The Jaggerz

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The Jaggerz
Also known as The Jaggers
Jimmie Ross and the Jaggerz
Origin Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Genres R&B, pop, rock
Years active 1964–1977
1989–present
Labels Gamble Records (1968-1969)
Kama Sutra Records (1969-1973)
Wooden Nickel Records (1975-1976)
Associated acts The Tri-Vels/Donnie and the Donnells
Gary and the Jewel Tones
Wild Cherry
Donnie Iris and the Cruisers
The Skyliners
Cooper & Ross
Website http://www.jaggerz.com/
Members Jimmie Ross
Benny Faiella
Hermie Granati
Paul Martello
Chris Patarini
Dennis McAbee
Past members Dominic Ierace
Bill Maybray (deceased)
Thom Davies
Jim Pugliano (deceased)
Larry Lorey

The Jaggerz are an American R&B/pop/rock band from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. They came to national attention with their single "The Rapper" which was released on the Kama Sutra label. "The Rapper" was #1 in the Record World Charts and #2 in the Billboard Hot 100 chart in March 1970.[1] Having sold over one million copies with the gold record was awarded by the R.I.A.A..[2]

The band's name derives from the Pittsburgh English slang term, "jagger bush," meaning a thorny bush.[3] They were managed by The Skyliners manager, Joe Rock.

History[edit]

Early years and debut album (1964–1969)[edit]

While attending college at Slippery Rock State College, Donnie Iris (birth name Dominic Ierace) started a band called the Tri-Vels. The band became known as Donnie and the Donnells when the line up increased from three members to four. Shortly after dropping out of college, Iris found out that a band called Gary and the Jewel Tones needed a new guitarist, where Jimmie Ross was a member. This gave birth to a new band called the "Jaggers." Forming around 1964, they began playing night clubs and the like for the next few years, gathering a respectable fallowing in the region.

In 1968, the Jaggerz signed with Gamble Records. The legendary Philadelphia soul music team of Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff produced their debut album recording it in Philadelphia. While in the early stages of recording the album, Jimmie Ross saw a magazine advertisement featuring another band called "The Jaggers." In order to avoid confusion, manager Joe Rock suggested that the "s" in "Jaggers" be changed to a "z." In 1969, their debut album, Introducing the Jaggerz, was released. It is a blue-eyed soul album featuring the Jaggerz original song (That's Way) Baby I Love You, the Ken Gamble tune "Together". and "Gotta Find My Way Back Home", written by Melvin & Mervin Steals who later wrote "Could It Be I'm Falling in Love" for the Spinners.[4] Achieving most of its airplay in the group's native western Pennsylvania it was a moderate success.[5]

Second album and success with "The Rapper" (1970–1973)[edit]

In 1970, the Jaggerz left Gamble and signed with Neil Bogart's Kama Sutra Records. There, they recorded their second album, We Went to Different Schools Together. The album was released in 1970.

One of the singles from We Went to Different Schools Together became the group's first chart-topping hit. "The Rapper", written by Donnie Iris, was released to the Pittsburgh market in December 1969. It quickly rose on the KQV Top 40 singles chart reaching #1 on the week of January 5, 1970. It was #1 on KQV for four straight weeks during January 1970.[6] Released nationally "The Rapper" reached No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 on March 21, 1970. It was on the Billboard Hot 100 chart for 13 weeks.[7] It was certified gold by the RIAA. Two additional tracks from the album reached the Billboard Hot 100: “I Call My Baby Candy” peaked at #75 and “What A Bummer” climbed to #88. The album went to #62 on the Billboard Top 200 chart.[8] The album’s classic R&B tune "Memoirs of a Traveler" written by the Benny Faiella and Donny Iris was sampled by Wiz Khalifa, The Game, Slum Village and seven other hip hop artists.[9]

The Jaggerz continued to release singles through Kama Sutra until 1973, when they moved to the RCA subsidiary Wooden Nickel Records.

