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"The past meets the present-with a 12 string chime", June 13, 2009
Les Fradkin's love of the Rickenbacker electric 12 string guitar is explored to the fullest on this collection of folk-rock classics and sparkling originals.
The Tracks-pt.1: the folk-rock covers;
Bob Dylan was a major player in not only pure folk music, but folk rock itself was invented when the Byrds covered "Mr. Tambourine Man".
His song "I Want You" gets Les' version of a Byrds arrangement, complete with finger picked 12 string, 3-part harmony, and Les' McGuinn-like lead vocal.
The Seekers' folk classic "I'll Never Find Another You" is transformed into an all-out electrified folk-rock tour-de-force, featuring multiple electric 12's, full bass and drums, layered vocal harmonies and a sincere lead vocal.
One of Les's very best performances.
Paul Simon is recognized with two compositions;
"The Dangling Conversation" is another simple acoustic number that Les transforms into a powerful electric folk ballad, while "A Hazy Shade Of Winter" captures the essence of the Simon & Garfunkel original vocally, while the musical hook is now electrified and the rock beat is more predominant. Kickin'...
The Tracks-pt.2: the Originals
"Arrow Through Your Heart" is much more of a straight pop song that shows off Les' 6-string chops.
"Why Is This Man Smiling?" & "Sometimes A Girl Must Carry On" sound much like mid-60's folk ballads, while the anthemic "Everything Is Gonna Be Alright" has the feel-good quality of "Turn! Turn! Turn!" Without the biblical verse.
Last, but definately not least, we come to the title cut; the autobiographical "Jangleholic".
This tale of Les' musical journey - and the influences that shaped it - is simply Les Fradkin's finest musical moment-ever.
The influences are all there; "A Hard Day's Night" & "If I Needed Someone" meets "Turn! Turn! Turn!" & "The Bells Of Rhymney", as Les layers lots of harmonies and multiple Rick-12 guitar passages for that 1960's feel with 21st century quality.
This song would be a sure-fire hit if the narrow - minded radio stations would care to play "real music" by "real performers".
Les Fradkin brings his past and his present together wonderfully. Jingle-jangle is not dead. Just ask Les Fradkin: Jangleholic.
LES FRADKIN-"Love You 2"
Beatlemania' original "George" plays early Beatles by "George", April 5, 2009
Les Fradkin was chosen from 2000 guitarists back in 1976 to play "George Harrison" in Beatlemania. Thirty years later, he re-visits the 1963-1966 songs of his mentor.
Les' forte intstrumentally is his usage of the Rickenbacker electric 12-String guitar, which permeates this collection with it's jingle-jangle sound.
Other than some help from other musicians on a few tracks, Les plays and sings just about everything on this album.
His producing and engineering skill are quite evident with the sonic balance of all vocals and instruments.
"Taxman" opens the album with some edge and Les' solo reminiscent of the original.
"If I Needed Someone" sparkles with clarity on both the vocals and the outstanding multi-tracked 12-string.
"You Know What To Do" is perhaps the standout track on the album, because Les took a "lost" song that never got past the demo stage and fleshed it out with nice harmonies and a rock-a-billy 12-string hook. Well done.
"I'm Happy Just To Dance With You", "I Want To Tell You", "Do You Want To Know A Secret" and "Think For Yourself" are spot-on covers of the originals.
If you had Les' arrangement and the Beatles' vocals combined for "I Need You", you would have had a monster hit.
"You Like Me Too Much" rearranges all the piano parts of the original into electric 12-string riffs-clever.
If there is a weak spot on this collection, it would be "Don't Bother Me". Les eschews the electric samba feel of the original for an acoustic arrangement that doesn't really fit the feel of the album, but is still mildly interesting.
The album wraps with the title cut "Love You To". Les' use of 12-string in place of sitar gives it an "east meets west feel.
All-in-all, Les' tribute to George Harrison does the music much more than simply justice- it's a labor of love.
I recommend it heartily. 5 Stars.
