The NBT Review 18

Picture: Garry Tallent, Max Weinberg, Billy Ryan, Stormin’ Norman, Clarence Clemons. 1980 at Lock Stock and Barrell

Asbury Park, Then And Now – Stormin‘Norman and Friends (Ivory International)

The man calls this, ‘’ In the simplest of terms, …my life in musical form. ‘’  The Man is Stormin’ Norman Seldin and this double album is an Unique history lesson  of the music coming out of Asbury Park from the 60s onwards.

The show starts of in 1980, and weaves back and forth through the decades, incorporating doo wop, rock and soul and even the Brit Invasion, From Garage Band to Big Band Rock extravaganza this collection has it all.

For Collectors, the First 8 tracks are a goldmine, featuring, E Street Band members Garry Tallent, Clarence Clemons, Max Weinberg, the late Danny Federici, and Roy Bittan.

Kicking off with the full keyboard driven boogie of ‘ Misery Loves Company’ to `Monopoly Woman’ a track that wouldn’t be out of place on Springsteen’s own early albums this set is a thrilling look into a particular time and place.

Favourite track for me of this first 8 is, ‘Everything I Do’ which is a mighty ballad including a breathtaking seemingly effortless sax solo from the maestro Clemons.

Going further back into the past we listen to a band Seldin signed post 1965, The Motifs, a glorious stumble mix of Iggy and the Stones, taken from vinyl these recordings have a scratchy wonder and exuberant swagger.

This is Followed by a handful of tracks by the Seldin led The Soul Set, Stax and Atlantic influenced blue eyed soul. With the additionof Clemons the band changed its name to The Joyful Noyze and are represented by six tracks, standout tune in this section, the atmospheric ‘A Winter Night.’

On CD two we go back in time again and listen to the Acapella sounds of Barbaroso & The Historians discovered and produced by Seldin, these tracks capture a musical point in time where the heavenly vocal harmonies and melodic arrangements of this kind of pop was being replaced by the dirtier blues of the british invasion.

This is followed by bands The Uniques,(who are frantically sought after by vinyl collectors, one their recordings currently sells for over $600), The Valtairs, and The Jaywalkers, all bands Seldin recorded and had a hand in writing for. This section is pop perfection, songs from long ago that still sound vibrant and important to this day.

The Cd finishes with a set of Stormin’Norman and Steel Breeze and Solo piano from the music man himself, Cinematic, widescreen, dream tunes, a wonderful way to close this journey through a past.

All in all this is music that has touched so many lives, and changed in its own subtle generous way the sounds of the rock we listen to now.

Don’t be foolish go buy this album NOW

Postscript: In honour of Clarence Clemons many tracks that he was involved in from this album and the entire Born To Run album are playlisted over the 24 hr stream that is the NBTMusicRadio

iTunes: NBTMusicRadio