Review: The Paley Brothers the Complete Recordings – The Return of 70’s Power Pop

Power Pop, Sunshine Pop and Northern Soul are three under-appreciated genres and the Paley Brothers are masters of the first two – the elements of melodic music that contain the Power and the Sunshine. Real Gone Records has released a terrific twenty-six selection single disc of Andy Paley and Jonathan Paley which includes all the material from their eponymous Sire Records full-length lp debut including as well as tracks from the duo’s 1978 Madison Square Garden gig with Shaun Cassidy (the tunes “Felicia” and “Sheila”) as well as a song produced by Phil Spector. Andy also joined brother Jonathan for the 1980 Nervous Eaters album on Elektra with a variety of appearances as musicians and/or producers on other albums. One of those “other discs” is the cool soundtrack to the Ramones film Rock ‘n’ Roll High School – which teams up the Ramones with the brothers Paley for “Come On Let’s Go.” That gem is included here.

This writer was lucky enough to catch The Sidewinders, Andy Paley’s earlier group, in 1973 at the now-defunct Frolics Ballroom (it’s just a field on the beach now, with two newer nightclubs a few blocks north filling the gap.) Andy and his Sidewinders performed “Rendezvous” from the Sidewinders lp, a tune that is also available on this THE PALEY BROTHERS: The Complete recordings. The Paley’s threw some of the wildest parties, which were kinda sorta extended when the Sidewinders played The Rat in Kenmore Square or when Andy provided percussion for a latter-day Jonathan Richman and the Modern Lovers (the Stone Phoenix Coffeehouse being a memorable event), or Jonathan Paley’s stint with Steve Cataldo’s Nervous Eaters. Both brothers always brought that intangible pop undercurrent to the most rocking of projects, as well as the most subdued. Jimmy Iovine’s production of “Come Out and Play” you can hear for yourself on the YouTube included here. “Rendezvous” gets a Spectorized treatment from the Paleys, more realized on the four song Sire EP than the original version from the Sidewinders lp on RCA Records. Hear the update from The Complete Recordings here:

To this critic’s ears the Ramones and the Paleys were a formidable combo, giving Joey Ramone’s slam/bang punk outfit a nuance which was a break from the intentional monotony of the repetitive “lobotomy” that The Ramones used to put their audiences into a catatonic state. This is the antidote, the Paley’s bringing the sunshine to the Ramones dark underground angst.

Jonathan Paley will phone in to Visual Radio Live this Thursday night at 8 PM – December 5. You can hear and see it on the web

1. Here Comes My Baby (Unreleased)2. Meet The Invisible Man (Unreleased)3. Too Good To Be True4. Boomerang (Unreleased)5. Felicia (Unreleased, live at Madison Square Garden)6. Come Out And Play7. She’s Eighteen Tonight (Unreleased)8. Running In The Rain (Unreleased)9. Sapphire Eyes (Unreleased)10. Come On Let’s Go (with the Ramones)11. I Heard The Bluebirds Sing12. Down The Line13. Sheila (Unreleased, live at Madison Square Garden)14. You’re The Best15. Stick With Me Baby16. Hide & Seek17. Lovin’ Eyes Can’t Lie18. Spring Fever (Unreleased)19. Rendezvous20. Jacques Cousteau – (The Young Jacques)21. Tell Me Tonight22. Magic Power23. Turn The Tide24. Ecstasy25. Theme From Fireball XL-5 (Unreleased)26. Baby, Let’s Stick Together (Unreleased)

Joe Viglione is the Chief Film Critic at He has written thousands of reviews and biographies for,, Gatehouse Media, Al Aronowitz’s The Blacklisted Journal, and a variety of other media outlets. Joe also produces and hosts Visual Radio, a seventeen year old variety show on cable TV which has interviewed Jodie Foster, director/screenwriter David Koepp, Michael Moore, John Cena, comics/actors Margaret Cho, Gilbert Gottfried, Gallagher, musicians Mark Farner and Don Brewer of Grand Funk Railroad, Ian Hunter of Mott The Hoople, Ray Manzarek, John Densmore, Felix Cavaliere of The Rascals, political commentator Bill Press and hundreds of other personalities.