David Bash dishes on some of his favorite things that came through in the mail during Corona Time
After a bit of a hiatus, I’m back with reviews of some fine music, starting off with a book about one of the greatest vocal groups of all-time!
Author: Russ Giguere and Ashley Wren Collins
Book: Along Comes The Association: Beyond Folk-Rock and Three-Piece Suits
Publisher: Rare Bird Publishing
★★★★ (4/5 stars)
“Did I mention I took a lot of drugs?” So asks Association guitarist, sex symbol and vocalist Russ Giguere, for the third time, mainly to explain why the chronology of his book, Along Comes The Association, has been a bit compromised. In truth, only the first 70 pages or so suffer this fate, as the time line ultimately becomes straighter and the prose quite clear. In fact, Giguere’s memory for detail is quite remarkable, as is his gift for storytelling, rendering this book a fun and engaging read. Giguere takes us through his time working at The Glendale Ice House, a venue that ultimately produced several iconic artists, through early ‘hootenannys’ at the legendary Troubadour, where his pre-Association band The Men (some say the first folk-rock band—yes, even before The Byrds!) cut their teeth, through the often tumultuous but very productive time with The Association, the six-man band who hit the Billboard Top 10 five times and whose breathtaking vocal harmonies and arrangements graced seven studio albums. While there may not be as much sex, drugs and rock ‘n roll as one may have thought, there’s plenty of all three to keep the reader interested, including a recounting of Giguere’s very unexpected liaison with a soon-to-be famous actress. Kudos also to Ashley Wren Collins, whose exhaustive research reveals some excellent articles and reviews. To quote the band, “come on in” and buy this book.
VIDEO: The Association “Along Comes Mary”
Artist: The Overtures
Album: The New Once In A World
★★★★ 1/2 (4.5/5 stars)
Best known as a UK ‘60s tribute band good enough to be invited by Sir Elton John to appear on stage with him, The Overtures have recently released an album of original music that stands up to the best of the current power pop scene. Once In A World is filled with 12 songs written by lead vocalist Den Pugsley (formerly of 1980s should-have-been power pop greats The Pencils) which would easily satisfy Mr. White’s firm request for “something snappy.” The Beatles are the major influence, but several ‘60s touchstones abound, crowning The Overtures as a Spongetones for The New Millennium. If you can sit still while tunes like “Till Your Luck Runs Out”, “Onceinaworld” and “She Belongs To Yesterday” are playing, you’d better check to see if you have a pulse. A jangly power pop delight from start to finish.
VIDEO: The Overtures “Till Your Luck Runs Out”
Artist: Kyle Vincent
Album: Whatever It Takes
★★★★ 1/2 (4.5/5 stars)
“The Crown Prince of Soft Pop,” as he was dubbed in Goldmine Magazine, is back with his 20th album (count ‘em!), and it’s clear that, he’s gotten even better with time. In fact, the lead off track on Whatever It Takes, “Dreaming of July”, is in this writer’s opinion the best song Kyle Vincent has ever done, with a chorus so uplifting that it could spring someone from a coma! Other highlights include “Bubblegum Baby”, which would have been a hit in a better time, “A Gilbert O’Sullivan Song”, which does its inspiration proud, the bouncy “Osaka (Maido!)” and the beautiful “The Girl In The Flower Shop”. The rest of the album features the kind of poignant, ‘70s-flavored ballads for which Vincent has long been known and loved. Among those supporting on the album are legendary session guitarist Louie Shelton and members of Raspberries. Not to be missed!
VIDEO: Kyle Vincent “Hard To Be Happy”
Artist: The No Ones
Album: The Great Lost No Ones Album
Label: Yep Roc Records
★★★★ (4/5 stars)
A super group to be sure, The No Ones counts among its membership Scott McCaughey of The Young Fresh Fellows and The Minus 5, Peter Buck (you already know who he is!), and Frode Stromstad/Arne Kjelsrud of Norway’s I Was A King (if you don’t know I Was A King, their albums are wonderfully soft, cum Teenage Fanclub-influenced; in fact, they were invited to open for The Fannies on their latest tour!). Their debut album, The Great Lost No Ones Album (lost since 2017, anyway!) features straight-ahead rootsy power pop, sounding most like McCaughey’s bands, and are suitably jagged delights. Tracks like “No One Falls Alone”, “Clementine” (which does sound a bit like I Was A King), “Dream Something Else”, “Too Blind To Believe” and the album’s coda, “Turn Again” could be archetypes for college radio, and while some of the rest of the album goes to darker territory, on the whole it’s a fine listen. Check it out!
AUDIO: The No Ones The Great Lost No Ones Album (full album)