosphate. Spat upon too often to maintain a sanitary institution, she was eventually evicted. “Hogshead”-the main dish served complete with ambulance (exorcist extra). Du hast schwein gehabt (“you’re lucky,” or literally: “you have had pig”)! Guitars/vocals: Jay Graboski Drums: Jeff Graboski 1st guitar: Joe O'Sullivan Bass: Steve Heck Keyboards/vocals: Mark O'Connor

4) “Tinker’s Damn” (Graboski)-We saw Genesis at the Eastwind in Baltimore, spring 1974, during their “Selling England” tour. One Guitar Craft aphorism reads: “If we wish to know, breathe the air around someone who knows.” Steve Hackett was sitting outside afterwards, sipping a Heineken. We tried to get close that we might breathe in the air around him. Inspired, I went home and composed this song. Yeah, it’s saturated with a lot of cool mellotron sounds. Please find it a fitting tribute to one of the best groups ever. It is the last track on "Vitamin OHO" (more on Guitar Craft at www.guitarcraft.com). (Personnel same as #3.)

5) “Parade/Charade” (Graboski/O’Connor)-Intended to open "Dream of the Ridiculous Band," the team travels through 12 different keys on the intro. Featured are some unusual time signatures and our trademark lyrically obtuse pontification. Epic in proportion, engineer and co-producer John Ariosa ran the entire mix through a prototypical delay device, the Marshall Time Modulator, the inventor of which (Mr. Marshall) used to hang at Sheffield Studio in Timonium, MD, where we recorded. (P...

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Okinawa

Oho

"Astonishingly full of weirdness that falls somewhere in Syd Barret-era Floydland; some psychedelia, some art noise, some bizarre theatrics--but all around inventive and well-crafted." (Trouser Press Record Guide)

Here we have the official CD reissue of Okinawa, a rare progressive/psychedelic album by Baltimore band OHO, 1st released as a 15 track vinyl 12" record in July 1974. This Vintage disc features the original recordings in their intended sequence, now including 15 "bonus" tracks from the original sessions that were omitted from the original 1974 record due to the then prohibitive cost of releasing a double LP.

The Vintage package includes extensive liner notes and hermeneutics in a 20-page booklet along with credits, lyrics, anecdotes, "classic" quotes, poems, period photographs and much more. The unique garage-progressive/proto punk/"kitchen sink" style of OHO will appeal to fans of the Frank Zappa, Captain Beefheart, Gentle Giant school of progressive music as well as to those looking for something original, psychedelic and/or bizarre and daring. This 74 minute CD comes housed in high gloss tri-fold Pepto Bismal-pink digipak cover!

OHO guitarist Jay Graboski worked closely with the Vintage label overseeing the new digital remastering of this classic material that is now over 36 years old. Jay has been a member of this ever transmogrifying ensemble since late 1973 when rehearsals for the January 1974 recording sessions for Okinawa began, and continues to record and perform under this moniker with drummer/multi-instrumentalist, David Reeve.

OHO? Aha! That's a name that rings bells. Baltimore's answer to Pink Floyd, an American underground icon, a band that came out of nowhere playing music the chroniclers swore was years ahead of its time. OHO sneaks around the musical conventions that have mummified so many others, unleashing sliders where you'd expect curve balls, fast balls where you'd expect change-ups. Part of its their sense of humor, part of it their unerring humanity. A curious anomaly, the band was totally out of synch with current musical trends when they formed in late 73, a five-piece multi-instrumental, avant garde, acid-progressive band from Baltimore with a do-it-yourself lifestyle and album/label/outlook who were either seven years too late or seventeen years too early. They remain enigmatic, but certainly made some daring music in their time.

Like the Residents, these guys seem to be an artistic collective of some sort having released albums, a single, various compact discs, DVD's, tapes and literature demonstrating their own demented aesthetic. OHO is one of those curious oddball bands who existed in the pre-dawn of the independent label revolution. "Okinawa" is OHOs first album and is now finally available on compact disc!