LES FRADKIN- "UNDER THE COVERS" (RRO-1011)
Fradkin delivers another winner in his ever-growing body of work. Fradkin knows his way around Byrds and 12 stringed Rickenbackers seeing as he was the original George Harrison in "Beatlemania" 30 years ago. As with all his CDs, this is endlessly catchy 12-String Jangle Pop with a distinctive "sonic signature." The influence of 60`s and 70`s Pop with big hooks, lush harmonies, commercial production and virtuoso Rickenbacker 12-String electric guitar. "Under The Covers" gives everyone a look at some of his newest music- drenched in hooks galore for fans of Beatles Pop and 70`s AM radio Pop. You`ll also get to hear brand new versions of his origional MGM/Sunflower single "Song Of A Thousand Voices" and "You Can Cry If You Want To" which has been a must have for 45RPM collectors for years. These songs have been unavailable for 35 years.
New songs this time out include "Under The Covers", an autobiographical followup to "Jangleholic." Other newies include his iTunes smash single- "Through The Looking Glass" and "Take A Chance" which are slices of 60`s & 70`s Pop ear candy with hooks galore. His latest tune, "I Cry" is co-written with Amber Gomez of Venus In Bluejeans, and will grab you every time you hear it. All with Les` famous Rickenbacker 12-String guitar stylings mixed with his "sonic signature" production stamp. Now check out the covers! "Reflections Of My Life" (The Marmalade), "Here Comes That Rainy Day Feeling Again" (The Fortunes) "Montego Bay" (Bobby Bloom), And "I`d Love You To Want Me" (Lobo). And as a surprise bonus, Les sings his famous French Mireille Mathieu hit - in French! Arranged with a nod to the original Paul Mauriat ("Love Is Blue")arrangement in mind, Les brings his self-composed Mathieu classic into modern sound.
LES FRADKIN-"12" (RRO-1015)
"12" is Les Fradkin's 12th album and except for one song is every bit as good as Les has done so far. Some Byrds, some Dylan, a few originals...they make an excellent mixture on which Les excells. Jumping out from the batch of guest musicians are Buddy Cage on pedal steel and ex-Manassas keyboardist Paul Harris.
But the real treat here is the song I made exception for earlier on : Alone Again Or ! This is obviously a cover version of the opening track on Love's Forever Changes. I'm a big fan of the Love original, but this one's right up there as well ! For me this track alone is worth the price of admission.
Fans of Les will no doubt enjoy the entire album, but everybody else should at least own Alone Again Or and since it's available as an individual download...what's the problem ? ;)
LES FRADKIN-"12" (RRO-1015) Do you love jangly music? Do your ears perk up at the distinctive sound of a chiming Rickenbacker 12-string guitar? If so, don't hesitate to snap up a copy of Les Fradkin's twelfth solo disc - appropriately titled 12. As with past albums, Les is pictured on the cover with his Rickenbacker 360v64 (the model that was designed for George Harrison) 12-string guitar and Les showcases both his crisp pop-rock 12-string sound and his sonic production techniques on the nine tracks.
Three of the tracks are original (two are co-writes), and the rest of the songs are a parade of tunes that Boomer music fans should be quite familiar with. Highlights include Les' versions of "Mr. Tambourine Man" and "Eight Miles High"- recorded for the download-only four volume Byrds tribute set, Timeless Flyte (produced by Fradkin and released on his RRO Entertainment label), and available here for the first time on CD. Les' rendition of Mr. Tambourine Man sounds like he was studying every instrumental nuance in the studio when the Fab Five recorded this track in 1965.
Les captures the sound of the Byrds again on his brilliant folk-rock version of "Four Strong Winds" by Ian Tyson. Les gives his own stamp to the McGuinn-Clark-Crosby classic "Eight Miles High", the traditional "I Know You Rider", Arthur Lee and Love's "Alone Again Or" and Bob Dylan's "A Hard Rain's A-Gonna-Fall." I have said this before but it bears repeating: Roger McGuinn's 12-string guitar style helped to pioneer the folk-rock sound of the 60s, and Les Fradkin nimitable 12-string guitar style is a leading force in the contemporary pop-rock scene that is keeping that chiming sound alive and vibrant. Hence, 12 is an album that should appeal to pop fans young and old. http://cdbaby.com/cd/lesfradkin14
LES FRADKIN-"12" (RRO-1015)
So one day I’m wondering who besides me likes playing Rickenbacker 12-string electric guitars and I stumble upon Mr Les Fradkin who is based in Parker, Colorado. Having imported this album have to say first off that this guy knows exactly how to get a clear ringing sound out of a Rick AND he plays many other instruments. Co-produced by Loretta Fradkin, this album is the sound of someone totally in love with the West Coast guitar sound and folk-song vibe. Across these 9 cuts, Fradkin delivers a tuneful, twinkling, chiming set of songs all sounding precise and at times on the edge of frantic.
