Posted on: February 15, 2008 Posted by: James McQuiston Comments: 0

Billy Vera – Hopeless Romantic / 2007 Shout Factory / 14 Tracks / /

When I first received “Hopeless Romantic”, 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 “Caribbean Queen”. 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, Vera’s music on “Hopeless Romantic” is simply fantastic.

“Someone Will School You, Someone Will Cool You” continues with the same strong, funky tradition that was first pushed forth with “Corner of the Night”. The best thing about “Hopeless Romantic” 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 Vera’s output changes when confronted with another set of issues. The only thing that seems at first blush to be a problem with “Hopeless Romantic” is the fact that “Here Comes The Dawn Again” 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 Vera’s arrangements during this track are compelling enough to keep individuals interested through all twelve minutes of this behemoth track. After this finale, “Hopeless Romantic” 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 “I’ll Be There For You”, 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 doesn’t mean that Vera and the Beaters sound weak at any points – “I Want To Marry You” is a strong track – but the production constrains the band from succeeding as much as they would in a live setting.

Top Tracks: At This Moment, Strange Things Happening

Rating: 6.5/10

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