In 1973 the Jaggerz performed on the novelty album "Through The Ages" that was released on Wooden Nickel Records. They backed up DJ Wolfman Jack on ten songs including "The Rapper".[10] The Jaggerz also produced and appeared on recordings with Bobby Rydell and James Darren.

Third album, new lineup and disbandment (1974–1977)[edit]

Singers Bill Maybray and Jimmie Ross left the Jaggerz. Ross was recruited by the Jaggerz manager Joe Rock to join the [Skyliners]. Keyboard player and singer Frank Czuri and songwriter/keyboard player Hermie Granati joined the band for the album Come Again that was released by [Wooden Nickel Records] in 1975. The single "2 + 2 / Don't It Make You Wanna Dance" was also released in 1975 but did not reach the charts. The Jaggerz were dropped from Wooden Nickel in 1976.

Sometime after being dropped from Wooden Nickel, the Jaggerz' original band members began leaving. By late 1977, Benny Faiella was the only original members left. He was joined by Gene and Robert Vallecorsa (lead guitar and keyboards, respectively), Sam Ippolito (lead vocals), and Mark Zeppuhar (saxophone). Even though they were now only playing at nightclubs, Faiella believed that the lineup was the strongest it had been in twelve years and that they would return to the charts. However, this proved false, and the Jaggerz finally broke up around 1977.[11]

Separate projects (1978–1988)[edit]

After the Jaggerz began to break apart, members of the group went their own ways.

Dominic Ierace, the band's guitarist and vocalist, joined Wild Cherry. By 1976, they had been together for six years and had just recently rose to prominence with "Play That Funky Music." There, he met keyboardist Mark Avsec. Ierace (continuing to use his "Donnie Iris" nickname more and more) was on hand for Wild Cherry's third and fourth albums (I Love My Music and Only the Wild Survive, respectively). But Wild Cherry's fate seemed to be similar to the Jaggerz', and they broke up in 1979. Iris then went solo with the help of Avsec, first with the non-album singles "Bring on the Eighties" and "Because of You." These singles proved little influence, and Avsec and Iris decided to put a band together. The lineup consisted of Iris, Avsec, Marty Lee Hoenes, Albritton McClain, and Kevin Valentine. The new band, called Donnie Iris and the Cruisers, released their first album in 1980, Back on the Streets. The album's first single, "Ah! Leah!", began a series of successful albums and singles. Donnie Iris landed 10 singles in the Billboard top 100 lists. He released ten albums with the Cruisers, five of which made it to the Billboard top 200 list. Donnie Iris and the Cruisers are still together to this day.

Jimmie Ross joined the Skyliners in 1975 after two of the original members left. Joe Rock, who managed both the Jaggerz and Skyliners advised Jimmie to leave the Jaggerz. Jimmie sang with the Skyliners original members Jimmy Beaumont and Janet Vogel. The Skyliners appeared at 1950s revival shows around the country. In 1977 Ross recorded with the Skyliners on their Tortoise International Records album release titled “The Skyliner”s. Singer Cathy Cooper joined the Skyliners after the death of Janet Vogel in 1980. Ross sang with the Skyliners through 1980. In 1982 Cathy Cooper and Jimmie Ross left the Skyliners to form the singing duo Cooper and Ross. They signed with Sweet City Records / MCA and released the album "Bottom Line". Cooper and Ross became a fixture in the Atlantic City Casinos with a 36 week appearance at the Trump Plaza and extended engagements at Harrah's. They worked together for five years.[5]

Frank Czuri became the lead singer for the CBS recording act the Silencers who appeared on the first ever broadcast of MTV. In 1980 the Silencers single "Shiver and Shake" reached number 81 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. Hermie Granati formed the Granati Brothers, recorded the 1979 album G-Force on A&M Records, and opened 78 shows for Van Halen during the early 1980s. Drummer James Pugilano toured and recorded with Leon Russell, Roger Miller, J.J. Cale, Willie Nelson, and Mel Tillis.

