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Chesapeake Juke Box Band

Chesapeake Juke Box Band

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Title:  The Chesapeake Jukebox Band
Company: Greene Bottle
Catalog: GBS 1004
Year: 1972
Country/State: US
Grade (cover/record): NM / NM
Comments: gimmick, gatefold sleeve

Admission - I bought this one at a yard sale strictly for the cover. Based on the label and some of the song titles I figured it was going to be faceless country, but I simply loved the jukebox cover art (another admission - I own a Wurlitzer 2500S).

Produced by Ron Frangipane, 1972's "The Chesapeake Jukebox Band" served to showcase the work of songwriters Rusty McFinn and Steve Sawyer. With McFinn and Sawyer responsible for all ten tracks, as well as vocals, judging by tracks like 'Until We Meet Again' and 'Has To Be' the pair clearly had a Beatles infatuation, but there was more to it than that. Aided by Frangipane and a collection of New York sessions players, this was more than mindless imitation, rather served as a heartfelt tribute to The Fab Four and numerous other British invasion bands. It certainly wasn't the most original albums you've ever heard, but it's one of those collections that sounds great on an upscale stereo system (of quality headphones) and makes for a fantastic game of 'spot-the-influence'.

'- Complete with Beatles and pop culture references, 'Until We Meet Again' simply reeked of Far Four worship. That said, it was a playful kind of homage with one of those pop-psych melodies that Paul McCartney effortlessly threw out. The icing on the cake came in the form of the George Harrison-styled guitar. Easy to see why it was tapped as a single.  rating: **** stars
- To my ears the harmonica-propelled ballad 'Love' sounded more like a Hollies track than a Beatles effort. Pretty with some nice harmony vocals, but not particularly memorable. And then about halfway through the song started to bounce all over the musical spectrum including morphing into a sing-along anthem that recalled 'All You Need Is Love' and ending with a trumpet power Latin-esque piece.   rating: **** stars  
- 'Jennifer' was another oddity. Half of the song sounding like something Brian Wilson might have written while stoned, sitting at his piano in that infamous living room sandbox. The other half sounded like something off of "Magical Mystery Tour".   rating: *** stars  
- Wrapped in elaborate orchestration including some 'Penny Lane' trumpets, 'This Time' sound the pair doing the best to channel The Bee Gees. The song was actually pretty good, but the overblown arrangement all but drown them out.    rating: *** stars  
- Opening up with some seriously frenetic drumming (Keith Moon would have been happy), 'Has To Be' found the band diving headlong back into the Britpop sound. Turning in their best John Lennon imitation, this one blended a hard rock edge with treated vocals, and studio effects, before suddenly shifting gears into a 'Golden Slumbers' styled ballad. It was actually far better than that description makes it sound.    rating: *** stars  
- Side two was billed as a side long suite - 'Martha & Wally Fitzbee's Memorabillia'. 
- 'Daisy's for the 8th of May' started out as a The Bee Gees-meet-the-Beach-Boys mash-up. Quite strange, but it also sported some of the album's best backing harmonies and a short klezmer segment.   rating: *** stars  
- 'Sad Nite In Boston' sported the album's best guitar solo, but the rest of the song was best described as second-rate Bee Gees.   rating: ** stars  
- 'Complete with Thomas Damron Foster spoken word segments, Fizbee's Tavern' sounded like John Lennon trying to re-write 'Eleanor Rigby'. Another very strange composition.  rating: *** stars
- 'Chesapeake Juke Box Band' started out with Bee Gees-styled group vocals. Starting out as a breezy pop song, a couple of minutes in it took on a more rock oriented structure, ultimately turning into the album's 'heaviest' performance.  rating: **** stars
- Starting out with a surprisingly funky bass line, 'The Door's Unlatched' abruptly shifted gear s turning into a stark piano ballad which saw the title repeated over and over with a heavily treated vocal effect. That ended the album on an distinctively acid soaked note. The shutting door sound effect at the very end of the song was pretty funny.    rating: *** stars  

The album was also tapped for a single in the form of:

- 1972's 'Until We Meet Again' b/w 'This Time' (Green Bottle catalog number GBA-100)

Any self-respecting Beatles fan should score a copy of this one (and you can still find copies on the cheap, plus it's been reissued by the Revola label.

"The Chesapeake Jukebox Band" track listing:
(side 1)
1.) Until We Meet Again (Rusty McFinn - Steve Sawyer) - 3:14
2.) Love (Rusty McFinn - Steve Sawyer)- 5:00
3.) Jennifer (Rusty McFinn - Steve Sawyer) - 2:37
4.) This Time (Rusty McFinn - Steve Sawyer) - 3:40
5.) Has To Be (Rusty McFinn - Steve Sawyer) - 3:44

(side 2)
Martha & Wally Fitzbee's Memorabillia (Rusty McFinn - Steve Sawyer)   
2.) Daisy's for the 8th of May (Rusty McFinn - Steve Sawyer) - 4:37
3.) Sad Nite In Boston (Rusty McFinn - Steve Sawyer) - 3:28
4.) Fizbee's Tavern (Rusty McFinn - Steve Sawyer) - 4:57
5.) Chesapeake Juke Box Band (Rusty McFinn - Steve Sawyer) - 4:58
6.) The Door's Unlatched (Rusty McFinn - Steve Sawyer) - 1:56
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