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The Shirts | Only the Dead Know Brooklyn

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Album Links
the Shirts' home page on the Stereo Society

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Rock: 70's Rock Rock: Classic Rock Moods: Mood: Upbeat
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Only the Dead Know Brooklyn

by The Shirts

Their sound now fits with classic rock, but the Shirts grew out of the edgy CBGB New York scene adventures in the late seventies, when they delivered two distinctive albums which became European hit favorites.
Genre: Rock: 70's Rock
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Spanish Steps
3:45 $0.99
2. Love in Chains
3:26 $0.99
3. Emptier
4:10 $0.99
4. Take Hold of My Heart
3:41 $0.99
5. Hell or High Water
3:54 $0.99
6. Chimes of Love
3:59 $0.99
7. Walk on the Wire
3:31 $0.99
8. I Declare War
2:59 $0.99
9. Tears Dancing Rings
3:54 $0.99
10. Bourbon Street (Live)
5:55 $0.99
11. Goin' to the Boat
3:40 $0.99
12. Only the Dead Know Brooklyn
4:02 $0.99
13. Everything
4:04 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
As David Byrne puts it in his after word to ‘Thirty Years from the Home of Underground Rock, CBGB & OMFUG’: 'if you were to believe the press, the CB's scene was only made up of a handful of bands but that just wasn't true. There were all kinds of musical styles being represented... and one could even claim the SHIRTS were the precursors to the musical RENT.'

The Shirts released two powerful and innovative albums in the late 70s, produced by Mike Thorne when he was breaking musical ground at the group’s other label, EMI London (he was a key operator for the Sex Pistols and Wire just before the Shirts introduction). Shirts music from their first album achieved high placement in several European national charts. But that didn’t register in their home country, thanks to corporate record company politics (read the story through the link). A third album, recorded in Los Angeles, far from their home but convenient for Capitol Records personnel, sounded close to disaster. Disillusioned, they broke up and went their separate ways in the early 80s.

After 25 years, that musical itch connected them again. Never underestimate Brooklyn family and neighborhood sociability. At first, Thursday night rehearsals were just for fun, just for the hell of it. Things grew. They reconnected with Hilly Kristal, the owner of legendary CBGBs and their only-ever New York manager, and producer Mike Thorne. Rough recordings were made live at the club, augmented by more without an audience once the project had lift-off, and then realized fully at the Stereo Society studio with Thorne. A new album evolved from their pure musical enthusiasm, unbeholden to any corporate compromise. Thanks to new technology, it sounds as good as any fancy studio production. But it keeps the alternative edge. 70s Brooklyn persists.

The band members still go their separate ways. One is a high-level massage therapy teacher, one is a major construction contractor who directs a hotel here and a school there, one hammers up sheetrock, one installs security systems, one is a fashion buyer, one sells paintings on the steps of the Metropolitan Museum on Fifth Avenue. You get the picture. That’s by day. By night, they pursue their enthusiasm to the point of exhaustion. Hear the results, produced to the highest quality: here. This is music born out of pure instinct and drive. If they couldn’t do it, they’d go crazy. This is music made because it had to be. There are no corporate marketing biz postures here. These are real people, with seasoned and dramatic talent. Go hear…

The rough/tough side blasts through the title track, inspired by the Tom Wolfe short story (no, the classic guy, not the one in the white suit). In dramatic contrast, their progressive style, hanging with the Bowery rock+roll, has ‘Everything’ as a new example. For tough personal attitude, try ‘Goin’ To the Boat’. Don’t mess with that lady as she kicks him out. For pure, honest, wide-open love-song passion, try ‘Chimes Of Love’. For other attitudes from a wide-ranging crew – try any song. They’re all from the Brooklyn heart.

Ron Ardito: guitars, vocals
John (Zeeek) Criscione: drums, percussion, vocals
Art Lamonica: guitars, vocals
Kathy McCloskey: keyboards, vocals
Caren Messing: vocals
John Piccolo: keyboards, vocals, percussion
Bob Racioppo: bass, vocals

Larry Etkin: trumpet
Arno Hecht: tenor saxophone
Allison Miller: percussion

Produced by Mike Thorne

Running time: 51 minutes.
With 16-page full color booklet

Much more detail at the Stereo Society website (see link at left)



to write a review

gianpiero soglio

Unici - The best
Certo, sono passati anni (tanti) da quando li ho visti al CbGb's e mi manca Annie Golden ma W The Shirts!

Diana Eckardt

Definetly for anyone appreciates great classic rock/adult pop!
This CD is one of the best new CDs I've heard in a long time! Really refreshing-- diverse, full of depth and melodic! I love the harmonies and musicianship. Impressive!

George Lane

Every song is great...Take Hold Of My Heart - is a musical journey taking the listener up down and around sultry,jazzy,street corner NYC harmonic twists and turns... I love this album !!

barbara bucci

still the best!