Alan Merrill | Rive Gauche

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Rock: 60's Rock Rock: 70's Rock Moods: Type: Vocal
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Rive Gauche

by Alan Merrill

Alan Merrill maxi single featuring a tribute to the hits of The Left Banke, and more.
Genre: Rock: 60's Rock
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Walk Away Renee
2:41 $0.99
2. Pretty Ballerina
2:49 $0.99
3. Desiree
2:55 $0.99
4. Sing Little Bird Sing
3:22 $0.99
5. You
3:25 $0.99
6. Only 19
2:39 $0.99
7. Pretty Ballerina (Karaoke)
2:48 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
Once upon a time there was a band called the Left Banke.
Alan Merrill auditioned for the band in the spring of 1968 at a cattle call of about 50 young musicians, all with hope in their hearts and guitars in hand. He had found out about the auditions in the Village Voice, a New York City weekly newspaper. It came down to two people at the end of the gruelling try outs, Bob Kulick, and Alan Merrill. Ironically Bob and Alan would play as guitarists in the group Meat Loaf together a couple of decades later.
The auditions took place around the time the Left Banke had released their 1968 single "Dark Is The Bark," and they were replacing guitarist Rick Brand. Alan Merrill got the job, edging out Kulick, and rehearsed with the band for a month or so at The Bryant Hotel in midtown Manhattan.
After much internal band confusion and rudderless management, The Left Banke decided to continue as a vocal trio, leaving the disappointed Merrill to pack up and head for Tokyo, Japan. Always ambitious and resilient, he almost immediately joined a band called The Lead, who were on RCA Victor Records. This was in the winter of 1968. The Lead had one hit single, a song titled "Aoi Bara" (Blue Rose). A short lived project, The Lead disbanded, and Merrill promptly landed a solo deal with Atlantic Records. He was the label's first Japan based signing, recording the LP "Alone In Tokyo" in 1969, a record which yielded the top ten hit single "Namida."
With this, Merrill was the first established domestic market foreign pop star in Japan, starring as co-host of the televison show "Young 720."
Alan Merrill left Japan in 1974 and formed the British chart hit pop group The Arrows as lead singer. Arrows were a trio who hosted their own weekly televsion series, and wrote and recorded the original 1975 version of "I love rock n roll," an oft covered international rock classic.
Since the 1970s on to the new millennium Alan Merrill has released a number of critically acclaimed solo albums, and contributed to many recording projects as both a composer, player and singer.
This maxi-single is Alan Merrill putting his personal stamp on the Left Banke mid 1960s hit songs "Walk Away Renee," "Pretty Ballerina," and "Desiree."
Alan sings all the parts, playing bass and guitar on the songs. On keyboards and drums are rock music legends Tommy Mandel (ex-Bryan Adams Group) and Sandy Gennaro (ex-Joan Jett and the Blackhearts).
Also included as bonus tracks are the Radiohead song "You," and an intimate acoustic guitar and voice self penned tune "Only 19," about a young model's suicide.

Trivia: Alan Merrill performed "Sing Little Bird Sing" on Japanese televison in 1968, before the Left Banke ever released it. In fact, he nearly beat them to releasing the first recorded version, however, Alan's Japanese management (Watanabe Productions) decided that his debut album should be entirely in the Japanese language, and so plans to release the gorgeous Tom Feher composition were scrapped.



to write a review

Joan Marie

Rive Gauchee
Alan Merrill's tribute to the Left Banke is a solid effort, with covers of the band's hits as well as lesser known tracks. Merrill has interpreted these classy songs in his own way without altering the original charm of the band's sixties recordings to much.
I enjoyed his "Walk Away Renee" with a 12 string and flute solo! AND "Pretty Ballerina" is done with grace and respect for the song without too much aberation in the string arrangement done by Tommy Mauder who adds his own Leonard Bernstein influence flourishes to the track. The volcals by Merill are solid throughout the project. The bonus tracks, Radioheads' "You" and Only 19" are outstanding. "You" is given a full Psychedelic 60's treatment, and "Only 19" has a Steve Still sort of acoustic guitar/voice feel to it, a song about a young model who commits suicide. Merrill has been making great theme oriented maxi singles over the past few years, and this is a terrific recording. I fully recommend!

G. Mercado

A new view of the Rive Gauche
Rive gauche literally means left bank in French, so it should be no surprise then to find that this maxi single is a tribute to the hits of the eclectic and tasty 1960s band The Left Banke. Merrill does a highly commendable job on these baroque rock tunes, which are not the sort of material he has been recording the past few years, which have been more R&B oriented. His voice fits the Left Banke tunes very well, bending the melodies to suit his own style of singing rather than copying the original blueprint of these songs. The four Left Banke songs feature Tommy Mandel on keyboards and Sandy Gennaro on drums, with Alan Merrill doing the rest, guitars, bass and all vocals. "Walk Away Renee" "Pretty Ballerina" "Desiree" and "Sing Little Bird Sing", are all gems.
The bonus tracks are also a treat, with the bare bones acoustic-voice song "Only 19" depicting a young model's tragic suicide.
The project has a nice flow to it and owes much to the superb production and engineering skills of Grammy award winner Kirk Yano, who has given the vocals warmth and lots of space to the instruments.
If you like the Left Banke, and want to hear the material done with a different slant and an inspired spin, try this recording. You won't be disappointed.