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CD REVIEW : Fred Prellberg - Ten Pennies Make A Dime
By Don Sechelski - 06/24/2008 - 06:18 PM EDT

Artist: Fred Prellberg
Album: Ten Pennies Make A Dime
Label: Denmark Street Records
Genre: Pop/Rock
Technical Grade: 8/10
Production/Musicianship Grade: 8/10
Songwriting Skills: 9/10
Best Songs: Lies, No Man's Land
CD Review:

The best part of this gig is the worst part of this gig. Every week I get a mailbox full of CD's. This week was one of the good ones. I received a CD called Ten Pennies Make A Dime by Fred Prellberg. Fred Prellberg is a singer/songwriter from the Chicago area. This CD is unabashedly rooted in classic rock and roll with echoes of Dylan, Neil Young, and even the Beatles. Better yet, it delivers the goods. From the first cut, No Man's Land to the last, The World Today, Ten Pennies Make A Dime is a gem.

Prellberg is joined on Ten Pennies Make A Dime by co producer Ellis Clark who makes a large contribution on guitar, bass, keyboards, percussion, and vocals. Paul Gongola also plays bass, guitar, organ, and provides backing vocals. Jerry King rocks the beat on drums and also sings vocals. Travers Gauntt and Frank Tribes sit in on guitar on a couple of songs while Tom Clark and Martha Larson play trombone and cello respectively.

The first song, No Man's Land, sets the tone with an inspired and irresistible guitar riff. The retro rock tone comes through everything from Prellberg's vocal to the driving rhythm guitar. Moments Like These is a wry, sardonic waltz with a dark undertone. "There are moments when time has no meaning ...but then there are moments like these", he sings with a straight face. The B3 organ lends a retro sound to Prellberg's soft acoustic guitar and the vocal is sweet but after every memorable moment, "... there are moments like these."

The pace picks up again with Real Real Wild, a witty rockabilly tune about battling the gin bottle. But my favorite tune on the CD is Lies. Prellberg's lyrics are sharp, the music is crisp and tight and the production really punches the song home. Prellberg's take on hypocrisy is both funny and sad. The chorus is supposedly his dad's advice to him,

Say what you must to get by
Don't think about it just lie
I know you can if you try."

He goes on to justify it,
"Don't be surprised that it's true
Your teachers and preachers do it too.
And even moms and dads
Have been known to tell a fib or two."

 Itís the quality of writing that makes this album stand out from the crowd. Prellberg's songwriting is literate, witty, and filled with strong hooks. His direct, honest songs are brought home by solid guitar based classic style rock and roll. There are enough keepers here to make Ten Pennies Make A Dime worth listening too over and over again.

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