One of the co-founders of Orleans….
From his piano lessons at age 5 to his medal-winning french horn performance at the Ithaca College Music Festival, from his folk days of singing Weavers, Peter Paul and Mary, and Bob Dylan songs, from his obsession with the Ventures, Beach Boys, Beatles and Jimi Hendrix, John Hall learned three things: Play, write, listen.
Now he’s listening to testimony and writing legislation as the Congressman from New York’s 19th District, but John still plays guitar occasionally, and listens to everything from John Scofield to Allison Kraus. John left a projected career in science, dropping out of Notre Dame University and Loyola to play full time in a band in Georgetown. A brief stint on M Street led to an invitation to play in New York at Greenwich Village’s Cafe Wha?.
As John honed his bass and guitar skills as part of the band Kangaroo, James Taylor was gigging around the corner at the Night Owl with the Flying Machine and Jimi was backing up John Hammond at Village Gate as Jimi James and the Blue Flames. Kangaroo alternated sets for a time with a band called the Castilles, whose lead singer was Bruce Springsteen.
During this time, he wrote and directed the music for the Broadway show “Morning, Noon and Night,” and 1969’s Obie-winning “Honest to God Schnozzola.” From the Broadway score came a guitar lick that was the underpinning for “Half Moon” recorded by Janis Joplin on “Pearl.” John later penned songs for Bonnie Raitt, Linda Ronstadt, Ricky Skaggs, Steve Wariner and many more. After moving to Woodstock, John worked as a studio guitarist for Seals and Crofts, John Simon, and Jackie Lomax, and toured with Taj Mahal, recording the double album “The Real Thing” at both Fillmores.
In early 1972, John’s local jam band in Woodstock turned into Orleans when first Wells Kelly and then Larry Hoppen joined the ensemble. Later that year, Lance Hoppen joined on bass, freeing Larry to play guitar and keyboard. Orleans recorded four albums in the seventies, scoring radio hits with ‘Still The One’ and ‘Dance With Me’ (both certified over four million airplays in the US).
John left Orleans in 1978 and made two solo records, “John Hall” and “Power”. The latter featured the anti-nuclear anthem which later became the theme of the No Nukes concerts, recorded by the Doobie Brothers with James Taylor. Then followed two John Hall Band albums, and the AOR and MTV hit “Crazy (Keep On Falling)”. After Wells Kelly’s death in 1984, John reunited with Larry and Lance Hoppen and they were recruited by Tony Brown of MCA Nashville to record there. The result was 1986’s “Grownup Children.” Since then John has alternated between recording and touring with Orleans, and doing solo projects including “Recovered,” “On A Distant Star,” and “Love Doesn’t Ask.”
Along the way, environmental and political concerns have kept John moving in and out of direct community involvement. He was elected to the Ulster County Legislature in 1989 and served one term in 1990 and ’91. In the late 1990’s, he was elected twice as trustee of the Saugerties NY Board of Education, where his fellow trustees elected him president. He also served as a volunteer member of the Hudson River Sloop Clearwater’s board of directors.
The latest CD, “Rock Me On The Water,” memorializes in song a sailing trip from Kingston NY to Havana Cuba (on a humanitarian mission delivering medical and musical supplies), then north to Martha’s Vineyard and Cuttyhunk, then south again to Annapolis MD. It includes four songs that are written by John with his wife, Attorney and former Tennessee Assistant State Attorney General Pamela Melanie Hall, who was first mate on most of the trip.
There is also a tune co-written with Steve Wariner and sung as a duet, a previously unreleased reggae song by Jules Shear, and more.
This studio band features John and Pamela playing stratocasters together. Peter O’Brien on drums, Joakim Lartey on percussion, and bassist Bobby MacDougall round out the quintet. Additional background vocals are added by Marian Thompson, Bert Carey and Bing Bingham.
Picture and words from the official website.
Reclaiming My Time
Sunset BLVD Records 2021
Tracks: I Think of You, Alone Too Long, Mystic Blue, Lessons, Islamorada, Somebody, Another Sunset, Now More Than Ever, Save the Monarch with Dar Williams, All Up and Down from Here, World on Fire, Future Ex-wife & Welcome Home.
