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His Name is Rambeau - Page Two

Ed Rambeau

Contiuned from previous page

An interesting postscript to Eddie Rambeau’s two Shindig appearances: "After my second appearance on Shindig, the producer approached me and asked me if I'd consider being a regular on the show along with Bobby Sherman and Glen Campbell. I, of course, said Yes and was extremely excited because of the exposure it would offer me; however, within weeks, the show was pulled from the air forever. Such is the luck of Rambeau," Ed observes good-naturedly. A couple more singles for DynoVoice followed, including a fun and high-spirited version of "Good Morning, Starshine." The 45 was released under the name Eddie Hazelton, as a nod to Ed’s hometown. (A year later, Ed’s lead vocal was replaced with that of one of the newer artists on Bob Crewe’s roster, and the newly refurbished "Good Morning, Starshine," as recorded by William "Oliver" Swofford, sailed up the charts.) "Starshine" was Eddie’s final release for DynoVoice; the label’s distributor, Amy, Mala, Bell, became plain Bell Records, and Bob Crewe went on to found Crewe Records. Eddie remained with the newly christened label and continued to record singles, such as a remake of Neil Diamond’s "Solitary Man" and a medley of "Who Will Buy/Where Is Love," from the stage play and movie Oliver. By this time, Ed’s love for musical theatre had become obvious, given the material he was recording. "Good Morning, Starshine," for example, was one of several hit songs spawned by the then-new Broadway musical, Hair, and Eddie had been one of the first recording artists to jump on that particular bandwagon. Completely by coincidence, just a few years later, Ed would appear on Broadway in that very play. By this time it was the early 70’s, and Ed’s focus had shifted from singing to acting. Appearing on stage in musicals was a way for Eddie to do both.

As with all of the cast members of Hair, Eddie had to become familiar with not just one part, but all of them. He explains: "The entire cast had to be interchangeable, so we all had to learn all the parts, and the stage manager each night would dictate who [was] playing who on that particular night." Ed worked with director Tom O’Horgan, who, as he puts it, was "a freaky man. He used to make us bend over and let spit drop out of our mouths onto the stage as an acting exercise. How that can make you a better actor is beyond me." By this time, Hair had been enjoying a run of several years, and its writers, James Rado and the late Gerome Ragni, weren’t as involved as cast members as they had been in the beginning. "Ragni did fill in one or two nights when the lead got ill," Ed comments. "He was a terror on stage. If you got in his way he'd kill you because he moved fast and was a powerhouse." Among the "tribe" members with whom Ed worked in Hair was a talented young woman named Nell Carter.

After Hair, Ed was cast in another Broadway musical, Jesus Christ Superstar. In both plays, Ed had to sing and dance as well as act, and barefoot besides. Also, in the latter musical, he was heard even when he wasn’t seen; during a few of the numbers, Ed was among the singers who provided vocals by way of a backstage microphone, to enhance the singing done onstage. Ed explains, "The good singers were in a pit backstage with a TV monitor on the conductor [who] would conduct us via the monitor. We actually sang the entire score and everyone else onstage was singing also but couldn't really be heard because they weren't miked, except for the lead, of course."

In addition to his Broadway credits, Ed the actor also appeared on the tube. He was in an episode of the television serial The Secret Storm – "a one-day shoot only" – and came thisclose to starring in his own TV series: "I was being considered for a TV pilot called September Jones, a sitcom about a young singer. But they never even produced the pilot. So much for that."

Ed Rambeau

 

Ed was now an established actor as well as singer and songwriter, and he was about to add another credit to his resume – namely, production. It was the mid-1970s, and dance music, aka disco, was the latest rage from radio to TV to movies. Ed discovered a group whose sound he liked so much that he brought them to Tom Cat Records, which was distributed by RCA, and got them signed to the label as The Front Runners. The group’s debut single was a disco rework of the Toni Fisher classic, "The Big Hurt," coupled with a Rambeau original, "Lullaby Brazil." The record label was dissolved shortly thereafter, and Ed went on to write and produce for other artists and resume his acting career. He was actually up for the lead role in the movie Eddie and The Cruisers, but "the producers felt I might be too good looking for the part of Eddie. Go figure."

