wonder if anyone can tell me what these are? would appreciate any help. thanks
Here's some info on common mullein:
Yours doesn't look very woolly, but your leaves are definitely not moth mullein.
It could be a relatively scattered species called Clasping-leaf Mullein (Verbascum phlomoides). That is a non-native plant that is scattered across the northeast part of the country, and is gradually migrating to the southwest. It is similar in appearance to Woolly Mullein, but has very little decurrent leaf tissue between leaves. Woolly Mullein, on the other hand, has such prominent decurrent wings that it's difficult to see its stems.
Looks much nicer (in terms of a volunteer I'd be willing to keep in the garden) than common mullein.
I hadn't known the mulleins are all non-natives (gray on USDA's maps):