Category: Raspberries

The Raspberries – Capitol Collectors Series

ARTIST: Raspberries           220px-RaspCapColl

TITLE: Capitol Collectors Series

YEAR RELEASED: Compilation

CHART ACTION: None

SINGLES: Charting: Don’t Want to Say Goodbye (#86), Go All the Way (#5), I Wanna Be With You (#16), Let’s Pretend (#35), Tonight (#69), I’m a Rocker (#94), Overnight Sensation (Hit Record) (#18)

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Doubtful, but some should be in the consciousness if the world was right.

LINEUP: Eric Carmen, Wally Bryson, Dave Smalley, Jim Bonfanti. Scott McCarl and Michael McBride were on their last album, and played on a few tracks here.

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Power-poppers made inconsistent albums, but this one collects the best tracks from each one.

 SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: After reviewing one individual album and listening to others, the Raspberries were not consistent track over track and seemed to be more of a singles band. An issue is that Eric Carmen tended to go to maudlin ballads to fill time (just like in his solo career), and the other Raspberries had about a 50-50 chance of writing a dream or a dud.

Still, with this collection, you get the good stuff, and not the dross. (Well, mostly, as there are a couple of draggy ballads still hanging around.) Their hits are fantastic power pop, and the contenders (“Let’s Pretend”, “Tonight”, “Hard to Get Over a Heartbreak”, “Nobody Knows”) are coulda shoulda been hits had they gotten the promotion (or weren’t regulated to a B-side or an album cut).

Power poppers should grab this right away – but they probably already have it. As for the rest of you, you need to experience the depth of Carmen and his group. They were fantastic when they were on.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: The band formed from the remains of Cleveland bands The Choir and Cyrus Erie with Carmen forming the Quick after Cyrus Erie disbanded.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No

 GRADE A: I can take a mawkish ballad or two if it means the rest of this collection exists.

Raspberries – Raspberries

ARTIST: Raspberries Raspberries_album

TITLE:  Raspberries

YEAR RELEASED: 1972

CHART ACTION: #51

SINGLES: Don’t Want to Say Goodbye (#86), Go All the Way (#5)

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Maybe Come Around and See Me or I Saw the Light

LINEUP: Eric Carmen, Wally Bryson, Dave Smalley, Jim Bonfanti

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Cleveland-area band releases the quintessential power-pop single, and an album that’s unfortunately spotty.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: The opening notes of “Go All the Way” gives you a thrill few songs do; a rush of energy through your body that signals this is a special song. The move from hard rockin’ intro to gentler verses is genius and the harmonies in back of Carmen are, as some critics said at the time, definitely Beatle-esque.

If only the rest of the album were that thrilling. The two tracks after “Go All the Way” are decent enough and give you hope that it’ll be a fine album, especially “I Saw the Light”. The rest of the rockers seem tossed off or half-hearted, and Carmen’s ballads are goopier than sorghum syrup.

One of the problems is that the band was democratic, and let others carry the weight of the songwriting and singing. That was great for the Beatles, but here Carmen’s stuff is superior, so maybe one track each for Bryson and Smalley? Plus, there’s only nine tracks (and one of those is an eight minute excursion by Carmen). I exiled a few.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: The original album came with a scratch-and-sniff cover.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No

GRADE: B-: I love the Raspberries. Or I should say, I love the songs that are on the compilations. Slogging through this album, at least, was tough.