My experience with Huffamosse was fleeting, dramatic and exciting. It began one night in early 1993 when I saw them perform in a club in Philly. I was absolutely blown away! Of course, they were the Craig Elins Band at that point. The extraordinary name of Huffamoose came about a month later. And to this day, no one knows what the name really means - not even the band, I think. But if you know these guys then the name fits to a T.
I went up to Craig after the first set, sitting at the bar. He knew who I was because I was somewhat well known in Philly for being the manager and producer of what was then the number one band in town, Peter’s Cathedral. I asked Craig if I could be their manager and he immediately said yes. Within days we were in the studio. We recorded 6 songs LIVE including “James.” It was almost 6 and a half minutes long but it was the best thing I’d ever heard. So I called Mike Morrison, then program director at WXPN and asked him if he would have a problem playing a song that was that long. He said that if it was really good, no problem. I delivered the tape to him and he played it right away. Long story short, it became the most requested song in the history of the station. Still holds that record, as far as I know.
We immediately had to scramble to make an album while the fans went nuts and wanted to buy the music. Lines formed at concerts. Second shows were added each night. It was mahem. Huffamoose was a hit and we didn’t even have a record to sell. We recorded the debut album in a matter of a week and went to NYC to mix it and then started manufacturing. By then the song “James” was constantly on the radio. Needless to say we sold a ton of CDs and the band got even bigger.
What you’ll find on the "Live & Rare" CD are tracks that were recorded during that time of madness and instant fame. Some are from those first recording sessions before the album. Some are from additional studio sessions and some were recorded live for radio broadcasts. One in particular was recorded at The Tin Angel in Philly when the band opened for the amazing John Martyn from Scotland. I asked the band to learn a couple of his songs in case they wound up backing him for a song or two. John loved the band and when they joined forces it was stellar. The band went on to join him on tour as his opening act and his backup band. Fortuitous!
America responded well to the album and the band went on a 58 city tour in 1994 with the support of stations like WXPN. But if you’ve seen the documentary film “Here Comes Huffamoose” then you know what happened and why we went our separate ways. It wasn’t pretty. But today we are friends again and I take great pride now, as I always have, in my association with them. I saw them recently at their reunion and needless to say, they were just as cool as ever. I have always loved their music and I hope you enjoy this collection of tracks that survived the madness.
- Dean Sciarra 2016