Recorded in January 1974, it is astonishingly full of weirdness that falls somewhere in Syd Barrett-era Floydland: some psychedelia, some art noise, some bizarre theatrics; but all-around inventive and well crafted. OHO combined the theater-rock-dialogue format of Genesis with the crazed-rock styles of "Wild Man" Fischer and Capt. Beefheart. Musically more progressive than psychedelic, an hour of "Okinawa" and you'll be carried away, via a weird pastiche of post-Zappa logic and Christopher Milk-like Anglo worship, to the tangerine jungle of marshmallow madness. The original edition of this great album has reached its current staple status on the collector circuit where it usually commands a substantial minimum bid.

"This brilliant offering from mid-Atlantic mainstays OHO is a record whose shock ripples have yet to disperse. Here is experimental cabaret Voltaire at its most befuddling. Probably the finest example of non sequiter not-high-art pre RIO since The Fugs Electromagnetic Steamboat or The Mothers' Absolutely Free, this is one of those records that will keep you guessing for the entire 74 minutes the laser is on the disc. But there's something here for everyone, from the straight rock of 'Duva' and 'Parts and Ponds,' surreal acoustic nocturnes ('Manic Detective' & 'Last Dance'), the free jazz wig jam, 'Board Organ,' to the muscular prog workouts: 'Hogshead,' 'Cragwheel,' and 'The Plague.' An absolute masterpiece of classic American indie rock." (Proglydite's Child)

"OKINAWA is Sgt. Pepper's for advanced listeners. Recommended to all who can release themselves from common sound structures and lend their ears to fantastic, almost avant garde, progressive, varied and inspired '70's music,. Dare to enjoy and take part in it! Honor those who deserve to be honored. OHO gets the gold!" (Hanf!, Germany)

"An album of immense proportions, there is a plethora of great music here. There are jams in the progressive vein that really get up there in high gear, loads of analog keyboards, horn sections (that includeded members of both the Stan Kenton and Don Ellis bands) and most of all, complete zaniness. It's an excellent album really, so fascinating and extreme." -Mike McLatchey (Expose, USA)

"Have you ever heard of OHO? This Baltimore group is the best group of the 70's that I know of, if not the very best 70's band of all." -Rolf Niemeier (Bucketful of Brains No. 3, UK)

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Up

OHO

"OHO sounds like Jefferson Airplane landing on top of (Gabriel-era) Genesis and then taking a time machine ride with Fairport Convention to play at H.G. Wells' birthday party." -Jeff Lindholm (Dirty Linen #103)

OHO: an artistic collective of musicians and artists based in the Baltimore, MD area who interweave sophisticated songwriting, slashing lava-like guitarism, and muscular rhythms with stunning female vocals, lush production, and state-of-the-art basement technology. The ensemble has existed since 1973. Nowadays, 35 years and two radical transformations later, they are a little more settled with an acid folk underpinning and a womanly presence from the keyboards and vocals of Jane Brody, Angela Lazaroni, Elise Major, and the warbling of Grace Hearn, Mary O'Connor, Sue Ellen Sacco, and most recently Kelly G and Liz Murphy, not to mention significant contributions from a couple dozen OTHER PEOPLE. OHO offers rare proof that the unforgiving dragon of rock, with its voracious appetite for youth and novelty, can be slain by silver throats, silver hair and/or a bald pate. OHO have released a new (03/2008) 2 disc CD/DVD digipak entitled "Bricolage." It is NOW available at CD Baby. Both albums are being offered at bargain prices and are guaranteed to urge your spirit to soar from "over here to over there."

"We (REM) decided that just 'UP' was the way to go. We hope in the future that all other bands will also adopt this title in a showing of solidarity." -Peter Buck

"On this collection of songs from the past 18 years, OHO sounds like Jefferson Airplane landing on top of Genesis and then taking a time machine ride with Fairport Convention to play H.G. Wells' birthday party. The lyrics, in the best prog tradition, are dense and, like the music, definitely swirly." -Jeff Lindholm (Dirty Linen #106)

