This month out we share a few reviews and a few words from local icon Joey Harris. Few musicians in San Diego could touch on the accomplishments of Mr. Harris. Working with John Stewart, Fingers, The Speedsters, The Beat Farmers, Powerthud, The Tightenups and many more, Harris’s guitar work, vocals and songs are the perfect recipe for great music. Here are a few questions for Joey Harris:
Q: Have you ever considered an anthology album of all your bands?
A: “Jim Mcinnis has asked me a number of times what it would take to get control of the Speedsters record and I don’t really know. But MCA sends me a statement every quarter reporting the amount they advanced me back in ’82 and I don’t have that much. I’m sure there are other costs they would need to recoup before they’d let me re-release it. Same with the Beat Farmer stuff. Tales of the New West was re-released awhile ago, but I’d like to see the Beat Farmers records from my era made available.”
Q: Do you write with a particular/your current band in mind?
A: “It may sound strange but I write for Country Dick. I never worry about writing. I always write when I have a project to write for, but I always have a little mental conversation with Country Dick when I’m working on lyrics. He and I were a good team.”
Q: What’s the strangest place you’ve ever heard one of your songs?
A: “Back in the eighties I heard a Muzak version of a song that didn’t make it on the Speedsters record while riding an elevator.”
Q: Looking back at your discography, what’s your favorite album/recording?
A: “It’s funny to me…there aren’t a lot of records for thirty years of tryin’, but I’m lucky to have been involved with some really exceptional ones. Country Dick’s posthumously released solo record, The Devil Lied to Me is one of those. I don’t believe there’s a record like it. Each time I hear it I’m amazed at the performances. The range of emotion in Dick’s vocals. The great songs and production, yet very few people have heard it.”
Jeff Ballenberg – “(A Chance With) My Love” – unreleased song
Unabashed pure powerpop wonder, with echoes of Jellyfish, Badfinger, Denny Laine and Brian Wilson throughout. A piano led, full band outing with a ringing chiming guitar hook and massed backing vocals, this is one of the leanest songs I’ve heard in a while – it’s all hook, not an ounce of fat in its 3 minutes and 50 seconds. An instantly memorable, soaring chorus and a tasty lead guitar bridge that flawlessly leads back into said chorus highlight this tune.
Christine Parker – Looking Glass (self released)
A wonderful singer/songwriter disc from Christine Parker. No, she’s not reinventing the wheel, but this disc is everything right with the genre, including eleven tracks that sound great from melody to production, with touches of folk to Americana. The album starts strong with “Who I See” a track / obvious single, that will please anyone in a Jason Mraz / Tristan Prettyman frame of mind, with a sweet harmony vocal from Zach Meyer. Also nice is jazzy ballad, “Lucy,” kicked off by some tasty bass playing courtesy of local hero Rick Nash. Nash is part of a terrific group of backing musicians including an all star line up of Marc Intravaia (guitar), Ben Moore (keyboards), Tommy Aros (percussion), Bob Sale (drums) and Dennis Calpinger (mandolin, fiddle, banjo). With that group of musicians, how could this disc not sound terrific? That said, the instrument that sells this disc is Parker’s melodious voice, tinged with a wonderful whispered quality that makes you feel she’s confiding in the listener rather than singing at them. The album wraps up with piano based tune, “Lullaby,” it sounds a bit different sonically then the other tracks, but is a nice way to show off even more of Parker’s range. Fans of the singer-songwriter or pop genres will enjoy this disc a lot.
Produced by Marti Amado Recorded at Parker Soundlab / Studio West. www.christineparkermusic.com