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There's Gonna Be a Storm - The Complete Recordings 1966-1969

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Album Review

Though it's missing a few rarities — namely the Steve Martin single for Buddha that reunited him with Michael Brown — this is the most definitive Left Banke compilation. It features the entirety of their two late-'60s albums, as well as a couple of singles that didn't make it onto LPs at the time (though they later appeared on Rhino's History) and a previously unissued cut, "Men Are Building Sand." Their debut 1967 LP, Walk Away Renee/Pretty Ballerina, is an underrated classic of the time, matching smart harmonies and pop hooks to baroque orchestration. Its brilliance casts a bit of a shadow over the rest of this collection. The group's 1968 album, Too, suffered from bloated production and, more importantly, the absence of chief songwriter/arranger Michael Brown. In turn, the 1967 single Brown cut under the Left Banke moniker with singer Bert Sommer suffers from the absence of lead vocalist Steve Martin. By the time Brown and Martin tenuously reunited for a late-1969 single, some of the spark had gone. All of the aforementioned highs and lows of this prodigiously talented but strife-ridden group are on this disc.

Biography

Formed: 1965 in New York, NY

Genre: Pop

Years Active: '60s

Based in New York, the Left Banke pioneered "baroque & roll" in the '60s with a mix of pop/rock and grand, quasi-classical arrangements and melodies. Featuring teenage prodigy Michael Brown as keyboardist and chief songwriter, the group scored two quick hits with "Walk Away Renee" (number five) and "Pretty Ballerina" (number 15). Chamber-like string arrangements, the soaring, near-falsetto lead vocals of Steve Martin (aka Steve Martin Caro), and tight harmonies that borrowed from British Invasion...
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