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June 18, 2010

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Charisma – Charisma (1969)

Artist: Charisma
Title: Charisma
Year: 1969
Format: LP
Label: Roulette

Charisma came about from diverging roots emanating from 3 directions. The core of Charisma was Rich Tortorigi (drummer) and George Tyrell (bass player). Both were members of a New Britain, Connecticut soul band called The Mantiques. The Mantiques had been one of the three main horn-based bands in New Britain in the mid to late 60’s, along with Detroit Soul and The Paramounts. Paramounts drummer, Tyrone Lampkin went on to play with Gutbucket and the Parliament Funkadelics.

In 1968, Rich Tortorigi recruited Tom Majesky to play guitar with The Mantiques, following their breakup. Tom enlisted Bernie Kornowicz, former bassist of The Last Five, to share guitar and organ duties. The final addition to the group was folk singer Mike DeLisa to sing lead. Tom and Bernie brought the rock and roll element to the Mantiques and Mike brought the band an element of folkiness.

It was in 1969 that The Mantiques signed with Roulette Records as a convenient tax write off to record an album. The album was produced by Ed Vallone and most of the songs were penned by Bruce McGaw. During the recording of the album, the band fought over a new name with their new management. Finally given an ultimatum, The Mantiques became Charisma, a name they hated. The album was recorded at Incredible Sound Studios in NYC. Charisma attempted to take control of the writing and production, but were put in their place and ordered to record the songs as scripted. Being the obstinate egocentrists that they were, they turned the recording sessions into a parody of the original intent.

Following the recording of What’s It Like, the very first song on the album, (which, was in fact recorded at Vanguard Studios), there was a shakeup. George Tyrell quit the band, Bernie Kornowicz became the bass guitarist, Tom Majesky became the lead guitarist, and a new organist was recruited: Bob Mocarsky. The album was eventually completed. In the meantime, Tom, Bob and lyricist/art director Suzi Langlois began writing songs for a second album. (Prairie Prince Minsky)

Track Listing

  1. What’s It Like
  2. A Truth Emerged
  3. Happy Song
  4. Where Do We Go From Here?/Yesterday’s Folks
  5. Marianne
  6. Miss Willoughby
  7. Death Of Me
  8. Bang Bang
  9. If You’re Waitin’ For A Miracle
  10. Suzanne Gives
  11. Take Me Away
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1 Comment Post a comment
  1. Peter Mork
    Mar 8 2011

    Overcooked, preachy rock ‘n’ soul that tells it like it is without an ounce of humor or originality. Maybe they had good hair, hence the charisma part.

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