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Yonkers Author Takes Readers Back To 60s Music Scene With New Book

Yonkers Author George Colabella.
Yonkers Author George Colabella. Photo Credit: Submitted

YONKERS, N.Y. -- If some of the scenes in George Colabella's new book, "Taking It From The Top ... One More Time" sound familiar that's because they are.

The book, which chronicles JR, a founding member of The Jay Tones, an Italian American trio riding the wave of the burgeoning demand for rock n' roll, is written in narrative form and takes place at Luciano's Italian Restaurant in Yonkers. Among the stories told is a recount of JR's days at The Grotto which was a major Central Avenue lounge in the 60's and 70's.

Colabella, a Yonkers resident who serves as Executive Director of the Darien, Conn.-based Tiny Miracles Foundation, presents the journey JR -- real name Charles Penzabene, Jr. -- took from the heady days of New York's popular music rise through to present day.

The non-profit professional was inspired to write the book after having heard JR perform and eventually, over time, striking up a friendship with the singer.

Upon hearing Colabella had already published a book -- his first was a novel, called "Hypnogogia-A Life of Dreams," --- JR asked the writer to capture his life story.

"We then spent three years sitting over his dining room table drinking coffee as he told me tale after tale," said Colabella. "I wrote the book based upon his sincerity and his deep feelings for both music and his family. Having come of age in the 60's the music was also a major attraction to me."

"Taking It from the Top... One More Time" is published by Austin Macauley, and will be available at Amazon and area bookshops starting July 29.

As for what's next for Colabella, he said he has another nonfiction piece percolating in the back of his mind entitled "Thank You, Cancer." The story will chronicle the journey of his wife, a three time cancer survivor.

Said Colabella: "The reference is to the fact that once challenged by cancer, one quickly learns what in life is truly important and to say thank you for every day given to you."

Stressed the author: "It will not be a depressing book but rather the uplifting story of a brave person and how it has made us better people."

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