Archive for the doughboys

BONGO BOY RECORDS-The Singles

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 11, 2014 by TheManicBlogger

There seems to be a whack of incredibly cool music coming out of New Jersey, and Bongo Boy Records seem to have their hand on most of it. Aside from the 2013  Mark Lindsay release, Life Out Loud, and the Gar Francis EP, Shine On, this Indie label out of Belvidere, New Jersey has a truck load of singles that they are about to release on a “Singles” album. Being quite fond of Bongo Boy Monique and Garage Guru Gar-the coolest musician to come out of Jersey since Frank Sinatra– I agreed to listen and wax poetic about this soon to be released compilation.

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Jana Peri, the New York City rocker with power pop and punk influences, delivers a knock out tune with “Ballerina Of The Bowery“. Written by Gar Francis, the song has a great surf-pop groove, great harmonies and a wonderful bridge and chorus. The choppy guitar  rocks and the riff, subtly great. Terrific opening track on any album.

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I didn’t know who The Easy Outs were, but  the New Jersey rock-punk-garage band’s “Come On, Come On” is up there on my list of coolest songs I have heard lately. The track has a great 1960s feel, delivered through wonderful keys and an amazing melody. There are great horns, beautiful transitions, and a dynamite bass line. I can hear Gar Francis all over this song. The riff, clean and crisp, and the solo, as always, class, not flash. Consider this a hit.

 

gr2The wonderfully multi talented Genya Ravan contributes a Gar Francis song, “I Won’t Cry Anymore” with a powerful voice and a delivery that made me shiver.  This rock-blues tune reminds me of something that should be on Janis Joplin album, and hands out great choral harmonies in the bridge and a wonderfully R & B harmonized “whoo hoo hoo”. This woman can sing.  Powerful and pleasurable.

 

 

rk3I don’t know where he finds the time, but Rockids is another Gar Francis project. Originally formed in 1973 by Gar and Wayne Olivieri, this garage band recorded Eddie Cochran‘s “C’mon Everybody” in 2012. I love this song. I dig Rockids cover of it. The guitar layered underneath, the amazing Jerry Lee Lewis piano, and the great hook, deliver an incredible track. Might as well stand when you listen, ’cause it will get you dancing.

kcBorn Dainty“, a country-rock song, was written and produced by, you guessed it, Gar Francis. Recorded by New Jersey’s Kelly Caruso, daughter of The Doughboys bass player, Mike Caruso, this track offers some amazing banjo, cool drumming, and a great chorus. The transitions are wonderful and the guitar riff, great. Kelly delivers a wonderful vocal track. I wouldn’t be surprised to hear this song covered by Kelly Clarkson.

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The Swinging Iggies,  with one of the coolest band names around, offer up “Lady Gaga“. This New Jersey garage-rock band is another one of Gar Francis’ projects. The song,  humorous and up tempo, has a dynamite power start. There are great transitions and I dig the guitar riff. Great song. Still, what a wonderful name for a band.

gfrocketOne of the most meaningful songs I have ever heard, Gar Francis’ “Rocket” touches me. This heartfelt tribute to American soldiers, raises powerful emotions as an acoustic number. The vocals are something out of Bowie’s Hunky Dory, and this is not the first time I have made a Bowie reference about Gar. The beautifully played strings set the tone and mood amid the haunting melody. Wonderful lyric like, “rest my faith against my gun”, drive home the message. I like Gar Francis unplugged.

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New Jersey singer, songwriter Gigi, contributes one way cool tune. “Put Your Freakin’ Hands Up” a  pop-dance track, in the Carly Rae JepsenCall Me Maybe” style,  has a great guitar intro and some amazing double tracked vocals. The melody, pure pop and the guitar riff in the bridge/chorus, wonderfully cool. The minimized instrumentation during the verses highlights the vocals that come with some great effects. Wonderful song with an incredible hook.

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Plainfield Slim, Gar Francis’ alter ego, offers 2 blues tunes. “Dirty Girl” has wonderful southern blues-rock guitar and sweet, double time drumming. The slide guitar rocks within a cool vocal track and nice harmonies. I swear I hear a train in there. “Let Go My Hand“, delivers a wonderful blues riff and a great rock beat. I love the guitar solo and the muted effect to the entire track. Jersey blues are way cool.

mark-lindsay_life-out-loudMy choice for coolest song of the year, “Merry Go Round (Christian’s Song)” by Mark Lindsay is a definite bonus. What can I say about this song that I haven’t said in my review of the Life Out Loud album? Way cool 60s organ, great harmonies, exciting guitar, wonderful changes, and I really dig the “less is more” drumming style. The vocals rock, the melody, dynamite and well, this is my favorite Mark Lindsay song since “Kicks“. Coolest song of the year for sure.

Well, there you have it. The Bongo Boy Records singles compilation. The genres are varied, with something to please everyone.  11 tracks destined to amaze and entertain. This album will rock you, and  it will surprise you. An amazingly eclectic collection of songs by incredibly talented artists. I would liked to have seen Gar Francis’ “Back In 1985”  included on this record.  Check it out for yourself and see what’s really going on in New Jersey. Its not just Snooki and The Sopranos. A must have for every collection.

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Check out all of Bongo Boy Records artists:  http://www.bongoboyrecords.com

GAR FRANCIS-Shine On

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 6, 2013 by TheManicBlogger

gf1Over a year after its release, I was fortunate enough to get a copy of the Gar Francis EP, Shine On forwarded to me by New Jersey indie label, Bongo Boy Records. With reckless abandon, and much anticipation, I sat back, strapped myself in, and turned up the volume.

The title track, “Shine On“, both rhythmic and haunting, contains elements of psychadelica and Jersey garage rock. Gar’s vocals, somewhere between Tom Waits and Bowie, are perfectly gritty and raw. The guitar riff is way cool, the lead solo is wonderfully 1960’s, and the hook, unforgettable. “1985“, a prototypical Asbury Park anthem, delivers more outstanding vocals and a way cool harmonica part. The melody rocks, and I swear I hear some Joe Strummer woven into the fabric of the music. There is perfectly placed guitar picking, and the song has a great 60s garage rock feel to it. With some of the coolest lyric I have heard in a very long time, “Was I off somewhere, or just too high? Did I miss the signs, hiding there in your eyes? Back in 1985?”, this song kills.  The rhythm and blues tune, “Blue Cadillac“, shines with a sound that at times reminds me of Southside Johnny And The Asbury Jukes. A wonderful track, complete with twangy guitars. The great guitar riff and harmonies of “Tragedy” drives this incredible song through the  wonderful Beatlesque chorus. The album closes with “I’m Still Alive“, a great rock song with a punk edge.

gf2Shine On never lets up. It rocks from start to finish, grabbing you by the throat with the very first note, and never letting go. The songs are exceptional.  Each one superbly crafted, and played with passion and grit. And why not? It’s what Gar does!  To nail the sound, Gar recruited the rhythm section of The Doughboys for this album.  How cool is that?

The work is filled with 1960’s references, smoothly blended into East Coast garage rock. There is cool, and there is Gar Francis cool. Shine On is Gar Francis, being Gar Francis. And that is cool. Way cool. Gar Francis cool.

You can check out Shine On and all of Gar’s music at: http://www.garfrancis.com/ or:  http://www.bongoboyrecords.com/

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