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Wally Bryson Top 10 (Plus)

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LC   

When you make a Wally Bryson playlist, it's a pretty impressive power pop experience. Check it out (all Raspberries songs unless otherwise noted): 

1. Name of the Game (Fotomaker)
2. Come Back (Fotomaker)
3. Party's Over  
4. Money Down  
5. Don't Want to Say Goodbye 
6. Might As Well  
7. Come Around and See Me  
8. Dry (The Bryson Group)
9. Last Dance  
10. When Is Your Dream

Honorable Mention:
• Lady K (Bryson Group)
• With You in My Life
• Hands on You
• Golden Rule (Sittin' Ducks)

The details:
1. Name of the Game (Fotomaker: Vis-a-Vis). Wally hit his stride on Fotomaker's Vis-a-Vis album. "Name of the Game" is rock'n'roll at its best, with Wally's best vocal performance. I love the building-up, building-up, building-up of the melody, and the way Wally sounds more and more irritated and menacing as it goes along, really letting loose. And... his guitar licks are as tasty as any he laid down on Raspberries records. And.... that moment where his voice segues into a guitar solo at 3:37 is spine-chilling.  
2. Come Back (Fotomaker: Vis-a-Vis). Wally channels mid-1960s Beatles in this electric pop number. The killer hook, catchy chorus, and Wally's vocal are top-shelf. In some alternate universe where "power pop" officially became a thing a couple decades sooner, "Come Back" is a Top 10 chart hit.
3. Party's Over (Raspberries: Starting Over). Before Eric Carmen's "No Hard Feelings" came along, Wally summed up the Raspberries experience with all the requisite frustration and anger and unfulfilled promise. (Yes, it was a shame!) "Party's Over," with its opening cowbell, crunchy guitar, and pounding piano, sets the tone for the autobiographical lyric. And the guitar solo starting at 1:28 is Bryson at his best. 
4. Money Down (Raspberries: Side 3). I know it's not the most politically correct lyric ("Let a woman think I got a heart of stone/I just wanna love 'em and leave 'em alone), but who cares? This is an eternally cool, slow--burning, crunchy rocker in the spirit of Free, with Wally giving an appropriately sneering vocal matching guitar licks.
5. Don't Wanna Say Goodbye (Raspberries: Raspberries). Proof that when Eric and Wally worked together, the sky was the limit. An all-time power ballad that not enough people have heard.
6. Might as Well (Raspberries: Fresh). Feels like a lost track from the Beatles' Rubber Soul. 
7. Come Around and See Me (Raspberries: Raspberries). This early 'berries number has aged extremely well. Co-written with Eric, it's got a beautiful little acoustic guitar intro that gives way to a catchy melody and innocent Wally vocal, with Eric doing a perfect harmony. You can totally understand how this track was a key in Capitol's bid to sign Raspberries.
8. Dry (Bryson Group: Dry): The title track from Bryson Group's 2003 album has Jessie singing lead with Wally harmonies. It's really a great song, and sort of channels Walrus-era John Lennon (without the craziness). There's an awesome little piano fill in the middle of the song that sounds like a combination of George Martin (Beatles producer) and Eric Carmen. A killer track that's worth seeking out. 
9. Last Dance (Raspberries: Side 3): Love this song, with its blend of acoustic guitars, fiddle, and sweet harmonies.
10. When Is Your Dream (Raspberries: Refreshed): A Wally love song from the rare 2000 Refreshed (Carmen-less) Raspberries album. Features an arresting melody and distinctively 1960s feel.

Honorable Mention:
• Lady K (Bryson Group: Dry):
Infectious pop number, the leadoff track on The Bryson's Group's Dry album.
• With You in My Life (Raspberries: Raspberries): An innocent old pop number that's always felt to me like a paean to the Beatles' "When I'm 64."  
• Hands on You (Raspberries: Starting Over). It's easy to dismiss this track as a throwaway, but I've always felt it was more than that, maybe because I first heard it in college, a time when you totally got it.
• Golden Rule (Sittin' Ducks): Feels like a cross between the best southern rock and early-'70s FM rock. Look for it on YouTube—our own Paulie Mississippi posted it (search "Sittin' ducks bryson").
• Send a Ship (Tattoo): A new discovery for me... of an old song made on the heels of Raspberries' breakup (see posts below).