Regrouping and Modern years (1989)[edit]

The original members (sans Donnie Iris) reunited in 1989 to perform live. The reunited band included the original members Jim Pugliano, Benny Faiella, and Bill Maybray along with organist Fred Dulu, sax player Robbie Klein and vocalist Donnie Marsico. Their first appearance was at a 25-year reunion concert on June 23, 1989 at the Beaver County College Golden Dome. The band with differ line-ups has played 20 to 25 shows a year since then.

And the Band Played on (1998)[edit]

The Jaggerz released their fifth album "And the Band Played On" in 1998. The All Music Guide calls it"Heartfelt soul music". Performing on this release were Jimmie Ross, Eugene "Benny" Faiella, Jim "Pugs" Pugliano, Dennis McAbee, and Jamie Peck. Hermie Granati Granati rejoined the band writing the orchestrations, performing on keyboards and vocals, and co-producing the album with Jimmie Ross.

Re-Rapped by Request (2001)[edit]

The Jaggerz released their sixth album "Re-Rapped By Request" in 2001. It features a mix of the most requested songs that they have performed over their career including "Dancin' in the Streets", "Some Kind of Wonderful", "The Love I Never Had" and a live version of the "Rapper" recorded at the A.J. Palumbo Center.

Memoirs of the Traveler Becames Hip Hop Classic[edit]

The haunting melody of "Memoirs of the Traveler" from the Jaggerz' album We Went to Different Schools Together has been frequently sampled by ten Hip Hop Artists. In 2008, rap artist The Game released a track "Letter to the King", produced by Hi-Tek, from his album, LAX that sampled the song. Other hip hop musicians who have sampled the song on their releases including "Rollin' Up" by Curren$y and Wiz Khalifa (2009), "1,2" by Slum Village (2005) Dilated Peoples in the 1990s and, more recently, Pede B (Denmark).

Membership changes[edit]

Original lead vocalist and bass player Bill Maybray died on December 5, 2004 at the age of 60. He wrote and sang the group's debut single, "That's Why Baby I Love You". The original drummer, Jim Pugliano, died on June 15, 2010, at the age of 63.[12]

Original members Jimmie Ross and Benny Faiella continue performing the soulful sounds of the Jaggerz. The current roster of the Jaggerz also includes vocalist and keyboardist Hermie Granati, guitarist Dennis McAbee, saxophonist Chris Patarini, and drummer Paul Martello.

The Walk (2014)[edit]

In 2014, The Jaggerz returned to the blue-eyed soul music roots to release the album "The Walk". Led by singer Jimmie Ross the Jaggerz brought their uplifting five part harmonies to their heartfelt arrangements of eight R&B classics and two updated recordings from their 1969 "Introducing the Jaggerz" album: the Gamble & Huff tune "Together " and The Jaggerz original "That's Why Baby I Love You". In the funky break up song "The Walk" Jimmie Ross sings to his fine looking long legged but black hearted cheating woman who has been jagging him around, "So long you did me wrong… You can walk your long legs, baby, right out of my life." Jimmie's passionate soulful voice and the Jaggerz moving harmonies shine on the love ballads "Love Won't Let Me Wait", "The Whole Town's Laughing at Me". and "That's Why Baby I Love You". Donna Groom of the Skyliners guest stars on a duet with Jimmie on the medley arrangement of " It's Gonna Take a Miracle/ I'm On The Outside". The band shows their skillful chops jamming on the uptempo "Move Across the River", "Stagger Lee", and "Having a Party" with great solos from renown piano man Hermie Granati, saxophonist Chris Patarin and guitarists Benny Faiella, Dennis McAbee. Five time Grammy winning producer/engineer Jay Dudt of Audile Images crafted a rich warm full sound for co-producers Hermie Granati and Jimmie Ross's arrangements.[13]

Members[edit]

Current members[edit]

