In Celebration of the Human Voice - The Essential Musical Instrument
With the boom of the last decade, literally hundreds of a cappella groups of every shape and size perform on American college campuses. Many groups record CDs, but few are consistently commercial quality.We carry just a few of the best known collegiate groups, along with some fine compilations.
Displaying 1-50 of 66 items.
Beelzebubs : Code Red
Review: The 15 talented Beelzebub men are presented on the cover of "Code Red" as various strange and colorful superheroes, and the theme is carried into what appears to be a heavily accompanied cover of Styx' "Mr. Roboto," with strings, cymbals, synthesizers, snare drums and everything. Then you notice the line in the campy foldout liner notes: "Every sound on this recording was created solely by our fifteen mouths." So we immediately went from "shut off the damn synthesizers" mode to "how the hell did they make that sound?" mode. One caveat--the voices seem to be "technically augmented," that is, sung into machines that alter them significantly, like a "wah-wah" pedal that attaches to an electric guitar. Earth, Wind & Fire's "Shining Star" is followed by Sinead O'Connor's "Nothing Compares 2 U" and Bush's "Machinehead." Nelly's "Hot in Herre" is followed by an incongruous cover of Sinatra's "The Way You Look Tonight." Ozzy Osbourne's "Crazy Train," Phil Collins' "Take Me Home," Reel Big Fish's "Sell Out," Smashing Pumpkins' "Disarm" and finishing with the BeeGees' "You Should be Dancing." "Code" is an envelope-pushing CD, taking a cappella to a point where it's almost indistinguishable from accompanied music. Throughout the vocals and harmonies are rich and powerful, and the vocal percussion more full and convincing than any contemporary group we've heard. This is very exciting stuff, and also scary. What comes to mind is when Phil Spector released his first "Wall of Sound" single, the Ronettes' "Be My Baby," and every other R&B song suddenly sounded very thin. Anyone interested in the future of a cappella needs to hear "Code Red!"
Songlist: Mr. Roboto (Styx), Shining Star (Earth, Wind & Fire), Nothing Compares 2 U (Sinead O'Connor), Machinehead (Bush), Hott in Herre (Nelly), The Way You Look Tonight (Frank Sinatra), Crazy Train (Ozzy Ozbourne), Take Me Home (Phil Collins), Sell Out (Reel Big Fish), Disarm (Smashing Pumpkins), You Should Be Dancing (Bee Gees)
Beelzebubs : Infinity
Review: One of the most professional collegiate groups, the Beelzebubs can always be relied upon for entertaining versions of classic pop and the latest MTV favorites too. Their fourteen voice ensemble produces a full and satisfying sound, whether down with an urban hip hop arrangement of LL Cool J's "Loungin'" or its opposite, the clean-cut "She's Always A Woman To Me." The processed tone of Hendrix' "Fire" is a romp, as is Big Bad Voodoo Daddy's "You and Me and A Bottle Makes Three Tonight," which has the rhythm section working overtime. The recording's penultimate track, alumnus Deke Sharon's arrangement of "Signed Sealed Delivered," is followed by the post-Romantic composer Grieg's "Brothers, Sing On!", a fraternity fight song if there ever was one, sung with proud gusto.
Songlist: that's the wa ( i like it)/ get down tonight, it ain't over 'til it's over, stay (wasting time), all i want is you, loungin', She's Always A Woman, all night long, fire, no diggity, washing of the water, you and me & the bottle makes 3 tonight (baby), why should i cry for you, signed, sealed, delivered - i'm yours, brothers, sing on!
Beelzebubs : Next
Review: In a long tradition of remarkable albums by Tufts University's Beelzebubs, this is simply the "Next." The fourteen singers take us on an inclusive tour of the contemporary a cappella music world from the sweetness of Guster's "Either Way" and 'oldie' James Taylor's "You Can Close Your Eyes" to a rasty version of Beastie Boy's "So What'cha Want." Along the way you'll find songs from Destiny's Child, Gypsy Kings, Sting, Pink Floyd, Counting Crows, and Radiohead. This contemporary potpourri is presented with vocal percussionist, grace note embellishments normally found in professional groups and marvelously complex arrangements. Some of the inspiration must be attributed to producer Deke Sharon a former Beelzebub ('91)
Songlist: The Impression That I Get, Either Way, Disco Inferno, Fake Plastic Trees, Hangin' Around, Major Tom / Space Oddity, Bills, Bills, Bills, Overjoyed, Love in an Elevator, Ghost Story, Bamboleo, So What'cha Want, You Can Close Your Eyes, The Trial
Beelzebubs : Pandemonium
Review: When the 15-man strong Tufts University a cappella group Beelzebubs was formed in 1962, Beelzebub was a character from Milton's "Paradise Lost" who lived in Pandaemonium, who caught the attention of a Tufts senior. The group became one of Tufts' oldest traditions. " Pandaemonium" was recorded by the 2007 configuration of the Bubs, and it features 13 varied and well-chosen covers of pop hits. The Beatles' "Magical Mystery Tour," U2's "City of Blinding Lights," Deadeye Dick's "New Age Girl," The Feeling's "Love It When You Call," Thicke's "When I Get You Alone," Aerosmith's classic "Livin' On The Edge," Peter Gabriel's "Digging In The Dirt," Gnarls Barkley's "Smiley Faces" and Guster's "Ruby Falls" all feature wonderful arrangements, tight vocal harmonies and backup vocals, and powerful, soaring leads. Good stuff from one of our favorite veteran Collegiate ensembles!
Songlist: Magical Mystery Tour, City of Blinding Lights, Mama, I'm Coming Home, New Age Girl, Linger, Love It When You Call, When I Get You Alone, Livin' On The Edge, A Bad Dream, Digging In The Dirt, Smiley Faces, Ruby Falls, Come Sail Away
Beelzebubs : Play The Game
Review: Every two years, the 14 or 15 young Collegiate men who are Tufts University's Beelzebubs get together to record a statement of who they have become, singing together in one of the most exciting Collegiate groups we have heard! 12 wonderfully-arranged a cappella covers, some favorites: Rufus Wainwright's "Go or Go Ahead," the Who's "Who Are You," Mute Math's "Typical," the Format's very funny "Dog Problems," Eddie Murphy's "Party All The Time," a poignant take on Dylan's "Don't Think Twice, It's All Right," Beck's "Debra," Billy Idol's "Rebel Yell," and Pink Floyd's classic "Goodbye, Cruel World." The solid vocal percussion, faux synthesizer and horns on a cut like "Rebel Yell" had us wondering how such a full, accompanied sound is possible with only voices. One of the most entertaining Collegiate recordings of the year!
Songlist: Typical, Vehicle, Go or Go Ahead, Who Are You, Dog Problems, Party All The Time, Don't Think Twice, It's Alright, Debra, Rebel Yell, Cologne, All the Love in the World, Goodbye Cruel World
Ben Folds : University A Cappella
Review: The talented and creative singer-songwriter Ben Folds became enamored of collegiate a cappella after hearing some of the groups on YouTube. On this release he recorded some of his favorite campus a cappella groups as they each perform one of his songs and the result is a delight. The Spartones open the disc with a stella arrangement of "Not the Same" with the Leading Tones of Ohio University giving a solid rendition of "Brick". Ben Folds himself sings a cappella (with multi tracking) on "Boxing" and the fun "Effington". Mosaic Whispers sings "Still Fighting It" with conviction while the more jazz arrangement of "Selfless, Cold and Composed" helps show why Ben Folds songs are so much fun to arrange and perform unaccompanied. The University of Chicago's Voices in Your Head perform a very interesting arrangement of "Magic" and the Newtones soothing treatment of "Evaporate" surprises. Fifth Element is remarkable performing "Fair" and the closing "The Luckiest" wraps up the recording perfectly. This release certainly shows how talented today's collegiate a cappella groups have become and although a few individual voices may not always be pitch perfect the arrangements are almost all top notch and impressive. Recommended.
