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This album was reviewed by five members of
RARB. In this compilation, their comments are
always listed in a consistent order. Thus, for each song (and in the
"overall" section), all comments numbered "1" are from the same
reviewer, as are those numbered "2", etc.
This album was clearly paid careful attention to by a
studio. My philosophy of studio recording is generally that a
studio should be used to enhance and perfect the original sound
of the group, not add odd effects and sounds unachievable on
stage (although occasional deviations from this are fine with
me). On this album, I was often thinking, "Wow, these guys sure
went crazy in the studio" rather than "Wow, what a great
sound." When the studio sound is not unnatural, however, it
allows for some great balance, nice solos, and smooth
fades/entrances. This disc stands out in having seamless
backgrounds with nice blend and wonderful volume
control. Generally arrangements were very good, as was the
singing. My generally high numbers show that I enjoyed this
album, but they would have been even higher had the often
intrusive recording been more natural (or at least consistent
through each song).
Rating: 8 (7.1)
Of all of the collegiate albums I have heard, this is the one
that I would recommend most readily. If I could have only one
collegiate album, this would be it. Fleet Street concentrates
on harmony and blend, and they deliver that, along with some
brilliant originals. Some people could find things that they
don't like about the album — no vocal percussion, use of studio
effects (though tasteful, I would argue), and for the most part
not overly-complex arrangements. But FS consistently puts out
quality music, and you never find yourself worrying about
whether they will be in key. The album title is the worst I've
ever heard of, but the computer generated cover design almost
makes up for it. If there were more collegiate albums like
this, the world would be a better place.
Rating: 9 (7.8)
This is technically one of the best albums I've heard from the
collegiate scene. They have great traditional music, like Jazz
and Barbershop, as well as a few glances at the modern scene,
and some originals. It is clear that the individuals in the
group are great singers, both from the overall sound, and the
excellent soloists. On the downside, I didn't care for some of
the strange studio effects on the basses.
Rating: 9 (7.9)
Their studio engineering work is incredible. Most college
groups don't have anywhere near the kind of engineering work
that the Fleet Street Singers have. They took advantage of the
technology available to improve studio recordings, but used it
in places where it fit. It really helped my enjoyment of the
music, rather than making me say, "Well, nice try using an
effect, but it was pretty cheesy."
Rating: 8 (7.6)
You'd have to examine this album with an aural microscope to
find a pitch or blend problem. Add to that equally good
ensemble, enviable dynamic control, and soloists that can wring
the most from a line, and you have an album that should be in
everyone's collection. Although slanted towards the jazz
genre, there is a nice variety of styles through the album, and
the three originals are among the strongest tracks.
Rating: 9 (9.0)
FS leads off with a live barbershop cut, and they prove
that this medium CAN be done effectively with a
college-size group. They also show that the rest of the
album sounds the way it does because they started with a
great group and THEN added "studio magic."
Very well done, especially considering it's live Barbershop.
Arrangement is rather simple, and with the number of
singers they have, it results in a much more choral-like
sound. I think it's good for any a cappella group to
have barbershop-type arrangements in their repertoire,
but for a group of their size, they need to do something
more than just 4 or 6 part harmony. The other complaint
I have is the fact that it's a live recording. It's
actually one of the better live recordings I've heard,
and they made a good attempt to keep the levels at the
same point of the other tracks so I don't have to adjust
the volume on my CD player after the track. In general,
however, most college groups don't have a recording
system that is sophisticated enough to generate a good
live recording that captures all the intricacies of
their music. Furthermore, all good college groups do
some sort of choreography, at which the crowd
laughs/applauds/whatever, and that just comes out as
interference in an audio-only recording. We don't get
whatever joke was done.
Overall: Would have been a good choice for an opening
track if it wasn't live.
A live cut of the barbershop classic. Excellent
traditional presentation, with a bit of comic relief for
the appreciative audience.
Smooth. I love this song. Some nice chord voicings in
the arrangement. The scat solo sounded odd. They
apparently used doubling (repeating a sound after a very
short delay) or added a delayed echo effect to this
singer. It didn't work for me. Basses are getting a
good electric bass sound.
