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Harold Orenstein was my friend, mentor, and music attorney. He represented just about everyone at one time or another, which is a topic we will touch on in future stories. He had a weekend house on a lake in Dutchess County and would take the train Friday afternoons from his office, which was right across from The Russian Tea Room (which is another story) in Manhattan, to upstate N.Y. where he had his car parked in someone’s one-car garage. The car was an Oldsmobile Delta 88 station wagon with fake wood sides and glass ceilings that came from a dealer in Harlem. When I eventually asked him “You bought this in Harlem?” he said “No, it was given to me” (it happened to be given to him by a great soul singer named Jackie Wilson for all the nice work Harold had done for him…this is yet another story). So, I dubbed that car as “The Jackie Wilson Mobile.”

If I wasn’t at Harold’s house recording demos (my studio was there), he would call my house and say “I’ve got minnows and shiners, let’s catch some bass.” So, I would head over to his place and have a drink with him and catch some bass. Here, he would give me the denial letters I had received from record labels or publishers (see PDF file below). Then, he’d uncork some incredible story of music history he was involved with (which we will broach in future episodes). For starters, he would tell me interesting tidbits like the true meaning of the term “rock and roll.” He said “rock” means “fuck” and would talk about how he saw the development of rock and roll with what he claimed was the very first rock song titled “Oh Don’t You Roll Those Bloodshot Eyes At Me” by Big Momma Thorton. Or how Richy Blackmore called him and said “I hate attorneys”, to which Harold shot back “Fuck you, I hate a guitarist pretending to be a manager.”

It was always quite the experience, and there are plenty more of those stories for another time.