Songlist: Not the Same, Jesusland, Brick, You Don't Know Me, Still Fighting It, Boxing, Selfless, Cold and Composed, Magic, Landed, Time, Effington, Evaporated, Fred Jones Part 2, Army, Fair, The Luckiest
Bowling Green State University Men's Chorus : Reconciliation
Review: The Men's Chorus, open to students from all majors at BGSU, has a motto and a well-deserved reputation as being "America's Finest Singing Machine." Founded in 1923, the BGSU Men's Glee Club began touring Ohio, sang as far away as Chicago and Niagara Falls, and was doing very well until World War II pulled most of its singers away. Reuniting again after the war, the group contained only 15 members when it disbanded in 1953. Beginning again under the baton of Prof. Richard D. Mathey in 1971, the group grew into the active, touring group it is today. After 29 great years, Mathey retired and passed off the leadership of the ensemble to Dr. William Skoog in 2000, under whose direction the group is thriving today, with a membership of over 100 talented men. There are 21 tracks on "Reconciliation," with some lovely, powerful spiritual songs like Randall Thompson's "The Last Words of David," Michael Cox' "I Sought the Lord" and "The Fear of the Lord," Charles Gounod's "Sanctus," Uzee Brown Jr.'s spiritual "I'm Building Me a Home," Glad's "God is My Rock;" popular and folk tunes like Timothy Takach's "The Highwayman," the Irish folk song "Dulaman," Richard Nance's "When I was 1-and-20" and "Loveliest of Trees" from "Songs of a Young Man;" and the title tune, a moving, trumpet-accompanied anti-war requiem. There is some light accompaniment on several of these cuts, but the voices and the effortless, soaring harmonies are the focus and beauty of this wonderful ensemble.
Songlist: The Last Words of David, Behold Man, Ave Maria, I Sought the Lord, Sanctus, I'm Build' Me a Home, God is My Rock, Prayer of the Children, Laudamus, O Vos Omnes, The Fear of the Lord, The Highwayman, In Taberna from Carmina Burana, Reconciliation, Kang-Ting Love Song, Dulaman, Dirait-on, When I was 1-and-20 from Songs of a Young Man, Loveliest of Trees from Songs of a Young Man, Touching Shoulders, Brothers Sing On
Fleet Street Singers : All The Rage
Review: The Fleet Street Singers have been a favorite amongst collegiate A Cappella listeners for years. On this, their new recording, they will certainly add to their legion of fans. The opening cut, "Web Surfin'", complete with So Cal surfer boy background vocals and handclaps, parodies the cybergeek (Fleet Street, who attend Stanford, have no compunction whatsoever at lampooning themselves at every opportunity). Fleet Street's performance is high energy and full of enthusiasm-any group that does an a cappella rendition of The Rocky Horror Picture Show's "Time Warp" (featuring Dr. Frankfurter's signature leering delivery) goes to the head of class, in our opinion. However, Fleet Street is not only about sardonic humor. Their arrangement of "Greensleeves" is restrained and accomplished, allowing the beauty of the song to take center stage. They also treat us to Abba's "Dancing Queen," and while a few of the high notes don't quite clear the bar, we give them kudos for the attempt. We are pleased to offer "All the Rage" as a worthy addition to your collegiate a cappella collection.
Songlist: Stanford Fleet Street Singers: All the Rage, Come a Little Bit Closer, Greensleeves, The Real Genius, Deep In the Jungle, The Time Warp, How Deep Is Your Love?, All the Rage, Daughter of Darkness, Dancing Queen, Joyful, Joyful
Fleet Street Singers : Fleet Street
Review: Stanford University's elite 15-man a cappella ensemble brings us "Fleet Street," a manic, dramatic, surprising, very funny collection of 15 originals, written, arranged and performed by the group. "The King of Plumland," "All Original," "Life Sized Barbie" puts the lie to the contention that there's no dating at Stanford; "Everyone Pees in the Shower" shines the harsh light of truth on humanity's dirty little secret; "Love Song" is a tender tale of kisses, double homicide and bodies under the floor; "Lawyer" is a crazed tale of what we all suspect goes on behind the scenes at "Boston Legal," "Olympic Recession," "Losing Laura," "Clear Skies," "Teen Angst" basically beats the concept to death, "Pokey the Penguin" is pure children's book silliness, "Life" describes your life in such a way that suicide is really the only option, "Gift of the Gods/The Dawn of Battle" and the final cut, "The Lords of A Cappella," with the deathless chorus line: "Although we may seem fearsome, we ain't got Salmonella, and we are the Lords of A Cappella!" This is inspired silliness, written especially by Michael Solomon, Michael Bernstein and others. "Fleet Street" is funny stuff that must either be enjoyed in a live performance with a pitcher of beer, or on this CD! All lyrics are featured on the foldout liner notes, which have a full-bleed closeup of a hunk of swiss cheese (don't ask!)
Songlist: The King of Plumland, All Original, Life Sized Barbie, Everyone Pees In The Shower, The Original, Life Sized Barbie, Everyone Pees In The Shower, Love Song, Lawyer, Olympic Recession, Losing Laura, Clear Skies, Teen Angst, Pokey the Penguin, Life, Silver Jacket, Gift of the Gods/The Dawn of Battle, Lords of A Cappella
Fleet Street Singers : Up Toward Mountains Higher
Review: A paean to Stanford University, subtitled "a century of Cardinal favorites," romanticizing the Stanford legend, and performed by the fourteen capable and tuneful voices of the Fleet Street Singers, with guests the Junior University Marching Band on two tracks - the "Stanford Spellout," followed by "All Right Now." "Hail Alma Mater" is completely sincere, only to be followed by the "Stanford Hymn Rap," which has a rhythm track and a boisterous rap vocal. Many of the songs are sports oriented, celebrating victories past, present and hoped-for. However, what collegiate career would be complete without love? "Full Moon At The Quad" describes love, Stanford-style: a charming stylistic collage, it could be a parody, or it could be real. We can't quite tell!
Songlist: Hail, Stanford, Hail, Come Join the Band , The Dirty Golden Bear, Stanford Mandalay, When Stanford WHips the Golden Bear Again, Stanford Girl, Stanford Fight Song, The Cardinal Is Waving, Full Moon at the Quad, Rush the Ball Along, The Farm, Sons of the Stanford Red, Prayer to the God of Partial Credit, The Cardinal Song, Hail Alma Mater, Stanford Hymn Rap, Stanford Spellout, All Right Now, Hail, Stanford, Hail
Harvard University Choir : Lo, There is Light!
Review: The 43-strong Harvard University Choir is maintained by the University to sing great choral literature in the Memorial Church Sunday services, to perform in the annual Carol Services and concerts of major choral works. Recently the choir has toured to great acclaim in England and Germany. Here are 19 organ-accompanied sacred songs and hymns: "Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis," "The Lord Is My Light," "Shaker Hymn," "The Song of Deborah," "Jesus So Lowly," "Evening Hymn"... they're all lovely and perfectly performed. "Lo, there is light!" is an inspirational CD of great spiritual power and joy!
