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A Raspberries Saturday Morning

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OK It started not too different from any other Saturday morning. I woke up, came downstairs and onto the computer (priorities). I checked my standings in the Raspberries Fantasy Baseball League, made some trade offers, then switched to ec.com. Ok, time to eat. I went outside and got my newspaper(I like to read it while I have breakfast). Picture this: An overweight middle aged Italian American from Suburbia, New Jersey going out to get his Star Ledger. Yeah it was a scene right out of several Sopranos episodes. I opened the paper before even beginning to cook my eggs and a few minutes into the paper What!!! It can't be! An article on my beloved Raspberries. A review of their new cd (page 14 in a special section called "Abode"). They reviewed 9 new CDs and the Raspberries were the main story. They even had a large photo (1/4 page) of the band live on stage.(They were the only act reviewed to get a photo I might add) It was a great review by Jay Lustig,the Star Ledger's premiere music reviewer. Hopefully Bernie can post it here but I will give you a few quotes from the review:

"a power pop band with a grandoise streak. Most power pop-bands favor simple, direct arrangements, but this one strove for over-the- top-complexity. And Carmen...sometimes sang with a sense of melodrama reminiscient of Roy Orbison."

"one wonders why they didn't have more hits than they did"

"After all these years Carmen and co, still manage to sound both innocent and lascivious"

"Bryson establishes his guitar-hero credentials with a guitar solo on 'I'm A Rocker'"

They quote Springsteen's liner notes and love for the band (always a good thing to do in a NJ newspaper). It's a great review and I hope Bernie or someone can get a copy of it on here. The Star Ledger is the premiere newspaper of New Jersey.

Alright now I'm gonna go cook them eggs. Its lunchtime. I love Saturdays.

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Trip into past sometimes a blast


'Live On Sunset Strip"


(2-CD, 1-DVD set, Rykoditc)

Singing "Come Around and See Me" at the House of Blues in West Hollywood, Calif., in October 2005, Eric Carmen couldn't resist adding a phrase to the line, "If you want me to wait forever. I will." "You guys did," he said.

The show was part of the first tour by the original Raspberries lineup (singer-guitarist Carmen, lead guitarist Wally Bryson, bassist Dave Smalley and drummer Jim Bonfanti) in more then 30 years. The new "Live On Sunset Strip," featuring two CDs plus a DVD with footage of six numbers, is their first concert album, ever.

The Cleveland-based band, which had hits in the early '70s such as "Go All the Way," "I Wanna Be With You" and "Overnight Sensation (Hit Record)," was a power-pop band with a grandiose streak. Most power-pop bands favor simple, direct arrangements, but this one strove for over-the-top complexity. And Carmen, who later had solo hits like "All By Myself" and "Hungry Eyes," sometimes sang with a sense of melodrama reminiscent of Roy Orbison.

Among their fans were Bruce Springsteen, who contributes liner notes to "Live On Sunset Strip." He remembers driving in the late '70s with the band's greatest-hits album "firmly stuck in the cassette player of my C-10 pickup. Dismissed at the time of their chart dominance for having 'hits' (Fools!), they are THE great under-rated power pop masters...Soaring choruses, Beach Boys harmonies over crunchy Who guitars, lyrics simultaneously innocent, lascivious, and all about sex, sex, sex continue to make for an unbeatable combination."

After all these years, Carmen and Co. still manage to sound both innocent and lascivious on "Live On Sunset Strip." The only sign of their approaching-60 ages is an occasional lag in tempo. They stick mostly to their classic operatic pop sound, though tracks like the country rocker "Should I Wait" and the almost metal "Party's Over" hint at their virtuosity, and Bryson establishes his guitar-hero credentials with a long solo on "I'm a Rocker." "Don't Want to Say Goodbye" is a bit syrupy, but listening to hook-filled songs like "Tonight" and "Hard To Get Over a Heartbreak," one wonders why they didn't have more major hits than they did.

Covers of the 1964 Searchers hit "Needles and Pins" and the Who's "I Can't Explain" don't serve much purpose. But "Ecstasy," introduced by Carmen as "my love letter to the Who," is a delight, with the guitarists churning out power chords and Bonfanti pulling off a suitably manic Keith Moon imitation

Download this: "Tonight"

- Jay Lustig

- - - -

Outside of the Wally/Eric mixup in the first paragraph, another EXCELLENT review! This reviewer doesn't seem particularly knowledgeable about the band, which makes his rave of the live CD set even sweeter.


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