Steve Popovich 2: Steve as Recording Artist

Wednesday, 15 June 2011 08:00 PM Written by 

If you're wondering about Steve Popovich's own musical career, before he hit the loading dock at Columbia, here's an example of him on records with his rock band Savoys from the late 50s. My longtime friend Rob Santos, VP of A&R at Legacy Recordings, provided the link. Disclosure: Rob and I have worked on reissue projects for both BMG (RCA) and Legacy for years and still collaborate. Rob is both a first rate music historian and collector who knew Steve well, having spoken to him just a week before he died.

So what of the Savoys, also known as "Poppy" (Steve's nickname) and the Savoys? As Rob explains, "Steve told me he did the vocal and played bass. The guitar player on the track was an older hillbilly guy who was an amazing guitar player they used for this single. (Steve) called it the first Rap Record!" 

The Savoys worked out of Cleveland, Popovich's adopted hometown, and played around his old haunts in Western Pa. encompassing Fayette and Greene counties on both sides of the Mon including Steve's Greene County birthplace of Nemacolin.  The single was originally released on the California-based P.D.Q. label, then re-released on the NRM label in 1966. 

So...what was the NRM label? Well, anyone who's resided here long enough, and is over age 40 remembers that acronym: National Record Mart. Once this region's premiere record store chain, NRM branches were everywhere from the 50's to the 90's, in neighborhoods and suburban malls throughout the region with the main store at Market Square downtown.

I'd say it's a pretty good little record.  The flipside is another tune known in Cleveland circles: "Slappin' Rods and Leaky Oil."

And thanks, Rob, for the contribution.



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