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The Vagrants were a Long Islandmarker-based rock and blue-eyed soul group from the 1960s. The group was composed of Peter Sabatino on vocals, harmonica, and tambourine, Leslie West on vocals and guitar, Larry West on vocals and bass guitar, Jerry Storch on organ, and Roger Mansour on drums.

Rise to Stardom

By 1965, the group had developed a professional press kit and had gained the interest of the semi-professional Southern Sound record label and soon released a single: Oh Those Eyes b/w You're Too Young. Though the single wasn't very popular, it did gain the attention of directors Vince Scarza and Douglas Hickox, who were directing a Beach Party film called "Disk-o-Tek Holiday," which featured various music artists performing songs throughout the film. The clip that featured The Vagrants performing "Oh Those Eyes" is now considered a classic piece of mid-sixties history. However, The Vagrants weren't that thrilled with just one single and an unpopular sequence in a Beach Party film, and were soon signed to the "folkie" label Vanguard. It was then when the group released their first minor hit: I Can't Make a Friend, which is frequently found on garage band compilations and is one of their most recognizable early efforts. Still unhappy, though, was Felix Pappalardi, a record producer that would later work with Cream, The Youngbloods, and Joan Baez. Pappalardi worked hard to sign the group to Atco Records, a sublabel of the famous Atlantic Recording Corporation. In the Eastern United Statesmarker, a cover of Otis Redding's "Respect" became a smash hit. However, a few months later, Aretha Franklin's "Respect" was more of a success, therefore hurting the sales of The Vagrants' version. It wasn't long after the group released "Respect," however that guitarist Leslie West decided to reach further heights by forming his own group, Mountain with Felix Pappalardi. The formation of Mountain was extremely beneficial to West, though; he had many hits with the group: Mississippi Queen, For Yasgur's Farm, Nantucket Sleighride, Dreams of Milk and Honey, and Never In My Life among others. Though The Vagrants existed for such a short time, their impact on Long Islandmarker rockers is amazingly vibrant. A compilation of all of the group's singles (excepting both sides of the "Oh Those Eyes" 45) was released on a full-length record titled The Great Lost Album in 1986, upon which both Leslie and Larry West are credited by their birth names, Leslie and Larry Weinstein.

The New Vagrants

In the 1990s, singer Peter Sabatino decided to reform the group with new members to create The "New" Vagrants. The new lineup featured Tony Pinisi on organ, Eli Brown on bass guitar, Tom SanFilippo on guitar, and Joe Forgione (formerly of The Soul Survivors) on drums. The group has played many gigs throughout Long Island, especially at the OK Club and the Odyssey Club in Amityville, New Yorkmarker. The group started to record a new album called "21st Century Vagrants" in 2002 at Electric Randyland Studios in Manhassett. According to The New Vagrants' website, "the full length CD will contain remakes of many old Vagrants classics, some never before recorded tracks as well as some special guest appearances!" However, there is no new information on the album, because drummer Joe Forgione died of a heart attack in 2003. New information will be found on their website.

Sources

1. The Vagrants Web Page

2. Wikipedia's Article on Felix Pappalardi

3. Disk-O-Tek Holiday Page on BadMoviePlanet.com

External links




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