The Jaggerz now: Paul Martello, Hermie Granati, Chris Patarini, Jimmie Ross, Dennis McAbee and Benny Faiella.
By Scott Mervis / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
The Jaggerz usually have to dig through their old record collections in search of songs to cover, but for the band's latest single, it turned up a gem from a current artist.
The veteran Pittsburgh band recently emerged from the studio with its take on "The Walk," a Mayer Hawthorne song from his 2011 album, "How Do You Do."
Jimmie Ross knew it was a good fit right away.
Where: Release show at Jergel's, Marshall.
When: 7 p.m. Sunday.
Admission: $13 advance, $15 day of show; jergels.com.
"I wasn't real hip to Mayer Hawthorne," he says. "Our drummer, Paul Martello, brought it into rehearsal and when I heard that song, I thought that is the Jaggerz from 1968. We gotta do this song. It sounds like it was written for us."
"The Walk" is a Motown-style song that has the singer telling his cheating woman, "You can walk your long legs, baby, right out of my life."
The Jaggerz made only a few changes, adding a thicker layer of falsetto harmonies and tweaking some lyrics, as in removing the f-word and inserting "jagging me around."
The single will appear on a full-length release due in March that takes the group back to its early roots as a cover band when it formed in the Beaver Falls/Aliquippa area in 1965.
The group's 1969 debut, "Introducing the Jaggerz," on Philadelphia's Gamble label, was a mix of covers and originals that showed off its blue-eyed soul. With the next album, "We Went to Different Schools Together," on Kama Sutra in 1970, the Jaggerz scored a harder rock hit with "The Rapper," featuring the vocals of Donnie Iris.
When The Jaggerz failed to follow that success with 1975's "Come Again," Mr. Ross went off to join the Skyliners for a time (he's now in Pure Gold as well) and Iris moved on to his breakout solo career with "Ah! Leah!"
The Jaggerz, without Iris, reunited in 1989 and got back on record with "And the Band Played On" in 1998 and "Re-Rapped" in 2001. Mr. Ross and Benny Faiello are the two Jaggerz originals -- two members, James Pugliano and Billy Maybray, died during the past decade -- and are joined by Mr. Martello, Herman Granati and Dennis McAbee, with the horn section of Ron Levi, Rich Mansfield and Jim Sheppard.
The forthcoming album, with production by Grammy winner Jay Dudt of Audible Images, has the group revisiting songs from its own catalog, including "That's Why Baby I Love You" (from the first Jaggerz record) and "Together" (from the first Jaggerz CD).
Why update your own songs?
"We get so many emails and requests," Mr. Ross says, "like, 'How come this song isn't on this CD?' So, we're trying to do the best-of and add a couple other tunes, like Billy Vera's 'At This Moment.' We like to give the people what they want."
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