Tommy Conwell and the Young Rumblers reunite Nov 6, 2010
10/27/2010 8:48:00 PM
If you saw him before he got his record deal, you knew he was destined for greatness. As they say, the cream always rises to the top. And that’s what happened after years of selling out local venues like the Cabarets and JC Dobbs, and a self-released album that was on the airwaves in Philly constantly, Tommy Conwell was noticed by Columbia Records and signed to a major record deal.
This was 1986, long before American Idol, when bands used to have to put in some heavy-duty time and energy building their following in their own town in order to get some attention. As a member of that music community, we all felt like we helped champion his cause, and it was gratifying to see our guy get his reward.
His most famous song was “I’m not your man” but there are so many other favorites. “Love’s on Fire,” “Do you still believe in me,” “Walkin’ on the Water,” and “Tonight’s the Night,” “I’m Home” to name a few.
The record came out in 1988, produced by Rick Chertoff of the Hooters’ fame. We gloated as we saw Tommy on the David Letterman show, and during a performance of the American Music Awards, when he ran down the aisle past people like Whitney Houston. This was our guy, he was good, and we were proud!
Advance forward a few decades. Tommy’s still around and so are his band mates – so why not get together and play again? Tommy Conwell and the Young Rumblers will take the stage at one of their old foot-stompin’ grounds – the Chestnut Cabaret. Only now, it’s the Blockley – still at 38th & Chestnut Streets. Yep – all the guys will be there: Tommy Conwell, Chris Day, Rob Miller, Jim Hannum, and Paul Slivka.
Chris Perella, a native of Delaware, has been in charge of booking the Blockley ever since it reopened its doors about a year ago. He is hoping to re-invent the glory days of its predecessor. 700 people can fit in the venue, and they have a full food menu and bar. Tickets are $20 in advance and they are expecting a sell-out.
Doors open at 7:30 pm with the show beginning about 9. And guess what? Another favorite local band from the eighties is reuniting and opening the show – The Chasers. They released an album in 1989 and haven’t been on a stage together in nearly 18 years.
This is sure to be another great night of memories, seeing people you haven’t seen in a long time, and experiencing some of that rock ‘n roll we all remember well. I’ll see you there!
Pictures: Tommy Conwell & Cyndy Drue by Scott Weiner, Poster of band from the 80’s, front and back of Columbia Records album, group shot: Record Release party at the Chestnut Cabaret in 1988 - Front row: (l-r) Jack Quigley, Pierre Robert, Larry Richman, Tommy Conwell, Ted Utz (holding the album), Donna Bailey, Cyndy DrueStanding: (l-r) Erin Riley, Chris Day, Jim Hannum, Ray Koob, Dallyn Pavey, Buzz Barkley, Paul Slivka, Rob Miller