It’s not very often when an actor’s good looks are actually a detriment to getting a job, but then Ed Rambeau is in a league all his own, and ordinary rules don’t seem to apply to him. We are, after all, talking about a man whose big dreams came to fruition despite his small-town upbringing. It helps to remember that during Ed’s growing-up years, the only forms of entertainment were radio, television (still in its relative infancy), the movies, records, and live theatre and concerts – there was no Internet, no digital music, no CDs, no home video, no YouTube. An aspiring talent could not make a demo or a video and get it circulated around the world without leaving the comfort of his home; if he wanted to make it in show business, he had to hit the pavement. Musicians like Ed, back in the 50’s and 60’s and 70’s, could not just "phone in" their performances – getting even just a foot in the door often meant moving to a new city hundreds or thousands of miles from the only home they’d ever known. It meant giving up a lot, including the proximity of friends and family, without any guarantees of success. In short, they had to really want to do it and not just because it was "easy," because it wasn’t. Ed was determined to become a legitimate singer and songwriter, and he did. For him, it entailed leaving his childhood home and moving hundreds of miles away, and he did. His enormous talent may have spoken for itself, but Ed was the person who had to go out and find people willing to listen to it. And he did.

In his forties and fifties, and with the golden era of rock and roll now just a memory, Ed shifted his focus to other genres of music – or, rather, he expanded his repertoire to include a diversity of styles, from Sinatra to Broadway to the Brill Building. He also expanded his talents to include skills outside the show-business realm. Ed began painting, mainly as a hobby at first but he soon discovered that he was quite good at it, as did other people who showed interest in obtaining his works of art. In addition, Ed developed (no pun intended) an interest in photography; his interest took a quantum leap when digital cameras came into the picture (pun intended), making photography much more accessible and affordable. In the early 1990’s, Ed put together a recording studio in his Manhattan apartment, which over the years has grown to include the newest technology as it has become available. The original equipment was analog, and Ed’s recordings were mainly on tape. Once digital was made available for private use, Ed updated his studio correspondingly and now records exclusively on CD and MP3.

Also during the 90s, Ed began performing live, although he wasn’t touring on the oldies circuit – he was booked mainly on cruises, singing tunes from the 1940s to the present day, and one appealing fringe benefit was the opportunity to travel around the world. Photos on Ed’s website show him mugging for the camera in Italy, enjoying the scenery in France, and posing near a hotel swimming pool in Egypt. "I've been to Europe, Asia, Africa, India, Mexico, many, many places in the Caribbean, Hawaii, almost everywhere except Australia. One of my biggest thrills was when a taxi driver in Singapore began to sing ‘Concrete and Clay.’" Ed’s live shows are a joy to watch, and to hear as well -  thankfully, Ed has audio recordings for posterity, which are available on CD via his website. An online video of Ed singing a slow, sultry version of the Lou Rawls hit "You"ll Never Find Another Love Like Mine" during an appearance on a Carnival Cruise shows clearly why he has been referred to as a male Judy Garland. Ed is one of those rare artists who sing words - not just notes - and who punctuates every phrase with spontaneous and heartfelt gestures.  Ed is a singer's singer who wears his musical emotions not just on his sleeve, but on his face, in his voice, and all over his body.  He personifies the word "performer."

Ed Rambeau

Ed Rambeau

Ed Rambeau

Ed Rambeau

Ed Rambeau

Ed Rambeau

The new millennium arrived and along with it came a new direction for Ed’s career – he jumped on the Internet wagon. It was the holiday season of 2002, and by now that wagon had picked up so much speed so quickly that it was more of a runaway locomotive; the timing couldn’t have been better. It was a chance meeting between Ed and his webmaster-to-be, Rosemarie Edwards, which got the whole thing started. Rosemarie is a big fan of the music of the Sixties, but surprisingly this isn’t how she and Ed became acquainted. Rosemarie: "Apart from 60's music one of my other hobbies is card making and I was looking for some photographs of flowers to use on my cards when I came across Ed's Webshots page. I sent him a few e-mails asking if I could use them for my card making [and] of course being such a kind gentleman Ed agreed at once." Rosemarie was in for a bit of a surprise as she continued to peruse Ed’s photo albums. "Whilst browsing through his site, I came across a folder with a few CD covers in them so I asked him about them and then ordered The Best of The Past from him. It was just before Christmas 2002 and Ed sent me the CD and [also] the Christmas one, The Season of the Heart. … When I heard them I was blown away and e-mailed him at once to ask if he would like a web site (I had never really done any web sites before - so I am not sure why I did). Ed and I worked on the site together and it was launched on 12th December 2002." Just like Elvis Presley’s legendary partnership with Colonel Tom Parker, Ed’s affiliation with Rosemarie was the realization of a mutual destiny. They are friends more than business partners, and Rosemarie has since gone on to represent several other artists with her professionally designed websites.

 
 

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