Reviews for 'Ballyhoo' * Jim Santos' Demo Universe A very enjoyable blend of progressive Britpop and hard rock a la Radiohead or Boo Radleys, although Rick Dobbelaer's high, clear voice may remind older listeners of Richard Davies from Supertramp. Beatlesque flourishes abound on a well produced LP chock full of shining melody and harmony. * babysue Review, Atlanta, GA Well written, well arranged, well produced pop music with wonderful melodies. Rick Dobbelaer has risen from the ashes of the band Last Tribe who put out a CD on Energy Records a while back. I liked Last Tribe's CD, but this is superior in many ways. This set of songs was recorded by Dobbelaer and Dave Ramie with some friends helping out. I'm not sure whether these guys are just more creative out of the confines of a band set up or whether the material is just stronger, but whatever the case... Ballyhoo contains some excellent pop music. Rick and Dave do alot of overdubs and layering with their music, and it works because it all supports some really catchy tunes. The vocals on this disc are particularly interesting. Alot of work obviously went into making this, yet the music comes accross sounding fresh and energetic. Top picks: 'Who's to Blame,' 'Move Along,' and 'Behind the Plow.' RATING (6 out of 6 ) * Option Magazine's Inside Report 'A wonderfully charming (if retro) pop sound. Start by thinking the Beatles, Todd Rundgren, XTC, and you're at least in the ballpark of Rick Dobbelaer's music.' * Aiding and Abetting, St. Petersburg, Fla. More the talents of Rick Dobbelaer than any group (he wrote all the songs, co-produced the preceedings) and he (singing and guitar) and Dave Ramie (drums) are the only 2 people to play on every track, Ballyhoo kicks out mostly non-offensive and affected 'alt pop' music. Ranging from the acoustic side of Love and Rockets to Toad the Wet Sprocket to some really nasty lounge moments, Ballyhoo pretty much sticks to mellow territory. Many of the guitar lines are very pretty, and the lyrics aren't completly insipid (though I'd like a little more bite). Dobbelaer obviously knew what he wanted the album to sound like, though, and his biggest accomplishment here is the fine production. This sounds like a major label release, and perhaps this is where my beef lies. Still, this is the sort of stuff many folks I know like immensely. I don't, but I won't let that get completely in the way of my judgement. I'm not in favor of the intentions or musical goal, but Dobbelaer does his shtick well. * Raging Smolder Review 'all the music we think is cool!' Acoustic guitar based arrangements with bass, drums, and sometimes keyboards added to create sonic lushness--at times rather blustery and boisterous. It's all rather slow moving and spacey ala 1970s Steely Dan, early Genesis, Alan Parsons Project, and Pink Floyd--though generally (much) lighter and airy. 'She Knows' (very AOR-friendly, especially the chorus): 'What I do might lead you to believe that she and I are very far away. What I feel is I'm miserable with her. What I feel is I can't go on without her...' 'Who's to Blame': 'Who's to blame? I can't tell you but I feel the pain in my head and I feel ashamed...' 'Your Heart Is Cold': 'Your heart is cold just like a stone down to the bone that cuts like wood...Drowning in your shaded room, sucking on your silver spoon.' 'Tripping and Falling': 'I'm feeling quite strange, can't really explain just what's going on...' 'Welcome to a Life': 'Welcome to a story of despair...Such a long time ago everything was so good.' * Free Tunes 1998 We also have an arrival of the popular kind...popular music that is. Rick Dobbelaer sounds like he belongs on the radio, listen to him before he gets there. Very poppy and very catchy. A good way to describe this music I believe. I can see this guy on the radio very easily. The music is pop, no other way to describe it. * Extreme Magazine Buffalo, NY Interview/article March 19th 1998 Rick Dobbelaer is a singer songwriter from the Big Apple and is finally getting his solo career off the ground. After 6 years as guitarist/songwriter with NY based Last Tribe, Dobbelaer struck a recording-production deal with NY's Bear Tracks studios which enabled him to make his own album. Last Tribe released 1 album and an EP on Energy Records a few years back which sold well according to Dobbelaer, 'Energy was more or less a heavy metal label and my band was sort of the pop hopeful. That band went as far west as Chicago, down as far as South Carolina and all over the east coast, but the label didn't have enough money to keep us on the road and it was hard getting on a real big tour unless you were selling loads of records.' The band broke up a year after the album's release and Dobbelaer retained the bassist and drummer. Of his own album he says, 'it was basically a solo project I had with the studio here in Rockland county, owned by Jay Beckenstein (Spyro Gyra) who I believe is from the Buffalo area. The music itself is a blend of classic rock and modern influences.' Citing the Beatles and CCR as his earliest influences Dobbelaer states, ' I was definitely more influenced by the 60's and 70's than I was by the 80's.........Thank God!' Current influences include one famous Chicago band, 'If you're a Smashing Pumpkins fan or a Rolling Stones or Beatles fan, I think I fit right in between those two genres.' Dobbelaer also confessed to being a big Radiohead fan. Certainly the music on his own CD, issued independently under the name Gabolerius, has many 60's and 70's sounds and ideals. 'Welcome to a Life' is a very Beatles inspired song with piano and harmonies, 'I was definitely influenced by Abbey Road's backing vocals and 60's music.' Although the album leans to the lighter side, with many of the tracks being acoustic guitar based, other tracks see acoustic guitar melodies mixed with heavier riffs, hooks, and solos. The best example of that is another stand out track called 'Your Heart is Cold' which features an almost Metallica-like sounding riff before stepping back into a peaceful acoustic verse and then hitting hard again during the chorus and solo. Many songs follow this pattern although there is a wide diversity on Gabolerius/Ballyhoo with each song a potential single choice, something the songwriter is quite proud of. But perhaps the most obvious choice for a single is 'She Knows,' the most radio accessible and commercial track here. 'That has a huge hook in it' Dobbelaer says. And the song has already a few fans in the radio biz. 'A DJ who used to work at the alternative station here, X107, was playing my stuff when he could and I got letters and e mail from kids . He's since moved to LA where he's a programmer and he's telling me all I need is a deal and he'll play it.' Another strong choice for radio play is 'Behind the Plow,' 'it has a good chorus on it......but I think there's four or five songs that could get played on radio.' A repackaging of the CD under Rick's own name and new artwork is in the process as he sees this as perhaps the album's mistake originally. 'I wanted to go with a band name rather than my own name, I'm just not a very vain person. When it came time to get the CD's produced and sent to the factory it had the name 'The Sun Kings'. I got a call from a lawyer who got my tape through somebody and he said he was in a band called The Sun Kings and they'd had the name copywritten for 3 years. So I had to come up with something in 5 days.' The album will also feature the new title 'Ballyhoo,' a word taken from an old King Crimson song. Dobbelaer insists he will keep at it as he feels he definitely has something to offer seeing his music as appealing to the same audience as Jacob Dylan's band The Wallflowers, 'but my dad's not Bob Dylan!' he says jokingly, 'And that's not a knock against him, I think he's great.' As musical sounds and ideas from the 60's and early 70's era are coming back into the spotlight, Dobbelaer's opportunity to break into the big leagues may come soon. Kevin Julie.
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