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Color With Crayons

Denny Carleton

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Album Review

A suite of an hour or so of song fragments that flit in and out of hearing like snatches of a dream, woven together and embellished with odd reverb and sound effects. Most mainstream (and some underground) listeners will not be able to get past the sometimes primitive sound quality, especially some of the earliest parts of the piece, recorded with a thin and especially cheesy Casio. The sound quality does get better over much of the rest of the tape, and more importantly, it's an inspired work. The guitar-driven passages can be as catchy as the best power-pop, and are sung with an exuberant compassion; the experimental treatments and segues make the fragments add up to something more interesting and intriguing than they would have sounded if they were simply fleshed out into an album of normal pop tunes. If only the production and editing were better, this would be one of the most interesting overlooked albums of the '80s. As it is, it's still plenty engaging, if not that easy to find, with a personal auteurish quality that rarely makes it onto more professional-minded releases. Color with Crayons was issued on CD in 2000 on Green Light, available through www.dennycarleton.com.

Biography

Genre: Christian & Gospel

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s

Although little has been released under Carleton's name — and nothing of his has been widely distributed — he's made some good pop/rock and played a notable role in the history of Cleveland rock. In the mid-'60s he was rhythm guitarist and frequent songwriter for the Lost Souls, an eclectic British Invasion-styled Cleveland group that made some fine, little-heard recordings (see separate entry) of both Top 40-worthy, catchy mod-rockers and weird experimental tunes. After the Lost Souls...
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Color With Crayons, Denny Carleton
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