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The Ballad of Ric Menck

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Album Review

A much-needed and well-assembled compilation of the artist's non-Velvet Crush material, The Ballad of Ric Menck collects 11 sparkling indie single sides, all of them rendered with master pop craftsmanship. Perhaps most notable are the half-dozen cuts Menck recorded with Paul Chastain and friends under the name the Springfields for the legendary Sarah Records label, among them beautifully jangly originals such as "Sunflower" and "Wonder," as well as covers like the Hollies' "Clown" and Matthew Sweet's "Are We Gonna Be Alright." As with the pair of Choo Choo Train tracks leading off the disc, this is all essential material that has been out of print for far too long — a tip of the hat to Summershine for finally making it available again. [In 2004, Menck's own label, Action Musik, reissued the album with improved sound, expanded liner notes, and five bonus tracks, one of which — the demo for "Scatter Good Friends" — was previously unreleased.]


Genre: Alternative

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

Best known as the drummer for power-pop cult favorites Velvet Crush, Ric Menck also recorded an endless series of indie label singles under a variety of names including the Springfields and Choo Choo Train. A native of Champaign, Illinois, during the mid-1980s he formed his own label, Picture Book, to release material by himself as well as friends and collaborators including Paul Chastain; perhaps the most notable of Menck's early projects was the Springfields, which between 1988 and 1990 released...
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The Ballad of Ric Menck, Ric Menck
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