Thursday, 12 January 2017

Sleepy Hollow - Roller Coaster Man (The Beatles alike Band US 1972)

Size: 77.5 MB
Bit Rate: 256
Found in OuterSpace
Some Artwork Included

Sleepy Hollow were a Philadelphia power-pop trio that on their only album followed the same trail that Badfinger or the Raspberries used to fill the void the Beatles had left. This album was reissued on 1977 as "Billay" by the scam label Tiger Lily. 

The albums starts with Sincerely Yours, almost a retake of the Shangri-las Remember (Walking in the Sand) full of drama, strings and synthesizers as sung by an angry John Lennon. 

One Time sounds like an A Hard Day's Night - Help lost track with a George Harrison slide solo straight from the All Must Things Past era and feel-good la-la-las. It's followed by Take Me Back, a plaintive mid-tempo with a functional string arrangement and more Harrison-like guitars. Talking Out Of Turn follows, again resting on a Harrison approach. 

Next is Lay it on the Line a mournful ballad accompanied by a guitar played through a flanger and catchy lines all over. Love Minus You with its McCartneysque piano it's a good track, albeit some strange drum rolls on the end of every chorus. Lady starts as an acoustic effort and develops into a baroque-pop tune which sounds more akin to the Left Banque for a change. Roller Coaster Man it's an up-tempo rocker not far from the Raspberries, with a sparkling piano line, a horn section, a sax solo and a final coda that without fail is going to bring the Beach Boys to the back of your mind. The album closes with Hades, a slow and spooky christmas tune lead by a grand piano and full orchestra arrangements.

All in all, a solid work primarily recommended to early 70s pop lovers. Does it stands to its reputation as a "hidden gem"? Well, it's up to you to decide that. I don't think it could be match with the best efforts of Badfinger or Big Star, but that's a hard mountain to climb for everyone else too.

Sleepy Hollow were a power pop trio who hailed from Philadelphia,USA and comprised of members, Richard Billay (vocals,guitar,piano),  Richie Bremen (bass) and Joe Zucca (drums).  The band released a single album on the Family record label in 1972. Family was an independent label that released a handful of records between 71 and 74 before going bust and is probably most known for releasing Billy Joel's debut solo LP.

The music on the album evokes late period Beatles with Billay doing a fine Lennon snarl on LP opener "Sincerely Yours".  "Take Me Back" is a pure Raspberries-esque ballad with some fine George Harrison influenced slide guitar.  

"Talking Out Of Turn" sounds like it came straight off Emitt Rhodes' Mirror album and the guitar solo sounds uncannily like the one on "Hotel California" by the Eagles, pre-dating it by a good five years! "Lady" is a gentle McCartney style acoustic ballad with string section added by co-producer Tom Sellers (known for his top 20 hit cover of the Who's "Overture From Tommy" as the Assembled Multitude in 1971). Closing track "Hades" is an epic, Christmas themed ballad with massive orchestration, clocking in at over 6 minutes and an unlikely choice for a single release.

The LP was re-released in 1977 under the name "Billay" on the infamous tax scam label, Tiger Lily.  In true Tiger Lily style, it was released without the band's knowledge. 

Not a lot of info can be found about what happened to the band after the album came out but a YouTube search brought up a great power popper by Billay/Sleepy Hollow called "I Surrender" and the artwork attached to the video shows Sleepy Hollow plus another new member and appears to be a collection of recordings dating from 1974-1998.  If anyone knows of these recordings I would be grateful of any details.

01. Sincerely Yours  03:01
02. One Time  02:05
03. Take Me Back  03:53
04. Talking Out Of Turn  02:48
05. Lay It On The Line  02:43
06. Love Minus You  02:30
07. Lady  02:40
08. Roller Coaster Man  02:58
09. Hades  06:16

1. Sleepy Hollow
2. Sleepy Hollow
3. Sleepy Hollow


George Leroy Tirebiter said...

Chris von Sneidern did an awesome cover of "Take Me Back" on his The Wild Horse LP from 2003. That made a number of power-pop fans take notice & try to track down copies of Sleepy Hollow. I found my first copy on Soulseek years ago. Certainly lives up to the hype.

JD Seid said...

Thanks for this great find.

AmericanSamourai said...

Thanks... I was completely unaware of this band or this album back in 1972.

Psyclist said...

I like this album but it seems the last track contains a lot of noise. Could you re-uploand that track?

tim said...

Last track error in transfer...

gibbsrulez said...

link is dead please repost