Benefit Street / The American Dream - Home Page

On the cover (L-R): Tim Jackson, Rob Carlson, Paul Payton, Dave Roberts, Josh Barrett; 1969

Benefit Street was an original-music and cover band based in Rhode Island from 1967 through 1973. We played live in New England and New York state and had a top 10 hit in Rhode Island in 1968 under our earlier name, The American Dream: "Love Is a Beautiful Thing" and "Jug Band Music," the only release on Bovi Records.

If you never heard of the group before but you appreciate the musical creativity of the '60s and '70s, or if you want to discover some really good original songs you should have heard years ago, then check out this new CD of one of the best forgotten bands of rock music's most creative era!

Band Members: Alan Silverman (co-founder, lead guitar), Rob Carlson (co-founder, guitar/lead vocals), David Noyes Roberts (bass/vocals), Mike Parker (drums/lead vocals), Bill Bird (keyboard)Paul Payton (keyboard), Bill Barnes (drums), Josh Barrett (guitar/vocals), Tim Jackson (drums), Maddie Sifantus (vocals), Carl Armstrong (bass),  Leo Genereux (lead guitar/vocals)

Album credits and acknowledgements are below: click here for our history and here for 
the stories behind the sings

The CD: Benefit Street - The American Dream

Presence PCD3301, released May, 2010)

Top Tracks: Bells of St. Stephen's, Seven Years, Benefit Street & Me, Joshua, Gingerman, Holy Roller, 20 Pound Turkey


Website and liner notes by Benefit Street, with contributions from Paul Payton, Rob Carlson, Dave Roberts, Josh Barrett, Maddie Sifantus, Bill Bird, Tim Jackson, Carl Armstrong and Mike Parker.

DEDICATED TO JIM ISRAELOFF (RIP), our manager and benefactor, for doing his best with and for us, and believing in us from beginning to end.

All digital transfers, except tracks 3, 4, 17 and 19, were laboriously made from 39-to-42-year-old analog tapes and vinyl records of varying generations and quality by Dave Sica of Sica Productions, Parsippany, NJ  who managed to get much more out of them that we ever thought possible! Mastering was by Brian Csencsits of Supreme Sound, W. Paterson, NJ . No master tapes could be located; what you hear was rescued by these engineers from less-than-optimum dubs and vinyl. The distortion on the Bovi 45 (tracks 3 and 4) is on every copy of the record; it sounds as though someone went a bit nuts compressing the signal at the pressing plant!

Original Benefit Street Posters by James Beach Brennan:


Bob Bovi for producing the original (and only) American Dream release, and to Bob and Tom Diehl for the best-available copies of the American Dream 45; WBRU for their airplay and their faith in us; Bette Schultz, who narrated our club demo, married Paul 22 years later, and encouraged and helped with this project; James Beach Brennan, our “staff photographer”; Maddie Sifantus, Rob Carlson, Josh Barrett, Dave Roberts and ace digitizer Dave Sica for so many of the photos in the CD booklet and on the website; John Cooney – not every band got to have a lawyer for a roadie; Rick Bellaire of the Rhode Island Music Archive, the catalyst for this project; Vincent Pasternak, for friendship and support;  Aaron Kamphuis for engineering on "See It Together"; everyone we should have mentioned but forgot to; all our spouses, exes and significant others who believed in us and what we were trying to do; and all the members of the band(s) who shared their hearts, souls, old memories and, in many cases, current musical gifts.

The information for this album will be fully developed here at it was at its former site,  

In the meanwhile, hear excerpts and buy downloads or the full CD, including hard copies, here:


A Holiday Editorial Comment: It has been a bit difficult to get into the holiday spirit this year. It’s not about a specific religion, as every major faith and culture notes some kind of solstice observation, but the season’s spirituality seems to keep getting more deeply buried. Strident commercialism, polarized politics and partial collapse of the social contract seem to have pushed the holidays’ true meaning into deep background. So many charities and politicians have been begging incessantly to meet artificial deadlines “or the matching fund expires” (really, if they’re a few dollars short of their goal, will the matching donor really walk away?), and every imaginable retailer is having a now-or-never sale followed by yet another one. Black Friday and traffic jams almost subsumed Thanksgiving, once the last uncommercialized holiday, and now the Christmas/Hanukkah/solstice season now seems to be measured by how much one buys or “gifts.” (Note from my late English-teacher mother: “gift” is not a verb.)

It’s hard to remember that there is still good in the world which one can find if one looks for it, and that life doesn’t have to be a zero-sum game. Perhaps our view is colored by friends and family passing, other friends moving, and so on. But my wife decorated our Christmas tree, we lit our menorah, we have great friends here and around the country and world, we try to focus on doing things rather than amassing stuff, and we are doing our best to stay optimistic. Good friends and good adventures go a long way to make that happen. And making what we hope is good music helps it all go down more smoothly! Thank you all.

Best wishes of the season,