There is an endemic problem in doing versions, as any objective musician will tell you. I have long come around to the view that overall it’s best NOT to do songs you LOVE, but rather tunes you think you can do something with. Here the take on Love’s sublime ‘Alone Again Or’ is fantastically paced and presented, brings out every ounce of the song’s aching despair – but it’s more a recreation than a version, as such. Same with ‘Mr Tambourine Man’ and maybe nobody could play it ‘right’ better than Les.
But it’s with the lesser known songs and own creations that Fradkin really hits home. ‘Lay Down Your Arms’ has a sincere push and twanging hypnotic feel that makes you nod with approval. ‘Down On My Luck’ might be the best contemporary folkrock musing that anyone has come up with in recent years, it’s in the John Stewart/ John Prine league, kid you not. Marry this to the dextrous and well-placed guitar line decoration and you have a fine listen indeed.
A man with his heart on his sleeve and hopefully more originals to weave his guitar spells with ; a quality performer I greatly respect.
Well, Fradkin had me at "Jangle". Any album with a title like "Jangleholic" is going to nab a lot of Not Lamers out of the gate, the only question is does the music live up to the hope. Well, listen below and smile is the answer. Fradkin knows his way around Byrds and 12 stringed Rickenbackers seeing as he was the original George Harrison in "Beatlemania" 30 years ago. "Jangleholic" is endlessly catchy 12-String Jangle Pop with a distinctive "sonic signature." The influence of 60`s and 70`s Pop with big hooks, lush harmonies, commercial production and virtuoso Rickenbacker 12-String electric guitar. On this release, Fradkin mixes his originals and offers up a great selection of Jangle covers from songs that influenced him as a 12-string guitarist: "I Want You" ( Bob Dylan ), "You Were On My Mind" ( by The We Five ), "I`ll Never Find Another You" ( by The Seekers ) and TWO Paul Simon songs from the Simon & Garfunkel Songbook- "A Hazy Shade Of Winter" and his electrfying cover of "The Dangling Conversation."
Jangle fans are going to freak and rejoice and for you, fans of the Rick, there`s little doubt of this being Extremely Highly Recommended!
Les gets you right away with a Rickenbacker guitar pictured on the front cover! And you gotta love the title! Talk about truth in advertising! Not to worry, there are plenty of 6 + 12-string Ricks put to very good use here! In fact, Les plays all of the instruments here! The songs and treatments sound like a 60's AM Pop station playlist! The title track could be a Roger McGuinn outtake! "Guaranteed to please 'Jangle Pop' fans. Along with his usual unique and interesting twist interpretations of famous songs, his new original compositions are produced with oldies fans in mind. Covers include songs by Bob Dylan ("I Want You"), Paul Simon ("A Hazy Shade Of Winter" and "The Dangling Conversation"), The We Five (via their Sylvia Tyson penned hit "You Were On My Mind") and The Seekers ("I'll Never Find Another You"). His production has been favorably compared to Phil Spector" - Amazon.com WARNING: THIS DISC CONTAINS INGREDIENTS THAT MAY BE HABIT-FORMING FOR NON JANGLE-HOLICS!
This cd title is a dead ringer for all you BYRDMANIACS out there. If you love the original classic line up of the Byrds, you ought to look into Les Fradkin's music. Rarely does an artist cover the 60's sound so faithfully and passionately. For fans of Beau Brummels, Beatles, and of course: THE BYRDS! ANd when it comes to being a jangolholic, tambourines and 12 strings never sounded better.
