Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Kevin Buck | 12/31/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"When I first heard this in a friend's car, I knew I had to get it. I searched everywhere but was only able to get it from amazon. Every song on this album is a winner. They are catchy and I find myself constantly reaching for this when I want something to hear. Love the cover of "Love is Strange." I'm glad to see East Bay Ray doing something in music. Carla has a great lounge voice that brings to mind Eartha Kitt. I can't wait to get the other CD and await a new one."
Should have been all instrumental
Robert M | Clawson, Michigan | 02/11/2007
(2 out of 5 stars)
"If you strolled into a noisy bar somewhere and Frenchy was playing in the background, you'd probably be glad there was some kind of live entertainment and then not pay them too much attention after that. Whether or not they're good enough to be immortalized on a CD is another question entirely.
When talented amateur musicians get together and form a group to play and promote the music they love, it can be a very satisfying thing. But the problem with amateur musicians is that they sometimes can sound like, well, amateurs. Modern day Lounge recreations can be approached from several different directions and Frenchy comes at it by combining Lounge style with a rockabilly sound. And it's true that a certain rough-and-ready grittiness can be part of rockabilly's appeal. But sadly, on "Che's Lounge", while the instrumentalists have a little earthiness in their playing at times, the biggest problem is the vocalists.
Wanting to be an accomplished singer doesn't make you one and the lead vocalist, Carla Lease, is painfully overtaxed by much of the material she attempts. She sings on all but one track of this disc and I am not trying to be cruel when I say I can best describe her method of vocalizing as something like a low key bellowing or a droning monotone. She is consistently flat (I know that singing below pitch is part of a post modern punk sensibility but here it is just grating) and has a propensity for choosing material which takes her well above or below her limited range. Occasionally she is vocally backed by Brian Lease, whose efforts are no more appealing that Carla's.
Not every track on this album is a problem. The first track, "Rocket Machine" is a remake of an early sixties humor number and a character voice rather than a trained one can be an asset in this type of thing. Track 7, "White Sands" is an instrumental with only a low wordless vocalise in the background that sounds like it could have come off one of Combustible Edison's albums. I an not a fan of Klezmer music but "When I Get Low", track 10, with its strong Klezmer influence, is quirky enough to be a match for Carla Lease's voice. And the final track "Tico Tico", done in a hard driving, de-Latinized manner is enough of a tour-de-force that it finds occasional play on "On The Rocks", the excellent on-line only Lounge station provided by one of the satellite radio services. For the most part, the song stays in the singer's range and it finishes the disc with a flourish. But four tracks don't make a successful CD and the rest of its contents are pretty dire.
This is a rather negative review and I've listened to this disc several times to make sure I'm being fair and because the performers at least seemed to be trying to make a worthy effort. But I buy a lot of CDs in a year and this is one of the worst that I've bought recently. For a finer listening experience of modern day Lounge recreations, I direct you to Combustible Edison (of course), Project:Pimento, Octobop, H.B. Radke, or any of the other new cocktail nation groups. Your money will be better spent."