"Best known for their work in the 70s, especially the quirky, psychedelic masterpiece 'Okinawa' and the more overtly progressive 'Vitamin OHO,' both of which have seen re-release on vinyl in recent years, we've also seen archival CD releases from that period as well, like 'Ecce OHO' and 'Recollections.' But OHO soldiered on through the 80s and sporadically through the 90s and in fact is still intermittently going to this day. As one might imagine, the years have brought changes, and for the period covered by this release (1985-2002) OHO was a trio with various other musicians revolving through the lineup, fronted by a succession of female singers. The disc starts off with 3 tracks of recent vintage with vocalist Jane Brody at the fore. These have a very pleasing sort of west-coast psychedelic sound with jangly guitars (think the Vejtables or early Airplane) mixed with some Celtic/folky elements, all updated with a modern sounding production; opener 'Shouts In the Street' and follow-up 'The Secret' are positively contagious. From there we go back further in time with Grace Hearn--who occasionally sounds a bit like Stevie Nicks; songs here are a bit more earthy, many having a less acoustic, more produced pop character. Many gems here as well, but the overtly psychedelic and 'live' closer 'Dream Lifted Up' is a standout. Fans of finely crafted female fronted pop will surely enjoy 'UP.' -Peter Thelen, (Expose #29)

"OHO's music makes you want to exclaim the band's very name! This is intelligent power pop for the new millennium. Truly innovative, their sound is energetic, 'BIG,' produced (without being overly so) and professional, having elements of pop, folk, jazz, celtic and rock (and all with an alternative twist). David Reeve's rhythms are alternately flowing and funky, and are set beneath daring and creative melodies, excellent instrumentation and fantastic female vocalisation, ideally suited for OHO's tendency to employ minor chords. Even with their dark and sometimes spooky sound, the feeling is upbeat. There are also sparkling guitars (ala Lindsey Buckingham), Steve Carr's grumbling bass (some of the best ever) and J. Graboski's thoughtful lyrics. As produced as this CD appears to be, the soul remains intact. 'UP' is an excellent CD and 'Where Have You Been?' is one of my favorite songs on it. It's as if the band members and 29 guest artists have put themselves fully into this project and have given themselves away. OHO!!!" -Les Reynolds, Indie-Music.com

"OHO's music maneuvers, folds and turns on itself exactly where it should...fascinating!" -Music Connection

"A romantic, lushly harmonic collection having a wary acid-folk edginess and unpredictable lyrics. One of the best things about the OHO recordings is how good they sound...every element in their intricate arrangements shines." -The Washington Post

"Melodic and thoughtful power pop on this Maryland quintet's debut."
-CD Review (Editors' choice favorite selection)

"Generating an irresistible urge to dance and sing, this CD is a tight mesh of modern, melodic, crisp grooves with vocals that are clear, strong and seamless, amazing guitar work, and songs that are contagious." -University Reporter

"A brightly melodic collection of 19 impeccably played tracks with five supremely emotive female singers. Man, this stuff is FUN! 'Shouts In the Street' and 'Long To Be Latin' are so infectious you want to play them repeatedly. No one I've encountered in my years of doing PROGRESSION exemplifies the indomitable spirit of progressive music any better than Jay Graboski and his band,OHO." -John Collinge, Progession Magazine

"OHO have the measurable parameters of success with stellar, unwavering female vocals, Steve Carr's crystalline production of the material, David Reeve's muscular rhythms and Jay Graboski's assiduous imagination. The confidence of their presentation kept my attention reeling. Their music had reached that zone of objectively fine quality. It was as if I was doing MYSELF a favor by listening." Le Marquis de Rhythm, -Rhythm

"This isn't resurrection, but rebirth, with new songs, a new sound, a new approach. Bright and tuneful, the selections here arrive right on time, hitting the basics of contemporary pop, but adding just enough of a twist to grab your attention and hold it. OHO sneaks around the musical conventions that have mummified so many others, unleashing sliders where you'd expect curve balls, fastballs where you'd expect change-ups. OHO sneaks around the conventions that have mummified so many others. For OHO the time is NOW!" -J.D. Considine

"An imaginative exploration of affecting acoustic guitars, head-expanding lyricism blending with hi-tech bravado, and a liberal dose of some of the brightest vocal harmonies your ears will ever absorb. THERE IS JOY IN NEARLY EVERY GROOVE. A fine testament to a band in which to clearly believe." -Maryland Musician

