The Loud Family and Anton Barbeau – What If It Works?
While not as rollicking & propelling as the original Rolling Stones version this unit tackles bravely a cover of the Stones’ “Rocks Off,” & does indeed add energy of their own. It’s always a challenge to cover songs by legendary artists who have a touch that is blessed by Midas.
The late Scott Miller’s (Game Theory – 1982-90) final LP (2006) adds 11 bonus cuts (10 previously unissued + another from a promotional disc). The Loud Family came to an end in 2000 due to economics. Miller had prepared to step away from music & go in a different direction. Then, he collaborated with musician Anton Barbeau & Scott’s wife thought they sounded good together. This is it.
The Omnivore reissue of What If It Works? (Drops March 25) was produced by Dan Vallor & Cheryl Pawelski. Originally produced & recorded by Scott Miller with Anton Barbeau. The 23-song (12 from the original LP & 11 more unissued with different musicians are primarily good demos).
The main set includes good covers like the lead-off Stones’ tune, Cat Stevens’ “I Think I See the Light,” (a rollicking piano-driven cover), The Zombies’ Chris White’s “Remember You,” from 1965.
“Total Mass Destruction,” is a nice sprightly upbeat new wave-inspired melodic tune. Followed by “Flow Thee Water,” which is equally catchy. The songs are mindful of pop-confections designed creatively by Alex Chilton’s Big Star decades ago. That would’ve been an exciting pairing had they met.
This is more for devotees & purists since it’s different from Game Theory. It is a soundscape of interesting performances (“Don’t Bother Me While I’m Living Forever”). It’s a good document that captured Miller & Anton’s work & obviously still had something worthy to say. The finished songs aren’t inferior & the performances maintain energy. They’re focused not forced. There’s a vocal tint of 60s type pop-rock bands as heard on “What If It Works” — early Kinks? Pretty Things?
Anton’s “I’ve Been Craving Lately,” is closer to a driving pop 60s appeal as Paul Revere & the Raiders’ songs like “Kicks.” This was recorded in 2006 with well-recorded vocals. An impressive tune.
“Little Daisy,” & “Third Eye,” from the bonus cuts are 2 cool numbers. Filled with pop sensibilities that feature Scott (lead/backing vocals/guitar/sample keyboard/organ/piano) joined Anton (lead/backing vocals/organ/Hammond organ/ Wurlitzer/Farfisa/ piano/Micro Moog/Korg MS-10/Roland Space Echo/Arp Odyssey/Novation X-Station/bridge drum & percussion).
Performed with Loud Family alumni Kenny Kessel (bass) & Josef Becker (drums) with the late Gil Ray (percussion) & Alison Faith Levy (piano/backing vocals), Steve Randall & Dave Middleton (guitars – track 5), Larry Tagg (bass – tracks 11-12), Julie Myers (Farfisa – cut 5), Kristine Chambers (backing vocals – track 4).
Anton’s image from his website. B&W image of Scott by Kristine Chambers Miller. The 1 hour + CD is available @ http://omnivorerecordings.com/shop/what-if-it-works/