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Everything posted by Raspbernie

  1. David Cassidy dies

    Terribly sad. One of my favorite singers. Really underrated because of the teenybopper thing. But, what a voice! RIP, David. Bernie
  2. Pop Art Live on Vinyl!

    My understanding is that these "Record Store Day" events (and special releases) are meant to support your local record shop, most of which have unfortunately closed for good. So, you should actually pop over and give them some love (and money) or soon they'll all be gone. Bernie
  3. Pop Art Live on Vinyl!

    Now, in addition to the 2-CD or Digital release, Raspberries: Pop Art Live will be available as a 3-LP set on red, blue, and yellow vinyl for Record Store Day/Black Friday (November 24, 2017) with BONUS TRACKS! Side 1: 1. I WANNA BE WITH YOU 2. PLAY ON 3. I CAN’T EXPLAIN 4. NOBODY KNOWS 5. OVERNIGHT SENSATION Side 2: 1. GO ALL THE WAY 2. DON’T WANT TO SAY GOODBYE 3. ECSTASY 4. I SAW THE LIGHT 5. TONGIHT Side 3: 1. STARTING OVER 2. BABY’S IN BLACK 3. MIGHT AS WELL 4. HARD TO GET OVER A HEARTBREAK 5. LET’S PRETEND Side 4: 1. IF YOU CHANGE YOUR MIND 2. LAST DANCE 3. SHOULD I WAIT 4. NO REPLY 5. I CAN REMEMBER Side 5: 1. I’M A ROCKER 2. IT SEEMED SO EASY 3. WHEN YOU WERE WITH ME 4. IT’S COLD OUTSIDE 5. TICKET TO RIDE Side 6: 1. PARTY’S OVER 2. COME AROUND AND SEE ME 3. MAKIN’ IT EASY Vinyl-Only Bonus Tracks: 4. DRIVIN’ AROUND / CRUSIN MUSIC 5. I DON’T KNOW WHAT I WANT Bernie
  4. Racy Go All The Way cover

    Not sure about the cover song, but the video has some merit. 😳 Bernie
  5. Tonight cover

    I like it. Bernie
  6. Might As Well cover

    Played and sung with passion! Love it! Bernie
  7. That's Rock and Roll cover

    Ha. Love it! Especially when the lead singer motions for the dude in the middle to change the lyrics page. His only job (as far as I can tell) seems to be to flip the page. Bernie
  8. Raspberries - Pop Art Live

    Fans who were there and fans who wished they were there can now re-live the historic first Raspberries reunion show in all its explosive (power pop) power from Omnivore Recordings. DOWNLOAD ON ITUNES BUY ON AMAZON.COM 2-CD $22.98 / DIGITAL $15.99 Disc 1: 1. I WANNA BE WITH YOU 2. PLAY ON 3. I CAN’T EXPLAIN 4. NOBODY KNOWS 5. LET’S PRETEND 6. DON’T WANNA SAY GOODBYE 7. PARTY’S OVER 8. OVERNIGHT SENSATION (HIT RECORD) 9. MIGHT AS WELL 10. IT SEEMED SO EASY 11. BABY’S IN BLACK 12. IF YOU CHANGE YOUR MIND 13. TONIGHT 14. I CAN REMEMBER Disc 2: 1. STARTING OVER 2. LAST DANCE 3. I SAW THE LIGHT 4. NO REPLY 5. WHEN YOU WERE WITH ME 6. IT’S COLD OUTSIDE 7. SHOULD I WAIT 8. COME AROUND AND SEE ME 9. MAKIN’ IT EASY 10. TICKET TO RIDE 11. HARD TO GET OVER A HEARTBREAK 12. ECSTACY 13. I’M A ROCKER 14. GO ALL THE WAY
  9. Genius At Work

