Chesapeake Juke Box Band – Chesapeake Juke Box Band

As they put it themselves, two Beatle freaks teaming up with a Floyd freak and making musical left-turns, would be the easiest way to describe this album, though it’s more than obvious that there’s really much more to it.

Turns out that the composing/producing pair of Steve Sawyer and Freddie McFinn were just as freaked-out by the works of Brian Wilson, Left Banke, sunshiny West-Coast harmonies and who-knows-what-else-not, while their co-producing/arranging partner Ron Frangipane seems to have had equal inclinations towards Van Dyke Parks or Randy Newman, and even gospel sometimes, besides the mentioned Floyd.

Anyway, even though the resulting ’72 album, might’ve been released at least 2-3 years too late, thanks to its overall adventurousness, it still stands the tests of time remarkably well. In spite of it sounding pretty straight, compared to the rest of it, the opening Until We Meet Again is still an overload of sweet quirkiness, combining equal parts of popsike and Vaudevillian vibes.

Both Love and Has To Be are quirky little musical omnibuses, with the former being a kind of a Wilsonian Americana, while the latter leans more towards the Beatle-kaleidoscope, while This Time adds some West Coast-ish vibes.

Side two of the original LP is made of a pop-opera named Act 1, Martha & Walley Fizbee’s Memorabilia, opening with what Frangipane might’ve meant when he said that he “approached the project like he was composing music for a film”, before bursting into a pair of full-blown sligtlydelic Lennonisms, with Sad Nite In Boston and Fizbee’s Tavern.

As a bonus, we get a rough hint of what was to become the album’s follow up that never happened, but it’s the main content of the “juke-box” that makes me keep poppin’ dimes into it.

[Released by Rev-Ola 2005]

Sign me up for PopDiggers newsletter!

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.