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Corpus Christi Caller-Times Review


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From the Corpus Christi Caller-Times, August 10, 2007 , a review of Raspberries "Live On Sunset Strip" by Jesse De Leon (who's also program director for "Oldies 93.9," a Clear Channel station):

Power-popping Raspberries back
Jesse De Leon

Friday, August 10, 2007

When asked to describe The Who's music, lead songwriter and guitarist Pete Townshend offhandedly said, "It's power pop ... we have an edge, but the melodies are strong."

Townsend's comments signaled the beginning of a whole new genre of music: bands such as Badfinger, Big Star and the Raspberries expertly melded concise, ultra-catchy melodies with crunchy guitar lines. For this Cleveland-based quartet, known in some circles as power pop royalty, they again take the stage on their latest, "Live on Sunset Strip" (Rykodisc).

Eric Carmen, who found solo success in the mid-70s with songs such as "All By Myself," was the Raspberries' lead vocalist and tunesmith. The band's "Go All the Way" and "Overnight Sensation" (inexplicably not included in this live set) were textbook examples of power pop as they blared out of countless transistor radios in the early '70s and helped propel sales of the band's LPs.

This disc has the buzz of a high school reunion, which in a sense, it is. The Raspberries haven't been onstage together for years and Carmen felt the time was right to reconvene and see if they could reignite those power pop sparks.

"I really am surprised," Carmen said. "I hear the playback of the show, and I don't cringe!"

That self-effacing humor notwithstanding, the songs have aged well and these performances are crisp and exhilarating. The band burns through "I Wanna Be with You," "Let's Pretend," and "Come Around and See Me" with considerable gusto.

They also include an affecting take on "Needles and Pins," and the band's loose performance and Carmen's signature falsetto sync up perfectly over the course of the whole set, becoming especially poignant on the last song, the fitting "Don't Want to Say Goodbye."

So just how influential were the Raspberries? A clue to their popularity is one of the photos in the CD booklet: John Lennon is seen mugging it up wearing a Raspberries T-shirt. Carmen says that when he became aware of the photo, he contacted Yoko Ono about being able to use it in the disc's artwork.

"Yoko said that John was actually a really big fan," reflects Carmen incredulously. Lennon knew a thing or two about power pop, even before Pete Townshend labeled it as such.

Rating: The Raspberries, Live on Sunset Strip (Rykodisc) **


He makes a couple of errors in the review --- saying "Overnight Sensation" is not part of the set when it's actually on both the Standard and the Deluxe Editions, and calling the sweatshirt Lennon is wearing a "T-shirt." I haven't heard the Yoko story before, and I'm wondering if he's got that right (since it's from May Pang's private collection)?

Speaking of that Lennon photo, comedian Louise Palanker has posted that photo in her blog online at ADVENTURES IN LIFE AND COMEDY. She used to be the head writer for Rick Dees radio series, "The Weekly Top 40," and was senior vice president of Premiere Networks, a division of Clear Channel Communications (see her bio at LOUISE PALANKER ) --- she appears to be a major Raspberries fan as well.

Don Krider :)

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I don't know what kind of relationship Yoko has with May Pang, but maybe she retains rights to the use of John's likeness for commercial purposes, so that even if May Pang volunteered to lend out one of her own personal photos of John to be used in something like the artwork of a music release, permission had to be secured from Yoko in order to do so.

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