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Raspberries "Starting Over": Praise from the UK


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There's a couple of books out in England, written by music critics, that offer huge praise for Raspberries' "Starting Over" LP (somewhat surprising since the album didn't chart in England and the band never had a hit single there, but a place that truly respects Raspberries as artists). This might be a good sign for Raspberries if they ever want to launch a Cleveland Invasion of the UK.

In "The MOJO Collection," edited by Jim Irvin, featuring albums chosen by the critics belonging to MOJO magazine, one of Great Britain's hottest music zines, on page 367-78, is a full-page-and-a-half on "Starting Over." It calls the album:

"...a shining example of what evangelists call 'the sandpaper ministry': the opposing forces sanded down one another's imperfections to a heavenly sheen, creating a result that was probably finer than any of them had in mind..."

In "The Encyclopedia Of Albums," edited by Paul Du Noyer, he says of "Starting Over":

"...By the time that band had proved you could make power pop pay the Rasps had quit, dispirited - but not until this fourth and last album had proved their potential. The single 'Overnight Sensation (Hit Record)' encapsulated their hopes and dreams..."

Most of the acts in the two books are uniquely British hitmakers, so the presence of our American Beatles (Raspberries) in both books is pretty neat, I think.

Don smile

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I've said it before here that although The Razz were not a well known act in the UK in popular (sales) terms, there is a huge latent appreciation here of "our" kind of music. I just know that an appearance in London by the "Legendary Cleveland Power Pop Pioneers" would go down a storm. Just pick the right venue and get the word around the music press and you'll have no worries Eric.

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On the Cavern Club website message board, a thread was started - 'what bands would you like to see play The Cavern'?

It's not only the home of The Beatles, and a connector to the past, but these days, it's mainly a 'new music' club for live acts. For instance, The Arctic Monkeys just did a show there.

Many (assumably) younger post-ers were suggesting the hot UK bands of the day.

One lovely lad from Liverpool replied simply, in all caps: THE RASPBERRIES.

I thought that was awesome, although logistically impossible.

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I should have mentioned in that first post (too excited, I guess) that those British books list what those British critics consider to be the best rock albums ever made!

Gang, there's also the lovely U. S. book "MusicHound - Rock: The Essential Album Guide" edited by Gary Graff and Daniel Durcholz, which may be easier to find.

The (drum roll please) book features the legendary Carl Cafarelli commenting on The Choir's CD "Choir Practice" as "an essential pure pop primer" on which "many of the songs are simply wonderful."

That book also has a section on Raspberries written by Keith Klingensmith which calls Eric Carmen's songwriting in the band "some of the most powerful pop you'd ever want to hear."

Of Raspberries, Klingensmith writes, "the Raspberries have since gained a rightful place as one of the true pioneers of power pop," and adds, "the Raspberries will continue to be one of the most influential pop bands to come out of the post-Beatles' '70s."

Cool stuff!

Also:

Check out Spin magazine's 100 Greatest Singles of All-Time from 1989: http://www.rocklistmusic.co.uk/spin100.html#singles89 (Raspberries' "Go All The Way" at #91, two notches ahead of The Beatles' "Please Please Me"!)

And if you're wondering what songs are Clive Davis personal picks on Rhapsody, here's his list at: http://www.rhapsody.com/playlistcentral/...p;pageregion=A1 --- you will note that "All By Myself" by Eric Carmen is at #12 among Clive's favorites tunes!

Don smile

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There is so much available for the guys if they can just turn it up a notch (and not kill each other!)

Of course I have to wonder what Jim and Dave think when all these critics and writers comment that Raspberries turned the corner... so to speak... with Starting Over. It kind of implies that Scott and Mike were a better fit with Eric and Wally than Dave and Jim were... I know it's been said that Jim in particular doesn't like to even acknowledge there was a fourth album, but imagine how cool it would be if he could get over it and Scott joined the band... I mean, it's not like they're "just the four of us" anyhow, with the wonderful Overdubs augmenting their sound...

Ah... I do tend to get going sometimes... smile

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On the Cavern Club website message board, a thread was started - 'what bands would you like to see play The Cavern'?

One lovely lad from Liverpool replied simply, in all caps: THE RASPBERRIES.

I thought that was awesome, although logistically impossible.

Well I'm not a lad (last time I looked spin ) and I'm not from Liverpool, but I did post that reply on the CCT board. Logistically impossible or not, it would be fantastic to see the band and/or Eric solo in the UK, and a few of us in the UK have been championing the cause for a while now. GREAT to see Eric posting here, BTW. Now, what am I doing Oct. 6th???? cool
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Popcorn Double Feature....I assume from your moniker that you're a Searchers fan? They're coming over to the US for 6 shows (the "originals" with John McN. and Frank A.) in July.....really looking forward to that!!!

Searchers fan - absolutely. Amongst many others smile Yes, it is a small world, isn't it? spin

Incidentally, just to add on the UK thing; the latest of series of 'Later with Jools Holland' kicked off last night. I made reference to the band perhaps attempting to get a spot on the show a while back - an opportunity lost, perhaps? It would have been great to see Eric sitting with Jools in front of the grand piano, reminiscing about past glories, influences, etc, and discussing future plans. Anyway - there'll be many more series, I'm sure. And as for magazines: a 'Mojo' in-depth retrospective would be great. Come to the UK, EC! cool

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Your welcome, Skip, and in 1974 I was one happy 17-year-old. I missed Dave and Jim, but "Starting Over" blew me away. It seemed like all the critics finally "got it" and Capitol Records was taking out full-page advertisements in Rolling Stone, Circus (a neat sketch of the band members rather than photos), and other publications.

