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Mark Sebastian

Bleecker Street CD

compact disc | $12.98

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At an age when many young kids would be more concerned with how to score the phone number of that cute girl in Geometry class, Mark Sebastian wrote a song that shot straight to #1 on the national pop charts. Mark’s big brother, John Sebastian, was the frontman for the Lovin’ Spoonful, already permanent residents of the U.S. Top Ten with a series of 1965–66 smashes that included “Do You Believe in Magic,” “You Didn’t Have to Be So Nice” and “Daydream.” After he played his sparkling new song, “Summer in the City,” for his older brother, Mark’s life would never be the same.

The tune became the only hit by the Lovin’ Spoonful to breathe the rarified air at the top of the U.S. charts in the summer of ’66. Bleecker Street, a wonderful compilation of Mark Sebastian’s best songs, also serves as a detailed roadmap to a body of work that included musical collaborations with Brian Wilson, Van Dyke Parks and Earth, Wind & Fire, as well as a performing history that’s seen him share stages with the likes of Laura Nyro, the Beach Boys, Eric Burdon and Doors guitarist Robbie Krieger. In a still vibrant musical career that began with the precocious singer/songwriter being championed by legendary Columbia Records talent maestro John Hammond, Sebastian still restlessly roams from coast to coast—from the gritty streets of New York City to the foam-flecked beaches of Southern California.

Mark Sebastian is still writing and recording great songs—playing a lot of pick-up basketball along the way—and he’s always on the lookout for that one perfect wave. - Jud Cost

1. Stage One
2. The Great Mistake
3. From Windows in the Village
4. It's an Outlaw World
5. I Have Not Forgotten
6. In Harm's Way
7. Sammy's Dead
8. Moonlight Sonata
9. Was It Me?
10. Firefight
11. Don't Tread on Me
12. Deal With the Devil
13. The Calm Before the Storm

Mark Sebastian
The Living Room
New York, NY
January 16, 2012

"In his first hometown performance since the '90s, Mark Sebastian tapped into years' worth of material to showcase his astute and ripened writing abilities, featuring a concoction of blues, folk, dark pop and even a hint of jazz.

Joined onstage by the most seasoned of pros, Tim Luntzel (bass) and Tony Mason (drums), the trio navigated through selections from Sebastian's first full-length release, Bleecker Street, including "The Great Mistake," a sweet ballad with a sour side, and "Stage One" and "It's An Outlaw World," a pair of darkened tunes referencing guns, crime and corruption, but with an irresistible catchiness. Interspersed with Jim Jackson's "Wild About My Lovin'" and the poppier "T-Bird-55," the night contained plenty of dark/light contrast, illuminating the many sides of Sebastian's versatile musicianship as he handled both guitar duties and vocals in expert style.

The show culminated with a cover of the Lovin' Spoonful's "Summer in the City," a song whose origins lay in a school poem that Sebastian wrote and brought to his big brother, John; subsequently, it became the Spoonful's sole Number One hit in 1966. Sebastian treated the audience to an auditory glimpse of what the song had sounded like pre-Spoonful, before launching into a rocking and rolling version made even grittier and richer by the venue's intimacy and the precise picking between Sebastian and Luntzel, rendering it a fitting "welcome home" for one of New York's native sons."

óAllison Johnelle Boron
Elmore Magazine

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