Songlist: Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis, Lo, there is light, Amen 2, The Lord is my light, Lauds, Choral Response, Save Us, O Lord, Shaker Hymn, Ecce Sacerdos Magnus, Amen 4, The Song of Deborah, My Shepherd will supply my need, Exalt Yourself above the heavens, O God, Jesus, so lowly, Bring us, O Lord God, Amen 3, Ecce Jam Noctis, Evening Hymn, Amen, Opus 35
Limestones : Set In Stone
Review: There seems no limit to the number of vocal ensembles that the prolific St Olaf's College in Minnesota brings forth. Already well known amongst the choral contingent are St Olaf's Choir and Cantus; now, this young contemporary male sextet is making their bid. Probably barely old enough to vote, but having been busy consuming pop music like breakfast cereal, they are already writing original material, as well as tackling sophisticated pop such as Seal's "Kiss From A Rose." These ten songs indicate a fondness for driving percussion, uptempo rhythms and proven harmonic values. A welcome addition to our collegiate line-up.
Songlist: Sweet Dreams, Shimmer, In My Dreams, Kiss From A Rose, Mark's Theme, Planes and Satellites, Secret, Granny, Missing Your Love, That's All We Need
Mosaic Whispers : Behind Bars
Review: Spanning four years of Mosaic Whispers, including the Washington University in St. Louis group's 15th anniversary in 2006, "Behind Bars" features a variety of songs selected from the extensive repertoire performed during that period by the '03-'04, '04-'05, '05-'06 and '06-'07 permutations of the group--basically a 12-song "best-of" CD. Dido's "Hunter," Intepol's "Obstacle 1," Bjork's "Bachelorette," Jefferson Airplane's anthem "White Rabbit," The Dixie Chicks' "Landslide," Lennon/McCartney's gritty "Eleanor Rigby," Gavin DeGraw's "Meaning," Stacie Orrico's "Stuck" and Coldplay's "Fix You" are some of our favorites, but there are really no weak cuts. From previous excellent CDs we became fans of Mosaic Whispers, liking their energy, rich sound, song selection and cutting-edge arrangements. Listening to "Behind Bars" only makes us bigger fans!
Songlist: Be Here, Hunter, Bring Me To Life, Obstacle 1, Bachelorette, White Rabbit, Landslide, Eleanor Rigby, Meaning, Stuck, Thank You, Fix You
Mosaic Whispers : Defrosted
Review: Mosaic Whispers is a 16-strong co-ed a cappella group at Washington University in St. Louis, founded in 1991. They have produced 5 critically acclaimed CDs since then, including the award-winning "Against the Grain." "Defrosted" has 10 tunes, favorites are Shakira's "Whenever, Wherever" Joni Mitchell's "Big Yellow Taxi," Collective Soul's "Run," "Every Little Thing She Does is Magic" by the Police, Indigo Girls' "Ghost," Bonnie Tyle's "Holding Out for a Hero," Mariah Carey's "One Sweet Day" and the final cut, Weezer's "Only in Dreams." Mosaic Whispers has a high-energy, sumptuous sound that lends itself well to their dynamic live performances, and we get to hear several different excellent singers performing leads. "Defrosted" is a stone Collegiate winner!
Songlist: Whenever, Wherever, Big Yellow Taxi (Got 'til Its Gone), Run, Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic, Be Careful (Cuidado Con Mi Corazon), Ghost, Steal My Kisses, Holding Out For A Hero, One Sweet Day, Only In Dreams
Penny Loafers : Prophets and Pawns
Review: The '06-'07 Penny Loafers are the University of Pennsylvania's 14-strong mixed-voice a cappella rock and pop group, and "Prophets" is their third release since their founding in 1986, following the excellent "Side A" and "Quicksound." This is a fine collection of 13 covers, some favorites are Sublime's "Waiting For My Ruca," Jamie Cullum's "All At Sea," the Yeah Yeah Yeah's powerful "Gold Lion," Evanescence's surreal "Lithium," Etta James' classic blues tune "At Last," Regina Spektor's soaring "Samson," Remy Zero's "Fair," Christine Aguilera's "Hurt," Matchbox Twenty's "Bed of Lies" and Sufjan Stevens' breathtaking "The Predatory Wasp Of The Palisades Is Out To Get Us." Strong, innovative vocal percussion, strong, spirited female and male leads, tight arrangements-this is fun stuff from one of our favorite Collegiate groups!
Songlist: Waiting for My Ruca, All at Sea, Gold Lion, This Modern Love, Lithium, How to Save a Life, At Last, Trains to Brazil, Samson, Fair, Hurt, Bed of Lies, The Predatory Wasp of the Palisades is Out to Get Us!
Penny Loafers : Quicksound
Review: Celebrating the 20th anniversary of their founding in 1986 as a co-ed a cappella rock and pop group from the University of Pennsylvania, the Loafers have appeared over the years on a number of excellent compilations of the best of collegiate a cappella; and on their own CDs, such as 1997's "Diesel," 1998's "Ride!," 2000's "On the Floor," 2002's "Stealing Time" and 2004's "Barely Legal." "Quicksand" has 14 rich, beautifully-arranged covers; a pair by Snow Patrol, "Chocolate" and "Run;" Maya Varthi has a wonderful lead on Aimee Mann's "Humpty Dumpty," and there's a pair of hot covers of Kelly Clarkson's "Because of You" and "Addicted," again featuring Varthi. Beck's "Girl," Chantal Kreviazuk's "Time" and Sia's "Breathe Me" are other favorites. The Loafers have a full, rich, confident sound with some of the best soloists we've heard at the collegiate level. Treat yourself to "Quicksand" and fall in love with the '05-'06 Penny Loafers!
Songlist: Chocolate, It's Only Life, Keeping, Humpty Dumpty, Swallowed By The Sea, Hear Me Out, Because of You, Girl, Time, Addicted, Hear You Me, Breathe Me, Your Ex-Lover Is Dead, Run
Penny Loafers : Side A
Review: The U of Pennsylvania's mixed-voice, 14-strong a cappella rock and pop group has been sharpening its vocal chops in various incarnations for over 20 years now, and it shows. We raved over their previous CD, "Quicksound," and it's clear from the first notes of Green Day's "Boulevard of Broken Dreams," Dido's "Don't Leave Home," Guster's "Careful" and Nelly Furtado's "Try" that the '04-'05 Loafers have a rich sound and confident professionalism far beyond their years. Strong covers of The Indigo Girls' "Mystery," Rachel Yamagata's "Worn Me Down," Coldplay's "Warning Signs," The Strokes' "12:51" and Vanessa Carlton's "White Houses" feature solid vocal percussion, sweet leads and nice background vocals. 14 songs in total, without a single weak cut. A beautiful, spirited set from one of our favorite collegiate ensembles!