  10. Pop Art Live: Reviews

    Spins and Reviews By Alan Haber Raspberries | Pop Art Live (Omnivore, 2017) For a thrilling listening experience back in 1976, you could do worse than planting Raspberries’ Best featuring Eric Carmen on your turntable. Every one of the 10 tracks on offer was bang-zoom top-flight–“Go All the Way,” “Tonight,” “Ecstasy,” and “Overnight Sensation (Hit Record)” to name just four. Plus, the first few songs on side one were programmed to start a hairbreadth after the one before it, elevating the excitement level about a million percent. Listening to Best, I always wondered what it would be like to be at a Raspberries concert. It seemed to me that nothing could quite compare to the emotional payoff experienced by people this close to the band up on a stage that probably shook wildly with every beat bounced upward and then showered down on the audience. Plus, all of that singing along… Now, with the release of Pop Art Live, fans like me can finally feel the power of a you-are-there Raspberries performance. Recorded on November 26, 2004 at the House of Blues in Cleveland, Ohio, this beautifully mixed and mastered document puts listeners in the cross hairs of a dynamic performance of 28 group classics and covers of choice songs from the Beatles and the Who. It is an invigorating experience. The band is in fine voice and plays throughout the show like they hadn’t just gotten together for a reunion performance 30 years later. Working together as a cohesive unit on stage, they are clearly on a mission, invested in every note as they work to please every audience member, all of them hungry for a taste of Raspberries history. Augmented by a trio of musicians called “The Overdubs” that helps to flesh out their sound, Eric Carmen, Wally Bryson, David Smalley, and Jim Bonfanti work every inch of the room as they play the hits and key album tracks and just generally whoop it up, Raspberries style. The highlights are many–“Nobody Knows,” “Overnight Sensation (Hit Record),” “Might as Well,” “Starting Over,” “Should I Wait,” and “Come Around and See Me” spring to mind–but the whole program is a collective highlight and delight, which is probably more to the point. To say that Jim Bonfanti’s drums are the propulsive glue that holds these proceedings together would be an understatement; he has lost none of his power and is even more powerful than he was before. It should go without saying that the rest of the band is also performing at the height of their powers, but I’ll say it: This magical foursome was on that November night. Kudos to Omnivore Recordings for releasing this astounding, pulse-pounding document, and kudos to you for buying it. Because, of course, you will be…right? —Pure Pop Radio, August 9, 2017
  11. Q&A With Eric: Pop Art Live

