Review by Denise Borden
Video by Joel Patterson
On Christine Ohlman’s latest album, The Deep End, she teamed up with Rock & Roll Hall of Famer Dion DiMucci to record a version of “Cry Baby Cry,” a song originally recorded by Van & Titus back in 1968.
When Ohlman and her band Rebel Montez made their Caffe Lena debut in Saratoga Springs in April, George Brantley (aka Van of Van & Titus) drove up from Knoxville, Tennessee to meet Christine and hear her perform his song for the first time. It was a great night at the sold-out Caffe. During that evening, Brantley was also introduced to artist Joseph Simone – a former friend of Lena Spencer and former resident of Saratoga Springs – who currently lives in Virginia Beach. Joseph was so taken by Brantley and his story that he offered to do an original oil painting of him, and he did so from a photograph taken of Brantley standing in front of Caffe Lena…
Fast forward to Wednesday, August 28, the evening of Christine Ohlman & Rebel Montez’s Lake George Arts Project concert in Lake George’s Shepard Park… Ohlman graciously offered to have Simone present the newly finished portrait of George Brantley to during her show. Caffe Lena’s Sarah Craig and Stanley McGaughey were on hand to introduce Brantley and Simone for the presentation.
Following the presentation, Ohlman and her band invited Brantley to join them in singing “Cry Baby Cry” – his first time doing so in more than 30 years.
Now Brantley has returned to his home in Knoxville. Simone has gone back to Virginia Beach home/studio. Christine Ohlman & Rebel Montez are back out on the road. But what remains is the wonderful warmth and spirit of love created when artists come together out of respect and admiration for a common celebration of a man and his song… George Brantley.