It's the return of Eric Sorensen's JANGLE ON!!!
By Eric Sorensen, written exclusively for NOT LAME
Time has flown over the past few months, and I find myself long overdue in chiming in on chiming 12-string music! As always, I am indebted to Not Lame maestro Bruce Brodeen for keeping his online catalog stocked with jangly material. Recent online additions that merit jangleholics’ attention include:
MELLOW DRUNK - ONE THOUSAND LIGHTS
The Church references are hard to miss, and comparisons to Marty Willson-Piper’s 12-string guitar are warranted on tracks like “If Only I Could Change” and “Seeker.” This is classic psych-pop that Church, Grip Weeds and Rainbow Quartz label fans will really dig. This CD is going to remain in the “play stack” for a long time... and it’s one I enjoy listening to from start to finish.
DROPKICK - PATCHWORK
The band’s latest disc really shines, as evidenced by tracks like “Patchwork,” “Breakdown” and “What’s Going On.” The disc showcases mainstream power pop with just the right amount of alt-rock elements. Bruce is right on the mark when he compares this band with Teenage Fanclub and the Pyramidiacs.
SPRING COLLECTION - IN BETWEEN
Where do I start? Joe Mendoza (Bart’s brother) deserves a place in a contemporary pop All-Star band with a plethora of chiming, ringing and jangly tracks on his second full-length disc. The title track and other songs – “Christmas With You,” “Photographs Of Me & You,” “Like All Those Other Times Before,” “It’s Only Love” and “Better With You” – are just what fans of pseudo-60s pop have been looking for. The cover art even looks like Joe may be shopping at my favorite record store in San Diego – Rich Horowitz’s Off The Record shop in Hillcrest. Long may you run, Sir Joe!
What else is new? A great big thanks to my pal Ray Verno for turning me on to the following artists and songs:
BYRDMAN OF BEARWOOD
A compilation of fourteen terrific covers of Byrds songs by multi-track artist David Heselden. Heselden gives Andrew Gold and Byrds of a Feather a run for the money on classic Byrds tunes like “Turn! Turn! Turn!” “It Won’t Be Wrong” and “She Don’t Care About Time.” Heselden truly excels at getting his Rickenbacker 12-string compressor to create the “snap, crackle and pop” sustain sound that Roger McGuinn introduced in 1965. Long may you run, Sir David!
JEFFERSON STARSHIP - JEFFERSON'S TREE OF LIBERTY
The latest release from a band that has witnessed the birth of psychedelia in San Francisco in the mid-60s and the election of the first African-American President of the United States in 2008 … and everything in between! This album features the band performing their renditions of many classic folk songs (“Santy Anno,” “I Ain’t Marching Anymore” and “Chimes of Freedom”). The standout track is the mid-tempo tune “Maybe For You” - which features Marty Balin on lead vocals and excellent Rickenbacker 12-string guitar riffs as part of the supporting cast.
PENNY DAVIS AND ROGER ILOTT - BIG WATER
Male/female vocals accompanied by a Rickenbacker 12-string should make pop fans think immediately of the Kennedys, the Woodys and the Living Room Legends. Jangleholics will flip for songs like “The Humpback Whale,” “Listen To The Wind,” “Rusty Dusty Days,” “Pushing It Down” and the pair’s own cover version of “Turn! Turn! Turn!”
A 1984 release on the Rough Trade label that brought together Susanna Hoffs, Michael Querico, David Roback and others. The album features nine cover songs by the studio collaborators, with Roback doing the electric 12-string honors on Rainy Day’s cover of “John Riley.” This disc is a very cool nugget from over twenty years ago, that served as a sneak preview of Susanna’s more recent collaboration with Matthew Sweet.
The following tracks are my favorite songs from Ray’s last five BYRDSIAN volumes:
“Every Little Dream” by Lamar Sorrento
“Doctor Gee” by the Len Price 3
“Driving Under The Frasher River” by Dave Gibbs
“Try To Get Away” by the Haggs
“Everything To Me” by Copperdown
“Everything Again” by The Quarter After
“Find A Reason” by The Strawmen (which reminds me so much of the late/great Rumors’ Rickenbacker-driven pop/rock)
“Into My World” by Basement Apartment (Teenage Fanclub, anyone?)
“Long Time” by the Rose Garden (a cover of an obscure Gene Clark tune, that was reprised by the Retros on Not Lame’s FULL CIRCLE: A TRIBUTE TO GENE CLARK)
“Oceania” by Bobby Previte
“Even Geronimo Surrendered” by John Coinman
“She’s Got A Way” by the Smithereens
While Ray was compiling material from his own sources, I spent part of November culling through some pop compilation CDs to identify the most jangly tracks from each compilation. Standout tracks include:
“Provisional Love” by Barry Mauer
“A Thousand Years Away” by The Minus 5
“Sunflower” and “Reach For The Stars” by the Springfields
“Every Single Day” by Mersey Beach
“Full Circle” by Frank Brown
“A Certain Kind Of Shy” by The Saucers
“Result of Your Love” by Mind Reels
Last, but not least, a great track by Walter Clevenger and the Dairy Kings – “Fast As I Can.” Like David Heselden, Walter gets a Rickenbacker 12-string to chime as crisply as Roger McGuinn does! Walter deserves a place in the Indie Pop All-Star Band not just for his musicianship, but for his good guy support of indie pop compilations and tribute discs. Walter is one of a handful of artists who have appeared on the Gene Clark (“White Light”), Buffalo Springfield (“Burned”) and Byrds (“Full Circle”) tribute disc projects that I have been affiliated with. Many thanks, Sir Walter … and long may you run!
Until next time, jangle on!