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Darien Writer Takes Readers Back To 60s Music Scene With New Book

Darien Executive George Colabella.
Darien Executive George Colabella. Photo Credit: Submitted

DARIEN, Conn. -- By day, George Colabella works as Executive Director of the Darien, Conn.-based Tiny Miracles Foundation but by night -- and weekends - he's a writer.

His second book -- his first was a novel, called "Hypnogogia: A Life of Dreams" -- follows the journey of JR, a founding member of The Jay Tones, an Italian American trio riding the wave of the burgeoning demand for rock n' roll in the 60s and 70s.

The story, "Taking It From The Top ... One More Time," 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 Westchester lounge during that time period.

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

Upon hearing Colabella had already published a book,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 the Yonkers resident, 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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