Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Genres: Pop, R&B, Rock
From Sundazed Music, following his departure from the Left Banke, Michael Brown, the group's chief artistic force, as principal songwriter, arranger, and keyboardist, masterminded the Montage LP. Released in January 196... more »
From Sundazed Music, following his departure from the Left Banke, Michael Brown, the group's chief artistic force, as principal songwriter, arranger, and keyboardist, masterminded the Montage LP. Released in January 1969, Montage features more of the graceful baroque-tinged melodies, choral-density vocal harmonies, and creative orchestrations that are hallmarks of Brown's work with the Left Banke. This first-time CD release, direct from the original master tapes, features four previously unissued bonus tracks and liner notes by Richie Unterberger (Unknown Legends of Rock 'n' Roll).
Absolutely stellar...a lost gem.
David Goodwin | Westchester, NY United States | 11/17/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Mike Brown--the intensely talented songwriter for the Left Banke who penned most of their songs--DID have a post-Banke career, but with the odd exception of Stories (who had their one hit, Brother Louie, after Brown had left the band), none of those bands ever made much impact, or were availible on CD. This disc, released almost 30 years after the fact, is now a welcome exception to that rule. Montage was the eponymous album issues by the New Jersey group, who wisely decided to partner with the otherwise-not-actually-in-the-group Mike Brown and cohorts for songs and production; although Brown writes most of the songs, plays keyboards, and does a whole host of other things, he was apparently not technically in the band. Odd. Yet he and his other LB cohorts (Bert Sommer cowrites some of the material, as does Tom Feher; both contributed to various LB projects in some way) obviously hadn't lost any of their talent, and it is my firm opinion that Montage blows even the Banke's heralded debut out of the water. The songs are *that good*. The performances are understated and emphasize "feel" more than rocking out. That's *just the way these songs should be*. Both of Montage's singers have wonderful, expressive, yet vulnerable voices. Exactly suited to the material.It's really that good, folks. Highlights include The Grand Pianist (which later shows up on a Bert Sommer album in a sparser arrangement...heck, he wrote the lyrics, so...), an earthier take on the Banke's Desiree, the stunning opener I Shall Call Her Mary...in fact, my only complaint about this set is that they didn't include MORE. I mean, c'mon, there must be more where The Mirror (one of the excellent bonus tracks) came from!Buy it. Now. If you're a fan of the Banke, Zombies, the Beach Boys in their "Today!/Pet Sounds" mode, The Association, or 60s music in general, you are almost guarenteed to love this."
I was there when it was originally being made...
V. Chapman | Vero Beach, Florida United States | 05/04/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I Loved the album when it was being made... I was there. I was lead singer Vance Chapman's girlfriend and I am now his wife. I was with Vance when he sang the lead on 7 of the 10 vocals and the off-key song is not his, although one thing I need to explain is that Mike Brown's intention in the song "Men are Building Sand" was to have that NOTE painfully out of tune since it was the writer's intent to demonstrate his displeasure of urban sprawl. But Vance and I agree, it does sound bad and the reason for doing it that way was never known by listeners. However, Mike Brown never let the band use the simple technology of echo on the vocals, which is why the vocals sound drier than those of the richly styled Left Banke. The talent and voices were always there and still are. Vance went on successfully making music with the VANCE CHAPMAN BAND for years after the Montage went their separate ways. He still sings and is still capable of producing the same dulcit tones with more fullness and maturity. I may seem prejudiced and of course, I am. Vance and I hope you all will continue to enjoy this labor of love."
Michael Brown, talented, but..
D. Patric | MB, SC United States | 01/16/2003
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Replacing my two scratched Left Banke albums with "There's Gonna be A Storm" was one of the wisest moves I've ever made. Great band. Great sound. Timeless, but not enough. The band dissolved too soon. Recently, Montage caught my eye while surfing the web. That was how I came upon this lost gem. Montage? Who are these guys? Let me tell you. They are Michael Brown's post-Banke pet project, but that shouldn't dissuade anyone from listening. There are some wonderful tunes here and even a couple raided from Banke's own catalog to flesh it out. The sound is pure Left Banke. Or perhaps, pure Brown would be a better way to put it. So why the three star rating. No offense, but these Jersey boys don't match up to the stellar vocals of Steve Martin and crew. "Tinsel and Ivory" is a great tune, slightly marred by some off key vocals. The aforementioned off note in "Men Are Building Sand," not only happens once, but twice more and not only is it off, it is actually painful to listen to. It will make you wince! It's that bad. "Wake Up Jimmy" has, perhaps, the worst ending of any song recorded. It appears a free ride in artistic control to Mike Brown is, perhap, not too good an idea. Don't get me wrong, this is not a bad buy, but I suggest you get it used and save some cash. Get the extended version because the three instrumentals will leave you wondering why there are no lyrics. Very catchy melodies. As a whole, Montage delivers. Sadly, it just makes me think what this album could have been if Left Banke had recorded these songs."