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Lew Bundles

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The Raspberries: Raspberries

Metal Mike Saunders, Rolling Stone, 6 July 1972

RASPBERRIES opens with the finest burst of lightweight English rock I've heard all year, a raunchy 16-bar guitar intro, and followed by a verse that sounds like a cross between ‘Reflections Of My Mind’ and early Badfinger. The rest of the album is just as ephemeral, and just as good.

The funny thing is that the Raspberries aren't English at all – they're from Cleveland, Ohio. Just like the Wackers, though that hasn't stopped them in cultivating a perfect three-part English group harmony, and the Raspberries go one further by even looking strikingly English. When you're dealing with groups whose aim is to do energetic, melodic rock, nationality simply seems to be no deterrent.

What makes this album easy to recommend is the fact that there really isn't a bad cut on it. With the exception of ‘Rock & Roll Mama’, an only slightly above-average rocker, and ‘With You In My Life’ (a nice uptempo good-timey number), Raspberries is composed in toto of potential hit singles, all with excellent vocals and terrific production. Even the eight-minute piece ‘I Can Remember’ works superbly, flowing through several sequences and ending with an irresistable chorus.

And if you've heard either of the Raspberries' two singles on the radio, ‘Don't Want To Say Goodbye’ and the aforementioned album opener ‘Go All The Way’, you already know how infectious their music is. With the original material quite impressive and the filler cuts all adequate, Raspberries is much more impressive than Badfinger's debut album, and I find myself already looking forward to the group's second.

There've been several other entries in the lightweight rock sweepstakes this season, things like Stories (ex-Left Banke leader Michael Brown's new group), Chesapeake Juke Box Band, and so on. Forget them: this is the one any true lightweight rock fan shouldn't be without for an instant.

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