The Baltimore Sounds Book
is back in print for a limited run!
See the Ordering page to get your copy!
Joe wants to thank everyone who supported the book.
This website will continue as a tribute to the many talented local musicians of the Baltimore and Central Maryland area.
We plan to continue to post any relevent items to the "News" page, and continue to add information and images to the "Book Updates" page.
If you have anything you would like to add - please contact Joe at email@example.com
Here's a sample page from the book:
Here are a few local reviews of the first book:
Vern Ruppert - 2002
Attention musicians, fans, and lovers of Baltimore's entertainment history: After many years of research and in depth study the encyclopedia of local pop musicians, bands & recordings is here! This is the definitive book about Baltimore bands & musical entertainment! If you lived in Baltimore or visited during the years 1950-2000 and enjoyed the local entertainment, this is the book for you!!
Baltimore Business Journal - May 28, 2004
"...the most comprehensive book ever written about Baltimore's music scene..."
Susie Mudd - Music Monthly - June 2004
"...it would take me pages to tell you everything I like about this book, the most important thing is that it was born out of a love for our music (I share that love) and includes so many bands and artists. Congratulations and thank you Joe Vaccarino for caring enough to put out such a wonderful book... This is a must have for every music fan in Baltimore."
Brennan Jensen - City Paper - June 30, 2004
"...To call this decades-spanning documentation of Mobtown musicianship - from the ensembles of A New Day to Zzzap - a "labor of love" is an understatement. For Baltimoreans of a certain age, the tome presents nothing less than a sonic life story: Here are the bands from your wallflower days at local teen-center mixers, your senior prom slow dances, your boogie nights at the local singles lounge, to the celebratory waltz of your wedding reception. From cookie-cutter cover bands to up-and-coming musical pioneers, they're all here."
John Lewis - Baltimore magazine, September 2004
"Anyone interested in the local music scene will enjoy paging through (Baltimore Sounds)... Extensively researched, the book chronicles a vast array of groups, from chart-toping pop acts to bands that barely made it out of the garage. Best of all, Vaccarino uses vintage ads, old business cards, record labels, snapshots, and publicity photos to illustrate the book, and these images show the players in all their grooving, twanging, rocking, and head-banging glory. The photos taken at local high-school gigs are particularly cool. If you were too young to catch the Playmates (formerly the Cruisinaires) at Woodlawn Sr. High School in the early 1970s, here's a chance to get a peak at those shows. And if you were there, you'll be thrilled that someone cared enough to assemble this book."
Style magazine - December 2004
"Where are they now?... An illustrated encyclopedia of Baltimore area pop musicians, bands & recordings from the likes of Gary and the GTO's, Calvert Hall's The Nomads, Paper Cup, Crack the Sky, and Great Train Robbery. Hey, you might even be able to dig up dirt on your brother's old disco band."
Rambling Rose - Baltimore Afro-American - April 2005
"...illustrating the history of bands and individual musicians from Baltimore and the surrounding area, from teenage amateurs to professional hitmakers; from 1950s rhythm and blues vocal harmony groups to 1970s headbangers; and rock, soul, jazz and country. The book includes biographies and discographies with more than 2,000 images of bands, musicians, vintage advertisements and photos of hundreds of popular and rare records..."
Jim Hughes - 2004
"Way to go, Joe V! Fantastic! This is the book we've needed for years! All your research, hard work and investigation has paid off. Now, every musician and fan will be able to see their old friends, favorite bands and what took place in the golden era of rock and roll history. The flavor of the period is captured by the various ads for clubs, teen centers, and favorite hangout restaurants throughout the book. The section on radio stations, personalities and DJ's is a particularly nice touch. We can't relive the past, but through this book we can certainly celebrate the glorious past of the entertainment scene in our area. As for myself, I consider it fortunate to have been a part of it all. As I was reading the advance copy, I couldn't put it down! You, Dear Readers, are in for a real treat. Joe, thanks from all of us, past and present musicians included. Rock and roll never dies!"
And a few words about the second edition:
Rafael Alvarez, author, "Orlo and Leini" - October 2011
"Joe Vaccarino has done Baltimore a service as valuable as the one Harry Smith provided America's burgeoning folkie movement with his fabled anthology. This is history you can use and it's Crabtown through and through..."
Dwight Weems (lead vocalist of Gazze) - June 2015
"Thanks for all you are doing to highlight the Baltimore music scene. I think you will agree that we went thru the best of musical times! Continued success!"
J.J. Gunning (trombone with The Heat & the Cold Sweat Horns, Expensive Hobby, Crack the Sky...) - July 2015
"Whoa... gotta hand it to you, Joe... even this small exercise [recalling my groups] was a rack-my-brain-until-it-hurts chore. Hats off to you for all the work you've done!"
It all started way back when...
Even as a teenager Joe saved memorabilia (band cards, photos, etc) from bands that he knew, or bands that his groups appeared with on multiple
billed events. Joe's own groups barely got out of the basement, while the ones he worked for as a road manager (Sage and Bandit) worked
extensively at clubs, teen centers, proms, frat parties, pool parties, concerts, etc. An older brother of an early childhood friend was a drummer for
the Horde and later Cherry Smash. As a pre-teen brat Joe enjoyed peering in the window of their basement practice room and listening to the bands.
He took an interest in the bass guitar and was a member of several neighborhood bands. Joe went to many teen center dances and was intrigued by
local groups such as Seed, The Boat, Penny Candy, etc. He rarely missed any of his high school dances that featured groups such as Grand Jury, Majestics,
Wizard, Flagstaff, Pine Street Station, Ellicott Brothers, Grapes of Wrath, Jupiter & the Jets... Around 1974 he befriended the local band Sage and
became a road manager. Working the circuit during the mid-'70s Joe remembers multiple bills with groups such as Appaloosa, Royal 5+1, Joshua,
Wintersunn, OHO... He also attended many parties and concerts with friends in local southern rock band Dragonfly... Working with his brother
Mark in the '80s, they booked many great groups to play at the Back of the Vac: bands such as Nightshift, Gary Brown & the Doubts, the Boucher
Brothers, Richard Taylor & the Ravers, the Danny Lough Band, Wally & the Weirdos, Vinnie D, Daryl Beard... the list goes on...
Some friends at the Arbutus Record Show (read about the monthly show on our NEWS page!) began publishing a magazine as a tribute to '60s era local
bands titled "Charmed Times." Joe was eager to contribute, but his knowledge at the time was more '70s oriented. When the magazine folded, Joe
continued to search for information about local groups and any records that they released. Eventually the Baltimore Sounds book was created.
Joe chose the moniker "pop" music as it encompasses most mainstream musical styles including rock, R&B, soul, country...