Songlist: Boulecard Of Broken Dreams, Don't Leave Home, Careful, Try, Take Me Away, Take Me Out, Mystery, Worn Me Down, Warning Signs, Another White Dash, 12.51, Collide, White Houses, Such Great Heights
Princeton Tigertones : A Night Out
Review: In weary reaction to the horror of WWII, a group of thirteen men under the leadership of Henry C. Parker III (Class of '48) joined in the joy of close harmony. The Princeton Tigertones, founded in 1946, soon outgrew the confines of the immediate Princeton area and began travelling to entertain at the women's colleges along the east coast and in the social clubs of New York city. Shortly after their founding they toured Bermuda and this helped establish the fifty-plus year tradition of world touring. Along the way their distinguished record finds three Carnegie Hall performances with another planed for 2001, alternate summers entertaining aboard the Queen Elizabeth 2, and performing world tours during which they have sung for many world leaders. The group also established the habit of recording every two years, this being their twenty-sixth recording and a continuation and tribute to the tradition begun more than half a century ago. On this eighteen song recording we are presented with a combination of lively renditions such as the opening tune, "Good Ol' A Cappella" and lovely arrangements of slower moving work such as Harry Conick's "Heavenly," "Shower the People," and one of our favorites, "Walking in Memphis." Along with the more contemporary offerings are fine arrangements of "Mood Indigo," "Loch Lomond," and "Georgia on My Mind." You can look forward to some intricate arranging for the seventeen voices of this male chorus, accentuated by fine solo voices. This is an excellent recording of collegiate contemporary choral music. You'll have to discover for yourself the unannounced "secret track" at the end. We won't spoil the surprise!
Songlist: Good Ol' A Cappella, Heavenly, Kiss 'Da Girl, Loch Lomond, Lord, Got Tomatoes, Blackbird, Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard, East of the Sun, Bring It on Home, Georgia on My Mind, Take 2, So Much in Love, In the Still of the Night, Mood Indigo, Candy, When Sunny Gets Blue, Walking in Memphis, Shower the People
Princeton Tigertones : Old No. 27
Review: The 12 young men who form the '01-'02 version of the Princeton Tigertones are members of more than a great vocal group. It is said that The Tigertones, a tradition at Princeton going back 56 years (a great pic of the '46-'47 version is in the liner notes), have broader appeal than any other boy-band in the world. The Tones have wowed elderly audiences in Palm Beach, teenage schoolgirls in Switzerland, and have performed on the stages of Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center. This is their 27th biennial album, hence "Old No. 27." There are 18 songs, which reflect their rich heritage. Some of our favorites: Stevie Wonder's "Superstition," Sam the Sham & The Pharoahs' "Little Red Riding Hood," "The Orange Moon," the wonderful reggae tune "Kiss Da Girl," "Runaround Sue," CSNY's "Our House," "Steppin' to the Bad Side," Simon & Garfunkel's "Scarborough Fair," "Shower the People," and "When Sunny Gets Blue," recorded live. The Tones are having total fun recording "Old No. 27," performing live, or just doing great harmony with their buds, and that's what it's all about!
Songlist: Superstition, Little Red Riding Hood, The Orange Moon, Kiss Da Girl, Shall We Gather By the River, Ring Ring the Banjo, That Cat is High, Runaround Sue, Romeo and Juliet, Brown Eyed Girl, Our House, Smile, Steppin' to the Bad Side, Scarborough Fair, The Long and Winding Road, Sing Me to Heaven, Shower the People, When Sunny Gets Blue
Shaggy Boys : Take Luck
Review: The Shaggy Boys are eight hearty and strapping college guys from Iowa. They have a big and expansive sound to match. Most of their set is self-written, and the covers, from Dave Matthews and Ben Harper, illustrate where they're coming from perfectly. It's grooving, feel-oriented, melodic pop. Originals such as "It's Time," with its hooky chorus and atmospheric harmonic backs on the verse, will grab you right away. Vocal percussion is integral - in the pocket but never rushed. The chugging "Moonboots" and buoyant "New Place" are Spin Doctors sort-of rock. Wet production adds richness and depth, cushioning the tones. Easy to listen to, polished and impressive!
Songlist: New Place, What Would You Say, Exit Sign, Eleven Months, It's Time, Steal My Kisses, Moonboots, One Week, Owner Of A Lonely Heart, Strawberries, Shagabego Groove
Straight No Chaser : Christmas Cheers
Review: Since their posting of a 10-year-old video in 2007 of a live cut of their version of the "12 Days of Christmas" on YouTube garnered over 10 million hits, these 10 male alums of Indiana University have gotten back together, recorded the best-selling "Holiday Spirit," and have been on one long reunion tour! "Christmas Cheers" is Christmas collection #2, and we have to say that the guys have not been sitting under the mistletoe, munching fruitcake. The arrangements on these 15 songs are sharp, innovative and funny, the leads and background harmonies recall groups like Rockapella, the Blenders and The House Jacks. Listen to the hilarious "Christmas Can-Can," the hot arrangement of "We Three Kings," the brilliant parody "Donde Esta Santa Claus," a wonderfully raucous Rockabilly "Hey, Santa," one of the sleaziest "You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch" we've ever heard, a priceless overweight Elvis lead on "Santa Claus is Back in Town," a crazed "Jingle Bells," a drunken "Who Spiked the Eggnog" and finally hear the guys absolutely nail the song that caused all the gefuffle, "The 12 Days of Christmas." None of these songs is left alone, every one has unexpected surprises, samples, segueways, asides, faux horns and kazoos, you name it. It just goes to show--creativity, humor and great a cappella are stone winners now, and will be winners 10 years from now. "Cheers" to one of the best Christmas albums of the year!
Songlist: The Christmas Can-Can, We Three Kings, Christmastime is Here, Let It Snow, Donde Esta Santa Claus, I'll Be Home For Christmas, Hey Santa!, Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, You're A Mean One, Mr. Grinch, O Holy Night, Santa Claus is Back in Town, God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen, Jingle Bells, Who Spiked the Eggnog?, The 12 Days of Christmas
Straight No Chaser : Holiday Spirit
Review: In December of 2007 SNC, one of our favorite male Collegiate a cappella groups, posted several videos of past performances, including a 10 year old video of a live cut of their version of the "12 Days of Christmas" on YouTube. To say it caused a sensation would be putting it mildly-6 million people saw it during December, with an additional 2 million seeing it since then. Combined, Straight No Chaser has received over 10 million views of their videos on YouTube. Formed a dozen years ago while students at Indiana University, this phenomenon has caused the group to reassemble and re-emerge, a process covered on a series of webisodes, covering their rehearsing together for the first time in 10 years, doing their photoshoot, and then recording this album, "Holiday Spirits." Even the New York Times told the story of SNC in their Arts & Leisure section in September of 2008. All that excitement aside, the album is great! 14 songs, all group-arranged, especially by group member Dan Ponce, who also wrote the lovely "Christmas Wish" and "Indiana Christmas." "Santa Claus is Coming to Town," "Jingle Bell Rock," "The Christmas Song," "This Christmas," "Hark the Herald Angels Sing/Angels We Have Heard on High" and Brian Wilson's classic "Little Saint Nick" show off the smooth harmonies, brilliant leads and killer arrangements that made SNC one of the best Collegiate groups. Then "The 12 Days of Christmas" shows us what the fuss is all about. It contains samples of "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer," "Santa Claus is Coming to Town," and suddenly the song has morphed into Toto's "Africa." It's funny, surprising, perfectly realized and all done with the human voice, all of which was not lost on the delighted live audience. The album finishes with "Sweet Little Jesus Boy," the Phil Spector "Wall of Sound" carol "Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)," "Carol of the Bells," and sublime covers of "Silent Night" and "Auld Lang Syne." We couldn't be happier for the success of talented SNC, who haven't lost a half-note since their college days, and can enthusiastically recommend "Holiday Spirits," one of the most enjoyable Christmas recordings we have heard!
