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COLLECTION: an Embarrassment of Richard

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Album Review

Richard Barone has been one of pop music's best-kept secrets for 25 years, which is a shame. Instead of being filed in the "talented but obscure" category, his is a rare talent that should be known and loved by the masses. Since his days as the leader of the Bongos, Barone has been the master of the pop song, writing melodies that are uplifting and fun, but also soft, brooding, and lovely. His soothing voice has a boyish charm, reminiscent of Paul McCartney and Neil Finn, although not as innocent as Macca or as optimistic as Finn. This splendid 15-track compilation features some of the best songs from his four post-Bongos solo albums: Cool Blue Halo (1987), Primal Dream (1990), Clouds Over Eden (1994), and Between Heaven and Cello (1987). Also included are rarities like the demo to "Before You Were Born" (the original version can be found on Primal Dream) and the previously unreleased "Don't Open 'Til Doomsday," featuring guest vocals from the song's co-writer, Fred "B-52's" Schneider. Although Primal Dream was the most immediate of his four solo albums, it is the other three that leave a lasting impression on the listener, particularly the warm and moody Clouds Over Eden. "Miss Jean," "Forbidden," "Nobody Knows Me," and "Standing in the Line" are just a few of the standout tracks from that album, showing that Barone could write songs that embrace and comfort without being cloying or corny. The live tracks from Cool Blue Halo and Between Heaven and Cello are literally chamber pop classics, since Barone performed them with a small band that featured traditional rock and classical instrumentation. Hearing his newer material mixed with old classics (the Bongos' "Numbers With Wings" and Richard Barone and James Mastro's "Flew a Falcon") is like throwing a party with your old high school friends rubbing shoulders with your new friends. The performances are flawless and Barone's voice is an instrument unto itself. If you have been searching for an artist to call your own, then give Richard a listen. But remember to share him with everyone you know. ~ Steve "Spaz" Schnee, Rovi

Biography

Born: Tampa, FL

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Since his days as the leader of the Bongos, the premier band of the Hoboken pop scene of the 1980s, Richard Barone pursued a sometimes low-key but...
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COLLECTION: an Embarrassment of Richard, Richard Barone
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