Barnaby Bye Room to Grow
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- by Barnaby Bye ~ Touch ~ $18.36
- Released: July 13, 2010
- Label: Wounded Bird Records
- 1.The Day Came On
- 2.I Feel For You
- 3.She Was Pleased
- 4.I Think I'm Gonna Like It
- 6.The Way
- 8.Jessie Girl
- 9.Marsha Mamaillia
- 11.Something Good About Nothing
- 12.I Won't Step On Your Shoes
- 13.She's Leaving Home
Personnel: Peppy Castro, Bobby Alessi (vocals, guitar); Billy Alessi (vocals, keyboards); Michael Ricciardella (vocals, drums, percussion).
Audio Remixer: Gene Paul.
Recording information: Atlantic Recording Studios, New York, NY; The Warehouse, New York, NY.
Photographer: David Gohr.
With the formidable combination of talent, good looks, and a world class producer, it is surprising that Barnaby Bye's debut album, Room to Grow, wasn't a runaway smash. The talented twin teen-heartthrobs Bobby and Billy Alessi, together with former Blues Magoos guitarist Peppi Castro (aka, Emil Thielhelm), and ex-Illusion drummer Michael Ricciardella released Room to Grow in 1973 on Atlantic with some success, but without the popularity they probably deserved. Their combination of Beatles-inspired songwriting, Queen-like vocal harmonies, and predilection for camp actually worked because they were talented enough to pull it off without sounding completely derivative. Exemplified by tunes like the wonderfully Brit-sounding "Jessie Girl," and the Marc Bolan-meets-Roy Wood rocker "Marsha Mamaillia," the boys proved that they could pay homage to their heroes without quoting them directly. As a result, the album is surprisingly solid and cohesive, with ballads like Billy Alessi's "I Feel for You" and Bobby Alessi's "Laneya" providing just the right amount of breathing room for the more upbeat tracks. Barnaby Bye's Long Island-take on Brit-pop was probably more of a template for later retro-rock outfits like Jellyfish and the Merrymakers than the original bands themselves. A solid, fun, and enjoyable effort, Room to Grow should find a comfortable spot in any serious collection of '70s pop/rock. ~ J. Scott McClintock
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