"GOIN' BACK"- (RRO-1009)
Fantastic 60's pop from the master of this style. If you love the Byrds, Beatles, Left Banke, Beau Brummels, Buffalo Springfield, etc..Please don't pass this by. Guest appearance on the cd include The Left Banke!!!, Mick Ronson, and Richie Furay! Les is in amazing company here. This is the real deal! 60's music is alive and well*****
LES FRADKIN- "JANGLEHOLIC" (RRO-1010)
I highly recommend Les' new CD, "Jangleholic". The writing and performing are really top notch. Wonderful tunes (both originals and covers), beautiful vocals, and the Ric-12 chimes throughout. The only problem I had when first listening to it was that I couldn't get past the title tune because is was so terrific. Les is in great form: sharp, funny, and classic all at once. I blasted it 4 or 5 times a row while driving with my wife before she nicely asked if we could move on and listen to the rest of the CD. Which we did, and loved. BTW, if you don't have the previous Les Fradkin CD, "Goin' Back", you should definitely look into that one as well. Brilliant!
LES FRADKIN-"IF YOUR MEMORY SERVES YOU WELL" (RRO-1013)
" The very prolific singer/songwriter/musician, Les Fradkin, has released yet another disc on his RRO Entertainment label - a 10-song tribute to Bob Dylan entitled If Your Memory Serves You Well. Les’ Rickenbacker 12-string guitar jangles, chimes and rings on most of the tracks … and he gives his usual “sonic” treatment to a number of folk-rock favorites. Les’ version of “Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door” sets a new standard for this oft-covered tune. If Les Fradkin doesn’t have his finger on the pulse of the Baby Boomer pop/rock audience, I don’t know who does!"
LES FRADKIN- "JANGLEHOLIC" (RRO-1010)
Byrds fans won't be disappointed. Next to covers of well known songs, Les offers some of his own compositions.
Fill your ears with that magical Rickenbacker 12 string sound!
Les Fradkin returns with a new CD guaranteed to please "Jangle Pop" fans. Along with Les' usual unique and interesting twist interpretations of famous songs, his new original compositions are produced with oldies fans in mind. Covers include songs by Bob Dylan, Paul Simon, Sylvia Tyson and The Seekers. His producing has been favorably compared to Phil Spector and this release also features his famous Rickenbacker 12-string guitar sound.
"PEPPER FRONT TO BACK"
'm a Beatles covers collector and I must proclaim that this is the BEST instrumental Beatle song CD ever produced!!!! Every version of the Sgt. Pepper songs is gripping, vibrant and original, from the ska treatment of When I'm 64 through the biting beat of Getting Better to the gently weeping She's Leaving Home to the Woodstock retro With A Little Help From My Friends, Les Fradkin has nailed the spirit of '67 like no other in modern times. Even my friends who don't like Beatles covers have found themselves loving this CD! Viva Les Fradkin!
LES FRADKIN -
"PEPPER FRONT TO BACK"
Excellent CD album and renditions of The Beatles SPLHCB 40th anniversary. Perfect Les!!!
"PERFECT WORLD" (RRO-1004)
Les Fradkin is a former member of the sixties' band Edison Lighthouse. He also played George Harrison in the seventies' Beatlemania project ("not the Beatles, but an incredible simulation"). Les is now back with a new album combining covers of sunshine pop classics like "Love Grows (Where My Rosemary Goes)" and "Smile a Little Smile" with some new originals in a similar vein. The best of these is the sterling "God Bless California", which is perfect summertime pop in the Brian Wilson tradition. This track is extremely notable for featuring "Wrecking Crew" session musicians Hal Blaine, Carol Kaye and Don Randi. (The liner notes to the CD indicate that this is "possibly the very last collective appearance in a recording studio of Phil Spector's famous group of studio musicians...")
On the remaining cuts, Les is a real one-man band, playing most of the guitar parts as well as bass, piano, organ and mellotron mk II. He also handled engineering duties (with Larry Levine and Joe Hall), all musical arrangements, and co-produced the album with his wife Loretta. While some of the backing tracks are basic no-frills MIDI, the vocals by Les and such notable background singers as Alan Boyd are really jawdroppingly good.
This CD is a throwback to a bygone era, yet at the same time it sounds surprisingly fresh. Les Fradkin is a talented guy, and in an era dominated by by-the-numbers commercial rock music, a little talent and creativity go a long way. Recommended.
"SOMETHING FOR GEORGE"
From the first musician to portray George Harrison in the original Broadway cast and production of Beatlemania, comes this special collection of nine Harrison hits, with special guests Richie Furay of Poco and Buffalo Springfield. Beautifully done, 'Something For George" is a collector's item.