    Q&A ERIC CARMEN ON JOHN LENNON, RASPBERRIES GETTING BACK TOGETHER, FAVORITE COVERS, AND MORE By Darren Paltrowitz Having charted for the first time exactly 45 years ago in 1972, few artists have experienced a lengthy musical career like Eric Carmen. In the early 1970s, Carmen was the lead singer and principal songwriter of the Raspberries, who first hit it big with “Go All The Way.” More chart hits—including “Don’t Want To Say Goodbye,” “I Wanna Be With You,” “Let’s Pretend,” and “Overnight Sensation (Hit Record)” — would follow before the Ohio-based group disbanded in 1975. 1976 brought the launch of Carmen’s solo career, and his first single “All By Myself” peaked at number two in the United States and number 12 in the United Kingdom. Massive success followed Carmen into the 1980s as he charted plenty more singles. 1987 was a major year for Carmen as his contribution to the Dirty Dancing soundtrack, “Hungry Eyes,” went to number one on the Billboard Hot 100. Just a few years prior, his composition for the Footloose soundtrack, “Almost Paradise,” was also a radio staple around the world. Along the way, songs written by Carmen have been recorded by many key artists, including Celine Dion, Olivia Newton-John, John Travolta, Frankie Valli, Diana Ross, Victoria Justice, and Eric Benét. In 2017, the catalog of Eric Carmen remains high in demand as new generations of music listeners have discovered his work. The Almost Famous soundtrack prominently featured “Go All The Way” in 2000. The same song was recorded by Matthew Sweet and Susanna Hoffs for their 2009 Under The Covers, Vol. 2 album, The Killers for the 2012 film Dark Shadows, and appears in the 2014 blockbuster film Guardians Of The Galaxy. Meanwhile, a 2004 reunion concert of the Raspberries, as recorded at the House Of Blues in Cleveland, is finally getting a proper release through Omnivore Recordings on August 18th. A 2-CD set, Pop Art Live finds founding members Carmen, Wally Bryson, David Smalley and Jim Bonfanti in top form. Pop Art Live also includes liner notes from filmmaker Cameron Crowe, Bernie Hogya, and Ken Sharp. Eric Carmen answered some Q&A for the Inquisitr about his past, present and future. The popularity of the Raspberries’ catalog increased substantially in the 1990s and 2000s, when the band wasn’t active. When did you first realize that your work with the Raspberries was influential to key artists? Eric Carmen: In 1974, when the band was recording our fourth album Starting Over at The Record Plant in New York, John Lennon was in the studio next to us producing, Harry Nilsson’s Pussycats album. John frequently would come by and stick his head in the door, while we were mixing and he later told me that he was “absolutely blown away by ‘Overnight Sensation'” and jokingly said that he and Ringo [Starr] were going to “do promotion.” That was certainly an amazing moment. Later on when Bruce Springsteen told me that while he was writing The River, all he listened to was Woody Guthrie and the Raspberries’ Greatest Hits, I began to realize our music was having an impact on some really great artists. Do you have a favorite Raspberries cover version? Not the Motley Crue version of “Tonight,” I would assume? Carmen: I enjoyed The Killers’ take on “Go All The Way” that appeared in Tim Burton’s Dark Shadows. For you, is there a favorite Raspberries song to perform live? Carmen: I enjoy them all. The band sounds very tight on "Pop Art Live." How much rehearsal was needed before performing this reunion concert in 2004? Carmen: We rehearsed on and off for about three months. Sometimes one or two of the band members weren’t available, so I would work with Paul Sidoti, Jennifer Lee, and Billy Sullivan on background vocals and string and horn parts. What was the impetus to reunite in 2004? Was it simply someone from House Of Blues reaching out? Carmen: Yes! The booker for the House Of Blues’ grand opening wanted to do something really special for Cleveland. His wife suggested, “Why don’t try to get the Raspberries to reunite?” He called Jim Bonfanti and Jim called me and we said, “If not now, when?” How did this working relationship with Omnivore Recordings come about? Carmen: I met Brad Rosenberger years ago when he was with Warner/Chappell Music Publishing. I was recording in L.A. in late 2013 with The Wondermints and Jeff Foskett and Ken Sharp brought Brad to the recording session. Brad had been sending me new Omnivore releases for years! I thought they were doing a wonderful job for their artists, so when this project came up, I thought Omnivore would be the perfect home for the recordings. Notably your voice has held up very well throughout your career. Do you do a lot of vocal warm-up? Or do a lot to take care of yourself? Carmen: I’ve never done any vocal warm ups, ever. As a matter of fact, I learned to sing playing three sets a night in smoky clubs. As luck would have it, my voice is best when it’s kind of blown out. "Pop Art Live" aside, what is coming up for you in your career? Do you have plans for any solo recordings? Carmen: I’ve been considering the possibility of performing again and I wouldn’t rule out making a new record. Is there something you wish more people knew about Eric Carmen? Carmen: I’m a very private person. If you want to know more about who I am, just listen to my music. Finally, Eric, any last words for the kids? Carmen: Dream big! —The Inquisitr, June 14, 2017 __________ Just found this one, so posting it. Enjoy! Bernie
  12. Pop Art Live: Reviews

    Raspberries Pop Art Live Omnivore Recordings I’m not sure why it took 13 years to release this, a but curious about that but anyway, on 11/26/04 the original Raspberries: Eric Carmen, Wally Bryson, David Smalley an Jim Bonfanti took the stage at Cleveland’s (their hometown) House of Blues for the first time in 30 plus years. Of course all of the hits and then some are laid out here. It opens with “I Wanna Be With You” and ends with “Go All the Way” and in between you get to hear “Overnight Sensation (Hit Record),” “Tonight,” “Let’s Pretend” Some other faves include the country-ish “Should I Wait” and the rockin’ “Ecstasy.” In addition to those we’re treated to covers of the Beatles and the Who plus one of my favorite songs by another Cleveland band The Choir, “It’s Cold Outside” (Stiv Bators did an excellent cover of this tune as well). There’s nothing on here that you wouldn’t expect really. A classic band getting back together 30 years later to play their songs for a hometown crowd. The sound is excellent and the band sounds great (exquisite harmonies). A few different folks offer up liner notes one being Cameron Crowe who states that as a 15 year old kind he wormed his way into reviewing the Raspberries debut and it changed his life. Good to see that through the years the band isn’t just seen as some goofy 70’s pop band but as real players who wrote great songs and could compete with anybody at the time. The two disc 28-songs set is pretty damn terrific and aside from the cover art (who’s idea was that?!), this is a great package all the way around. —DaggerZine, October 17, 2017
  13. Pop Art Live: Reviews

