the basics | PRIVATE DRIVE

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Rock: Roots Rock Rock: 60's Rock Moods: Type: Vocal
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by the basics

"the basics" are a roots rock group heavily influenced by the bands and artists from the 1960's.
Genre: Rock: Roots Rock
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Nothing but Time
3:39 $0.99
2. Damaged Man
2:41 $0.99
3. Betty Brown
4:18 $0.99
4. Don't Tell the Moon
4:37 $0.99
5. Hold On Me
2:42 $0.99
6. Everywhere Man
4:03 $0.99
7. Perfect
4:05 $0.99
8. One Man Tells Another
4:06 $0.99
9. A Train and a Room
3:17 $0.99
10. 2/night
4:07 $0.99
11. Rude Awakening
5:13 $0.99
12. Walk Away Dead
3:18 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
PRIVATE DRIVE by the Basics grabs the sound of traditional rock and roll by the roots! Inspired by the best pop and rock of the 1960s and 1970s, the result is both modern and timeless. This is the second full-length CD by this powerful trio, and it was recorded in a studio on a private drive somewhere in the Great American Midwest. The Basics have played basic rock and roll since they formed in 1982, and PRIVATE DRIVE proves that the great old formulas can still make great new music.



to write a review

Charlie Ricci

The Basics - Private Drive (2006)
With Private Drive, The Basics second independent release and follow up to Bitter/Sweet their 2003 debut, the band gives us more of the same. Please don’t let that discourage you because in this band’s case more of the same is a very good thing. The trio still sounds exactly the way they want to and that means they are a perfect American, post-British Invasion, pre-psychedelic, 60’s era garage band.

There is a little bit of almost every 60’s American rock band (except for the Beach Boys) implanted in the heart and soul of The Basics. Clean sounding American rock runs through their veins. This time around the band they most remind me of is Paul Revere and The Raiders but if you hear someone else I won't tell you that you're wrong. The Basics emphasis on a long bygone era may make you believe that Doug Cowen and the boys just want to be throwbacks and that is not true. They still manage to offer their own distinctive flair that proves this album is a labor of love.

All twelve original songs are written by lead singer-guitarist Cowen and bassist Charley Neisis who hammer out some rockers, a few ballads, and one danceable instrumental tune, "2/Night," that sounds like something your local high school rock band would have played at a sock hop, only better.

Craig Schroeder

If you know where you're going ... you'll end up with Private Drive.
If you know where you're going, you can drive along a series of back roads in southern Michigan until you end up at a secluded private drive. If you venture down this drive, you'll eventually come to the house that the Midwest-based band, the Basics, use as a sort of musical retreat. It's here that they get away from it all for a few hours every once in a while to record the original songs that they've written.

Private Drive is the new album by the Basics. In many ways, it is itself a retreat from the conceptual tone of their debut album, Bitter/Sweet. While Bitter/Sweet seemed in large part to be about exorcizing demons past and present, Private Drive is less conceptually focused. Not that that's necessarily a bad thing. On the contrary, with Private Drive the Basics have delivered a compelling set of superbly-crafted pop songs. If Bitter/Sweet was the Basics' "Sgt. Pepper," Private Drive is a "Revolver," or a "Rubber Soul."

While comparisons to the Beatles are typically overdone, the comparison to them here may be apt if only because Private Drive is so sprinkled with references to the Fab Four. Check out "A Train and a Room," which seems an exercise in trying to create a coherent song composed primarily of relatively obscure Beatle references. This might end up as a one-note punch line in the hands of lesser songsmiths, if only the tune weren't so damn catchy! Again, there's a pleasant surprise in the song, "Everywhere Man." A takeoff on the title of a Beatles song, it emerges a first-rate pop tune as well as an astute observation on the male psyche with regard to its pursuit of romance.

To listen to Private Drive, you'd have to come to the conclusions that the Basics aren't doing too well in the romance department. Love may be just out of reach in "Nothing But Time," perhaps in trouble in "Don't Tell the Moon" or gone completely awry with "Betty Brown," "Perfect," and "One Man Tells Another." It's a bit of an irony that the Monkees-inspired "Hold On Me," the track where the singer is the most enthusiastic about his prospects, is weaker than the songs about breakup and heartache.

One would be hard pressed to think that things are going that much better in the other aspects of the Basics' lives. The impressionistic "Rude Awakening," the self-incriminating "Damaged Man" and the garage band glorious "Walk Away Dead" all suggest a significant degree of existential angst.

A break from the tension comes in the form of a near-instrumental, "2/Night." The tune itself, along with its one-word lyric, suggests that everything may turn out all right, at least for a little while.

The playing and singing on Private Drive is clean and competent, simple and direct. The Basics aren't going to win any awards in any "guitar-slinger of the month" contest, but that's not what this album is about. It's about good songs and effective arrangements. You can get the impression that the Basics studied every moment of every track and at each moment asked themselves how they could deliver on that song most effectively. Their well-honed sense of what makes for an effective recording keeps them from over-arranging their songs into sterile exercises.

If you know where you're going ... you'll end up with Private Drive. It's well worth the trip.

-- Craig Schroeder