"The men and women of OHO have been creating outstanding progressive rock on and off in a career spanning 30 years, and while the lineup of musicians may change, the musical quality and talent of the band remain the same. With 'UP' OHO proves again that it can produce vocal-driven folk rock while still delivering the musical goods that have led to their long and successful career."-Greg Yost, Music Monthly

"The OHO CD? It's fast. I dig it!!!" -Sahffi (Baltimore Songwriter's Association)

"Jay, you are my musical hero!" -Paul Rieger (United States of Existence)

"David later told The Baltimore Sunpapers, 'It’s a fear of flying thing. All of a sudden you have to adjust to a major shift in your lifestyle.' We had all the things every band wants: talent, stellar songwriting, a great manager, a competent entertainment attorney, a bass player who owned his own recording studio, a tour in the planning and a promising record deal (with even an $8,000 advance + the manufacture, distribution and promotion of 6,000 CD's, LP's and cassettes). Our music was getting played on many college and some commercial radio stations ("Out of Thin Air" was #1 in Juneau, AK), according to the Sky Records' airplay reports and BMI royalty checks. Our record also received many glowing reviews (being included as an 'Editors' Choice' among the top 100 CD's of 1990--between Peter Gabriel & Rachmaninoff--in CD Review magazine."...Yet there still might be a number of ways we can eff this up, but only after we dispense with any and all consideration for our record company, our manager, our attorney, our fans and especially the other band members, their sacrifices, work, monetary investment and the 5 years of TIME it took the team to get to this watershed. & if one of these subterfuges doesn't knock over this unwieldy "soda machine," then let's try another, then another in succession...or maybe apply a combination of both active AND passive aggressions, some severe dysfunction layered on top of some inappropriate behavior, toss in just the right amount of abuse and neglect around the perimeters to keep the destruction contained, make sure we pretend this is not going on, don't communicate, identify a scapegoat; then deliver everything together & repeatedly, in a 1-2, left-right series of devastating punches until this beast is subdued for at least 25 years--and that milestone will arrive in the Fall of 2015). I am thinking of a (4 letter, actually 5 in the plural) word to accurately describe the "perps" but this word may be insufficient, as they then lacked the requisite depth and charm for it to totally apply. If you're not ready for the genie, then don't rub the lamp.

"OHO indeed!" -Baltimore City Paper

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Bricolage

OHO

2 disc Prog/folk-rock DVD/CD digipak: "The most striking aspect of BRICOLAGE is the sheer abundance of hook-laden melody, more than can be found on most albums regardless of genre. It's almost unfair to pick highlights, there are so many." -Progression

06/01/08: Progressive folk rock outfit OHO releases their first CD/DVD since 2003's critically acclaimed "UP" CD. "Bricolage" is a 2 disc set: one 20 song 78+ minute music CD (13 brand spanking new songs and 7 bonus tracks, 3 of which have never before been released) accompanied by a 55+ minute DVD (12 videos interspersed with interview footage, a photo gallery, and a "special features" link where one can find the CD lyrics & credits as well as the DVD song lyrics) and all this in an imaginative digi-package (graphics and DVD post production by Bennett Davis) sporting the colorful illustrations of Baltimore-based artist, Connell P. Byrne, a chalk pastel by former OHO vocalist, Grace Hearn, and the photography of Jon Considine.

The DVD anthology documents the performance years of 1988-1992 with video footage of the band's appearance opening for Cheap Trick at the Universal Amphitheater in Hollywood, CA, their Star Search audition video, the band's 1990 WAMA performance, 3 scripted promotional videos (w/upgraded audio), an intimate acoustic performance for the 2nd English Lutheran Day Care pre-schoolers, and 3 live selections from the band's Sky Records CD release party at the 8x10 Club in Baltimore, MD. DVD tracks are as follows:

  1. Breaking Away
  2. Til Death Do Us Part
  3. Scared Money (http://YouTube.com/OHOmusic)
  4. Out of Thin Air
  5. Danger & Play (http://YouTube.com/OHOmusic)
  6. Change in the Wind
  7. Under Covers
  8. Burning Grey
  9. Controlled Substance
  10. Angels
  11. Limousine
  12. The Secret

"Enigmatic Baltimore band OHO is back with this ambitious housecleaning of previously unreleased material from 1989-2005. The CD comprises 20 reworked/embellished tracks in the 3 to 5 minute range--all very melodic and featuring 7 different female singers who never met (!), yet can be heard harmonizing with and accompanying one another via the miracle of recording technology.

