Billy Vera â€“ Hopeless Romantic / 2007 Shout Factory / 14 Tracks / http://www.shoutfactory.com /
When I first received â€œHopeless Romanticâ€, I really thought that Billy Vera was Billy Ocean. Imagine my surprise when I put the disc on and hear a very funky, soulful brand of rock instead of â€œCaribbean Queenâ€. For those individuals that do not know who Billy Vera is, ey has had a career in music for the last forty-five years. Vera started off in the music industry in 1962 as a member of The Resolutions, and gradually moved into writing songs for individuals as famous as Ricky Nelson, Dolly Parton, and Barbara Lewis. While Vera is gaining more success as a music historian at this point, Veraâ€™s music on â€œHopeless Romanticâ€ is simply fantastic.
â€œSomeone Will School You, Someone Will Cool Youâ€ continues with the same strong, funky tradition that was first pushed forth with â€œCorner of the Nightâ€. The best thing about â€œHopeless Romanticâ€ is the fact that the tracks showcase Vera in all different realms; not just sticking to a live or studio format, individuals will be able to hear how Veraâ€™s output changes when confronted with another set of issues. The only thing that seems at first blush to be a problem with â€œHopeless Romanticâ€ is the fact that â€œHere Comes The Dawn Againâ€ is stuck right in the middle. This is a problem because the run time for this track is nearly 12 minutes long. The only thing that saves this disc from immediately turning everyone off is the fact that Veraâ€™s arrangements during this track are compelling enough to keep individuals interested through all twelve minutes of this behemoth track. After this finale, â€œHopeless Romanticâ€ shifts into a studio mode.
Vera and the Beaters may be one of the only bands that actually sound better in a live format than in a studio format. This is due partially to the fact that the studio compositions, such as â€œIâ€™ll Be There For Youâ€, have a production that constrains the track considerably. If these tracks were re-recorded in the current period with a strong set of production values, chances are good that the tracks would be even stronger. This doesnâ€™t mean that Vera and the Beaters sound weak at any points â€“ â€œI Want To Marry Youâ€ is a strong track â€“ but the production constrains the band from succeeding as much as they would in a live setting.
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