The Band of 1000 Names
with Ralph Litwin & Lew Gelfond
Ralph Litwin; banjo, guitar, vocals
Andy Goessling: reeds, mandolin
Lew Gelfond: fiddle, mandolin, tenor banjo
David Grego: tuba, bass fiddle
Henry Nerenberg: keyboard, trombone, guitar
Andy active between 1995 – 1998
From Ralph Litwin:
The Band With a Thousand Names was a song title and concept Michael Krugman and I came up with after a hilarious lunchtime discussion at The Mayflower Chinese Restaurant in Morristown with Harold Seils and Lew about what possible name we could come up with that would cover all the different styles of music we liked to perform. Lew and I had booked lots of dates with varying personnel under a hodgepodge of different names and we thought we could do better marketing and publicity if we had one name. We briefly considered The _________ Chameleons with the blank being filled in with the style of the day. Then we just started thinking up all kinds of crazy names. Afterwards, Michael and I came back to my house and wrote the song.
Andy’s facility on multiple instruments and love for the same kinds of music that we all love made him a natural fit.
Andy was always making clever plays on words. After we had finished recording my original, “Eating the Mystery” which was based on Depak Chopra’s explanation of quantum physics (track 2 on Ralph Litwin and The Band with A Thousand Names) Andy said he thought it was about school cafeteria “mystery meat.” I was so tickled by that, I put it in the liner notes.
His musicianship was unquestionable. The last track on that same disc was Harmonica Rag. We recorded almost the entire album in my living room on a two track digital tape machine. The night we planned to record Harmonica Rag, there was severe flooding in Long Valley so Lew and Andy couldn’t make it to the session. We went ahead and recorded the tune leaving one time through for Andy on mando and Lew on fiddle to trade solos back and forth. I had met a guy who had a fantastic new studio in a big house down a long driveway off of Hardscrabble Rd. and he volunteered to handle the engineering to edit in their parts. We met there and the boys started laying down their solos, but it wasn’t working out for some mysterious reason. After 3 or 4 attempts, Andy said, “Let me count this out.” He did, and said that my rhythm guitar had dropped a beat (or maybe it was half a beat) right where they were supposed to come in and the rest of the band had followed me. Well, the next time through they hit those solos exactly right and tore it up good!
From Lew Gelfond:
Andy played and recorded with The Band with a Thousand Names. Ralph Litwin on banjo, Lew Gelfond on fiddle, Dave Grego on tuba, Henry Nerenberg on trombone & guitar, and Mike Esposito on dobro.
I did about 75 gigs with Andy for the Warren County Cultural and Heritage commission. We’d do all kinds of care facilities in Warren County and could whip up a pretty nice show. Lots of lunches at the Phillipsburg Dinner too. We did this for years when Andy had down time from Railroad Earth in the winter. We’d also get together when I was in Long Valley at Sam and Laurie Akin’s front porch. We’d exchange cool new tunes. That’s where Andy showed me Josephine’s Waltz and we liked the waltz Far Away. When Andy would play at the Orange Peel in Asheville we’d get together and visit the used/vintage instrument shops. He’d take me to the high end places like Dream Guitars and I’d take him to the off beat places like the Guitar Mama where he’d always find something cool like a Klezmer Clarinet or some electric foot pedal. There was lots of eye candy and we’d just hang and go from place to place and maybe catch lunch. Very relaxed times
I gave Andy a ride to Grey Fox Bluegrass festival some summers back and he had something going on with his right arm. Some muscle thing. I’m not one to hesitate to fix something if I can. I saw a physical therapy sign in a little town in NY state we were driving through. So we stopped and knocked on the door. A fellow in blue medical garb talked to us and said he can only work medically with a referral. We had a need and no referral. Well he said let me take a look. After about an hour and a half of bodywork we were on the road and Andy felt a lot better. We offered to pay. He said no problem he can’t accept payment. On to the festival with smiles on our faces.