    That last line of the review... Bernie
  14. Pop Art Live: Reviews

    The Raspberries Pop Art Live (Omnivore Recordings) Apparently, one’s enjoyment of this album—document of a 2004 reunion gig—is largely dependent on how closely one listens. On the surface, it’s flawlessly played and sung, and spine-tingling in its evocation of the band’s early ’70s heyday. Others, however, have carped about the post-production fixes (Autotune etc.) applied to the recording. Still, Pop Art Live is a lot of fun, and I’m grateful it exists. If one thinks of it as a studio album, a good case can be made that it’s superior to any of the Raspberries’ original albums. (The cover artwork sucks royally, though.) —MusScribe, October 7, 2017
  15. Pop Art Live: Reviews

    The Raspberries Pop Art Live (2 discs) Omnivore OVCD-229 Of course, some bands never change at all, and that can be okay too. 1970s power-pop heroes the Raspberries never changed, in significant part, because they broke up 40 years ago. Frontman Eric Carmen went on to a successful solo career, and that was that. Until 2005, when the four founding members of the band got together for a brief reunion tour, which opened at Cleveland’s House of Blues. That concert is captured on this recording, which is tons of fun. Carmen’s voice isn’t in the greatest shape, but the group’s harmonies are as tight as ever and the overall sound is very good. The Raspberries’ many fans will welcome this release into any library’s pop collection. —CD HotList, October 2, 2017
  16. Pop Art Live: Reviews

    Noteworthy Recent Albums ENCORE On the evening of the day after Thanksgiving 2004, the four original members of Raspberries, the band best known for its top-five paean to teenage hormones “Go All the Way,” inaugurated Cleveland’s House of Blues with their first concert in over 30 years. Had they phoned it in, the event might’ve sunk beneath the waters of Lethe. Instead, they played, sang, and interacted with the crowd as if they might never get the chance again. With Pop Art Live (Omnivore), that show finally takes hard-copy shape. But its hooks, harmonies, and inspired Beatles covers notwithstanding, the event feels somewhat anti-climactic, if only because similar versions of 19 of the 28 tracks have long been available on Live on Sunset Strip (Rykodisc’s document of an October 2005 Raspberries show). Will Pop Art’s superiority (more songs, fewer and smoother edits) end up kicking Sunset Strip to the curb? Probably. But that a competition even exists undercuts the fun. —A.O. —World Magazine, September 16, 2017
  17. Pop Art Live: Reviews

    THE RASPBERRIES Pop Art Live Omnivore By Ron Garmon The brief prominence and fast disintegration of the Raspberries in no way hindered the rise of each of their four albums to enduring cult status. Indeed, noise from fans and legatees of these Cleveland power-pop originators grows louder as the long-term in­fluence of the subgenre they helped invent becomes more ever apparent. Everyone from Bruce to R.E.M. to the Replacements to Guns N' Roses claim them as models and each of these worthies in turn influ­enced many more. Formed out of two bands as a Cleveland "supergroup" of sorts, original members Eric Carmen, Wally Bryson, Jim Bonfanti, and Dave Smalley set about manufacturing bestselling Beatle-y pop goo out of locally available materials. A demo ignited a bidding war and the quartet signed to Capitol, the Beatles' U.S. label. "Go All The Way" went to no. 5 Billboard, lesser hits followed, Bryson and Bonfanti left after Side Three and a revised llneup leaning heavily on the angel-voiced Carmen cracked the Top-Twenty one last time with the stlll enchanting "Over­night Sensation (Hit Record)" off the final LP Start­ing Over. Carmen went on to a measure of solo glory that did nothing to efface memory of his old band. Residual bitterness among bandmates was slow to heal and chances of a reunion of all original me­mbers were thought remote until it actually happened at the Cleveland House of Blues In 2004. This 2xCD 3xlP set doesn't disappoint. A high-energy rave-up from opening to encore, the show starts with "I Wanna Be With You" plus a juicy cover of the Who's "I Can't Explain" just to show they mean business. The set­list is crammed with covers, romantic ballads, and exquisite versions of famlllar tunes given new muscle through surprisingly forceful playing. Bonfanti should be classed among rock's great drummers and he absolutely kills it here. This is without doubt one of the all-tlme great reunion gigs and sounds nearly miraculous—it's high-energy teen music played by men in late middle-age. After a show-stopping pass at "I can Remember," carmen is heard to muse "That was something ambitious for a bunch of twenty-two year olds, wasn't It?" No kidding! —LA Record, September 14, 2017
  18. Pop Art Live: Reviews

