Saturday, November 22, 2008


UP FRONT News November 20, 2008
Published by Tom Weiss
Editorial Advisor: Willard Whittingham
"The paper that can't be bought and can't be sold."

By Tom Weiss

I first saw Joy Ryder perform when she was the singer for the Davis/Ryder band (with lead guitarist Avis Davis) in the late 1970's at the "Belo Soho" festival in the neighborhood now known as Tribeca, where I lived from 1977 until 1993, beleaguered by Thomas Berger, one of the greediest loftlords since the Book of Genesis.

The Davis/ Ryder band performed at since gentrified out of existence clubs like Garris' on West Broadway. Although Ms. Ryder is an authenfic original it would be unfair not to suggest that anyone who likes Janis Joplin and/or Aretha Frankin and/or Mavis Staples will probably like Joy Ryder. Although Joy tells me that she sings gospel, she is best known as a rock 'n' roll and blues belter.

The Tribeca-based Davis/Ryder Band became somewhat famous in connection with a performance in the 1970's at a huge anti-nuke festival in New York City. Ms. Ryder performed recurrently at Max's Kansas City, the late Manhattan rock club that featured musicians including Lou Reed and Patti Smith, among others.

Some months ago I was very surprised to meet up again with Joy Ryder at The Cup, a popular club in the Stapleton community of Staten Island (where I live) known for its grass roots music, poetry, dance comedy, theatre and political events. I think I probably remembered Joy Ryder from the last millenium better than she recalled me but after a few minutes of conversation about Davis/Ryder, Tribeca, and Garris' we had a rapport. Ms. Ryder, who now lives in Staten Island told me some about more recent years, including a life-threatening medical emergency that she has survived.

I saw her perform again in the waning days of the CBGB gallery, next door to CBGB's, which has since been replaced by a very upscale boutique (Varvatos) catering to the needs of the nouveau hipster generation that populates Lower Manhattan, and which was the target of an anti-gentrification protest some months ago by a group called "Take It to the Bridge" led by the Lower East Side musician/community activist Rebecca Moore.

A few months ago Ms. Ryder was the lead performer at a rock 'n' roll retrospective show at a Manhattan club Otto's Shrunken Head organized by Max's Kansas City producer Peter Courtney.

Last July 20 Ms. Ryder performed several songs at an "UP FRONT News presents" show at the Cup. I managed to arrange for her to be accompanied by guitarist and Staten Island resident Michael Packer, whose Michael Packer Blues Band has performed around the world and some months ago opened for the (Beatles pre-Ringo Starr drummer) Pete Best Band at the Rodeo Bar & Grill in Manhattan. Although they had never performed together, it worked out very well.

Ms. Ryder, who maintains her involvement in the peace movement, performed recently at the Raccoon Lodge, one of the few working class bars to survive the gentrification of Tribeca.

A Joy in Staten Island.

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