New York home to rock's greatest, the best and the worst of all worlds lie under its roof.

Printed in Eye Magazine May 1968Article written by Lillian Roxon Illustration by Michael Foreman

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The Clear Light
From Lillian Roxon’s article in Eye:

…the sheer pain and loneliness of living seven cramped into two of its small rooms in a strange city welded the Clear Light into the solid group it had never quite been in its airy, carefree, spacious California house.

Cliff de Young says that after the now-infamous night when the Clear Light were fired from the Scene East because the organist told the audience it was cold and unfeeling, each member of the group came back to those two grim rooms at the Albert and wrote, unbeknownst to the others, a song or poem about the coldness of New York. Cliff wrote his, about a city with no eyes, on the fire escape of a hotel that also had no eyes.

If the Albert had been a better place, it might have counteracted something of the trauma of that evening. But it is no place to be when things go wrong. It is another great irony that, apart from the basement, no special concessions have been made to the musicians who have brought it so much life.

Jerry Edmonton
From Great Rock Drummers of the Sixties:

Jerry took the Ludwig set to New York in 1965 to record the Sparrow tracks for Columbia, only to have them stolen from the group’s station wagon in front of the Albert Hotel in Manhattan.

Gary Higgins
From “The Meter; The Legend of Red Hash,” Chicago Reader

Gary Higgins’s first and only LP came out in 1973 -- and by then he was already in prison…..

Red Hash is still Higgins’s only release, and his career as a professional musician was essentially over even before it came out--he was serving time in a maximum-security prison on drug charges. A native of rural Sharon, Connecticut, he formed his first band, Random Concept, in 1963. Three years later the group--which included singer Simeon Coxe, who’d go on to form the legendary Silver Apples--moved to New York City and took up residence at the Hotel Albert, alongside lodgers like Tiny Tim, the Lovin’ Spoonful, and the Blues Magoos. Random Concept got work, but their schedule was grueling--they often played six sets a night--and they were unused to the demands and excesses of the big city. “We were kinda homesick,” says Higgins. “So we decided to go back to our roots and regroup. It probably wasn’t the best business decision, but it’s where all our heads were at.”

Howlin’ Wolf
From Moanin’ at Midnight: The Life and Times of Howlin’ Wolf:

Wolf was walking toward New York City’s hippie hotspot in late 1966, the Cafe’ A-Go-Go [sic], when Jerry Rappaport, sixteen years old, introduced himself. Wolf asked if he was heading into the club to hear him play, and Rappaport said he couldn’t afford a ticket. Wolf told him to follow him in. The teenager spent hours backstage with the Wolf and his band, and they invited him back to the Albert Hotel in Greenwich Village, where they and other bluesmen usually stayed. Rappaport hung out with them whenever they played New York City after that. He also became close to Muddy Waters and his band, but he came to consider himself Wolf’s de facto valet. When Wolf was in town, the teenage would head to the hotel in the morning and get Wolf a bottle of rye. “I saw that man drink rye all day long but I never saw him get drunk,” Rappaport said. They’d listen to one of Wolf’s favorite groups, the Clara Ward Singers, on Wolf’s portable Victrola, and Wolf would play guitar and talk music for hours. “He’d sit there with his nylon stocking on his head and a True cigarette hanging out of his lip and play acoustic blues all day long. One of the first things he asked me to do was to find him a copy of the Robert Johnson record ‘Kind of the Delta Blues Singers.’

...Today Rappaport is a highly regarded record producer. When he won a Grammy Award in 2004 for co-producing Martin Scorsese Presents the Blues: A Musical Journey, one of the first people he thanked in his acceptance speech was the Wolf.

Don Stevenson
From a review in Billboard, 1998:

Later in the chapter, Unterberger writes that Barrett’s U.S. drug abuse counterpart was Moby Grape guitarist Skip Spence. After a gig at New York’s Fillmore East, the author notes, Spence flipped out on LSD, carried a fire ax to the Albert Hotel in search of drummer Don Stevenson (who he thought was possessed by Satan), and was then committed to Bellevue Hospital. Unfortunately, he’s continued to suffer serious mental illnesses.