  • Jimmie Ross - lead vocals, bass (1965–1976; 1989–present)
  • Benny Faiella - guitar (1965–1977; 1989–present)
  • Hermie Granati - keyboards, vocals, arrangements (1975-1976, 1998 - 2003, present)
  • Dennis McAbee - guitar
  • Paul Martello - drums, vocals
  • Chris Patarini - Saxophone

Former members[edit]

  • Dominic Ierace - guitar, lead vocals (1965–1976)
  • Bill Maybray - bass, vocals (1965–1973)
  • Thom Davies - piano (1965–1973)
  • Jim Pugliano - drums (1965–1976; 1989–1998)
  • Frank Czuri - keyboards (1973–1976)
  • Sam Ippolito - lead vocals (1976–1977)
  • Gene Vallecorsa - guitar (1976–1977)
  • Robert Vallecorsa - keyboards (1976–1977)
  • Mark Zeppuhar - Saxophone (1976-1977)
  • Ron Levi - trumpet
  • Rich Mansfield - sax
  • Mike Caporizzo - sax

Discography[edit]

Albums[edit]

Singles[edit]

  • 1968 - "(That’s Why) Baby I Love You" / "Bring It Back" (Gamble G-218)
  • 1968 - "Gotta Find My Way Back Home" / "Forever Together, Together Forever" (Gamble 226)
  • 1969 - "Together" / "Let Me Be the One" (Gamble 238)
  • 1970 - "Higher And Higher" / "Ain't No Sun" (Gamble 4008)
  • 1970 - "Need Your Love" / "Here's a Heart" (Gamble 4012)
  • 1970 - "The Rapper" / "Born Poor" (Kama Sutra 502) US No. 2
  • 1970 - "I Call My Baby Candy" / "Will She Believe Me?" (Kama Sutra 509) US No. 75
  • 1970 - "What a Bummer" / "Memories Of The Traveler" (Kama Sutra 513) US No. 88
  • 1971 - "Let's Talk About Love" / "I'll Never Forget You" (Kama Sutra 517)
  • 1975 - "2 + 2" / "Don't It Make You Wanna Dance" (Wooden Nickel PB/WB-10194)
  • 2014 - "The Walk"

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Gary James' Interview With Jimmie Ross of The Jaggerz in Classicbands.com"
  2. ^ Murrells, Joseph (1978). The Book of Golden Discs (2nd ed.). London: Barrie and Jenkins Ltd. p. 262. ISBN 0-214-20512-6. 
  3. ^ Buell, Thadeus. "jagger bush". Urban Dictionary. Retrieved 2014-08-02. 
  4. ^ Andrew Hamilton. "Introducing the Jaggerz - The Jaggerz | Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved 2014-08-02. 
  5. ^ a b "Jimmie Ross - Pittsburgh Music History". Sites.google.com. Retrieved 2014-08-02. 
  6. ^ Jeff Roteman (1970-01-30). "KQV Top 40 January 23 - 30, 1970". User.pa.net. Retrieved 2014-08-02. 
  7. ^ "The Hot 100 : Mar 21, 1970 | Billboard Chart Archive". Billboard.com. 1970-03-21. Retrieved 2014-08-02. 
  8. ^ Jason Ankeny. "The Jaggerz | Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved 2014-08-02. 
  9. ^ "Slum Village's 1,2 sample of The Jaggerz's Memoirs of the Traveler". WhoSampled. Retrieved 2014-08-02. 
  10. ^ "Wolfman Jack - Through The Ages (Vinyl, LP) at Discogs". Discogs.com. Retrieved 2014-08-02. 
  11. ^ [1][dead link]
  12. ^ "The Dead Rock Stars Club January to June 2010". Thedeadrockstarsclub.com. Retrieved 2014-08-02. 
  13. ^ "Gamble & Huff Veterans -The Jaggerz-Return With Blue Eyed Soul Classics". Mi2N.com. Retrieved 2014-08-02. 

External links[edit]