This installment of "Quickies" starts with the rowdy but eventually settles on the refined. A rocker, followed by a groover, concluded with a swinger (no, not that kind of swinger). They're all from guys you might not have heard of but in their own way have quietly made significant contributions to the music scene of their choosing. In each case, their latest release should make those contributions a little more apparent to all.
As usual, the majority of the selections here are jazz, but even if you're averse to that music form, at least stick around for the first entry; it's about as far from jazz as one can get. Trust me on this...
Band reunions seem to be all the rage these days, with The Police and Genesis leading the pack. Here's a band reunion that has a more interesting story line to it.
Mike and The Ravens was formed by five teenagers from Vermont in 1960. They were your classic, early-sixties garage band that played for frat parties, barn dances and lounges in the upper New England area. They also recorded several sides for regional label Empire Records during that time. The good times came to an abrupt end in September, 1962, when three of the group members broke into a church and proceeded to play rock 'n' roll over the PA system. A little jail time resulted and the band consequently folded.
Fast forward to 2005, when the original lineup of Mike Brassard (lead vocals, rhythm guitar), Bo Blodgett (lead guitar), Steve Blodgett (rhythm guitar, backing vocals), Brian Lyford (bass, backing vocals) and Peter Young (drums) decided to reform with the intention of recording their long-overdue debut album. After a false start or two, Noisy Boys! The Saxony Sessions is finally ready for release.
The record is devilishly fun, like some band trying to ape Reverend Horton Heat, only they're not retro because they never went forward from where they started. It's raucous, loud, messy, and proudly so. They used a variety of techniques to get that dirty sound: the instrumental beds were recorded live, the instruments used were in less-than-stellar condition and the whole record was recorded using 1" analog tape.