The Phaetons were first – Al Arsenault tells the story

by: Brian Goslow

Long before pianist/guitarist Al Arsenault became a fixture on the local blues scene, he was a teenage rocker who played with The Phaetons, one of the most storied acts to come out of the region. The PhaetonsNorton Records, who reissued their 45, had this to say: “Over the years they’ve caught much lip service as one of the Crescent City’s coolest white-boy combos. The truth be known, these cats let mosta [sic] their good times roll within the city limits of their hometown of Worcester, Mass.”
Singer Jimmy Clanton helped get them signed after The Phaetons opened for him at White City in 1957. He was so impressed that he offered to pitch their demo to Ace records. Ace issued Frankie Ford’s “Sea Cruise’”alongside The Phaetons’ 45 and the label went full-tilt behind the rockin’ hit and “I Love My Baby” died on the vine. Still, the combo’s affiliation to a big-shot waxery helped The Phaetons maintain strong local status into the early ’60s. Read the rest of this entry »

I Remember Al Arsenault

Written by Chet Williamson

April 6, 1938 — May 15, 2007

He was a sweet man with a smoky voice who died on Tuesday night after a long battle with emphysema. Al was an institution on the local music scene. He was known as the “Jimmy Smith of Worcester.” In his more than 50 years of playing, he brought joy to countless people and mentored many, including me, Babe and Kenny Pino, Rob Marona, Ron Sloan and Joanna Connor.
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Al Arsenault 1938-2007

Al Arsenault

Al Arsenault passed away peacefully Tuesday May 15, 2007 after a long struggle with COPD.

Click here to read Chet Williamson’s article on Al’s passing

Calling hours are 4pm-7pm Friday May 18 at Morrison Funeral Home in Leicester MA

Memorial service is 10AM Saturday May 19 at the Leicester Federated Church, 1 Washburn Square Leicester MA

New England Jazz History Database Interview

Al discusses his personal history and musical career with Professor Rich Falco

Al Arsenault

Boston Blues News on Al Arsenault

Boston Blues News
By:Bill Copeland

A keyboard player like Al Arsenault has had to pay a lot of dues over the years. Today this veteran musician has a wealth of interesting experiences to share. The 66 year old Leicester resident only plays three solo gigs a week these days. Playing out as a soloist for the last 20 years gave this blues veteran a much needed break after hitting the national road and playing with and opening for many legendary figures in the blues. His long, professional career began when he was only a teenager in high school.

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