"The songs are alternately charming and exuberant, emphasizing acoustic textures bolstered by keyboards, electric guitars, sax, flute, violin, harmonica, mandolin etc. The most striking aspect of BRICOLAGE is the sheer abundance of hook-laden melody, more than can be found on most albums regardless of genre. It's almost unfair to pick highlights (there are so many), but I defy anyone to get 'Angels' out of their head after one listen.

"The 12-track DVD shares only 3 songs with the CD and is a treat, including live and video tracks from 1988-'92 heavily featuring singers Grace Hearn and Mary O'Connor. There's an MTV clip, and the closing rendition of 'The Secret' performed for school kids is precious as can be.

"15 1/2 out of a possible 16 stars."
-John Collinge (Progression)

"Baltimore based OHO doesn't put out a lot of product, but when they do, they do it right. This is hip, jangly folk-pop with a proggy feel; the compositions are superb, succinct and highly melodic, consisting of song-length ideas worked into intriguing arrangements in a number of styles--energized, jubilant and brilliant in many different ways. The vocalists are commanding and powerful; the instrumental arrangements employed are colorful and supportive, featuring violin, sax, horn sections, acoustic, steel and electric guitars, keys, drums and percussion, mandolins, tin whistle, flute, backing harmonies and more. Folky at the core, their sound rocks, clearly borne of modern vintage, fresh and vital, and not retro in any way. The DVD contains 12 songs--videos and live performances of songs, all but 4 culled from previously released discs, though often with different arrangements. In all, BRICOLAGE is a superb entry point and comes highly recommended." -Pete Thelen, editor (Expose #36)

"Bricolage presents a retrospective of work recorded by Baltimore progressive-rock group OHO from 1983 to 2008. It's quite an impressive run. Even though Jay Graboski and David Reeve are the only constants, they're equal members in an amalgam of guitars, percussion, keyboards, saxes, violins, and more, with songs topped off by a revolving cast of forceful female vocalists. There's a lot to appreciate here for fans of the dense, technical, and swirling progressive rock music of bands such as Kansas, Rush, and others that aren't afraid to tackle tough lyrical musings backed by challenging music. Throughout the years, the band's kept a consistent sound and vision, as evident in the 20-track CD and the 12-track DVD. Overall OHO's music stands up to that of the pros of prog rock." -Jeffrey Lindholm (Dirty Linen #141)

Hanne Blank, Baltimore’s Grand Dame of erotica, once wryly commented, “Musicology only discovered feminism in, like 1986.” Coinciding with this discovery, give or take a year, Grace Hearn became the first in a succession of women vocalists who introduced themselves into the OHO musical theater. Feminism concerns itself with the daunting task of restructuring gender arrangements in order to achieve what has proven to be a tentative balance, a teetering on a fulcrum producing a motive that mystic Alan Watts called “the harmony of contained conflict.” This conflict is between the archetypal woman and the archetypal man, forces of the transpersonal psyche felt by us humans to belong to a different level of reality. The drama is as old as time and longer than sorrow but it is acted out by flesh and blood persons in the here and now.