LES FRADKIN & GET WET:
"A DAY AT THE BEACH" (RRO-1003)
Once upon a time, instrumental rock music ruled the airwaves. Back in the early 1960's, songs like "Wipeout" and "Pipeline" were as well known in America as the hits the Beatles cranked out. Instrumental surf-rock is a uniquely American style of music. Created entirely within the surf culture of Southern California, surf-rock has become a genre that represents all sorts of extreme sports and lifestyles. Modern films such as Pulp Fiction have awakened new audiences to the joy of surf music, and new surf bands have been cropping up all over the world.
Get Wet, who are based in Colorado, are a surf-rock band built around the genius of guitarist Les Fradkin. Fradkin is a guitarist of the first order, and it's our good fortune that he decided to direct his talent to melodic instrumental music instead of the six-string masturbation that is common to modern area axe shredders. Make no mistake - Fradkin could show Joe Satriani or Eric Johnson a thing or two. But instead of dazzling us with how many notes he can play per second, Fradkin layers his songs with melodies that will have you humming hours after the CD has been turned off.
The album sets a fast and furious tempo with the title track, "A Day At the Beach." Hyper percussion and layered guitars combine to create the audio equivalent of a caffeine-charged large espresso. Pounding drums open "Kick Sand," but Fradkin smartly dials the volume back for the main melodic theme. The tempo is slowed a bit in "Pintor," which showcases some very stylish spaghetti-western style picking. "Key West Sunset" is a romantic sounding tune, perfect for an evening with a beautiful beach babe or dude. Sharp melodies and haunting dynamics make "Nature Calls" one of the album's highlights.
You might wonder why Get Wet decided to cover the classic Beach Boys tune, "Good Vibrations," but after hearing this version, you'll never care for the original. The Beach Boys were never a true surf band - they were more of a manufactured clean-cut version of the Beatles. Fradkin takes this tune and completely transforms it into an instrumental masterpiece.
Get ready for some real fun - after "Good Vibrations" fades from the speakers, a collaboration between Get Wet and their friends The Dirt Surfers ("The Dirt Surfers Get Wet (Wet Mix)") blasts forth like a nuclear explosion. If you can remain seated while listening to this tune, check your pulse. Do not miss this song - the gorgeous middle part alone is worth the price of this CD.
Other standout tracks include a solid cover of "Beck's Bolero," and "Hurricane Warning," which could have easily been the theme song for any recent television police drama. Just for fun, the album also includes a very memorable version of Bach's holiday classic, "Joy of Man's Desiring."
Instrumental rock doesn't get the attention it deserves these days. The recording industry, which once made stars of bands like the Ventures and artists like Dick Dale, hasn't got a clue about how to market this invigorating music. They don't understand that the melodies and driving rhythms may be enjoyed by anyone desiring high-energy rock and roll without angst-filled vocals and nasty lyrics. Whether you're cleaning your house, gardening, or heading out to hit the big waves, "A Day At the Beach" will get you moving. You can forget that large espresso, because this album will reach out, slap you across the face, and shout, "Wake Up!"
LES FRADKIN- "Strat Heaven"
""Les has got out there and grabbed some of today's brilliant indie themes for great instrumentals. In this light, listen to Mr. F. play the fab Fall Out Boy's "This Ain't A Scene (It's An Arms Race)" and All American Rejects' "Move Along" and recognize that good instrumental material and sources of it, didn't stop in 1963!" (Dav Peckett-New Gandy Dancer Magazine-Issue 87)"
LES FRADKIN & GET WET-
"A DAY AT THE BEACH" (RRO-1002)
This is the real thing- an absolutely joyous, stunning album which restores our faith that surf is way,way alive in the fingers of Les Fradkin. Album of the year without doubt!
LES FRADKIN-"PEPPER FRONT TO BACK" (RRO-1018)
It is hard to see how anyone who is both a Beatles admirer and a fan of guitar instrumentals could fail to be won over by this latest release from the Fradkin workshop. We have already had from him some material from the stellar ‘Abbey Road’ album, but it would be good to see a follow-up offering the entire set in true Come Together fashion!