Hold Out for Christmas - Rockapella, Leonard, Scott
Rockapella fans, rejoice! For years this dynamic vocal group's recordings have been available only as expensive Japanese imports or hard-to-find U.S. self-produced CDs. Don't Tell Me You Do, released on the heels of a nati... more »onal TV commercial that Rockapella recorded for Folgers coffee, should give the group its widest distribution--and widest audience--yet. This album, largely a reissue of 1997's Rockapella (now out of print), showcases their signature combination of tight harmonies mixed with rock, jazz, and R&B. Highlights include the gorgeous ballads "I'll Hear Your Voice" and "Don't Tell Me You Do," the infectious beat of "I Am Your Man" (driven by the always-astonishing vocal percussion of Jeff Thacher), and "A Change in My Life" (a song heard in the 1992 Steve Martin movie Leap of Faith). --David Horiuchi« less
Rockapella fans, rejoice! For years this dynamic vocal group's recordings have been available only as expensive Japanese imports or hard-to-find U.S. self-produced CDs. Don't Tell Me You Do, released on the heels of a national TV commercial that Rockapella recorded for Folgers coffee, should give the group its widest distribution--and widest audience--yet. This album, largely a reissue of 1997's Rockapella (now out of print), showcases their signature combination of tight harmonies mixed with rock, jazz, and R&B. Highlights include the gorgeous ballads "I'll Hear Your Voice" and "Don't Tell Me You Do," the infectious beat of "I Am Your Man" (driven by the always-astonishing vocal percussion of Jeff Thacher), and "A Change in My Life" (a song heard in the 1992 Steve Martin movie Leap of Faith). --David Horiuchi
"Actually, the above headline may be misleading, considering many of Rockapella's fans are the former viewing audience for "Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego." It was on this show that I first discovered the group, but I never realized I could buy their CD until "Don't Tell Me You Do." Since that fateful purchase, I have been receiving strange, sidelong glances from friends who wonder from what neurosis i am suffering; namely, that I have been unable to stop spewing forth the praises of Rockapella. The CD presents a wide variety of songs that cross all musical thresholds. Nearly all of my music tastes were satisfied on this compilation: there was everything from jazz (I am Your Man), to gospel (Change in My Life), to R&B (Why), to good old sappy pop (I'll Hear Your Voice, and the title track--my two personal favorites). Those of us who are a capella-savvy can appreciate the little nuances, ad-libs, and harmonies that abound on these tracks; while those of us a cappela-challenged can sit back and enjoy the catchy melodies. What suprised me most about the CD was the amount of original songs, as most a cappella repertoires stick with covers. The hitmaking songwriting of Scott Leonard rivals that of the top 20 songs on the radio now, except without the cheesiness. Because all the solos are taken by the two tenors, it was not until i saw a live Rockapella performance that i truly appreciated what each member brought to the CD. There was the soulful wailing of Scott "I-can-sing-my-butt-off-for-a-blond-white-guy" Leonard; the sweet, you-can-bring-him-home-to-momma voice of Kevin Wright, the deep, resounding bass of Barry Carl (is this guy for real? or just a chain smoker?); the beat-box of Percussion King (I prostrate before you) Jeff Thacher, who I can only logically conclude has some strange, gutteral birth defect, or a detached tongue, that he has been able to capitalize on in order to emulate a drum machine; and finally the smooth, blending style of baritone Elliot Kerman, who can probably make someone with a tin ear sound good. Besides, fans have him to thank for partially founding the group. What I liked best about the CD was that it accomplishes what it sets out to do--that is, exist for your listening pleasure. It truly is music for you ears, sans instruments. If talent were truly an indication of commercial success (which we all know usually isn't the case), then these guys will start playing to sold-out venues in the U.S. like they do in Japan. If so, I count myself among the lucky ones who were able to catch an intimate performance. I have even contemplated (gulp!) paying twice the amount for an import CD of theirs. Oh well--I guarantee you that once you become a Rockapella convert you'll be one for life."
I've heard their voices...
(5 out of 5 stars)
"...and I never get tired of listening to them. These five guys have amazing clarity and range. Lucky for J-Bird, they were smart enough to pick them up. I have two favorites, I'll Hear Your Voice and Don't Tell Me You Do, although all songs on this cd are well-worth the price. This CD is a must have for anyone that loves crystal clear, pure harmony."
One of the Best
nillaorchid | Kentucky, USA | 12/06/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I've owned this CD for less than a week, but I'm totally in love with it already! Unlike "Rockapella 2", the songs on this album encompass many musical styles - from jazz ("I Am Your Man"), to pop ("On The Last Night" and "Ellie My Love"), to smooth R&B ("So Much Better"). Different emotions are also invoked... "Song 9," while a little nonsensical, is a flat-out fun ditty that puts me in a good mood; "A Change In My Life" is inspiring; the funky, appropriately titled "Lift Up" is, well, uplifting; and the beautiful title track is heartbreaking.If, like me, you missed the now out-of-print "Rockapella" CD, this one is a must have. This album won't disappoint."
nillaorchid | 09/11/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"YOU MUST HAVE THIS ONE! There are not enough stars to do this CD justice. Rockapella is the best CD I have ever had - or the best album, lp or 45. Every song is just great! And, the last song is a SURPRISE!!! That's all I'll say! I just found out about this amazing group when I saw them on Fox & Friends in the morning on TV and was immediately hooked! Even though I saw it, I still just can't believe they can make all the sounds they make without ONE instrument. From the early 1950's growing up the South, I feel privileged to have heard many, many great artists of rock, soul, blues, country, etc. Since the early '80's, I have found little music of interest, particularly in the rock field. Only Elton John, Michael Bolton, Natalie Cole, Toni Braxton.....real singers singing music you just let take you away.After this RAP, Hip Hop, etc., what a breath of fresh air Rockapella is!! You cannot sit still when you are listening to them. This music makes you HAPPY!!! You can understand the words!This is for all ages - you can dance, sing along, party or just listen!Please get this CD and tell your friends about it - I can't believe this group was only recorded abroad and not here in the USA until now. They are from Michigan. Someone in the US missed the boat on this one, until now!"
Jonathan Wang | 12/21/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Rockapella is simply amazing. I did not believe that they didn't have instruments behind them till i went to one of their concerts just yesterday. Rockapella is simply one of the best groups i have EVER heard. THis CD goes in my CD player almost nonstop and is one of the best CDs i own. Well worth the money."