Songlist: Santa Claus is Coming to Town, Jingle Bell Rock, The Christmas Song, Christmas Wish, Hark! The Herald Angels Sing, Angels We Have Heard on High, Little Saint Nick, The 12 Days of Christmas- Live, Indiana Christmas, Sweet Little Jesus Boy, Christmas (Baby Please Come Home), Carol of the Bells, Silent Night, Auld Lang Syne
Talisman : No Murmur, No Zealots
Review: Consistently once of the most interesting and talented collegiate a cappella groups in the country this title is one of their earlier releases and possibly one of their finest
Songlist: Keep Your Lamps, If We Ever, Denko, Hombe, Ikhaya Lamaqhawe, Shirt Of Lace, Higher and Higher, Go Tell it on the Mountain, A La Nanita Nana, The Lion Sleeps Tonight, Zombie Jamboree, View That Holy City, Shut De'Do', Three Blind Mice, By The River Of Babylon, Dahil Sa Iyo, Something Within Me, Circle Chant
Talisman : Passage
Review: Talisman was founded in 1989 to bring African and African-American music to the Stanford University community. 12 years later they've expanded musically to include traditional songs ranging in origin from India and Ireland to the songs of Apache and Tuscarora tribes. "Passage," their fifth CD, takes them full circle back to the music of Africa, blending urban soul with contemporary African rhythms. There are 16 songs here, from songs sung in native dialects like "Akwaba" and "E Hatta A Beta Apebba," to traditional spirituals like "Beulah," "This Little Light of Mine" and "Eyes On The Prize," this is all great, soulful stuff. A particular favorite is "Going Home," a Hawaiian celebration of eternal strength and love. Some accompaniment by African drums. Beautiful liner notes with words and pictures
Songlist: Akwaba, Human, Beulah, Sixolele Baba, Famine Song, Soon Ah Will Be Done, E Hatta A Beta Apebba, Rafiki, Go Tell It On the Mountain, Pata Pata!, This Little Light of Mine, Kube, Eyes on the Prize, Woza Mfana, Going Home, Lift Ev'ry Voice and Sing
Talisman : Shine
Review: Diversity in people, through songs we unite. Talisman, collectively Stanford's best singers, marked its genesis in 1990 and realized success in great proportions even through times of uncertain destiny. Shine captivates the decade long history of Talisman A Cappella with a double cd featuring tribes of Talisman past and present and an excellent mix of cultural music adaptated from songs by Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Sweet Honey in the Rock, Bill Withers, Ulali, Miriam Makeba and Hans Zimmer. Every song will send shivers down your backbone, but keep your ears open for "Sechaba" "Babethandaza", "No Mirrors", "Wanting Memories", "Paycheck", "Lean On Me", and "The Rainmaker". Diversity in people, through songs we unite. A phrase worth repeating.
Songlist: Babethandaza, Akanamandla, The Lion Sleeps Tonight, Siyaya eJerusalema, Sechaba, Lean on Me, Keep Your Eyes on the Prize, Adiemus, When I Die Tomorrow, Hombe, Hallelujah, Baba Yetu, Zulu Seliyaduma, If We Ever, Glory, Glory, Amazing Grace, One by One, N'kosi Sikelel' Africa, No Mirrors, Makh Jchi, Anina Jiame, Denko, Tell My Feet, Dubula, Zombie Jamboree, Paycheck, Summertime, Sharanu Ninnage, Senzenina, Wanting Memories, Keep Your Lamps, The Rainmaker
Talisman : The Quick Day Is Done
Review: Stanford University's world-class mixed ensemble Talisman is dedicated to the sharing of stories through music, specifically the musical traditions the African diaspora. "The Quick Day" is the group's 7th spirited recording, and features the 2003-4, 2004-5 and 2005-6 groups-each with fifteen to twenty singers. 14 powerful, rhythmic songs, some with non-vocal African drums. From the first cut, "Before This Time," we are drawn into the soulful current of this music: "Frekoba," "Majhi," "Soweto Blues," the soaring "Ohureo," the dramatic Native American song "Xihtecuhtli," the joyous, hand-clapping spiritual "Way Beyond the Blue," the vocal percussion gem "Belgo Zairoise," the plaintive spiritual "No More My Lord," the heartbreaking "Stimela," the marvelous "Akekho Ofana No Yesu,' and stunning (although orchestrally accompanied) bonus track "Baba Yetu." We were deeply moved by every one of these songs, and consider "The Quick Day Is Done" one of the best of the year-don't miss this one!
Songlist: Before This Time, Frekoba, Majhi, Soweto Blues, Ohureo, Ndiredi, Xiuhtecuhtli, Way Beyond The Blue, Sombawo, Belgo Zairoise, No More My Lord, Stimela, Akekho Ofana No Yesu, Baba Yetu
Talisman : Watch Me Fly
Review: Founded in 1990 with the purpose of bringing African and African-American music to the Stanford University (CA), community. Since then the 17 to 18-member mixed voice a cappella group has recorded several excellent, critically acclaimed albums, of which "Watch Me" is number six. 14 spirited, beautifully-arranged tunes, some favorites: the People's Movement of South Africa song, "Toyi Toyi," "Free," a new arrangement of "Swing Low," "Chant of the Islands," "Strange Fruit," "Sum'Bulala," "Be Like Him," the celebration of motherhood "Fifa," "Tumba," "On Children," and the title tune. Rhythmic, powerful, sweet, heartfelt-we have loved Talisman's previous CDs and "Watch Me" is their most poised, most confident yet. Outstanding!
Songlist: Toyi Toyi, Free, Swing Low, Chant of the Islands, Strange Fruit, Sum'Bulala, By the Rivers of Babylon, Wahjeeleh-Yihm, Be Like Him, Motherless, Fifa, Tumba, On Children, Watch Me Fly
UNC Clef Hangers : Breeze
Review: In the 25 years it has been in existence, the University of North Carolina's Clef Hangers have constantly redefined themselves. The twenty men of the 2001-03 group share the goal of having a blast while they do what they love: singing. "Breeze" takes advantage of, even pushes the envelope of, advances in a cappella recording. Thirteen well-chosen covers, with "real-sounding" percussion, very full sound, solid backup vocals, excellent leads. Some favorites" Bush's "Comedown," The Commodores' "Easy," Weezer's "Say It Ain't So," Elton John's "Your Song," Rascal Flatts' "This Everyday Love," Dave Matthews' "Grey Street," PM Dawn's "Die Without You" and Toto's "Africa." Great stuff!
Songlist: Comedown, Easy, Say it Ain't So, So Fresh and So Clean, Your Song, Take Me Home Tonight, I Can't Make You Love Me, This Everyday Love, Jump Around, NC Raise Up, Grey Street, Die Without You, Africa
USC Sirens : Nectar and Ambrosia
Review: The ten lovely young women who are the present incarnation of the University of Southern California's Sirens, since 1997 the University's only all-female a cappella band, offer us "Nectar," and it's a winner! Ten songs, all beautifully-arranged covers: Kina's "Girl from the Gutter," Dido's "Here With Me," Bob Marley's "Stir It Up," Mariah Carey's "Open Arms," Nelly Furtado's "Well Well," the Corrs' "I Never Loved You Anyway," Bic Runga's "Sway," Lifehouse's "Hanging by a Moment," Stevie Wonder's "As" and Joy Drop's "Beautiful." Vocal percussion that ranges from steady and mellow to driving and powerful, strong leads and solos, wonderful background harmonies and excellent song selection-it adds up to a fresh, entertaining, mature and confident CD. The live show must be pretty amazing! Recommended.
