Holy Moses, it’s Billy Batson!

September 17th, 2009

Posted by Weston Blelock

Billy Batson at his Beckwith upright piano. Photo by Taylor Herron.

Billy Batson at his Beckwith upright piano. Photo by Taylor Herron.

Billy Batson, a rough hewn and as authentic a musician as you’re likely to encounter, arrived in 1965 Woodstock by way of California and Greenwich Village. For a time he gigged around town as a solo act. In the late sixites he played a set at The Elephant. Sitting down afterwards with his customary bottle of Jack Daniels at the ready, he watched Holy Moses play. The band, consisting of Ted Speleos on lead guitar, David Vittek on rhythm guitar, Marty David on bass/tenor sax and Christopher Parker on drums, played with panache. Billy felt they had real gas. Apparently the attraction was mutual. The others were reportedly blown away by watching Billy in action.

 They decided to team up. The group at that point was living in a tent on Pan Copeland’s farm—where the Sound-Outs were staged. Billy invited his newfound brothers to join him at his home on lower Ohayo Mountain Road. Batson’s namesake in the Captain Marvel comics always used to say, “Holy Moley.” So Billy felt destiny was calling when a band showed up known as Holy Moses. Billy had a bunch of songs that needed recording, so the band set about mastering them in dates around town. Buzz grew and soon Albert Grossman came calling. The band had a verbal agreement with Albert and The Band’s Rick Danko was penciled in to produce it, but Michael Jeffery (Jimi Hendrix’s manager) caught them in action at the Joyous Lake and the band decided to work with him instead. Read the rest of this entry »