Friday, December 02, 2011

FDF Volume 3 Issue 249 - The Mighty Mighty Bosstones - Let's Face It

By: March

Album- Let's Face It

Artist – The Mighty Mighty Bosstones

Key Players – Joe Sirois -drums. Dennis Brockenborough – trombone, backing vocals. Kevin Lenear – saxophone, backing vocals. Tim “Johnny Vegas” Burton – saxophone, backing vocals. Joe Gittleman – bass guitar, backing vocals. Nate Albert – guitar, backing vocals. Dicky Barrett – lead vocals. Ben Carr – dancer/bosstone

Produced By – Paul Q. Kolderie and Sean Slade

Release Date – March 11, 1997

What caused me to blow off the dust? - The band is due to play a local show, and was surprised I hadn't actually talked about this record yet for the site.

Overview – Formed in 1983 the Boston based ska punk band Mighty Mighty Bosstones (Also called simply Bosstones) found influence in the 2 Tone Ska scene coming out of England in the late 1970's. They'd seem to struggle in the underground scene with light album sales, but a fevered live show and ravenous following would keep the band active. They'd catch their biggest break with the release of this record. The album would have three singles, all that would chart on billboard charts and the album would go platinum in the US. They'd go on hiatus after 2003 and reformed in 2007 where they remain active releasing albums, singles and occasionally touring.

FDF Comments (aka the songs) – The 12 song, just a bit over 30 minute album begins with “Noise Brigade”. Sirois gets things rolling and the smooth bass line from Gittleman joins. The horns blaze in and Barrett is off to the races. He has a gruff/gravel voice but sings to be light on himself almost having a bubbly pop song vibe, before it skanks it up good. The horns add a real punch and are not overused. The band has a slower interlude with various vocals coming in before Barrett launches in to the final verse. A song that would eventual make its way in to the top 10 (#7 peak) on the Alternative charts is “The Rascal King”. Again the bass and horns are the focus at the start. Gittleman has a high punch to his drum, almost a piccolo snare drum”ping” to them being struck. Musically the band is tight and focused. Albert has some lighter guitar fills but the horns and the duo of Sirois and Gittleman seem to be the showcase. Gittleman is all over the bass with a wonderful walking bass line. Rather than a guitar solo there is a horn section that leads to a cool organ section as well. “Royal Oil” also charted (at #22) and seems a little mellower than what we've heard. Sirois slowly rolls off the drums and the track is just a more laid back vibe. The horns do punch through but the ping of the snare seems to really ring out over and over. The big single from the record comes in “The Impression That I Get”. Albert gets to lead off with his choppy guitar riff and is joined with the horns bass and drums. Again Gittleman really shines on the bass. Really listen to the bass line the next time you hear this track (see below) and I think you'll be impressed. The gruff sing along chorus gets even the stuffiest of stiff shirts fist pumping and pogo dancing wherever there is room. A solid track that still sounds great.. “Let's Face It” keeps things moving right along. The band never seems to slow things down, as they have found what works for them. There is some light organ fills again on this track. Albert has a quick and distorted guitar solo and then Brockenborough gets a quick shining moment on a strong, albeit short trombone section. Feeling far more punk at the outset “That Bug Bit Me” finds Albert riffing fast and hard with Sirois playing along just about as fast. Up to this point the fastest track on the record. The horns don't appear until the second verse and provide longer tones rather than fills. Barrett has a particular howl to his voice on the track. A great barn burner of a track. Clocking in at an astounding 3:50 “Another Drinkin' Song” follows. This is the longest track on the record starts off almost smooth with the horns taking the forefront. Barrett is much more laid back and Sirosis and Gittleman provide the simple back beat. Albert throws a few guitar riffs, but noting overly flashy. About the 2 minute mark the track seems to change direction and gets interesting with the band really firing off one another. It has this really “full” sound to these ears as well, before Barrett mellows things out, but by then the band is right there for the sing along choruses. Alberts guitar punches the speakers as
“Numbered Days” begins. The band all come in urgently but when Barrett starts to sing it backs off some. There is some slick production here with the loud to quiet and back aesthetic, but it really works. “Break So Easily” starts quieter with Albert playing a few light notes, but don't be fooled. Brockenborough leads the charge with the horns in to the verse. Parts of the verses are spoken rather than sung, and when sung it seems like the whole band is right in your face. It gets loud, urgent and almost frantic. Barrett is gruff again (more than usual) and you almost feel your own throat hurting after listening. Sirois quickly gets “Nevermind Me” rolling. Gittleman has heavy compressed distortion on his bass but the horns steal the show again. The horns chip right through sometimes with longer notes, others with short 16th note precision. The horns hit like a machine gun. We keep the speed up with “Desensitized” and the closer “1-2-8”. If you feet don't move on these two tracks, I really can't help.

Where are they now? - The band is still active but on a lighter schedule. They will play a few shows a year. The band is slated to release a new record on December 6, 2011 called “The Magic of Youth”. Dicky Barrett is the announcer for the Jimmy Kimmel Live late night show. Bassist Joe Gittleman, Tim Burton and Ben Carr have been the other consistent members of the band.

FDF Personal Comments (aka the Live experience) – Actually have seen the band live three times. Considering they are a “Boston” band it could be seen as being a little too low. The first time was July 25, 1995 as part of Lollapalooza. They then did two shows are part of the WBCN River Rave at the Tweeter/Comcast/Great Woods on June 7 and 8, 1997. They headlines those two shows over Foo Fighters and Porno for Pyros. A true homecoming indeed.

FDF Overall Take – Have to admit it has been some time since I played this record front to back. Its really pretty great. If you like the style enough this is well worth your time. Its fun, uptempo and overall really great. There is a reason it sold well. Chance are you have a copy, dust it off..if not check out some of the clips. It has been too long.

Official Page
myspace page

Curious? Check out some MUSIC!

The Impression That I Get
Royal Oil
Rascal King
Rascal King Live

The album appears to still be in print. You can grab one here


At 10:09 PM, Blogger RB said...

Love this album! One of my favs from them. I haven't heard it in a while. Brings back so many memories! Thanks for posting this!

At 7:10 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good choice! Great band...loved the Pin Points album from 2009 great tunes. Dicky Barrett is a cool down to earth music freak. I used to send him all sorts of retro tunes when he was a DJ on Indie 103 in LA, and he would play damn near everyone of them, and he even let me program one morning show with my music choices. Unbelieveable but true...especially since I lived in Texas at the time, and listened to the stream. Great memories! A fan forever of the Bosstones.

Gary C (the old blogger from "Retro Music Snob"

This has always been a great blog too! Take it easy.

At 9:41 AM, Blogger March to the Sea said...

Hey Gary. Thanks for the comment. Got a lot of traffic thanks to your links. Thanks for stopping over as always.


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