    THE RASPBERRIES “POP ART LIVE” In the 60s, the Merseybeat sound brought an overpowering excitement to the music scene, with its sweet harmonies, chiming guitars, electric energy and endless joy. As the decade was ending, that spirit was fast fading. But in the early 70s, it was resurrected brilliantly by an American band, The Raspberries, and their McCartneyesque front man, Eric Carmen. The Raspberries served up tasty rockers like “I Wanna Be With You,” "Go All the Way,” "Let's Pretend,” ”Tonight” and "Overnight Sensation (Hit Record).” The original lineup reunited in 2004 for a tour, their first live performances in 32 years. Omnivore has released a live double-CD package capturing that Raspberries resurgence. It features all of the aforementioned hits, as well as zestful covers of The Who’s “I Can’t Explain” and The Beatles’ “Baby’s in Black,” “No Reply” and “Ticket to Ride.” Other highlights include the gentler “I Saw The Light” and “Starting Over.” The band is clearly having a blast performing this music again. So is the appreciative crowd. A terrific set. —Pop Culture Classics, September 1, 2017
  19. Pop Art Live: Reviews

    Four Live Raspberries Come Alive By Mark Smotroff The first thing I noticed when I put on the fine new live album by power pop legends The Raspberries was just how immediately amazing they sounded. Both the fidelity and performances on this two-CD set—recorded at the start of their reunion run at Cleveland's House of Blues, November 26th, 2004, the tour continuing for several years—sound pretty stellar as CDs go. Perhaps too stellar, I wondered initially. Of course, in defense of the recording, I never got to see the Raspberries on these reunion tours so I recognize that I didn't really have a point of reference other than their studio recordings to judge this fine new release against. Up until now I had I'd never really bothered to look for live recordings of the band from their original early 1970s ascent. My excuse (if you will) is that having heard early '70s live recordings by the The Raspberries' power pop peers such as Badfinger and Big Star, I just assumed that their live sound would be about the same—thin and not representative of the grandiose sound they created in the studio. I suppose I wasn't really expecting much... Which is perhaps why this CD packed such a wallop from the get go. I've subsequently been poking around on YouTube and checking out live recordings of the band from back in the day and they indeed were pulling off this stuff live with multi-part harmonies and such! Couple that experience with the dramatic technological changes since the 1970s in terms of what a band can easily deliver on stage today—take a listen to the spectacular live recordings of Brian Wilson's band doing Pet Sounds and SMiLE live in concert, for example—and it suddenly makes total sense that this new Raspberries recording would sound so great. Lead singer Eric Carmen's voice can still reach the stars and the harmonies from the other band members are spot on. These 21st Century Raspberries shows were indeed done—like Brian Wilson's band—with live support from backing musicians charmingly named (in the album's credits) "The Overdubs." So, there is no doubt the band knew that they would need some support beyond the original four members to pull off that big Phil Spector-Meets-Brian Wilson-Meets-Pete Townshend power pop studio sound on stage. The result is wonderful! Kudos must also go out to Tommy Allen who mixed this recording. Check out a bit of it on this trailer for the album. Much like the recent live Big Star Third concerts (which I reviewed here on Audiophile), Pop Art Live will probably become a great first step for a new generation of fans curious to hear what all the fuss is about surrounding The Raspberries. Older fans will certainly love the album which features all the expected hits, lots of deeper album cuts and many note-perfect covers (including three by The Beatles—"Baby's In Black," "Ticket To Ride," and "No Reply"—as well as The Who's "I Can't Explain"). They also do an early gem by The Choir, an Ohio band which became the core of The Raspberries when singer Eric Carmen joined forces with them; I first heard "Its Cold Outside" when it was covered by Stiv Bators in the late '70s (click here to hear Stiv's version and then over here for the original)! Anyhow, I guess the only question remaining really is why it took so long to put this out? There was a live album previously issued from later shows on the reunion tour, but that is quite out of print and commanding collectors prices on places like Discogs and eBay. Pop Art Live is thus especially timely for those of us who want to hear this great band performing live in high fidelity (courtesy of the good folks at Omnivore Recordings). If you are a fan of The Raspberries or just great melody-drenched rock 'n roll in general, you owe it to yourself to pick this one up. Its a great overview of the band and its roots, casting equal light on the other super talented band members—especially lead guitarist/singer Wally Bryson—as well as frontman Eric Carmen. A special three-LP vinyl edition of Pop Art Live will be out in the Fall, initially on limited edition colored vinyl (as well as standard black). As soon as I get my hands on that edition, I'll be sure to write up a follow on review of this fine album from that vantage point. Until then, this two CD set is going to have a happy home spinning on my mobile devices, in the car as well as on my regular home stereo. —Audiophile, August 28, 2017
  20. Pop Art Live: Reviews