Lush jazz chords with bite where it's needed. Good solo
is helped by neat effects. Throw in a scat by Alex
Camp, and you've got a great track. Cheezy ending,
Slick and well done, with a nice sense of style.
Much better arrangement than the first track. They
really took advantage of the number of voices they had
available without creating that choral group sound. The
engineering in this piece is really what makes it stand
out. They split the backup voices between the two
channels, with some panning done between channels in a
very subtle manner. The best effect was done on the
lead vocal. They placed the lead in both channels, with
a slight delay between the right and left channel that's
really only noticeable with headphones. It creates a
much fuller sound from a single voice. Their use of
modulations and key changes were very well done, and not
telegraphed. There was a nice scat done by a high tenor
near the end which was well done. It stopped right
before it became grating.
Overall: Really shows off their engineering skills.
Excellent, jazzy arrangement. Control is outstanding.
I particularly like the tense vocal line overlaying the
Well sung, but I didn't care too much for the "humorous"
dialogue. Not clever enough IMHO to justify inclusion
(remember, people will have to listen to these jokes
every time they listen to the song).
A FS original. Combine clever lyrics, fabulous writing,
and good arranging, solo, and effects, and you've got a
winner. A song from Egypt that really moves.
Cute sound effects, a little silly, but well done.
Once again, the arrangement was very good. The number
of accompanying voices varied greatly over the course of
the song, so I didn't become bored with it. This is one
song that was definitely written to be performed live,
and the humor in it would be much more obvious in a live
performance. They did a good job of making up for it
with their engineering, however.
Overall: Shows they have talent with originals, too, but
really to be seen live, not heard on an album.
First of 3 originals. Liberal use of engineering tricks
in the opening, but it's a fun opening for a fun song.
A funky blues underlies this little gem. Listen to it
VERY carefully, at least twice.
The Ivy sound takes a tour to California. Classy
rendition of this old standard. FS's care and feeling
keep you from noticing that the arrangement is very
A pretty slow song that makes me feel like I'm in a
nightclub of the 70's.
A nice pretty ballad, but as is their biggest problem on
these barbershop style pieces, they just have too many
voices. Their entrances were a bit rough at the
beginning. There were too many long held out notes for
a group of their size. The use of the high tenor part
in the later parts of the song sent a glimmer of hope
out, but then the song ended. It was a good piece, they
just really need to take advantage of all the voices
they have. I just pictured 15 guys in a line singing
this song, and it didn't capture the emotion in could
Overall: Just another "Yeah it's pretty good song" to
toss in. Doesn't stand out.
Solo has very nice tone. Backgrounds smooth.
A depressing rendition is effective, not boring. Tight
low chords at the end are not muddy, which is a
difficult thing to do. Good solo.
Another slow song.
The arrangement on this piece was better than "It's A
Blue World" and incorporated more of their voices, with
some good jazz chords. This song, however, really
showed the other side of their engineering work. Their
engineering is SO crisp, and their chords are
SO tight, that the wind up losing the emotion
of the piece. It's easy to tell when someone is making
dynamic changes because they're written on the
arrangement versus dynamic changes because they're
"feeling" the piece. Outside of that, the piece was
very good, and a definite improvement over the previous
Overall: Much better ballad, but still lacking feeling.
The solo line is absolutely wonderful. Crystal clear at
the top, expressive and full down low.
As the solo moves into the chorus, suddenly there's HUGE
reverb. Detracts from the song. A light, simple, boppy
arrangement. Unusual approach on solo, works quite well
for most of the song but the first verse isn't
enunciated quite well enough. Didn't like the "nailed"
Great solo on a an interesting song. Horridly arranged
Some really sweet jazz. Really. Overdone reverb.
Now this song made up for the previous two. The
engineering was very crisp still, but rather than
hindering the lead, they took advantage of his voice and
brought out the emotion in it. This song really created
a lot of imagery in my mind while listening to it, which
is always a plus. I enjoyed the dominance of the bass
line in the arrangement with the sporadic insertion of
the other parts.
Overall: For a change, the engineering helped to elicit
emotion in this track.