This event heralded the beginning of an era that for OHO was often productive, lasted at least 16 years, crossed over the millennium marker into the 21st century, and at its apex (1989-90) appeared about to bring the band to the seemly threshold of success. OHO experienced their own microcosmic version of this gender reconstruction in the lives of its members, in the band’s live performances, and especially throughout the songwriting and recording processes. Please also keep in mind that, as Marvin Hamlisch said, “there’s a marriage between song and performer.” Even in the world of music we sometimes employ the language of relationship to intimate the vast range of the myriad connections, nuances and subtleties contained therein. Mythologist Joseph Campbell used to tell the story of the ordeal of the “Perilous Bed” in order to illustrate the masculine experience of the feminine temperament. As a male is spinning this yarn, here might be a good place to begin, especially in light of the premise Ms. Blank proffered at the outset of our story. Many never-before-experienced perils visit a knight lying upon a bed chambered in an enchanted castle. His test is merely to hold fast throughout. In the endgame, the knight lay broken and bloodied, thrown to the floor from a bed destroyed by the fierce violence of his ordeal. When things settle, ladies of the castle enter and lean over the candidate, one holding a small feather before his nostrils. If the feather flutters, the knight still breathes. His breathing signals his survival and so his passing of the test, disenchanting the castle and proving him to be worthy as an equal member in an engaging relationship with the female principle, with her boons and blessings. As there can be no relationship with that which is totally “other,” there are fortunately, as Peter Gabriel posits (echoing Jung) in his “Blood of Eden,” “the man in the woman (animus), and the woman in the man (anima).” As challenging as the way of relationship can be in a unisex band, there is also some hope, and the promise of some very rich rewards should the candidate survive the above-described ordeal. Let’s “take a little trip back with father Tiresias,” crossing “between the poles,” where for him “there is no mystery”, and where “there is in fact more earth than sea.” (Tiresias, a blind seer of Thebes who was changed into a woman for several years and then changed back to a man.) In January 1985 the OHO that had molted out of Food for Worms a year earlier had finally disintegrated, leaving only multi-instrumentalist David Reeve and me. I had these ideas to record a “solo” album and to invite as many of the musicians who had played with us in the past to contribute in some fashion. Perusing the credit list for the UP CD I can say that this intention was realized more successfully than then imagined. There were other contributors who are not listed, whose performances never made it to tape, but whose indulgence, suggestions and hunches provided a reliable matrix through which to filter our nascent ideas, thus adding significantly to the final product. They have our gratitude. Ultimately we decided to carry on as OHO, believing that our opportunity to bring into play everything we had learned up to that point had finally come. From here on out OHO would no longer refer to the first initials of the last names of founding members O’Connor, Heck and O’Sullivan except as regards the OHO of 1974-77, the subsequent 1995-97 reunion version of that band, and their attendant body of work. Through attrition the trio had moved on, one by one. The OHO of 1985 would not only be a metaphor for persistence, but the moniker would also function in its dual role as an interjection defined in The Oxford English Dictionary as an “exclamation expressing surprise, taunting, exultation; as in a shout to arouse a sleeper.” Why should we give up the notoriety we had earned from our previous exploits when we could use it as a foundation on which to build our musical future? We might also retain some level of connection to fans we had made thus far, rekindling their interest through name recognition. As drummer David Reeve told Maryland Musician in January 1989, “We’re just not going to let this thing die.” The decision to retain the name, by the way, has proven fortunate for each of the four editions of OHO largely due to their being connected by the lynchpin of an unchanging core membership. We began working at Steve Carr’s Hit & Run Recording in Rockville, MD (where we had recorded 1984’s Rocktronics) experimenting further with drum machines, sampling, synthesizers, and a hybrid electro-acoustic guitarism in search of our new sound. The music was lyrically progressive (moving forward in some way), especially as regards subject matter, our overall attitude of openness, and as far as our scope and the instrumentation we employed. The songs often revealed what astrologist Rob Brezny called Mokita, “the crucial subtexts everyone is aware of but inclined to ignore, the unspoken mysteries that need to be named, and the illusions we can no longer afford to feed.” We tackled making the unconscious conscious through the incestuously erotic imagery of “It Will Not Be Late.” The ladies sing of diversity in “The Secret.” Threads of bliss, joy, hope, liberty and love are stitches holding the collection together. The songs somehow still entertain, even while urging