    CD REVIEW The Raspberries Reunite For New "Pop Art Live" Release American band, The Raspberries had a run of success in the early 70's with singles like "Go All The Way" and "I Wanna Be With You." They drew their influences from the British invasion of the sixties and structured their songs after the hits of The Beatles and The Hollies. After breaking-up in 1975, their influence expanded into the music of Bruce Springsteen, Tom Petty and even Kiss. The Raspberries' singer/songwriter Eric Carmen had a successful solo career in the 80's and the remaining members of the band (minus Carmen) reunited in 1999 to record a new album titled "Raspberries Refreshed." A full on band reunion would not happen until 2004 when a new House Of Blues opened in Cleveland. The show was recorded for VH1 Classic and XM Satellite Radio, but not officially released until August 18th when a new 2CD set will become available from Omnivore Recordings. The new two-disc, 28-song set mixes many of the band's favorites like "I Wanna Be With You," "Don't Want To Say Goodbye" and "Overnight Sensation (Hit Record)" with covers from The Who and The Beatles. The music still sounds timeless as the band injects some electric energy into songs like "Party's Over" and "Tonight." The years just melt away as their signature sound comes shining through on songs like "Last Dance" and "When You Were With Me." The Raspberries still know how to bring out their best in this live setting. The show closes with the guitar-driven "I'm A Rocker" and their classic hit "Go All The Way." To find out more about The Raspberries and their latest new live album "Pop Art Live," please visit omnivorerecordings.com. —JP'S Music Blog, August 19, 2017
  21. Pop Art Live: Reviews

    CD Review Raspberries “Pop Art LIVE” by Pat Francis When you think of perfect pop rock music the first band that should come to mind are The Raspberries. Formed in the early 70’s in Cleveland, Ohio the band produced four albums of incredible ear candy that still hold up today. Although they had been inactive for years the band did get back together for a reunion tour in 2005 and one of those shows has just been released by Omnivore Recordings. Recorded LIVE at the House Of Blues in their hometown of Cleveland, OH “Pop Art LIVE” is a stunning example of the Raspberries underrated musicianship as all four original members shine throughout this landmark show. Eric Carmen’s voice is smooth as silk, Wally Bryson and David Smalley’s guitars are killer and Jim Bonfanti pounds his drums with wild abandon. The band powers through an impressive setlist of 25 songs that include all the hits such as “I Wanna Be With You,” “Let’s Pretend,” “Overnight Sensation (Hit Record)” and “Go All The Way” which was recently featured on the Of The Galaxy Vol. 2″ soundtrack. Mixed in with all the hits are deep album cuts and some stellar cover tunes such as The Who’s “I Can’t Explain” and The Beatles’ “Ticket To Ride.” The show is an absolute ten out of ten and the only disappointment from this fan is that “Pop Art LIVE” doesn’t also come with a DVD of the show. For now pop rock fans will be more than satisfied with this great LIVE document of that special night in 2005 when pop rock perfection reigned supreme. —Pop Culture Beast, August 18, 2017
  22. Pop Art Live: Reviews

