When a perfect pop/rock song like “Soul Shaker” comes along it’s hard to express to people in words what a fun experience they’re in for. But with the internet and artists posting the music to hear for free a great production and solid piece of songwriting like this has a chance to emerge and conquer the planet. Go to JohnLaprade.com to check it out. For those who love “Soul Shake” by Delaney & Bonnie (the lp To Bonnie from Delaney) or the quintessential Flamin’ Groovies track “Shake Some Action” (the 45 RPM from the U.K., more than the Sire lp title track), this could be the parallel world sequel to the Groovies song of love and lust. With Laprade on vocals, electric guitar, Rich Pagano on drums, bassist John Conte and backing vocals by Michael Miller, Barney Miller and Laprade, this song has all the elements. My favorite new release from an artist I’ve not heard of before so far in 2011…it’s just totally brilliant pop and landed on the #1 spot on my JoeVigTop40 blog for May.
The first video is for “Blind”, another excellent song with great production from Robert L. Smith (producer for Stacey Rose, engineer for Bon Jovi, Aerosmith, Carly Simon, Spin Doctors; re-mixer for David Bowie etc) – hooks galore and solid words power this well balanced collection of ten songs. Television’s Richard Lloyd shows up on “Knock You Down” with some very Television-esque Roxy Music-without-the-keyboards groove in a different setting. “Anything At All” is a folksy Kenny Rankin-type number, a brief two minute and ten second chance of pace that works very nicely on this collection. But it is “Anytime”, track 9, is as good a track as “Soul Shaker”, but in a different way. With flavors of the great Jerry Ross’s production work on Keith of 98.6 fame, featuring the exuberance felt on “Live” by the Merry Go Round or “Have I The Right” by the Honeycombs (though not the groove, just the feel and majesty and similar vocal) sunshine pop with a Beatle-esque piano, “Anytime” is something the summer of 2011 desperately needs to fill in the gaps. If radio and the supermarkets overplayed “You’re Beautiful” by James Blunt (over 16 million spins on YouTube), why are the programmers not out searching for something as exquisite as this?
Producer Smith engineered one of my all-time favorite Christmas songs, “All Alone On Christmas” from Home Alone 2, which got heavy play on AM 1570 WNSH when I was program director up there back in the day…it’s great to see his sublime production work on artists like the aforementioned Stacie Rose as well as Monica Ott and now Laprade (and others). Robert L. Smith, Jr. is a producer to watch…he’s got the ear and he’s finding extra special artists to work with. John Laprade’s World Class Faker is impressive, despite its deceptive title. Encore.
Joe Viglione is the Chief Film Critic at TMRZoo.com. He was a film critic for Al Aronowitz’s The Blacklisted Journal, has written thousands of reviews and biographies for AllMovie.com, Allmusic.com and produces and hosts Visual Radio. Visual Radio is a fifteen year old variety show on cable TV which has interviewed John Lennon’s Uncle Charlie, Margaret Cho, Ray Manzarek, John Densmore, Felix Cavaliere, Marty Balin, Bill Press and hundreds of other personalities.