And then Robert Christgau, writing in Creem magazine --- http://www.robertchristgau.com/get_artist.php?name=The+Raspberries --- wrote:

--------------------------------------------------

The Raspberries: Starting Over [Capitol, 1974]

I don't quite believe it myself, but this really does it--brings the middle '60s into the middle '70s. Full of great singles for a singular time, which obviously doesn't mean this one. Two secrets. First, Scott McCarl is the big bad John they've always needed to complement Eric Carmen's supersweet Paul. Second, a vague concept (just like Sgt. Pepper!) adds dimension to several otherwise minor tracks. Highlights: "All Through the Night" (Eric as Rod the Mod), "Hands on You" (drumless John-and-Paul takeout), and "Overnight Sensation" (about being in it for hit records rather than money, which is what I call a concept). A-

--------------------------------------------------

He's a tough reviewer --- he saves an "A" rating for albums like The Beatles' "Sergeant Pepper" and an "A+" for The Rolling Stones' "Exile On Main Street." He gave "B's" to albums by Badfinger and Artful Dodger. I find myself disagreeing with his reviews sometimes, but he is interesting to read.

Christgau gave "grades" to albums, and had given a C+ to "Raspberries," a B- to "Fresh" and a "B" to "Side 3," so he wasn't a big fan of Raspberries until he gave an A- to "Starting Over." In 1976, he also gave an A- to "Raspberries Best" (the fifth and final Top 200 charting album for Raspberries).

His 1974 "Dean's List" --- http://www.robertchristgau.com/xg/pnj/deans74.php --- ranks Raspberries "Starting Over" at #4 among the best albums of that year (behind Steely Dan, Bob Dylan and The New York Dolls, but ahead of Eric Clapton at #5, Big Star at #15, The Rolling Stones at #16, and Neil Young at #28).

I used to read Christgau's reviews in Creem and more recently he can be read in Blender magazine reviewing current acts. You can search for his reviews of other artists via a search engine on his website at http://www.robertchristgau.com (warning: he gave the first Eric solo album a C+, he gave the first Fotomaker album a D+, and finally he gave the "Dirty Dancing" soundtrack a D, so you may not like some of his reviews).

Don smile

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Don, this again is incredible stuff. I was a college freshman when a guy at the dorm came running in with the Rolling Stone review. It was really a final OK, that Raspberries were indeed the coolest guys in the studio (Lennon loved 'em) and probably on the road, though I never saw Eric till 76. Thanks for this great update, will share with others back here in MN! I think that the 10/6 will be a must see. He is all CLASS!

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  • 3 weeks later...

Dave Marsh's book "The Heart Of Rock And Soul" has been out for a long time, with Raspberries "Overnight Sensation (Hit Record)" at #890 in his list of the 1001 Greatest Singles of all-time, but someone has posted the list online at http://www.lexjansen.com/cgi-bin/marsh_query.php .

There's a page for the Raspberries entry, but the photo is of the original lineup rather than the lineup that recorded the song: http://www.lexjansen.com/cgi-bin/marsh_query_artist.php?artist=raspberries .

Don

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A foreign music journalist has a Top 2000 Singles list from 2003 at http://www.muzieklijstjes.nl/Z28.htm

It lists Raspberries "Don't Want To Say Goodbye" at #1158 at http://www.muzieklijstjes.nl/Top2000van2003alf2.htm and "All By Myself" by Eric Carmen at #1448 at http://www.muzieklijstjes.nl/Top2000van2003man.htm

Uniquely European list, I must say...

Don smile

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The playlist for Bob Harris BBC-2 (the United Kingdom's "Station Of The Year" in 2005) radio show for April 8, 2006, included Raspberries' "Overnight Sensation (Hit Record)" --- http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio2/shows/bobharrisfriday/playlist.shtml

According to his biography, Harris has been described by England's "Radio Times" as "one of the greats of British contemporary music broadcasting... still an independent champion of great music."

He's also an author and has produced records for Atlantic Records and EMI Records. He has an incredible bio at http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio2/shows/bobharrisfriday/biography.shtml --- nice to have a guy of this standing (three-time winner of the British Broadcaster Of The Year Award) chosing Raspberries' music for his show.

They also have a page for our lads at http://www.bbc.co.uk/cgi-perl/music/muze...artist_id=24974 that notes:

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

In view of the fact that the Raspberries always left a good taste in the mouths of fans and critics, it was with some joy to hear that Carmen, Bryson, Bonfanti and Smalley reunited for some performances in Cleveland during 2004.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

His contact info is at http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio2/shows/bobharrisfriday/contact.shtml --- maybe he'd like a Raspberries interview to go along with his interviews of John Lennon, The Beach Boys, Bruce Springsteen and others over the years?

Don smile

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"Whispering Bob" presented "The Old Grey Whistle Test" for years on BBC2. This programme was the "serious" music antedote to the more commercial "Top of the Pops" over on BBC1. All the biggest names appeared on it - Led Zep, Skynrd doing "Freebird" live etc. Old Bob knows a good band when he sees one all right! He's part of our music establishment now.

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"Whispering Bob" presented "The Old Grey Whistle Test" for years on BBC2. This programme was the "serious" music antedote to the more commercial "Top of the Pops" over on BBC1. All the biggest names appeared on it - Led Zep, Skynrd doing "Freebird" live etc. Old Bob knows a good band when he sees one all right! He's part of our music establishment now.

Bob has his own website where you can view past playlists. Think he has a big soft spot for 'Overnight Sensation' smile

http://www.bobharris.org/pages/index.htm

He still promotes new (and old) music of quality on his Radio 2 shows, and comperes at festivals, gigs, etc. A legend indeed smile

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  • 2 weeks later...

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