    The Raspberries Pop Art Live By Mark Deming AllMusic Rating The Raspberries may not have been the best American power pop band of the '70s—that honor would go to Big Star—but they were likely the most influential, by virtue of the fact they had actual hit singles. "Go All the Way," "I Wanna Be with You," "Tonight," and "Let's Pretend" were brilliant ear candy in a time when crunchy guitars, close harmonies, and British Invasion-style pop hooks were in short supply on the charts, and their body of work has held up remarkably well since they broke up in 1975. While plenty of bands with lesser credentials have made a career out of playing the sheds and fairs each summer, the Raspberries have opted not to cash in on their past glories, thanks in part to Eric Carmen's solo career. But in 2004, the original Raspberries lineup -- Carmen on vocals, guitar, and piano, Wally Bryson on guitar and vocals, David Smalley on bass and vocals, and Jim Bonfanti on drums and vocals -- reunited for a short string of dates, including a sold-out show in their hometown of Cleveland. Pop Art Live documents that Cleveland show, and anyone who figured these guys might be phoning it in after close to 30 years gets shut down right out of the gate. Here, the Raspberries merge the superb craftsmanship of their classic recordings with the sweat and muscle of a crack band having a great time. While a few ringers were on-stage to help re-create some of the studio arrangements, the core of the band still sounds vital and eager to rock the house, and they fill the set list with classic hits, deep album cuts, and relevant covers, even throwing in a couple of tunes by Bryson, Smalley, and Bonfanti's early band the Choir. On Pop Art Live, the Raspberries manage to sound enough like their old records to satisfy casual fans as they add enough energy and grit to set this apart for the truly obsessed, and the recording and mix capture it all beautifully. This won't (and shouldn't) replace the Raspberries' classic albums in your collection, but if you want to know how this great band sounded in front of an audience, this is just what you've been waiting for. —All Music, August 18, 2017
  23. Pop Art Live: Reviews

    Album Reviews Raspberries - Pop Art Live By Jeff Burger You don’t have to spend much time with the Raspberries’ quartet of early-'70s albums before you start wondering why the group never established a major presence on the pop charts. I could advance assorted theories about that, but what matters is that their pioneering power-pop sound had a lot going for it, including full-bodied Jimmy Ienner productions, infectious original songs, gorgeous harmonies, and the sensational lead vocals of Eric Carmen, who at times sounds uncannily like Paul McCartney. The group disbanded in 1975 (after which Carmen had a successful run as a solo artist), but they reemerged three decades later with a national reunion tour. That tour spawned Live on Sunset Strip, a 13-track 2007 collection that rarely strayed from the Raspberries’ best-known material. Now, from the concert that led to that tour, comes a better and more wide-ranging concert collection, Pop Art Live. The album features the group’s classic lineup plus additional musicians who, as Carmen says from the stage, are “playing all the parts we played on our records but can’t do with just four people.” Recorded in 2004 in the band’s hometown of Cleveland, Ohio, it delivers two hours of music on two CDs and makes the strongest case yet for the band’s importance. The album includes high-octane versions of the Raspberries’ biggest hits, among them “Overnight Sensation (Hit Record)” and a trio of tunes that capture the excitement, longing, and lust of teen romance: “Go All the Way” (a number-five hit), “I Wanna Be With You,” and “Let’s Pretend.” Also here are a few songs that should have been hits, such as “I Can Remember,” a lush number that sounds redolent of Carmen’s later solo work; and renditions of “No Reply,” “Baby’s in Black,” and “Ticket to Ride” that make clear how much the Beatles influenced the Raspberries. A faithful cover of the Who’s “I Can’t Explain” suggests that that outfit was an influence as well. So was Brian Wilson, whose harmony-laden tales of teen romance are echoed by much of the original material here. Among the biggest treats on Pop Art Live are two songs from the Choir, the group that became the Raspberries when Carmen joined their lineup. “When You Were with Me,” which offers three and a half minutes of jangling guitars and splendid harmonies, ranks with the best of what issued from the British Invasion. A spirited version of “It’s Cold Outside,” the Choir’s best-known song, is even better. It reminds me a bit of the Hollies and is as good as anything they ever did. It’s also better than the Choir’s likable original (which you can find on Rhino’s Nuggets box set). Carmen wrote the lion’s share of the Raspberries’ material, which is fortunate, since he was easily the group’s most gifted composer. On a few of the cuts on Pop Art Live that he didn’t author, such as “Hard to Get Over a Heartache” and “Party’s Over,” harmonies and melody take a backseat, with prosaic results. But there are far more peaks than valleys on this package, which is bound to delight the Raspberries’ longtime fans while winning the group new followers. —The Morton Report, August 7, 2017
  24. Pop Art Live: Reviews

