New Found Freedom – Unfinished Business

In the late 1960s, there was a new freedom rising. Teens everywhere were obsessed with Rock and Roll. Two young brothers by the name of Stan and Charlie Middleton were on the verge of a radical change. Accustomed to the stage, playing with the family band, “The Middleton Family Singers,” they excelled at playing gospel music with the family and played at churches, gospel concerts, and variety shows around the area. Even a TV appearance on the Ted Mack Amateur Hour, a nationwide television show. To “kids” nowadays that would be the equivalent of going “Viral”.

The year was 1971, and with the times changing, Stan and Charlie were ready to start something new and decided to leave the family band and start playing and exploring the music they loved. Even though they were breaking mom’s heart, they knew they had to move on. They needed some help, so they quickly enlisted local East Pennsboro high school mate Scott Frange into the mix to play Bass and “New Found Freedom” was born.

NFF’s popularity grew fast, and soon they were playing all over the local area, and the people were showing up and taking notice. In June of 1973, with the help of Bruce Rorbach, they went into the infamous “Shaggy Dog Studios” in Stockbridge, MA to record two 45 records. The two side A tracks “Look Away” and “Leave the Bad For Good” quickly became popular and were gaining traction on local radio shows including the legendary “Starview”.

Soon after they added Bob Barry to the mix, and they started bringing a baby grand piano along to every show. Things were progressing fast for four young guys who were just out of high school. Soon they were playing in front of 10,000 people opening up for “Sugar Loaf” at VanFest in Richmond VA. In mid-1975 they were getting offered “Deals” with “Elecktra Records” along with talks of touring across the northeast with names like “Blue Oyster Cult” and “Average White Band”. Being young and not knowing what the future holds can be a stressful time in life. One day’s decision can affect the rest of your life; you just don’t realize it at the time. With Scott and Bob unsure of what the “Band Life” would bring, they decided to split and go their separate ways and New Found Freedom was dissolved.

As they drifted apart a piece of the original band remained with each member. They soon all went on to different projects. Stan and Charlie evolved into The Middleton Brothers and were joined by Joe Abbondanza and Greg Johnson in the early 80’s. They became a local sensation over the next decade and like a family tradition, in the 90’s, Stan brought on his two sons to perform with him on stage, just as he and Charlie had done as kids. The Middleton brothers Band had gone full circle from its roots. Sadly in 2011 the world lost Gregory Johnson followed in 2012 by Stanley Middleton. The Middleton Brothers legacy has been etched in time opening for national acts, Johnny Winters, Tommy Conwell, Taj Mahal, Mark Kohn, The Marshall Tucker Band, The Jerry Garcia Band, and many more. If you have not heard of The Middleton Brothers Band please check out the links below.

Scott and Bob went on to perform together for many years and continue to perform together. They have collaborated on several projects including opening for Harrisburg Symphony and performing at The Whitaker Center. In 2000 Scott was instrumental in launching the career of Elizabeth Hale of “Halestorm” by recording her single “Rose In December” for which he wrote and played the Cello parts. He is passionate about helping and mentoring young talent and maintains a strong connection to the local music community. Opening up “Player’s Exchange” In Lemoyne over 30 years ago and awarded The 2024 CPMHOF “Best Instrument Shop”. Scott has been around the scene. If you want to see one the most impressive collections of local music memorabilia stop in and take a walk around. When you look past the rare and beautiful instruments in the shop you see each part of the background is full of both local and national music history. You never know what you will see but one thing is for sure Scott can tell you its unique history and connection.

Scott along with “The Sharks” Shea Quinn Formed “Shea  Quinn’s The Band Who Sold The World” joined by Jennie James, Mike Heininger, James Klippel, Logan Bedard, and Steve Lentz. For over eight years this world-class “David Bowie Tribute show” has been performing in the area at bigger venues, where they have really developed the “Big Show” feel. You may only see a handful of these shows pop up throughout the year but when you do, get your tickets because these shows often sell out before the show date. Check out the links below to find out about the next show.

Fast forward to December 2023 and a long-overdue phone call from Scott to Charlie, with an invite to a Holiday Christmas Party. At the party it was like two electrons spinning around a musical atom had collided. They both picked up the same two instruments they bought together in 1973 at Marianis Music In Lancaster. Charlie’s 1972 well-worn and battered Gibson Les Paul that’s never seen a case and Scott’s Pristine but well-played 1973 Fender Jazz Bass. Although the way they care for their instruments varies, they still shared the same connection of that first band. The big “What if”. What if we would have signed that deal? Went on tour? how would the world be different. One thing is for sure neither of them can replace all the great things life has given them and what they have done and they are both very thankful for all the people in their lives and the decisions that they made. But there is still that one itch.

Scott and Charlie, after playing a couple of times, decided to do a limited recording of the two Side A tracks from the 1973 45 records “Look Away” and “Leave the Bad For Good”. They have teamed up with Charlie’s bandmate Joe Abbondanza to utilize his beautiful studio at Asylum Sound Studios to do the sound and production work and brought in award-winning drummer Logan Bedard to lay down the beats. The plan is to release this limited edition album on CD, Vinyl, and all the internet options. There will be some bonus tracks included as “New Found Freedom” takes care of some “Unfinished Business” look for the album to drop late May or June. I was able to sit and listen in to some early practices and It was a treat to see these two legends reignite the spark. Stay tuned for more info as it becomes available and check out the links below. The album will be dedicated in memory of bandmate and brother Stan Middleton. Scott and Charlie would like to thank their families and parents for supporting them on their musical journey.

The Middleton Brother History:

The Middleton Brothers Shakey Ground:

Like & follow The Band Who Sold the World:

Original version of “Leave the Bad for Good”
by New Found Freedom