Musicians on the Reclaiming My Time album: John Hall and others.
All Of The Above/Searchparty
EMI Records 2009
Tracks: You Sure Fooled Me, Crazy (Keep On Falling), Can't Stand To See You Go, Star In Your Sky, Somebody's Calling, What You Do To Me, Earth Out Tonight, The Touch, Don´t Hurt Me, Clouds, Love Me Again, Open Up The Door, Don´t Treat Your Woman Like That, Security, Ipso Facto, Little Miss Maybe, Woman Of The Water, On Hold, I'm The One & Original Sin..
Musicians on the All Of The Above/Searchparty album: John Hall, Bob Leinbach, John Folsom Troy, Eric Parker and others.
Rock Me On Water
Siren Songs 2005
Tracks: Rock Me On The Water, Banks Of The Hudson, Gulf Stream Night, Cuttyhunk, Another Sunset, Seven Mile Bridge, Islamorada, I Need A Break (From My Vacation), Channel Pilot, I Think Of You & Every Place.
Musicians on the Rock Me On The Water album: John Hall and others.
Love Doesn´t Ask
Siren Songs 1999
Tracks: Love Doesn´t Ask, Usurper, Only Got Today, Calcutta, Home, Circle, Don´t Go There, I´ll Do My Days, Litany, , Moving Target, Can´t Take It With You, Quiet Place & October Child.
Musicians on the Love Doesn´t Ask album: John Hall and others.
Dreamsville Records 1999
Tracks: Good Enough, Dance With Me, Give One Heart, Miss Grace, Half Moon, You Can Dream Of Me, Two-Faced World, Sails, Still The One, Power, New Star Shining & Walk With You.
Musicians on the Recovered album: John Hall and others.
Siren Songs 1998
Tracks: Good Enough, Dance With Me, Give One Heart, Miss Grace, Half Moon, You Can Dream Of Me, Two-Faced World, Sails, Power, Still The One & New Star Shining.
Musicians on the Recovered album: John Hall and others.
On A Distant Star
Tracks: It's My World, Plastic Money, Children's Cry, Lessons, Be Wild, Christa, New Age Baby, We Will Not Forget, Four Bombs A Day, Welcome Home, Who Gave You The Right, Winds Of Change & Blue Square (Instrumental).
Musicians on the On A Distant Star album: Jonh Hall, Robbie Dupree, Ann Lang, Peter O´Brian, Rob Leon, Jonell Mosser and others.
EMI Records 1983
Tracks: Love Me Again, Open Up The Door, Don´t Treat Your Woman Like That, Security, Ipso Facto, Little Miss Maybe, Woman Of The Water, On Hold, I'm The One, Original Sin & Nobody Knows (Bonus Track).
Musicians on the Search Party album: John Hall, Bob Leinbach, John Folsom Troy, Eric Parker and others.
All Of The Above
EMI Records 1989
Tracks: You Sure Fooled Me, Crazy (Keep On Falling), Can't Stand To See You Go, Star In Your Sky, Somebody's Calling, What You Do To Me, Earth Out Tonight, The Touch, Don´t Hurt Me & Clouds.
Musicians on the All Of The Above album: John Hall and others.
CBS Records 1979
Tracks are: Home At Last, Power, Heartbreaker, So, Run Away With Me, Firefly Lover, Arms/Half Moon & Cocain Drain.
Musicians on the Power album: John Hall and others.
Asylum Records 1978
Tracks: Night, Break Of Day, Messin' Round With The Wrong Woman, Trust Yourself, Give Me The Right, The Fault, Good Enough & Voyagers.
Musicians on the John Hall album: John Hall and others.
Columbia Records 1973
Tracks: Nu Toone, Look In My Eyes, Where Would I Be, Milwaukee, True Love, Sitting On Top Of The World, Action, Sing A Blues Song, Park Lane Blues, Scuffle & Going To The Valley.
Musicians on the Action album: John Hall, Paul Harris, John Sebastian, Richard Green, Jim Colgrove, Elliot Zigmund, Harvey Brocks, Welles Kelly & Sharon Alexander.