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Noisy Boys:saxony Sessions CD (2008)

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Northeast garage band finds their mojo after 45 ye

by on 8/28/2008

Forty-five years after the original lineup of little-known Northfield, Vermont garage band fell apart, they're back, and damned if they don't sound good. And by good, I mean gritty, sloppy, frenetic, proud, tough and all manner of adjectives not usually applied to a quintet of sixty-year-old rockers. Formed among the thriving (yet isolated) scene encompassing Northfield, VT and Plattsburgh, NY, Mike & The Ravens offered up the sound of 1962: pre-Beatles DIY rock recorded in a cavernous roller rink and free of the trend-driven straightjacket radio would eventually impose. The results held more in common with the savage sounds of the Pacific Northwest than the sides waxed in Chicago or Los Angeles, and the band became local heroes. The group's original recordings can be found on the scene compilations "Heart So Cold: The North Country '60s Scene" and "Cry of Atlantis: The North Country Scene '58-'67, Vol. 2," and the group omnibus "Nevermore: Plattsburgh '62 and beyond." ¶ The group compilation follows the Ravens principles, lead vocalist Mike Brassard and songwriter Stephen Blodgett, from their initial meeting in the Ravens through a variety of '60s and '70s bands that ranged from early frat rockers through psych-tinged sunshine pop. In these new sessions, recorded in 2006 and 2007, Brassard and Blodgett reunite with the other three original Ravens (Bo Blodgett-lead guitar, Brian Lyford-bass and Peter Young-drums) to stomp convincingly around the Point Rouses, NY club that hosted their state debut over forty years earlier. The results find plenty of howl left in their voices, growling fuzz in their strings, and a rhythm section that can still crank up the heart-pounding excitement you'd expect on a Saturday night. The band opens with their 1962-penned "Roller, Roller Rollerland!" and quickly reveals how they got the rink's floor bouncing up and down under the weight of bopping teens. ¶ Stephen Blodgett's new songs retain the freewheeling spirit of his earlier work, but the unusual titles ("Sweet Potato Red Sez Polly Don't Ride" "Once I Was a Dancing Bear") and sly lyrics also speak to the his post-Ravens psych work. The band, particularly Bo Blodgett on guitar, also reach past 1962 for some mid-60s garage and fuzz sounds. You still get the grunting energy of classic frat-rock, but layered with some brain-buzzing guitar and off-center lyrics. The claxon intro to "Who Will Love You" is an apt warning of the onslaught to come, and the carnivorous howl of "She Wolf" fleshes out its story of a man-eater. The album closes with the seven minute title track, and though stretched to hippie ballroom length, the group never loses its raucous engine room chug of guitars and vocals. The band's early singles are highly prized among collectors, but often regarded as not having captured the band's true vitality; forty-five years later, the Ravens make the most of their second chance. [©2008 redtunictroll at hotmail dot com]

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Product Overview


Label Zoho Records/allegro
SKU 209056187
UPC 880956080727
UPC 14 00880956080727
Format CD
Release Date 8/26/2008
Author Mike & The Ravens
Product Attributes
Artist Mike & The Ravens
Music Format Compact Disc
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Northeast garage band finds their mojo after 45 ye by on Aug 28, 2008