Thursday, October 24, 2013

The Paley Brothers: “The Complete Recordings” (2013) CD Review

I admit it – I had not heard of The Paley Brothers before listening to this new CD. And that’s a shame, because a lot of this music is really good. These tracks boast lots of bright pop sounds, lots of innocence. Remember innocence? Well, this collection will trick you into thinking you do. Also keep in mind that these guys played with Jonathan Richman. And The Ramones play on one of these tracks. So don’t be quick to dismiss this band.

The Paley Brothers released an EP and one full-length record on Sire before moving on to other projects. Of these twenty-six tracks, eleven were previously unreleased. So it’s not like there was a lot of material circulating. Still, it seems wrong that these tunes weren’t more widely known. Well, now with the release of The Complete Recordings they have another chance.

“Here Comes My Baby”

The collection opens with “Here Comes My Baby,” which is glorious, feel-good pop with a certain 1960s vibe (though it was recorded in 1979). There is a bit of an early Beatles thing around the two-minute mark. This track was previously unreleased.

“She’s Eighteen Tonight” also has a bit of an early Beatles feel at times.

“Meet The Invisible Man”

“Meet The Invisible Man” is one of my favorites, and it’s another that was previously unreleased. It’s unabashed pop, but the sound on the title line is bloody great, and is enough to drive the entire song. This is also from 1979, but sounds like it was recorded earlier. Here is a taste of the lyrics: “You look through me like I’m not there/Which shows about how much you care/No matter what I do or say/You never notice anyway.”

“Too Good To Be True”

“Too Good To Be True” asks that eternal question: “I gave you my heart – how could you break it?” Also: “How could you be so cruel?/How could I be such a fool?” How many of us can honestly say we’ve never asked these questions? But how many of us have wrapped them in a fun pop tune?


“Boomerang” is a good ruck tune that certainly has a groovy Beach Boys thing going on. Well, hey, Brian Wilson provides backing vocals on this track. This is one of the collection’s highlights, and shockingly it was previously unreleased.

“Rendezvous” also has something of a Beach Boys sound.

“Jacques Cousteau (The Young Jacques)”

Probably the oddest tune in this collection is “Jacques Cousteau (The Young Jacques).” And yeah, it’s fun. Check out these lines: “He shoots little fishes just for fun/But only with a camera, not a gun/’Cause he’s Jacques, Jacques, Jacques Cousteau/How low can you go?” Elliot Easton, Greg Hawkes and David Robinson (members of The Cars) appear on this track. It was recorded in Watertown, Massachusetts.

Live Tracks

There are two live tracks in this collection, both recorded at Madison Square Garden when The Paley Brothers opened for Shaun Cassidy, both previously unreleased, and both sporting women’s names as titles. The first, “Felicia,” is a cool (and very short) rock tune. The second, “Sheila,” is a fun rendition of that classic tune written by Tommy Roe (a song that sounds very much like Buddy Holly).

The Ramones

The Paley Brothers and The Ramones join forces to tackle the Ritchie Valens classic, “Come On Let’s Go.” And the results are excellent. This is one of the best renditions of this song ever recorded. And yes, you’ve heard it. It was featured in the film Rock ‘N’ Roll High School.

The Paley Brothers also do a wonderful cover of “I Heard The Bluebirds Sing,” and a very cool cover of “Down The Line.”

Another interesting choice of covers is “Theme From Fireball XL-5.” I never saw that show, but this song is delightful. Check out these lyrics: “I’m so lonely out in space/I long to feel your touch/A million miles from your embrace/Is a million miles too much.”

CD Track List

  1. Here Comes My Baby
  2. Meet The Invisible Man
  3. Too Good To Be True
  4. Boomerang
  5. Felicia
  6. Come Out And Play
  7. She’s Eighteen Tonight
  8. Running In The Rain
  9. Sapphire Eyes
  10. Come On Let’s Go
  11. I heard The Bluebirds Sing
  12. Down The Line
  13. Sheila
  14. You’re The Best
  15. Stick With Me Baby
  16. Hide & Seek
  17. Lovin’ Eyes Can’t Lie
  18. Spring Fever
  19. Rendezvous
  20. Jacques Cousteau (The Young Jacques)
  21. Tell Me Tonight
  22. Magic Power
  23. Turn The Tide
  24. Ecstasy
  25. Theme From Fireball XL-5
  26. Baby, Let’s Stick Together

The Complete Recordings was released on September 3, 2013 through Real Gone Music.

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