the honing of discriminative faculties in order to say “yes,” the full and grateful response of the human heart to reality, as it is. We were, however, determined to trim some of the excesses typically associated with the progressive genre to make room for our own. We intended to separate the wheat from the chaff, sowing the remaining kernels into a fertile “pop” cultural field. After decades of exposure to commercial radio, we believed certain structures were ingrained in the collective subconscious, and these might draw attention out through the chinks in one’s shock-absorbing emotional armor, rewarding a bold move with a well-crafted tune. Our approach was also principle-based and intended an economy founded on a sober reckoning/stretching of our limitations, where “less is more” except in the rare situations when “less” was merely lacking. Why execute a 10-minute guitar solo, when the same effect can be generated in only 5 bars (especially if one’s “virtuosic” musical vocabulary would likely recycle into redundancy before the first 30 seconds had expired)? If the listener must have these 10 minutes, they can readily be found elsewhere. We were true to our roots, true to our respective natures, and true to our tastes. We should be able to say our piece in 3:30 or thereabouts, in accordance with the time tenet that generally governs radio play and the patterns of the hits of yore. These recordings inevitably reflect the era, its technology, the processes and the context in which they were made as well as the human contributions of all the players. “It was definitely a studio band’s album,” stressed co-producer Steve Carr, “to record Jay’s songs and make them as good as possible on tape. So we did each song, one at a time, and we let each one develop on its own.” We were also doing our own singing, but not to a qualitative level that generated any contagious enthusiasm either inside the band or from without. In earnest we went looking, listening for “the voice.” Grace Hearn sang for a nightclub band, Rock Island, that also featured guitarist Carl Filipiak, who has since earned a modest yet respectable reputation in the jazz/fusion genre with his burning electric guitar riffage and critically acclaimed albums. Our friend Jeff Pivec, a drummer who moonlighted with Grace earning extra cash in various weekend wedding ensembles, encouraged me to check out one of her performances, which I eventually did in the early spring of 1985. I could not believe what I heard. Her voice caressed the words and the notes, and yielding in trusting resignation, they allowed themselves to be carried to their glory or to perdition, or to any destination in between that she willed. I gave her a cassette of “Change in the Wind” and “Ethiopia.” She agreed to listen and at a mutually convenient time we scheduled a session at Steve’s studio. She showed up. Roommate Gina Kuta later told me that Grace had not bothered to listen to the tape I had given her. In fact she told me that Hearn was apprehensive to sing the songs (I guess so). Although I do not normally abide such laziness, this revelation makes her impromptu performances all the more awesome. The usual concerns about musical key signatures or questions about phrasing never came up. She whisked through both songs in just a few takes with minimal overdubs. She was in tune, in time, and had a convincing tone that communicated just how the lyrics are supposed to feel. Steve, David and I just looked at each other in amazement, and we began to conjure ways in which to lure her back into the studio, but as it turned out the music seemed reason enough for her return. Grace later told Chris Schaub from Maryland Musician, “I can really identify with the lyrics Jay writes. I believe in what we’re saying through our music. To me it’s different from any of the other new music around.” Not that everyone enjoyed Grace’s singing, especially as regards her vocal interpretations of certain OHO songs. This was likely due to the vocal gymnastics the team urged her to perform rather than any inherent stridency in her voice. Only partially cognizant of her potential, we asked her to push her envelope, attempting to experience firsthand the full blast of her power. One can hear the level of control and finesse she exhibited even at the very limits of her incredible range. Jane Brody (who sings three of the 19 songs on the OHO UP compilation and who ties with Grace in terms of who I believe has the best voice for our music) once told me that Grace’s voice was “water.” An apt metaphor, I think, what with its connotations of refreshment, clarity, coolness, and ironically even truthfulness, qualities that transform upon application of the requisite stimuli, eliciting a state of intoxication somewhat likened to the glowing effect one experiences when imbibing a vintage wine. (We advise listeners to direct a bit of their attention toward something outside their listening experience in order not to be completely swept away.) Conversely she could also scald you, be murky and scary, tepid, or even freeze you out if these were the interpretations certain songs called for. Marvin Hamlisch also once said, “The bes...
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  16. 16
    0:00/3:30
  17. 17
    0:00/3:37
  18. 18
    0:00/3:54
  19. 19
    0:00/3:49
  20. 20
    0:00/4:20

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