CD REVIEW: Rick Devin - Old School (Hits of the 60's & 70's)
By Rick Marchetti - 05/22/2007 - 07:25 PM EDT
Artist: Rick Devin
Album: Old School (Hits of the 60's & 70's)
Label: Red Cloud Records
Technical Grade: 8/10
Production/Musicianship Grade: 8/10
Commercial Value: 3/10
Overall Talent Level: 7/10
Performance Skill: 8/10
Best Songs: Sweet Home Alabama, Ventura Highway
Weakness: All Covers
I recently spent some time listening to an album of 60’s and 70’s covers: Rick Devin’s “Old School”. Rick is a solid singer and a way-more-than-capable musician, he surrounded himself with great players and singers, and he selected some great songs to include on this disc which, incidentally, looks like a real record: remember those???
I enjoyed most of the songs, but, to me anyway, the problem with doing covers is that listeners are bound to compare your version to the original and, let’s face it, most folks are going to find the originals superior. By way of example, I was in Nashville recently and heard Jeff Hanna do “Mr. Bojangles” at 12th and Porter. Rick’s version is great, don’t get me wrong (especially the sample of Bill Robinson and Shirley Temple at the end of the cut), but I just heard JEFF HANNA from The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band do the same song. And some choices, like Simon and Garfunkel’s classic, “The Boxer”, were probably ill-advised. The song is well-presented here, but one of the things that made it such a great record was the amazing harmonies Art Garfunkel laid over Paul Simon’s beautiful delivery.
If I owned a club and I was looking to hire someone to do covers, Rick would be right at the top of my list. If you want to take a trip down memory lane with an extremely talented guy, this disc is for you. The musicianship is impeccable, the singing is very good, the song list is quite eclectic, and the arrangements are just as you remember them. Call it a hunch, but I have a funny feeling this guy is absolutely electric live. I would definitely not pass up a chance to catch his show. Overall, a very enjoyable disc.
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