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Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Gregg Clemons - s/t

Name: Gregg Clemons
Album: s/t
Year: 1980
Style: Singer/Songwriter Rock/Metal
Similar Bands: Survivor, Springsteen, ZZ Top, A’s
"One-Word" Review: Bi-polar New-Prog-Rock
Based Out Of: Naples, FL
Label: CBS, Nemperor,
Gregg Clemons - Cover & Insert
Gregg Clemons -Back & Insert
Gregg Clemons - Photo & Bio-1
Gregg Clemons - Record & Bio-2

Gregg Clemons (1980)
  1. Night Bird 3:22
  2. I Feel You Near 4:00
  3. 747 2:59
  4. Maybe I'm In Love 2:39
  5. Without Love 3:26/
  6. Get Up 4:03
  7. Love Speaks Clearer 2:57
  8. What You Need 3:33
  9. Don't Turn Around 2:39
  10. It Happened in My Life 5:19

Album Rating (1-10):
6.0

Members & Other Bands:
Gregg Clemons - Vocals (Jets, Clicker, Liberty & Justice, Pink Flamingoes)
Cherryl Fonfara - Backing Vox
Greg Wilson - Drums
Jeff Masino - Bass
Jeff Oakley - Keyboard, Vox
John Casella - Tenor Sax
Vito Wiegratz - Alto Sax
John Masino - Lead Guitar (Up Up Down Down Left Right Left B A Start)
Josie Falbo - Background Vox
Marilyn Grimes - Background Vocals
Michael Lorenz - Percussion
Pete Solley - Producer (Romantics, The Records, Steve Forbert)
Steve Brown - recorded & Mixed
Greg Calbi - Mastered
Chuck Toler - Management

Unknown-ness: I had never heard of Clemons, but from the year, the clothing in the photo, the pastel colored room, I thought this might be a new wave singer song writer, similar to Elvis Costello or Graham Parker. Included inside the record were a glossy promo head shot as well as a 2-page bio selling the album. I'd assume this record was property of a radio station or a music reviewer before it ended up in the dollar bin. I did read some of the review, and it tried to equate Gregg to his influences like Elvis Presley, so I figured it would be a good buy.

Album Review: I read a little about Gregg from an interview, and it seems he is deeply religious and motivated by said religion. That is now, but I’m not sure if it held true back in 1980. I’ll be looking for religious tendencies throughout the record. Track one, “Night Bird” is a rock song, with organ and driving rhythm via drums and bass. This is stereotypical 80’s rock, tinged with new wave. There is a short sax solo in the middle of song. There is an underlying feel of a 50’s doo-wop song hidden in the chorus. “I Feel You Near” starts out as a lite-jazz song, with a sax intro, and its steady, mid-tempo beat. His vocals are produced with an echo effect. Synthesized keyboards add to the mix, enhancing a secret, sneaky vibe. The smooth jazz sax comes back for short moments, continuously reminding us of the song’s nature. “747” is a straightforward, solid rock song. His vocals are a little stuffy, like on a verge of catching a cold. But the music is reminiscent of ZZ Top. “Maybe I’m In Love” has a great catchy bass line. This song and the way he sings it, sounds like Roy Orbison number. The tempo is somewhat bouncy, and the lyrics and melody maintain a relaxed start/stop pace. The synthesized keyboards are laid lightly underneath the production. From the start, “Without Love” follows the melody of Springsteen’s “Hungry Heart,” with a similar sounding piano to boot. While the verse remains to a singer-songwriter style, arena rock production of the song takes over in the chorus, complete with heavy synth keyboards.

“Get Up” is slightly darker musically, but once the lyrics start, the song sounds very much like the A’s. It possesses a chanting chorus of ‘get up,’ and tries to be persuasive about getting that action done. The main hook and drive of the song is the 80’s synthesized melody buried underneath the handclaps and vocals. A rolling drum beat, electronic jittery keyboards, and a nice driving bass all come together to form what sounds like a Blondie’s “Call Me” on Clemons’ “Love Speaks Clearer.” Metal guitars are added for the short instrumental break, and a rising vocal bridge brings us back into the chorus. “What You Need” continues the same driving spirit, and adds bouncy, jittering keyboards into the first part of the chorus. A chorus of voices supports Clemons angelically in the second part of the chorus. “Don’t Turn Around” has a unique sing-speak-rap groove to it. His voice goes deeper here than he has displayed before. Funky synth sounds fill the first musical break. His song also rises and holds on emotional, high notes. Finally, “It Happened In My Life” begins, feeling something like a driving metal-prog song at first. The chorus is made up of a call and response chant of the title. The musical break has a loud metal electric guitar showing off.

The album was much heavier than I imagined it. While I was expecting pop singer songwriter songs, what this is, is more metal, prog influenced music. I do not see the connections with Elvis Presley and oldies that the liner noted proclaimed, with the exception of “Maybe I’m In Love.” The new-wave/rock songs are really good though.


Stand Out Track:
Maybe I’m In Love

Links:
Gregg Clemons - Allmusic (empty)
Gregg Clemons Photography Business

1 comment:

  1. I like this guy. He's a good singer.

    ReplyDelete