Archive for vocal

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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MY WORLD GOES POP

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 10, 2013 by TheManicBlogger

My venture into popular music began with an uncle, 10 years my senior, who was entrenched in the girl groups of the early 1960s. The first songs I remember listening to were the delightfully unsophisticated  “My Boyfriend’s Back” by The Angels, ” He’s A Rebel” by The Crystals and The Chiffons’He’s So Fine“.   I spent numerous hours ingesting  the harmonies and the melody lines of these and other pop classics.

The Ronettes

The Ronettes

And just when I thought I had heard all there was to hear, I discovered The Ronettes. They were amazing. Insanely different. Veronica Bennett, her sister Estelle and her cousin Nedra Talley created a sound so different than anything I had heard before. It was Ronnie’s (Veronica) voice that drew me in. It was Phil Spector‘s production and the now infamous Wall Of Sound that kept me there. ‘Baby I Love You” and “Be My Baby”  kept me listening over and over again. I got my own 45 of “Be My Baby”. I played it and played it. I drummed along with it on pots and pans. I knew every nuance of the song. musically and vocally. I adored Ronnie’s voice and her vocal inflections. I  still do. The power of her voice  blows me away. And so began my epic adventure with rock and roll.

I heard The Beatles many times on the radio before I saw them on The Ed Sullivan Show. It was then that I knew I wanted to be, no, needed to be a musician. I wanted to make music. I wanted to be a Beatle.  A plot was hatched to dispose of Ringo. Why not? I was quite proficient on the pots and pans, and how much different could the drums be? I wanted to be a drummer. I asked for drums for my birthday, and I got a guitar. What the hell. I learned to play and began writing songs.

I dove in to the British Invasion, headfirst. I spent years harboring vinyl from across the ocean. Listening to The Dave Clark 5, The Hollies, whose harmonies were some of the most complex I had heard, and The Kinks, who wrote incredible pop songs and played them like a rock band,  allowed me to intercept the North American bands who were now emulating the British sound. And so, Tommy James and The Shondells, The Grass Roots,  and The Lovin’ Spoonful were added to my ever growing list of must have vinyl. The Beach Boys were added when I heard Pet Sounds. “God Only Knows” is a remarkable song . The harmonies are deep and full. Changes in tempo and time signature reflect Brian Wilson‘s genius. I was set. I was in pop paradise. In 1966-67, as The Beatles experimented with psychedelica, I did as well,  finding  gems in  Blues Image, Spirit, and a host of other insanely talented bands.

The Pretenders

The Pretenders

On my 13th birthday, I received my own drum kit. I had fallen ass backwards into Progressive Rock and was living and breathing Yes; amazing musicians, with the ability to incorporate so many different melodies, time signatures and themes into one perfectly crafted work. Yes led me to King Crimson, Flash and inevitably to Pink Floyd, who made the complex seem simple and the simple sound complete. . How cool was that?  I started a band, but I just couldn’t shake my passion for pop. My fondness for Pagliaro, 5 Man Electrical Band, and Badfinger, created the sound and direction of my musical psyche. New Wave delivered Nick Lowe, Elvis Costello, and The Pretenders. One of my all time favorite bands,The Pretenders were pure pop. Unforgettable melody lines, great hooks, amazingly simple yet catchy riffs permeated each song. And Chrissy Hynde looked so cool holding a guitar.

Gotta Have Pop

Gotta Have Pop

To satisfy my passion, I have always looked for new artists playing pop. Over the years I have found The Pursuit Of Happiness, The Bob Segarini Band, and Sloan. Segarini is pop genius. His ability to hear the music long before it is ever played sets him out as one of the truly great pop song writers. Once referred to as the Canadian Nick Lowe, Segarini’s Gotta Have Pop  is a classic . I have, more recently found some amazing talent out there in bands named The Creekside Strays, The Micronite Filters, The Research Turtles,  Toxic Melons and The Toniks. There are so many more that I have yet to discover. I can hardly wait! Recently a friend of mine who travels The Oregon Trail looking for new music introduced me to No Small Children. I have just started my auditory stalking of this band so any verdict at this time would be premature. He rarely steers me wrong. I will go on record as saying that they have something, and I suspect it is highly contagious as I can’t seem to stop listening. My fondness for all music lies in  melodies and harmonies. It began with the girl vocal groups and is as strong today as it ever was.

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