Heavily engineered jazz blues. A little too much reverb
on the lead voice for me, it began to interfere with the
clarity of some of the fast lyrics.
Arrangement has unusual through-composed sounding rhythm
and feel. This is good for a much-sung tune such as
this. Another nice big group ballad.
Another Ivy sounding song — some solo work but mostly
group singing with interesting chord changes. Nice
The introduction of this song is done in a traditional
barbershop style, but really did absolutely nothing for
me. I've never heard it included in other versions of
the song, and emotionally, it didn't do anything to
introduce the song. I liked how they brought in the
first verse, switching from a barbershop style, to a
soloist, it really helped bring out the feeling in the
piece, but then they dropped right back into the
barbershop refrain which wasn't as crisp as the rest of
the song. The bass were too strong, and hampered the
emotion of it again. They brought in a soloist again
for the second verse, but this was nothing new after the
first verse, and didn't add anything. The changes they
made to enhance the final refrain added a lot, but the
whole thing could have been a lot better had they used a
soloist throughout, including the refrain. I liked the
Choral opening melts into a chordal accompaniment. I'm
a little uncomfortable with this arrangement — it seems
to hang between barbershop and chorale. Still a
Annoying "wah-wah" sounding intro. You don't often see
men's groups going for handclaps for big energy, but
they do here and it works. The soloist is nice but
sometimes goes for that soul sound and misses,
unfortunately (the ends of some phrases are clumsily
finished out, some screaming finishes don't fly).
Generally quite good, though.
Before George Michael's "Freedom '90" there was this
motown groove. Adam Camp, who has a unique voice that
is never boring to listen to, sings a solo that really
rocks on this song that moves so well that I don't even
mind the claps.
Good, but needs an infusion of soul.
I liked this track a lot, except for one thing! White
men shouldn't sing gospel. The bass line was very
solid, the engineering was great, and they made great
use of the other voices in back up parts with additional
lyrics. They did a really good job utilizing the many
voices they have, and the white boy did do as good as
job as could be expected of a white boy. :) If they had
Aretha come in and do a guest lead, it would have been
Great rock-gospel lead and a wonderful change in feel.
I wonder what this sounds like on stage (i.e. without
effects). Great high energy. Soloist pulls off
ridiculous cheesy lyrics.
Great solo, a little weak on the words "Wonder Woman",
otherwise good backing.
Kinda cool, nothing to bowl me over.
Were it not the Wonder Woman theme song, I would say
this one of the best track on the whole album. The lead
was perfect, the occasional introduction of a harmony on
the lead was well-placed and right in synch with the
lead. I couldn't tell with the engineering whether the
bass beat was someone slapping their chest or an actual
bass drum, but it didn't matter.
Rating: 9 (I had to deduct something just for it being
the Wonder Woman theme song.)
Best version of this I've ever heard, due at least in
part to some very liberal engineering. Still, there's
no faking the voices.
A FS original. Great solo, clever words and good jazzy
writing about being in love with a beautiful brain.
Good original jazz, though repetitive.
This song was meant to have a nice blues feel, but it
fell short. As with a lot of originals, I think they
just bit off more than they could chew. The lyrics were
a little too complex to really be ear-catching. The
rhymes and wording were forced at times, and annunciated
too much. The arrangement started out okay but got a
lot better as the song went along. I think that was
mainly due to me forgetting about listening to the
lyrics and just enjoying the music.
The second original. A jazz-swing lamentation about the
difficulties in establishing a relationship with a
yuppy-to-be. Would have been an excellent candidate for
Again, very smooth. Soloist straighter than a King's
Singer, a jazzier approach might have worked
better. Arrangement matches. Both nice, though. Well
This track grows on you more each time you hear it.
Beautiful rendition with a classical-sounding soloist.
Unfortunate cheezy ending.
Too damn slow and depressing.
Excellent choice of lead voices on this one, he did a
really good job in capturing the "prose" which the song
started out with. The transition to the refrain was a
bit strong. The fact that the song was arranged in 1982
was noticeable, as the backing vocals were a little bit
simple, but I think this was a good thing, as it allowed
the lead vocalist to bring more emotion into his part.