For those with a deep knowledge of Wally beyond 'berries, Fotomaker, and Bryson Group, are there any other Choir, Sittin' Ducks, Tattoo, or The Secret numbers that belong? 

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Kirk   

Good job with the Wally highlights LC! Pretty comprehensive, in and out of Raspberries.

Here's my Wally top 10 (in no particular order):

1. Come Around And See Me

2. Don't Wanna Say Goodbye

3. With You In My Life

4. Might As Well

5. Last Dance

6. Party's Over

7. When Is Your Dream

8. Rock n' Roll Kids

9. Name Of The Game

10. Come Back

 

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James   

Just grabbed my one Fotomaker cd, and the disc is missing! Wanted to listen up to be able to rate Wally´s songs.

Oh well, I´ll just do his Raspberries stuff. As opposed to Dave´s songs, I like every one Wally did for the group.

1. With you in my life - didn´t like it back in the day, today I see it almost as a pop masterpiece. 
2. Might as Well - up there with Eric´s best stuff
3. Party´s Over - probably the most rockin Raspberries´ song, up there with any hard rock band´s stuff. So great.
4. Come around and see me
5. Last Dance - a really great song,..the fact it only comes in at 5 is testimony that Wally could write.
6. Money Down 

 

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LC   

While you're awaiting the return of your Vis-a-Vis CD, you can always spin 'em on YouTube, James:

 

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LC   

"Name of the Game" reminds me of "Party's Over," but with the benefit of a couple more years of life experiences (good, bad, ugly).

And then... "Come Back," that power-pop masterpiece: 

 

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LC   

Those are the only two songs Wally wrote for Fotomaker (having joined up a hair late for the first album). BUT... I'm 99% sure that's Wally doing a killer lead vocal on "Sweet Lies." Anyone know for sure? He didn't write it, but if it's not him singing, I'd be astonished. It's an outstanding rocker, in the spirit of Bachman Turner Overdrive and Free... except better.   

Put "Sweet Lies" on a playlist with "Name of the Game" and "Come Back," and you've got an outstanding trilogy of power-pop-rock'n'roll. And there's another song on the record, the Carmen-esque "Just for You," that's just as great. 

 

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James   

Thanks LC, but I quit youtube as of this morning, for reasons. But I´ll look for those songs elsewhere. Looking forward to hearing them!

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LC   

I had to find this Wally thread I put up last year to make sure my Fotomaker thread matches. It does! I like this Wally Top 10 and honorable mentions... Hope I can find all of it for a WB playlist. 

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Here is the Tattoo album for those of you that have never heard it...It is Wally’s group right after the Raspberries...includes Danny Klawon a former Choir member...Without the liner notes, see if you can pick out the Wally songs...

 

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1 hour ago, Matthew C. Clark said:

"Send A Ship" is a great Tattoo song!!! 

Agree 100%! I didnt have anything to play vinyl on for several years and when I bought a new turntable a few years ago “Send a Ship” was the first song I played on it. Always loved that one!

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LC   

I listened to "Send a Ship"—interesting song and deserving on an Honorable Mention on my list above. I'm surprised it has evaded me all these years. 

Then again, it took me many years to encounter "Dry" from the Wally and son Jesse project The Bryson Group—even though I had the kismet pleasure of walking the streets of NYC for about an hour with Jesse and friends after the 2007 Raspberries reunion at the Highline (Saturday night show). I count it among my Wally Bryson top 10 even though it's a Jesse Bryson lead.... It's still a co-Wally album, with his guitar presence felt. It's also one of the coolest songs I've ever heard.

If you aren't familiar with it, give it a spin. You'll be impressed... Jesse clearly inherited his dad's love of the Beatles. "Dry" has got one of those instant hooks, and you'll recognize Wally's guitar style. Jesse's vocal is spot-on, and there's a tasty little keyboard run (replicating rain?) at 2:45.

So, next time we hit a spell of drought-condition weather, put this one on and play it loud. 

 

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Doreen   

Love all Wally songs. Don’t forget I’d rather you leave than deceive with the Choir   My pick on Dry would be Shallow 

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LC   

Yes! "Shallow" is also worth seeking out. It has a '60s singer/songwriter vibe. Jesse has some gems on that album, augmented by the ideal partner.

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