All Around Records

Tuesday, May 30, 2023

The Midnight Callers

Baby Let Me Be (Single)

Jem Records

This power pop/indie rock song, about not wanting someone back, isn’t mean or nasty to the woman in question. The singer is just asking for his ex to give it, and give him a rest. The whole song goes down easy, with enough grit to to give it some bite, but not so rough as to be too jagged, which makes it great from start to finish. 

Andrea Weiss

Monday, May 29, 2023

 Tony Valentino is a legend. From the iconic “Dirty Water” and “Sometimes Good Guys Don’t Wear White” to his new album on Big Stir, he has made some of the best garage rock. I always have been a fan and was glad to listen to this album, to hear it all.

Tony was kind enough to answer some questions for me.

Andrea Weiss: Can you give us a brief history of the Standells and what you've been up to since?

Tony Valentino: So, myself and Jody Rich, we started a band in 1961, the Starliters, [with] which I was a part of the hit song "Let's Go" by the Routers. It was myself, Jody Rich, and Lanny Duncan. To record it we all paid for the studio time, $5 each. One day Lanny disappeared, and me and Jody, looking for a keyboard player/singer, we found Larry Tamblyn. With Jody being the leader, we started looking for a booking agent and we found Mc Conkey agency in Hollywood in 1962. He suggested to change the name, because 'a new member,' so he sent us to the corner of Yucca and Wilcox. So standing around for three days, finally back to the office, at first it was the Standels, but realising that there was an Amplifier name Standel, later on we did a DBA changed to The Standells, with two "l"s, and because we were standing around for three days.

Everybody around 1969 and '70 disappeared: Dick Dodd quit in '68, Larry went and got married in Idaho, something like that. I continued with the Standells with new members, went to Canada for almost six years, then went back to the US to continue with writing, and recorded several songs, and then more and more. So I stayed with music. In 1986 I got Dick and Larry to record some songs and we did few clubs gigs. In the 90s I opened a very successful Italian restaurant, Caffe Bellissimo. for 12 years. I got married and I have a 28-year-old daughter, Brianna, but I'm divorced. I sold the restaurant and I went back to do music.

AW: Who are and were your influences?

TV: Chuck Berry, Buddy Holly, Bill Haley and the Comets – this is important because I'm from Italy from a small village in Sicily, Longi. My parents took me to see a movie one day. Had no idea what it was all about, but to my surprise this song came on and in a second I was, like, in La La Land. This guitar solo came on I've never heard anything like, and I'm talking about "Rock Around The Clock," so after that I kept on saying, "Got to go to America."

AW: This album is so much fun to listen to. Was that the main point here, to have fun?

TV: Yes. I must say fun and also challenging, and painful. I have a studio in my house. Worked nights and nights to make sure it was right. It was all on me for everything, like making sure the sound was okay. Had to work with guys on vocals and so on, but I'm happy that it rocks. I was in touch with Dennis Chunning. One day he is a making-deals- and-getting-records-promoted dude (he connected me with Big Stir Records), and next thing I know, he helped me put the deal together, and so I got signed, finished the Dirty Water Revisited LP, and now it is out. Wow! So many years.

AW: Do you have any favorite Standells songs?

TV: "Have You Had That Feeling," "Riot On Sunset Strip."

AW: What did you think when the Red Sox and Bruins made “Dirty Water” their official anthem?

TV: The Red Sox, yeah, that was unbelievable, and when we went to Boston to play "Dirty Water," at least four times at Fenway Park – awesome! I remember I started my guitar riff on "Dirty Water" and 50,000 people went wild! Yes, I'm glad.

AW: Are you glad that you influenced bands like the Sex Pistols?

TV: I influenced so many big time artists, even Bruce Springsteen playing "Dirty Water." The other day I saw a video of him.

AW: Any plans to play any shows?

TV: I'm working at the moment producing young artists, but I may go back to the Midwest and do some more shows.

AW: What would you say to someone who is just starting out in music?

TV: I would say I feel sorry for them, because with the Internet now it is so out of control, but you gotta do what you gotta do. Just get yourself prepared and practice, practice, and go for it.

 Tony Valentino

Dirty Water Revisited

Big Stir

All the Standells classics, in rerecorded form, are here, from the guitarist and lead singer for the band, Tony Valentino, on his solo debut for Big Stir. All are good and a very nice introduction to both Tony and the band.

If all you know of the Standells is “Dirty Water,” adopted anthem of the Boston sports teams, as the song is a tribute to the city, or “Sometimes Good Guys Don’t Wear White,” then you need this introduction to a great band on an album where Tony shines in his own right.

It's a lot of fun, as there are a few new songs, like “I’m A Sexy Punk Rocker,” that are a hoot, and the widely banned for its raunchy lyrics “Try It.” The new songs stand with the best of the Standells.

If you want a fun summertime album, it’s this one, and it's great to rock out to, since the Standells were one of the all-time great garage rock bands.

Andrea Weiss

Sunday, May 28, 2023

 The Bablers

Mr. King (Single)

Big Stir Records

This mellow power pop song is gentle social and political commentary. Released the day before King Charles' coronation, it asks if Mr. King and Mrs. Queen are as happy as they seem in their castle. It’s charming, somewhat atmospheric, and suggests, without saying so directly, that maybe it's time for them to step down. So if you’re in the mood for something gently quirky, this would fit the bill.

Andrea Weiss

Monday, May 22, 2023

 Tony Valentino

Try It (Single)

Big Stir Records

Originally released in 1967, and banned by many radio stations for its suggestive lyrics, Tony recorded this new version for his upcoming album Tony Valentino Revised.

The new version retains the raunch, and very well, -- still rocking, still good, and fun. If you liked the Standells, of whom Tony was a member, you will get into this. In other words, "Try It," you will like it.

Andrea Weiss

Friday, May 19, 2023

 Black River Delta

The Way I Wanna Go (Video)

Sofaburn Records

These images of the band playing in a deserted park, lead singer Erik Jacobs walking around an empty part of town, walking in the woods, and lying in the grass, all add up to a dark, grim existence.

As this is a heavy blues/rock band, these images and what they imply are appropriate here. The song, an outtake from their excellent 2021 album Shakin’, and the video, directed by acclaimed Swedish film director Johan Bodell (the band is also from Sweden) create a well-made, great short film. If you like this song, I recommend their album.

Andrea Weiss

 R. Ring

Likeable (Music Video)

Don Giovanni Records

Mike Montgomery and Kelley Deal are R. Ring. This is one of Mike’s songs, “Likeable," which is very likable. The music chugs smartly along with gaining guitars and lyrics that could be about any number of things, very open to interpretation.

The imagery starts with Kelley shot through a sheet, and then shows the duo playing the song in a recording studio, with superimposed images of a skateboarder, and the duo’s drummer Laura King. It is also very likeable, and I say it again as I like the word play with the lyrics, and how well they go with the music. So take a look, and if you like what you see, it’s on their great current album War Poems, We Rested.

Andrea Weiss


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