Album – Bingo – Rinaldi Sings

Posted by admin on August 26th, 2008

OK I think I have to make a full disclosure here. Apart from being a huge fan of Rinaldi Sings, I’m also a Cockney, so when the opening line of the album unfolded:

“Cockney. Characteristic speech, of the greatest city, of the greatest empire, that the world has ever known”

I could feel the hairs on the back of my neck rise, I won’t mention what’s said after that. I’m not sure of the film, this line features in, but suffice to say, being so far away from the place I was born, it brought back a pang for the place I used to think of as home. This self conscious feeling soon passed as “You Take Me There” the first track of 11 got underway, and it was then that I suddenly realised that the last Rinaldi Sings album and indeed only the seventh album I ever reviewed, was way back in November of 2005. Admittedly it’s been a little while since I played the last album, but I can’t help but sense, things here are much more refined and Steve has managed to hone his craft even more than the previous release.

I’ve heard many albums that allude to that sixties sound, but although the albums are usually pretty good, they can’t help but end up being pastiches of the real thing. Here, things are very different. You very much feel that Steve Rinaldi has this music in his blood and it’s transposed directly from his soul. I’ve heard terms like “bubblegum Northern Soul” which doesn’t really do much for me. The phrase I love is one that I found on the PR material supplied with this CD, “Cockernee-toned pop”, and it’s this phrase that I feel gives many a simple insight into what to expect.

With the first track, there are all the hallmarks that listeners to the first album will remember, from the brass and guitars to the distinctive vocals of Steve Rinaldi. “You Got Me Believing” continues this characteristic sound. Where the first album had a few rough edges, they were in keeping with the overall feel of the CD. This CD also has that rough, almost raw edge to it. Steve’s vocals are certainly not Scott Walker, but I much prefer them, as they have a realness to them. “End of an Error” is an interesting song, as that 60’s sound is prevalent, and only betrayed slightly with the opening verse, relating to reading a text message. I can’t explain why, but when I heard that I couldn’t help but raise a wry smile.

“Bingo”, the title track is in fact the song that I had the most trouble with. Having listened to the album a couple of times, it just wasn’t my cup of tea, or so I thought. It’s a very atmospheric track, which I can well imagine being used on a soundtrack, showing the protagonists after they have just successfully completed a heist. It was when listening to the album in the car and hearing this track, that it just clicked with me. Whilst it’s still not my favorite track by an means, it’s not longer a track I feel the need to skip past. “The Only Show in Town” is a great laid back track, which has a wonderful piano solo in it, but the piano in this case is one that’s more akin to being found in a pub. Thinking about it, it’s more like a piano found in an old western saloon. It’s just those kinds of features in a song that raise my interest no end.

“Pick Me Up, Put Me Down”, is a pleasant track, but one that feels very much like a filler track. It has some nice brass featured, but seems to amble along. I absolutely love “Welcome”, especially the opening line:

“It’s been a long time. It’s good to see you mate. But it’s like meeting an old girlfriend, when you’ve put on some weight”

Upon hearing this line, I suddenly had a flashback of bumping into all my old girlfriends and couldn’t help again smiling. The other thing I particularly love on this track is the bassoon that gets featured later in the song. The bassoon is not an instrument you hear very often, in fact I though it was an oboe at first, as it’s been that long since I’ve heard a bassoon. Hearing it here, combined with some strings, just sounds so fresh and interesting. and again just makes this album feel much more mature than the previous one. The keyboards that open “Come as you are, You’re a star”, are very reminiscent of early Beach Boys songs, but the song soon breaks away from this preconception and turns into a fairly fast paced, pop song.

And yet again with “She Don’t Know”, there’s yet another instrument that you’d be hard pressed to heard on a modern pop song, the harpsichord. I’ve always had a soft spot for the harpsichord, since listening to the Beatle’s song “Girl” a million and one times and then more recently, but still many moons ago hearing it featured on the Strangler’s song “Golden Brown”. The track itself is terrific and is enhanced all the more, by the creative musical genius.

“Goodbye Steve McQueen” is the first track I heard in full from the album and it’s certainly managed to hit all the right spots and virtually had me salivating for the full album. While Steve McQueen was a big part of my growing up, he’s all but forgotten today, apart from his car chase in the movie Bullit and his abortive attempt at jumping a barbed wire fence in the movie “The Great Escape”. The track itself is fast paced, high octane and brass filled. Wonderful stuff.

The album closes with “Where Did It All Go Wrong Mr Best”, which is for me one of the weaker tracks on the album, but still very listenable. I think the thing that really spoiled this track for me, is the electric guitar solo that breaks in half way through the track. It’s funny that this then made the track feel very much like an album ender, but just doesn’t sit right with the rest of the tracks.

Overall a fantastic album, which tips a huge nod to the music of the 60’s, but also manages to assert a Rinaldi Sings stamp of it’s own. With a creative use of instruments and some great lyrics and music, this is an album I have long waited for and enjoyed immensely.

Conclusion : There’s many great rock, pop, R&B, Soul and a plethora of other good albums. However with so many other albums in the same genre competing for the attentive ears of music lovers, it’s great to come across an album that rises above the norm into a realm of it’s own. Were it not for the fact, I know full well that this is a modern release, I could have well believed this was a classic release from the 60’s. Authentic, creative and sheer unadulterated class.

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