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Raven - Page 1 of 4

Raven (left to right) - "the late John Weitz" - lead guitar, "the late Tommy Calandra" - bass guitar, Jimmy Calire - piano/organ/vocals, Tony Galla - vocals, harmonica, flute, and Gary Mallaber - drums, percussion. 



It all started with "The late Stan 'the man' Szelest"

Stan Szelest, Ernie Corallo, Andy Rapillo, Eli Konikoff and Al Monti  - Live at El Mocambo, Toronto, Canada, 1986. 

Stan Szelest


This song is actually Stan and the Ravens, featuring Gary Mallaber, "the late Tommy Calandra", Ernie Corallo and Stan Szelest. It was produced by  David Lucas* and Carl LaMacchia for Spectrum Sound Productions.


"The late Stan Szelest" (1943-1991) formed his own band in 1958 in Buffalo, New York called Stan and the Ravens. He later played piano in early 1960 in one of Canada's top bands called, Ronnie Hawkins and the Hawks.  John Till (a later guitarist for The Hawks) commenting on a live performance by The Hawks in 1960 said: "....the one who really stood out was Stan Szelest. He just kept bouncing up and down. He was the most incredible musician to watch even back then. He had this Jerry Lee Lewis, curly, blond long hair. His collar was up and he was kicking the piano at the same time as playing it. It was mesmerizing."


Stan Szelest playing with Ronnie Hawkins in 1984


                                                Ronnie Hawkins                                                   

This was long before the Hawks became Bob Dylan's backup group, the Band (Robbie Robertson, "the late Rick Danko," Levon Helm, Garth Hudson, and "the late Richard Manuel".  When Szelest left the Hawks in 1961 he returned to Western New York and reformed his group, Stan and the Ravens.

Raven (left to right) - Gary Mallaber, Jimmy Calire, John Weitz, Tony Galla, and "the late Tommy Calandra"

"The late Tom Calandra" (bass guitar) and Gary Mallaber (drums) joined Stan and the Ravens after Pete Haskell (bass guitar) and Sandy Konikoff (drums) departed. 

Tony Galla (vocalist, bass guitar, harmonica, flute), John Weitz (lead guitar), and Jim Calire (piano/organ/sax/vocals) were in their own band called, Tony Galla and the Rising Sons. They had a regional hit on Swan Records (#4275) in the mid-60s entitled, In Love.  

After Stan and the Ravens split up in early 1967 Calandra and Mallaber joined Galla, Weitz, and Calire in Tony Galla and The Rising Sons. After only a few gigs together they eventually became the house band at the legendary Harry Altman's Glen Park Casino (Inferno).  

Tony Galla and The Rising Sons later changed their name to Raven in 1968 prior to moving to New York City.


Marty Angelo - discovers "Raven" locally


Marty Angelo

Marty Angelo first heard Raven (Tony Galla and The Rising Sons) in early 1965 when he played piano and organ in his own band, Shakey's Blues Band. They appeared with Raven at the Grandview Ballroom in Angola, New York, a suburb of Buffalo. This was one of the newly re-formed Raven's first gigs together. Angelo was impressed with their talent and surprised they were not more successful.  

Angelo eventually became Raven's personal manager. He knew in order for the group to truly become a successful band, they needed national exposure. He concentrated all of his efforts to get Raven bookings outside of the Buffalo, New York area and signed to a recording contract with a major record company.  Angelo writes more about Raven in his book, Once Life Matters: A New Beginning.


"The late Jimi Hendrix" - discovers "Raven" nationally


"The late Jimi Hendrix"

Rock and Roll legend, "the late Jimi Hendrix" had a hand in Raven's potential national success. Raven manager, Marty Angelo met him in 1967 while trying to arrange a booking for the band at Steve Paul's Scene in New York City. Angelo personally played Hendrix the same "live" ("Live at the Inferno") tape recording he later sent to Beatle, "the late George Harrison."

Hendrix enjoyed the tape so much he persuaded the reluctant club owner, Steve Paul (at one time was "the late Tiny Tim's" and Johnny and Edgar Winter's personal manager) to book Raven into his famed nightspot. Hendrix and his business partner, Eddie Kramer, later expressed an interest in producing Raven for their Electric Ladyland Production Company. Angelo writes more about his experience with Hendrix in his book, Once Life Matters: A New Beginning.


"The late George Harrison" - discovers "Raven" internationally


"The late George Harrison"

Raven was first discovered internationally by then Beatle, "the late George Harrison."  In 1968, Harrison was sent a live tape recording ("Live at the Inferno") of the band by Raven's personal manager, Marty Angelo. Harrison liked the tape and sent a telegram to Angelo expressing his desire to produce Raven for the Beatles newly formed record label, Apple Records. Harrison's interest in Raven is mentioned in a Beatles' tell-all book entitled, The Longest Cocktail Party. Angelo writes more about his experiences with Harrison and Apple Records in his book, Once Life Matters: A New Beginning.


Raven moves to Manhattan

Raven (left to right) - Jim Calire, John Weitz, Tony Galla, Gary Mallaber, and "the late Tom Calandra" - Fillmore East - 6/1969


Raven eventually moved from Buffalo to New York City in 1968 and became the house band at Steve Paul's Scene. They also made appearances in numerous venues throughout the Manhattan area such as:

Bill Graham's Fillmore East, appearing with Procol Harum and The Byrds

Andy Warhol’s and Lou Reed's legendary Electric Circus appearing with the Chambers Brothers and free speech and anti-war activists, Abbie Hoffman and Jerry Rubin. 

Weisglass Stadium appearing with The Rascals, Savoy Brown, and Albert King.

The Singer Bowl Music Festival appearing with The Paul Butterfield Blues Band and Muddy Waters.

Hunter College appearing with Chuck Berry and Terry Reid.

Village Inn - appearing with Spooky Tooth.

Steve Paul's Scene - various appearances.

The Revolution - appearing with Jethro Tull.

Ungano's Nightclub - various appearances.

Woodstock Sound Festival - Woodstock NY.

  *Producer/Songwriter David Lucas - helped Raven in its initial quest to secure a major recording contract.  Lucas produced a recording session at A & R Studios in New York City with the newly formed Raven in 1968. The tape from that session later helped Raven secure a recording contract with Columbia Records. 

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Read Marty Angelo's experiences as manager of Raven in his book:

"Once Life Matters: A New Beginning"

Available Online  - BUY NOW

All proceeds go to offset the cost of printing, shipping, and handling thousands of donated books to prisons/jails, rehabs, and troubled celebrities.

Marty Angelo's book is available online at Amazon.com and in Kindle format


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Marty Angelo Ministries, Inc. is an outreach ministry to prisons/jails, substance abuse recovery programs, and troubled celebrities.

Once Life Matters is a second chance ministry that brings hope to those who are weary from the weight of the world with the love of Jesus Christ.

Once Life Matters Ministries, Inc is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, gifts to which may be deductible as charitable contributions for federal income tax purposes.

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