They used a lot of arpeggiated chords, sometimes very
crisply, and sometimes... well, it went from crispy to
soggy. Overall, it was solid. Once again, their
engineering was excellent.
The velvet-smooth lead here makes a good contrast to the
active, arpeggiated background.
OK, this is where I draw the line. I realize that they
are probably paying homage to Spike Jones but.... I
didn't enjoy this studio mish-mash remix splice effects
thing. It includes radio dialogue bits, simulated tuner
problems etc. I give it a 5 because the sung parts are
Fabulous studio gimmicks are incredible, but the song
itself is pretty ordinary. Still, quite a unique track.
Now this is a fun song! They definitely show what can
be done with good studio engineering. From the old
shallow, tinny phonograph at the beginning to the soap
opera insert in the middle of the song to machine gunner
in the background, I laughed throughout this song. I
want to see them do it live, though. :)
Kind of a fake soul soloist, he doesn't pull off the
slidey runs and thrown out "yeah"s. If you don't have
someone that can really pull this off, then just sing it
straighter. (It may be possible that he's playing it for
laughs but I don't think so). I also didn't like the
falsetto accompanist. Backgrounds solid.
Good solo, nice song.
Well... it was a great arrangement, and a wonderful
version of the song, but I have no idea why a bunch of
guys were singing it. If they wanted to get some humor
out of it, they should have made it more obvious. For
example, I've heard a group from the University of
Illinois do Stand By Your Man with the basses singing
lead, but doing a horrid falsetto that made everyone
laugh. I think this was their intent, especially with
the very LOW bass singing the refrain at one
point, but outside of two or three glimmers of
intentional humor, I would swear they were actually
attempting to be serious. Lighten up guys!
Baritone lead aside, the gospel feel so closely
associated with this song is not quite there in this
version. Not quite wholly serious, not obviously a
This is an unusual arrangement of Jingle Bells, part 50
rock style bass line and part Frankie Valley solo and
part doo-wop. I thought it was clever but it wore out
its welcome after the first time through the
Interesting jazz arrangement of this Christmas classic
with licks from classic rocks songs thrown in for kicks.
Nice falsetto solo.
A definite new twist, medleyed with My Sharona.
I love the arrangement! With the vocal percussion at the
beginning and the driving bass line (from something out
of Blues Brothers, but I don't remember the song) I
never expected Jingle Bells. Someone should tell their
lead that men should not be altos. Maybe he had a
childhood accident with the hedge trimmer or something.
They definitely used him well, though!
A medley of styles interpreting the seasonal favorite.
On a personal note, I am insanely jealous of the easy
high range of the lead.
This is the weakest ballad on the album. Everything
about it was fine.
Beautiful and heart-wrenching Ivy style arrangement is
one of the best of this style I've ever heard. Of
course, FS sings it admirably.
And a 9.9 for difficulty, VERY GOOD!
Very good change of pace from the last few songs and it
showed off their varied talents. The arrangement was a
lot better than the other barbershop pieces on the
album, mainly because they took advantage of all of the
voices and didn't get that choral sound. They sounded
like a very polished, traditional college a cappella
Flawless choral arrangement of a traditional tune.
A cute, joke gospelish song. Soloist has the right attitude.
One of the best collegiate tracks I've ever heard. You
can't really ask for more. Alex Camp has a voice that
is truly unique and incredible and Kevin Bleyer's voice,
while overshadowed is also great. A FS original. Great
lyrics, song writing, and a rousing solo.
I really don't like the lead vocals voice. He's just
too whiney, and he hits his "P's" too hard. His little
scat near the end of the song was especially annoying.
I'd hate to be in the front row of the audience when he
sings this song because you'd probably get a shower.
The song is really cool. I expected more humor, but
they definitely intended it as a get up and dance song,
at which they succeeded. I really liked the prayer in
the middle of the song, the choice of soloists was well
done. If the other lead could have just toned it down a
little, it would have been really successful. The slam
on Berkeley was nice, a little rivalry is always good
The last original. Rock-gospel number with clever
lyrics and a rockin' lead.