    Raspberries: Pop Art Live Review By Craig Dorfman In their early ‘70s heyday, The Raspberries fused the upbeat boy-loves-girl melodicism of the Beatles with The Hollies’ choirboy barbershop vocals, then injected the whole mix with the turbocharged sexuality of adolescence. Finally, they shoved it through the Who’s giant Marshall stack. In the summer of 1972, “Go All The Way,” their paean to frantic teenage lust blared from every car radio in America. After four albums and one lineup change, the band split acrimoniously with day-after-never chances of reuniting. Over the next 15 years, head ‘berry Eric Carmen popped into the top of the Billboard charts on the strength of his throaty, urgent voice and ultra-mainstream heartland singles like “All By Myself” and “Hungry Eyes.” As they often seem to do these days, in 2004, pigs flew and hell froze over and chickens grew teeth and the Raspberries’ original lineup—Carmen, Wally Bryson (guitar), Dave Smalley (bass), and Jim Bonfanti (drums)—reunited for a North American tour. Memorialized on Rykodisc’s 2007 Live on Sunset Strip, the tour was a hit with fans, critics, and the band members themselves. Carmen intimated that he’d been writing new songs, and a Raspberry revival looked promising. It’s 10 years later, and though those new songs have yet to emerge, Omnivore records has released Pop Art Live, documenting the 2004 reunion’s opening night: the original lineup’s first show in 32 years. Pop Art proves the Raspberries to be a tremendously capable group, musically. Bryson delivers fluid, squealing solos, while Smalley anchors the group through a surprising number of rhythmic twists and turns. Bonfanti, though, is the real hidden treasure on the record. He fires off frenzied, Keith Moon-style fills that give the music a sense of imminent blastoff. Further, Carmen’s voice hasn’t lost any of its range or fire, making 30-year-old songs played by guys in their 50s sound fresh, relevant, and positively ecstatic. And the addition of four additional musicians Carmen nicknames “The Overdubs” allow the harmonies to soar. The a cappella breakdown in the center of “Overnight Sensation (Hit Record)” is flawless; contrasted with the thundering Bonfanti fill that ushers the instruments back in, it’s breathtaking. To some extent, there’s a “Why bother?” element to Pop Art’s release. Although recorded a year earlier, it bears a striking similarity to Sunset Strip. The personnel are nearly identical (Pop Art includes one percussionist not on the earlier album) and each record features all of the Raspberries’ best-known songs, and in that sense, they provide comparable summaries of the reunion. Pop Art offers a longer and somewhat more revealing set than Sunset, including three Beatles covers (“No Reply,” “Ticket To Ride” and “Baby’s In Black”) and a pair of songs from Raspberries precursor band The Choir. A scorching version of fan favorite “Starting Over” kicks off disc two, followed soon after by a hypnotic “I Saw The Light.” Pop Art portrays a band relishing their unlikely reunion and the people that came out to support them. Carmen repeatedly thanks their audience for years of support, repeatedly assuring them that they’re the best fans in the world. Above all, though, they’re overjoyed by the chance to play these songs once again. “Gosh, that one’s fun!” Carmen barks after “Nobody Knows.” “Another one of my favorites from Eric Carmen,” Bryson remarks as the last note of “Let’s Pretend” fades. “Nice to see you all here tonight,” Carmen tells the crowd, pausing a second before exclaiming “And I must say, it’s kind of nice for us to be here tonight,” and tearing into the next song. —Paste Music, July 24, 2017
  25. Eric interview

    Wow...GREAT! Can't wait to see this documentary! Bernie