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INTERVIEW: Joe Lauro Ready To Present His Hoodoo Loungers’ "Soul Spectacular" At Bay Street

T.J. Clemente

"Soul Spectacular" is being presented as part of Sag Harbor's HarborFrost. (Courtesy Photo)

Joe Lauro, founder of the HooDoo Loungers, was excited to talk to Hamptons.com about their upcoming "Soul Spectacular" at Bay Street on Saturday, February 28 at 8 p.m. Lauro said, "We are known for our electrifying performances. Without bragging, I can truly say our Tribute to Aretha Franklin show was widely hailed as the highlight of the 2019 Sag Harbor American Music Festival."

Lauro is all Long Island. He was raised up-Island, however, he explained, "I married a really wonderful Shelter Island girl and moved to Shelter Island and had a sort of live music barn thing going on for years. We now live in Sag Harbor."

He is no stranger to the Sag Harbor music scene, as he has played his stand-up acoustic bass for the likes of Gene Casey and other one-time bands or special East End events and fundraisers with the HooDoo Loungers.

The musician is very proud of his bass. "I have an inexpensive plywood standup bass I picked up somewhere for rowdy perilous shows. But my pride and joy is the at least 150-year-old Czech bass made of the classic hardwoods. I think it's probably worth $10,000 - $20,000 and plays and sounds like a million dollars. The sound is beautiful."

Lauro modestly said, "On this upcoming special evening, the band will present music digging deep into the roots of 1960s-70s classic Soul Music! It is said that Soul Music was the first to combine the visceral passion of sanctified Gospel with the rhythms and lyrics of Rock N' Roll." He stated, "In the hands of the HooDoo's vocalists Dawnette Darden, Marvin Joshu and Michael Schiano, I am sure everyone will agree!"

The HooDoo Loungers will be presenting the music of Otis Redding, Aretha Franklin, Ray Charles, Jackie Wilson and many others. Joe Lauro also insisted that I give a special mention to the "Great opening band, Mighty Ramon and the Phantoms of Soul." He explained, "They are an exciting six-piece soul band headed by Eamonn Bowles (of Magnolia Pictures). They hail from New York City and Long Island and will be making their soulful Bay Street debut!"

I asked Lauro for a little background color on being a local professional Sag Harbor musician. He quickly talked about playing at one of those traditional, first Sunday in August Barcelona Beach parties. "We are all off the beach in shallow water playing live on a boat," he said. "People are really enjoying our music and the whole scene when a boat approaches with Billy Joel on board. He's really digging our song list and for a while was actually going to come aboard and play with us, but then things just got too crazy. But he really was enjoying our set!"

The HooDoo Loungers consists of Joe Lauro - bass/vocal/leader; Dawnette Darden - vocal; Marvin Joshua - vocal; Michael Schiano - vocal/guitar; Dan Koontz - vocal/keyboards; Bob Hovey - trombone; John Brierly - trumpet; Eric Kay - tenor sax/clarinet; and Doug Dean - drums.

Joe Lauro understands the East End, Bay Street Sag Harbor audience. He has played in the Main Theater many times. He said, "The sound there is great and the audiences' love of music inspires us all on stage." He has convinced me; I just order my two tickets.

Tickets to "Soul Spectacular" are $30. The performance is being presented as part of Sag Harbor's HarborFrost.

Bay Street is located at 1 Bay Street in Sag Harbor. For more information, call 631-725-9500 or visit www.baystreet.org.

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