Niagara Gazette

Communities

July 18, 2013

King Harvest's 'Dancing in the Moonlight' to benefit carousel park

Niagara Gazette — King Harvest Unplugged is taking to the Olcott Beach Carousel Park stage next week to raise money for the blast-from-the-past amusement park.

The band, co-founded by Newfane native Ron Altbach, produced the rock 'n roll standard "Dancing In The Moonlight" in the early 1970s.

Forty years after that single surged on the U.S. Billboard chart, King Harvest's founding members reunited in Olcott last summer and put on a free show in conjunction with a Newfane High School all-class reunion.

Now, Altbach, Eddie Tuleja and Rod Novak are getting gack together again, this time to pay tribute to King Harvest lead vocalist Dave "Doc" Robinson, who died late last year at age 67.

King Harvest's founders were all Cornell University classmates and budding musicians between 1964 and 1969. Altbach, a pre-med major, played keyboard. Tuleja, an art history major, sang and played guitar. Novak, a nuclear science major, sang and played saxophone. With Robinson, they were in and out of bands that rocked Cornell's 50-some fraternity houses nearly every day of the week.

By the time they left Cornell, all of their career plans had changed dramatically. Altbach elected not to follow in his dad Dr. Walter Altbach's footsteps and took off for Paris to study classical piano instead. His old bandmates soon followed and King Harvest was formed.

"Rock 'n roll was an undeniable force. We all loved it," Altbach said. "In Paris, we lived as outlaws in a strange land: Riding motorcycles, playing croquet and traveling Europe. We sang country tunes on the streets ... . We didn't make any money at it, of course. We're all very well educated, but we weren't smart enough to make money at what we were doing."

King Harvest recorded Dancing In The Moonlight in 1971, in Paris. The single didn't do so well there, and the band broke up. Altbach moved back to the United States in 1972. He was back-and-forth between New York and California, where he worked, when Dancing got U.S. airplay and became a hit.

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