Songlist: Girl from the Gutter, Here With Me, Stir It Up, Open Arms, Well Well, I Never Loved You Anyway, Sway, Hanging By A Moment, Let Me In, Beautiful, As
Various Artists : Best Of Collegiate A Cappella '99
Review: This highly-popular series has become a yearly event to satisfy the appetites of collegiate music lovers, and it's a great way to expose oneself to the up-and-coming talent proliferating at our nation's higher institutions. Whether the Stanford Counterpoints "Don't Speak," the Tufts Amalgamates "I Don't Want to Wait" or "Don't Stand So Close To Me" by UPenn Off The Beat, the selections offer a tuneful portion of what's hip now in current or retro pop, and the quality is entirely professional. Over half the tracks were CARA nominated, a surefire harbinger of success. Many members of professional and semi-professional contemporary vocal bands started out in these very ensembles, so heads up!
Songlist: Don't Stand So Close To Me, You're All I Need To Get By, Ghost Train, You Make Me Wanna, Bethlehem, Crazy Love, Semi-Charmed Life, Fear, I Can't Make You love Me, Sour Times, Angel, How Deep Is Your Love?, I Don't Want To Wait, Verdi Cries, Stupid Girl, Don't Speak, Pretty Good Year, Fame, Stay
Various Artists : Best of Collegiate A Cappella 2000
Review: The series continues, with a variety of well-known college ensembles contributing tracks, such as U. of Penn Off The Beat, Tuft's Belezebubs, Duke Out Of The Blue, Notre Dame Undertones, Harvard Opportunes and the Brown Derbies. Per usual, nearly all the tunes are skimmed from chart topping artists such as Sheryl Crow, Tori Amos and Elton John, but there are some unexpected covers too - from the soundtrack of the film "Roja" and our favorite, "Snow On The Sahara", originally performed by Anggun, sung here by the Stanford Harmonics. It's also clear how prominent the female voice has become in today's marketplace, and that's reflected here in the percentage of mixed or exclusively female groups. The skill level of these ensembles ranges from solid to professional quality, with everybody hitting their marks on cue.
Various Artists : Best of Men's Collegiate A Cappella
Review: Perhaps rather grandiosley named this recording nevertheless does indeed feature some of the most accomplised men's a cappella groups perforining on campuses today. Two tracks apiece from Duke's Pitchforks, Tufts Beelzebubs, Notre Dame's Undertones, Univ. of Illinois's The Other Guys, Indiana Univ. Straight No Chaser and UC Berkeley's Men's Octet.. As one might expect the testosorone level is way up yet there are several ballads that are sweet and tender.
Songlist: Tonight - The Other Guys, I Belong to You - Straight No Chaser, Dreams - Men's Octet, Bills - Beelzbubs, Jambo - Undertones, It's Gonna Be Me- Pitchforks, You'll Be In My Heart - Straight No Chaser, You Can't Hurry Love - Men's Octet, Amazing Grace - The Other Guys, Breaking the Girl - Beelzbubs, Steal My Kisses - Pitchforks, On the Sea - Undertones
Various Artists : BOCA 2001
Review: We have to say two things about the BOCA series-one, the studio production on the tracks keeps getting more professional, and two, so do the groups! Michigan (my alma mater) Amazin' Blues' "Millennium," for instance, will get you up and boogying, and Iowa State U's Shaggy Boys (see above cd review) "Owner of a Lonely Heart" is unbelievable. UPenn Off the Beat, represented on 7 BOCAs, ride with "Wild Horses," and York University's Wibijazz'n grooves on Steely Dan's "Peg." All 17 tunes are good, but some notables: Stanford's Mixed Company, "Someday;" USC's Sirens, "Ray of Light" and SoCal VoCals, "Total Eclipse of the Heart;" Illinois Extension Chords, "Inside Out" and Northwestern Purple Haze, "Cornflake Girl." Smooth, energetic and entertaining.
Songlist: Peg - York University Wibijazz'n, I'm Your Baby Tonight - Tufts University Armalgametes, Someday - Stanford University Mixed Company, Owner of a Lovely Heart - Iowa State University Shaggy Boys, Good Enough - Stanford University Counterpoint, Get Set - Virginia Tech Juxtaposition, Total Eclipse of the Heart - University of Southern California SoCal VoCals, Ray of Light - University of Southern California Sirens, Now and Forever - University of Rochester Yellowjackets, Insideout - University of Illinois Xtension Chords, Millennium - Universiy of Michigan Amazin' Blue, Wild Horses - University of Pennsylvania Off the Beat, Happy Together - Stanford University Mendicants, Truly Madly Deeply - University of Rochester Midnight Ramblers, Uninvited - Bostonians of Boston College, Cornflake Girl - Northwestern University Purple Haze, Rainbow Connection - Utah State That One
Various Artists : BOCA 2002
Review: Another BOCA collection of the best of the collegiate vocal groups never fails to impress us with the humor, arrangements and sheer talent of these young voices. 19 tracks, from UCLA Awaken's "Walk Like An Egyptian," and Indiana Straight No Chaser's "I Belong to You," to Duke Out of the Blue's "Eve" and Tufts Beelzebubs' "The Trial." As admirers of Michigan Amazin' Blue, who give us "She," we were pleased to note that two other Ann Arbor groups made the cut, Michigan Compulsive Lyres singing "Limp" and Michigan Dicks & Janes, with "Everything You Want." Other good stuff: U-Madison-Wisconsin's Tangled Up In Blue's "Breathless," Stanford Everyday People's "Billie Jean/No Diggity" and USC Sirens' "Beautiful." But it's all good, really-BOCA 2002 is a treat!
Songlist: Walk Like An Egyptian - UCLA Awaken, I Belong to You - Indiana University Straight No Chaser, Drive Me Crazy - USC Socal Vocals, Damn I Wish I Was Your Lover - Claremont College Shades, Beautiful - USC Sirens, I Was Brought to My Senses - University of Wisconsin Madison Madhatters, Here With Me - University of Pennsylvania Off the Beat, Everything You Want - University of Michigan Dicks & Janes, Billie Jean / No Diggity (EP Remix) Everyday People (Stanford University), She - University of Michigan Amazin' Blue, Breathless - University of Wisconsin Madison Tangled Up in Blue, Fields of Gold - University of Virginia Ladies First, Limp - University of Michigan Compulsive Lyres, Father Figure - University of North Carolina Clef Hangers, Rhythm Nation - Washington University Mosaic Whispers, Eve - Duke University Out of the Blue, Alleluia - Northwest Missouri State University Millennium, The Trial - Tufts University Beelzebubs
Various Artists : BOCA 2003
Review: This year BOCA had the most submissions ever from collegiate groups to choose from, over 2,000 songs, and each collection, beginning in 1995, is more successful than the last! When these collections come out about this time every year, it's always a joy to see the enthusiasm and love for a cappella in these excellent college groups. 18 songs, from the Upenn Off the Beat's "Crawling In The Dark," Dartmouth College Aires' "Workin' for the Weekend," and the U of Michigan Dicks & Janes' "Tonight and the Rest of My Life," to York U.'s Wibijazzn's "Rosanna," Tufts Univ. Amalgamates' "Killing Me Softly" and Stanford University Harmonics' "Lady Marmalade," this CD is a revelation. Many excellent collegiate groups sent songs, few were chosen, and the quality of those is very fine indeed!
