WPKN Archives: Radio B&B-Buskin & Batteau

Show details: Radio B&B-Buskin & Batteau

 Buskin & Batteau began in earnest when folk legend Tom Rush, in a truly titanic misjudgment, invited David Buskin and Robin Batteau to be his backup band -- with David on piano, guitar and vocals --Robin on vocals, violin, guitar and mandolin -- and the Mighty Mighty Marshal Rosenberg on percussion. Chaos reigned. Hotel rules were tightened across America. And then suddenly, without warning, B&B went out on their own. Why, Tom, why?

They'd made records: two solo records for David on Epic ("David Buskin" and "He Used to Treat Her"), three duo and group records for Robin on Columbia ("Appaloosa," "Compton & Batteau in California," and "Batteaux"), and two records as key members of the band Pierce Arrow for Columbia. But once B&B got going, things started to snowball:

  • Cool reviews and features in Time, People and Musician Magazine -- the Times, the News, and the Post in New York -- the Post and the Times in Washington -- and the Globe, the Herald, and the Phoenix in Boston
  • Concerts from Carnegie Hall to McCabe's Guitar Shop in Santa Monica -- with stops along the way at Passim in Cambridge, the Tin Angel in Philadelphia, the Bottom Line in New York, the Birchmere in D.C. and headlining the Newport Folk Festival!
  • Playing live on radio for legendary folk DJs Pete Fornatale, Dick Pleasants, John Platt, Gene Shay and Dick Cerri
  • Jingles: Clio-winners "Heartbeat of America" for Chevrolet from Robin -- "We're NBC, Just Watch Us Now" for David
  • Emmy and Grammy-winning charity records and books and TV shows with Marlo Thomas and Chris Cerf and friends ("Free to Be a Family" and "Thanks and Giving")
  • Co-writing most of Judy Collins' "Fires of Eden" record with Judy
  • An Oscar nomination for "On Tip-Toe," the documentary short film about Ladysmith Black Mambazo whose centerpiece was Robin's "Stupid Song" (actual title--really)
  • Songs recorded by Anne Murray, Oak Ridge Boys (both gold records), Bette Midler, Astrud Gilberto, Peter, Paul & Mary, Johnny Mathis and Melanie. Aretha Franklin, Mel Torme, Take 6, Richie Havens, Elton John, Whitney Houston, Paula Abdul sang their "short songs."
  • Robin co-produced Christine Lavin's "Beau Woes" record and tried valiantly but vainly to save the world by co-writing (with Congressman Bob Carr) and lobbying for a World Hunger bill. He has on occasion jammed with Bruce Springsteen, YoYo Ma, Bonnie Raitt, Benny Goodman and James Taylor (not all at once).
  • David has written a new musical with jingle great Jake Holmes and coached middle-school girls' basketball.

And through it all they found time to make three B&B records for their own label, Single Wing Records, presaging today's rush of indie artist-owned labels. Record #4, Red Shoes and Golden Hearts, was just recently released on the Nouveau Retro Media label. Okay, okay, "CD" #4. So shoot us. Not y


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