Onca Ray and the Green Tambourine is the self-titled second CD from this fine retro Brit/Pop band. (Recently they've changed the band's name to Aliens From Planet Earth.) Ruth Taylor, a.k.a. Onca Ray, is group leader and composer of all the great tunes on this entertaining disc.
The CD opens with the '60s-sounding "Bell Bottoms and Belly Buttons". The live, fun atmosphere conjured up in the lyrical images, vocals and harmonies, is an enjoyable time trip back to the 'hippy dippy' mid-'60s. Taylor sings lead vocals on this tune, as well as throughout the CD. She also plays great rhythm and lead acoustic and electric guitar. J.J. White plays some scorching lead and rhythm guitar too, in several places. He also sings spirited background vocals. White was bassist in harp player Jerome Godboo's band for years. (Godboo plays with Ronnie Hawkins and Jeff Healey.) Gregory Ray Tunis plays drums and sings background vocals. His energy and enthusiasm is indispensable. He's also a Godboo alumnus, ever since they were in the Phantoms together in the '80s.
Most of the tunes Taylor writes contain an underlying message of hope. They're a social commentary as well. "Plastic People" refers to insincerity, and metaphorically, credit cards. "I'm Missing You" is a simple but universal message, with a hard driving rhythm, complementing Taylor's enchanting vocals. Paul Savoie's bass lines provide some real punch to this highly enjoyable tune. Savoie's cousin, guitarist Brian Pickard adds some hard-driving leads and rhythms to this and other tracks. "I Think of You" is an upbeat and fun tune with whimsical, romantic images, combined with sentimental background vocals. Tunis' driving drum rhythms complement White's energetic lead guitar licks here.
"Help Me" is a tune that comes across as a musical 'plea' for recognition. "Welcome to the Chaos, Kid" is another real rouser, along the lines of "Bell Bottoms and ..". While track one is whimsical and fun, "Chaos .. " is a hard driving, insightful look at the problems in the world. It possesses strong vocal harmonies, with a rhythm to match! "Cloudwalker" is the kind of tune you can catch a ‘buzz’ on, with only
the strength of the music to get you there! It features some
atmospheric and intriguingly mesmerizing harp playing, courtesy of
Michael Titherington. His creative harp tones are an indispensable
addition to other ‘Onca’ compositions, as well.
The final tune on this imaginatively created CD is entitled "Turn It Around." It's conveys a message of universal hope, whether it be in relationships or in the sometimes harsh conditions in the world. Listening to it gives me a feeling that no problem is insurmountable. Almost like we have "time .. time … time .. (to) turn it around" - in this 'wonderful world' we live in - (as the late, great Louis Armstrong once said, in a tune he sang.)
Your purchase through this Amazon.com link helps to support this website.
You can now order other CDs, books, and videos from Blues On Stage in association with Amazon.com. Simply click on the logo at the left and shop! They have some of the best prices on the web and even offer some used product at lower prices.
"This review is copyright © 2003 by Joe Curtis, and Blues On Stage at: www.mnblues.com, all rights reserved. Copy, duplication or download prohibited without permission."
Copyright reuse notice: If you would like to reprint or use this review please include the above copyright notice, contained within the quotation marks, PLUS this statement: "Used with permission." Then send an email to Ray at: email@example.com indicating how you are using the review or the website page address it will be appearing on. Thanks!
You can help support this blues website by making a contribution (click on the banner below for details).
Or mail a donation to: Ray Stiles % Blues On Stage, PO Box 582983, Mpls, MN 55458. Thanks!
Web Design SPECIAL, get your own website for just $50.
Web Hosting & Design:
Web Hosting & Design.
Most affordable web hosting and design services available.
Find out how you can host your current site at Blues On Stage, or how I can help you design your own website!
If you would like your CD reviewed, please send TWO (2) copies, along with promotional material to:
Blues On Stage
PO Box 582983
Minneapolis, MN 55458-2983
E-mail Ray Stiles @ firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.