The Wonderbeans

The Wonderbeans were a New York City based old-timey string band who played in the mid to late 1970's in the New York area. They recorded one album for Flying Crow records (FC101), currently out of print (see WONDERBEANS CD release below). The members were Kate (Lamb) Giampetruzzi, Louis Giampetruzzi, Jim Garber, Art Friedman and Ann Weiss. Kate and Lou have also released a solo CD on Blue Wind Music called "KATE AND LOU, MISSISSIPPI RIPPLE". (Click on KATE and LOU below for more info)



The Wonderbeans is a result of one of those serendipitous moments where the right people are at the right place at the right time to make the right music. Within a month of their introduction to each other, the Wonderbeans were a full-blown playing band. Their music is, in every sence of the phrase, good old American old-time music: spirited dance tunes, ballads and songs, every related genre performed with warmth and feeling. Their versatality and interaction, coupled with a genial manner, were instrumental in winning audience acceptance wherever they played.

FROM THE WONDERBEANS LP NOTES BY: Don Kent, Frank Mare and Jim Garber


Blue Wind Music has released "The Wonderbeans" on CD. Most of the recordings were made in 1978 for the LP. Many tapes of that vintage are in need of special processing to correct defects that certain manufacturer tapes developed over time. Poor storage conditions can also cause problems over time. The master tapes of The Wonderbeans sessions were no exception and needed to go through a baking process, "yes that's baking in a convection oven" to be saved. Thanks to Carl Seltzer for guiding us through that process and to the bakers at Quad Studios NYC.


In addition to 14 cuts from the original "out of print" 1978 LP we found included five additional tunes recorded at the 1978 sessions. We also found two out-takes from the 1980 KATE AND LOU, MISSISSIPPI RIPPLE sessions which were also included on the WONDERBEANS CD, and yes, some newer tunes from WONDERBNEANS members. Two original tunes by KATE AND LOU, a original mandolin piece by Jim Garber and some tunes from Art Friedman, one with an accordion player and one with a California band "Harmon's Peak".


Wonderbeans graphic design by Jim Garber
PaperClip Design - (914-243-0388)


The sound clip below of The WONDERBEANS is taken from the pre-mastering CD after the original master tapes were baked and the tunes were transfered onto a CD.

Georgia Railroad

WONDERBEANS, Beansprouts Review

Sing Out! The Folk Song Magazine - Issue: Fall, 2001

THE WONDERBEANS Beansprouts Bluewind 101

Back in the late 1970s and into the '80s, a number of clubs in New York City featured Bluegrass and Old-Time music as a regular part of their bill of fare. The Good Coffeehouse, the Eagle Tavern, and the Town Crier as well as street fairs and festivals offered the finest local and national names in traditional string band music. The Wonderbeans were a part of that vibrant scene and Beansprouts features recordings made in New York City in 1978 and 1981 along with a few recent selections to update us on the members of the band.
The Wonderbeans featured Lou Giampetruzzi on vocals, guitar and mandolin, his wife Kate on vocals, guitar and bass, Jim Garber on mandolin, bass, fiddle and vocals, Art Friedman on fiddle and banjo and Ann Weiss on the fiddle.
The beauty of Beansprouts is not the instrumental and vocal virtuosity of the band but rather in the heartfelt interaction between good friends playing music they dearly love. Keep in mind this is not hell-bent-for-leather North Carolina old-time music we're dealing with here. Beansprouts is more like a laid back excursion on the Circle Line tour of fiddle and song from the Southland to the Great Northeast. Just a glance at the selections on this generous 26 track CD indicates the variety of music the Wonderbeans featured.
Traditional old-time fiddle tunes like "Jaybird," "West Fork Gals" and "Shoo Fly" reside comfortably beside the more Celtic-inspired "St. Anne's Reel," "Gaspe Reel" and "Morpeth Rant." All these tunes are tied together with vocal selections, some well known as "Your Long Journey" and "Curtains of Night," and more obscure as "Gypsy's Warning" and "Georgia Railroad." The Wonderbeans are to be commended for not trying to sound "southern" in their vocal nuances. They seem to understand that a good song is just that no matter where its geographical roots may lie.
To bring the circle round the listener is given a glimpse of the more recent activities of some of the band members. It's great to know that Kate, Lou, Art and Jim are still writing and performing wonderful music. We also learn that Ann Weiss is healthy and happy living in Chicago with her two children in a house filled with music.
Old-Time music was once alive and well in New York City and Beansprouts reminds us of how talented the Wonderbeans, were and how well their music has survived all these many years. -- Tom Druckenmiller

COPYRIGHT 2001 Sing Out Corporation

The Wonderbeans 1978 LP cover

(currently out of print, see Wonderbeans 2001 CD release above)

Visit the KATE AND LOU and CONTEMPORARY ACCORDION webpages. See links below.

Kate and Lou Giampetruzzi
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