Songlist: Crawling in the Dark - University of Pennsylvania Off the Beat, Workin' for the Weekend - Dartmouth College Aries, Tonight and the Rest of My Life - University of Michigan Dicks and Janes, Best I Ever Had - Stanford University Mixed Company, Rosanna - York University Wibijazz'n, 6 Underground - Harvard University Callbacks, The Way It Is - Indiana University Straight No Chaser, Comedown - University of North Carolina Clef Hangers, Killing Me Softly - Tufts University Amalgamates, Girl from the Gutter - University of Southern California Sirens, Hey Jealousy - Virginia Tech Juxtaposition, K'mo B'tmunah - Tufts University Shir Appeal, Everywhere - Northwestern University Purple Haze, Lady Marmalade - Stanford University Harmonics, Black Balloon - Massachussetts Institute of Technology Logarhythms, Can't Fight the Moonlight - Bostonians of Boston College, Wrong Impression - University of Virginia Sil'hooettes, O Magnum Mysterium - University of Illinois No Strings Attached
Various Artists : BOCA 2004
Review: The 2004 Best of Collegiate A Cappella recording boasts an impressive assortment of cover songs performed by our nation's premiere, young vocal groups. From the USC Sirens to the The Bostonians of Boston College, the groups performing on this CD are the best in their class, ousting hundreds of collegiate vocal groups that sought the BOCA title. Fans of collegiate a cappella, old and new, will enjoy the University of Virginia Academical Village People's rendition of Ben Folds' "Kate," or the University of Oregon on the Rocks' cover of Coldplay's hauntingly beautiful love ballad, "Yellow."
Songlist: Let Me Entertain You (Brandeis VoiceMale), Bring Me To Life (John Hopkins Octopodes), Slumber (USC SoCal VoCals), Always (The Bostonians of Boston College), Gravity (UCLA Awaken A Cappella), Kate (University of Virginia Academical Village People), Broken Wings (Elizabethan College Phalanx), Write Me A Song (The Pitchforks of Duke University), No Such Thing (MIT Logarhythms), Sadder Day (Stanford Harmonics), Take Me Home (Tufts Beelzebubs), Porcelain (University of Michigan Dicks & Janes), Winter (UC Santa Barbara Naked Voices), Yellow (University of Oregon on the Rocks), China (University of Michigan Amazin' Blue), Cry (USC Sirens), Candleburn (Northwestern Purple Haze), Enjoy the Silence (Dartmouth Cords)
Various Artists : BOCA 2005
Review: We always enjoy listening to the BOCA collection that arrives this time of year, because (a) it's exciting, spirited stuff from a cappella groups across the country we don't usually get to hear, and (b) it reminds us how alive and juicy the a cappella scene is on the country's campuses! Picking favorites from CASA's picks for the 20 best collegiate a cappella tunes, we have: Stanford U. Everyday People's "Whatever You Want," the Dartmouth Aires' rendition of Caedmon's Call's "Somewhere North," MIT Logarhythms' vocal percussion gem "The Kids Aren't Alright," U of North Carolina Clef Hangers' rap-flavored version of Outkast's "The Way You Move," UCLA Random Voices' lovely cover of Tori Amos' "A Sorta Fairytale," the Claremont Shades' cover of Garbage's nasty "Push It," Stanford Mixed Company's cover of Collective Soul's "Run," Clemson U TIGEROAR's cover of Matchbox 20's "Unwell," Duke Out of the Blue's cover of Maroon Five's "She Will Be Loved," Stanford Mendicants' cover of Wham!'s "Wake Me Up Before You Go Go," the Michigan Amazin' Blue's cover of Sarah McLachlan's "Angel" and the U of Virginia Hullabahoos' raucous cover of Outkast's "Hey Ya." Some incredible voices, cutting-edge arrangements, hot vocal percussion and wonderful song selection-BOCA 2005 is another stone winner!
Songlist: The Kids Aren't Alright (Massachusetts Institute of Technology Logarhythms), Everlong (Tufts Amalgamates), Breathe (The Bostonians of Boston College), Somewhere North (Dartmouth Aires), Whatever You Want (Stanford University Everyday People), Going Under (University of Pennsylvania Off The Beat), The Way You Move (University of North Carolina Clef Hangers), A Sorta Fairytale (University of California Losa Angeles Random Voices), Tragic Kingdom (Johns Hopkins University Octopodes), Push It (Claremont Shades), Where Would You Be (University of Virginia Sil hooettes), Run (Stanford University Mixed Company), Ga'agua (Tufts Shir Appeal), Unwell (Clemson University TIGEROAR), Mona Lisa (New York University Mass Transit), She Will Be Loved (Duke Out of the Blue), Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go (Stanford University Mendicants), Time Is Running Out (University of Southern California Sirens), Angel (University of Michigan Amazin Blue), Hey Ya (University of Virginia Hullabahoos)
Varsity Singers : Songs Of Yale
Review: The New Varsity Quintet was formed in 2000 in Barcelona by 5 slightly inebriated members of the Whiffenpoofs, Yale's celebrated male chorus, who, not wanting to "pass and be forgotten like the rest," decided a new, intimate quartet was needed to celebrate Yale's 300th anniversary in flawless harmony. The five, pictured in the liner notes, holding engraved silver trophies and standing in front of a wall of ancient Yale plaques and photos, have the kind of butter-smooth harmonies and exuberance (and love for heartstring-tugging nostalgia) we usually only find in medal-winning barbershop groups. 13 songs are here: "We Meet Again To-night," "Mavourneen," "'Neath the Elms," "Eli Yale," "Aura Lee," "Mother of Men," the very funny "Daddy is a Yale Man" and "The Battle of the Books," "Brave Mother Yale," "Wake, Freshmen, Wake," "College Fight Song Medley, "Shall I, Wasting In Despair?" and "Bright College Years." Alumni and lovers of Yale, lovers of traditional American collegiate and folk music, and anyone who has ever seriously sung, in harmony, a line like "Bulldog, Bulldog, Bow Wow Wow," will cherish a copy of "Songs!"
Songlist: We Meet Again To-night, Mavoureen, 'Neath The Elms, Eli Yale, Aura Lee, Mother of Men, Daddy Is A Yale Man, Brave Mother Yale, The Battle of the Books, Wake, Freshmen, Wake, College Fight Song Medley, Shall I, Wasting in Despair?, Bright College Years
Virginia Sil'hooettes : After Shock
Review: The 15 members of University of Virginia's 15-voice all female vocal ensemble the "Sil'hooettes brings us an impressive cover album of 14 well-chosen hits. Blu Cantrell's "Hit 'em Up Style," Radiohead's "High and Dry," Aretha Franklin's anthem "Respect," SHeDAISY's "I Will," Wham!'s "Jitterbug," The B-52's anthem "Roam," Jamie O'Neal's "Arizona," Chantal Kreviazuk's "Eve," Jo Dee Messina's "That's the Way"-the women pass around the solos and the vocal percussion duties, but there's talent aplenty and each song is a treat. "After Shock" is good, fun stuff from a poised, confident, talented group!
