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Snowball - Snowball

Snowball - Snowball

Price: $300.00 currently not available     
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Genre: pop
Rating: 4 stars ****
Title:  Snowball
Company: Guinness
Catalog: GNS-36065
Year: 1977
Country/State: Brooklyn, New York
Grade (cover/record): VG+ / VG+
Comments: --
Available: 1
Catalog ID: 5882
Price: $300.00

Not to be confused with Roye Albrighton's post-Nektar Germany/UK band of the same name ... This was another tax scam outing by the infamous Guinness label. 

Singer/keyboard player Joey (Joseph) Carbone and guitarist Richie Zito grew up in Brooklyn, New York, discovering rock and roll at roughly the same time. There's an interview where Carbone said he learned piano from a nun. Still in their teens, the pair formed The Bay Ridge, getting signed by Atlantic while still in high school. Atlantic subsequently released a pair of Young Rascals-styled blue-eyed soul/lite psych 45s: 

- 1967's 'Back Track' b/w 'I Can't Get Her Out Of My Mind' (Atlantic catalog number 45-2431) 
- 1968's 'Without You' b/w 'I Will Wait' (Atlantic catalog number 45-2520) 

While all four sides were quite good, none did a great deal commercially and the group subsequently called it quits

Carbone and Zito continued their partnership in the short-lived late-1960s/early-1970s pop-rock outfit Snowball. Snowball never made much of a splash, though they obviously managed to record some demo material with producer Robert Gallo who apparently passed the tapes to the Guinness label (as well as recording a couple of his own albums for the label). Interestingly well known collector/tax scam Aaron Mileski actually tracked down Carbone and Zito who didn't even know their work had been released. Musically Carbone and Zito were quite impressive. Carbone had a voice that was flexible and commercial - one of those instruments that would have been an advertising company's dream. He was also an accomplished keyboard player, while Zito was a grossly under-rated guitarist. Flexible and always tasteful, his work provided many of the album's highlights.

- Opening up with Carbone tinkering in a churchy sounding organ, 'When I Wake Up In the Morning' displayed a nice gospel rock feel - imagine a pop-oriented Delaney Bramlett. Pretty melody with some nice harmony vocals, and classy fuzz guitar and electric sitar from Zito made for one of the album's standout performances. rating: **** stars
- 'Dreams of a Sunday Afternoon' had a distinctive '60s feel; recalling something out of The Kinks, or 'Eleanor Rigby' school. No idea if it was one of their earlier efforts salvaged for the album or a later work intended to capture the earlier timeframe. Regardless it was pretty cool. rating: *** stars
- With mild country flavor, 'Write Me a Letter' originally didn't do much for me, but it's one of the album's 'growers'. Zito's slashing guitar and the brief solo garnered the song extra points. rating: *** stars 
- A mid-tempo rocker, 'I Don't Wanna See You Any More' had a nice anguished Carbone vocal that actually reminded me a little of early Tom Petty, but just as the track was beginning to generate some really steam it was faded out prematurely. Shame since this could have been one of the album highlights. rating: *** stars
- Carbone certainly had a decent voice, but on the rocker 'I Wouldn't I Couldn't' he mistook shrillness for power. Too bad since Zito's acoustic and fuzz guitar work was wasted on the track. rating: ** stars 
- 'How Can You Face Love Again' was a breezy, but forgettable pop song. Not much to recommend on this one. rating: ** stars 
- An up-tempo slice of blue-eyed soul with an insidiously catchy chorus, 'So Happy Baby' sported a hyperactive bass line that would have made Paul McCartney smile and some tasty harpsichord. Great tune with considerable commercial potential. rating: **** stars 
- The ballad 'You Never Know What You Have' featured on of their prettiest melodies and one of Zito's most impressive solos. rating: *** stars 
- 'Please Don't Go Away' found Carbone and Zito taking a stab at an atypically hard rock sound. Complete with squawking fuzz lead guitar and frenetic drums the results were surprisingly impressive. Easily the album's best performance. rating: ***** stars  
- Sounding like Carbone was singing with a nasty head cold (the vocal has always reminded me of someone else and I've never been able to put my finger on it), the lone non-original, 'Lullaby Jean' found the pair in full singer/songwriter mode. The song wasn't bad, but simply didn't live up to the previous rocker. That said, the bass line was very inventive.  rating: ** stars  

One that grows on you more and more each time you listen to it. All told I'd have to rate this as one of the top-5 releases on Guinness. With a little publicity it could have done well commercially. (It is also one of the rarer Guinness releases, explaining at least part of the asking prices.)

"Snowball" track listing:
(side 1)
1.) When I Wake Up In the Morning (Joey Carbone - Richie Zito) - 
2.) Dreams of a Sunday Afternoon (Joey Carbone - Richie Zito) - 
3.) Write Me a Letter (Joey Carbone - Richie Zito) - 
4.) I Don't Wanna See You Any More (Joey Carbone - Richie Zito) - 
5.) I Wouldn't I Couldn't (Joey Carbone - Richie Zito) - 

(side 2)
1.) How Can You Face Love Again (Joey Carbone - Richie Zito) - 
2.) So Happy Baby (Joey Carbone - Richie Zito) - 
3.) You Never Know What You Have (Joey Carbone - Richie Zito) - 
4.) Please Don't Go Away (Joey Carbone - Richie Zito) - 
5.) Lullaby Jean (J. Trapp) - 

Carbone went on to serve as musical director for the Star Search television show and has carved out a successful career as a producer and writer working with a wide array of Japanese (and American) stars. Thought there's no mention of Snowball, for anyone interested, Carbone has a web presence at: 

Zito followed a similar path starting in the early 1970s as a studio and touring musician, recording and touring with Neil Sedaka and Elton John, collaborating with disco star/producer Giorgio Moroder, and the enjoying success as a producer in his own right. He also has a website at: 
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