Songlist: Hit Em Up Style, High and Dry, Respect, Two Satellites, I Will, Fallin, Jitterbug, Wrong Impression, Alway Be Around, Roas, Arizona, Video / I Do, Eve, That's the Way
Vocal Point : Grand Slam
Review: Since its founding in 1991 by two BYU students, the 8 to 9 men group has gone through many changes of personnel and otherwise (opening twice for Rockapella!). From 1994 to 2001 the group was directed by Jim Anglesey, "Slam" represents his final effort with VP before moving on professionally. Jim's love was watching the group grow as goodwill ambassadors for BYU, the LDS Church, and for a cappella singing, routinely going to schools to teach vocal workshops wherever they'd go, for instance. 13 spirited (sometimes even manic), funny, amazing songs: some favorites: Weird Al Yankovic's painful "Since You've Been Gone/One More Minute," "Breakfast at Denny's," a spot-on parody of "Breakfast at Tiffany's" (and what the title is referring to, get it?) "Pennies from Heaven," "I'll Be," "Love One Another," "The Cup of Life," a bluesy "Summertime," and the inspirational "In The First Light." Excellent, and recommended!
Songlist: A Pedir Su Mano, Since You've Been Gone / One More Minute, Pennies from Heaven, In My Dreams, Sparkle / Jack's Heroes, Breakfast at Dennny's, Breakfast at Dennny's, Bach's Air on a G String, I'll Be, Love One Another, Cup of Life, She Loves You, Summertime, In the First Light
Vocal Point : Instruments Not Included
Review: Shortly after the release date of Vocal Point's debut CD in the fall of 1993, it became clear that there was huge interest, as "instruments not included" became a runaway best-seller. The nine-man a cappella ensemble features a repertoire here that ranges from a tribute to the Swingles, "Bach's Fugue in D Minor," the doo-wop standard "Drip Drop," Gershwin's classic "Summertime" and Terrence Trent D'Arby's "Sign Your Name" to U2's "With Or Without You" and the Scottish folk song "Scottish Spring." Originally produced by the group, this album joined the Tantara catalog when Vocal Point became a program of the BYU School of Music and signed on with Tantara. 19 songs: a silly rap takeoff on children's rhymes in "Child's Play," a jazzy "Paper Moon," the sweet "E'en So, Lord Jesus," the updated sea shanty "Hey Ho, Away We Go," the salsa-flavored "Brrlak!," "instruments" continually surprises. Fresh, fun, energetic, often manic contemporary a cappella from never-boring Vocal Point!
Songlist: Istanbul, Sign Your name, Fugue in D Minor, Drip Drop, Rubber Duckie, The Garden, Star Spangled Banner, Child's Play, Paper Moon, E'en So, Lord Jesus, Hey, Ho, Away We Go, With or Without You, Instant Mash, Scottish Spring, One Last Cry, People to People/When the Morning Comes, Summertime, Brrrlak!, Don't It Make You Want to Go Home
Vocal Point : Lead Now Me On: Hymns and Inspiration
Review: Referred to by some as "an optical illusion for your ears," BYU Vocal Point's inventive style, innovative arrangements, and incredible vocal percussion continue to wow audiences worldwide. They have performed before millions on national television (on NBC's The Sing-Off) and in concerts across the country. While Vocal Point mostly showcases popular songs from yesterday and today in their concerts, the group always includes hymns and inspirational songs as part of their shows. Now for the first time, the music Vocal Point uses to give praise and express their faith is featured exclusively on its own CD.
Songlist: 1. Lead, Kindly Light, All Creatures of Our God and King, I Need Thee Every Hour, Danny Boy, He Is Born, Noyana / Come, Come, Ye Saints, Be Still, My Soul, We All Need Saving, Infant Holy, Infant Lowly, Praise to the Man, Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing, Savior, Redeemer of My Soul, Nearer, My God, to Thee
Vocal Point : Maximum A Cappella
Review: Brigham Young University's premiere 9-man a cappella ensemble, Vocal Point is known for their solid vocal percussion, innovative arrangements and pure vocal firepower. "Back in Blue," the group's eighth album, is a collection of 16 sixteen well-chosen covers. Some favorites are Jason Mraz's "I'm Yours," Earth, Wind & Fire's anthem "September," Hairspray's very funny "Nicest Kids in Town," Sesame Street's "Telephone Opera" complete with hilarious new words, "Game Day," a tribute to popular sports songs, a wonderful arrangement of Josh Groban's "Remember When It Rained," Huey Lewis & The News' "Hip to Be Square." and James Stevens' a cappella arrangement of the powerful, beautiful "Lead, Kindly Light." VP has a fresh, spirited, bright sound that animates these songs and draws us in every time. "Back in Blue" is great Collegiate entertainment and a stone winner!
Songlist: Hip to Be Square, Got to Get You into My Life, I'm Yours, Inspector Pachuco, Remember When It Rained, Grace Kelly, The Nicest Kids in Town, Game Day, Opera #2 (Vitas), September, We All Need Saving, Telephone Opera, It Had Better Be Tonight, Lead, Kindly Light, Jump, Jive an' Wail
Vocal Point : Mouthing Off
Review: A 9-man group from Provo, UT, Vocal Point is one of the brightest lights in Contemporary Collegiate a cappella, and "Mouthing" is their 3rd excellent CD on Tantara Records. 14 songs are here, featuring solid and innovative vocal percussion and daring arrangements-just listen to "Bittersweet Treat, written by group member Peter Hansen, who also sings lead. Other favorites are the country-western classic "Sold (The Grundy Co. Auction Incident)," Seal's "Kiss From A Rose," the hilarious "MotorTab," which features a K-Tel "hits from the 60s and 70s" ad, as sung by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, Charlie Daniels' "The Devil Went Down to Georgia," Axl Rose's "Sweet Child of Mine," "Carry On My Wayward Son," and the traditional Gospel hymn "Precious Lord I Love, Power, Grace." "Mouthing Off" is big fun, energetic, powerful entertainment from the first cut to the last!
Songlist: Africa, Bittersweet Treat, Sold (The Grundy County Auction Incident), Kiss From A Rose, Meet in the Middle, Motor Tab, The Devil Went Down to Georgia, That Thing You Do, Sweet Child of Mine, Love Me, Carry On My Wayward Son, Precious Lord, Love, Power, Grace, Kyrie Elieson
Vocal Point : Nonstop
Review: Formed by two BYU students in 1991 in the traditional college glee club format, 9-man Vocal Point discovered a huge interest in their high-energy, wonderfully-arranged covers. "Nonstop" features recordings by 3 different configurations of the group, 2004-2005, 2005-2006 and 2006-2007. Photos of those groups are in the full-color liner notes, where founders Bob Ahlander and Dave Boyce also describe watching their creation win the International Championship of Collegiate A Cappella at the Lincoln Center in NYC in April of 2006, an inspiring and moving story. The 16 high-energy cuts begin with a rousing a cappella rendition of the THX/20th Century Fox fanfare, "Spider-Man Theme," Stevie Wonder's "Superstition," Louis Prima's "Sing, Sing, Sing," a very fine "Sunshine Medley" ("Walkin' on Sunshine," "Ain't No Sunshine" and "Let the Sunshine In"), Robert Allen and Al Stillman's 50s harmonic gem "No Not Much," Marc Broussard's Southern-fried foot-stomper "Home," Garth Brooks' beautiful, touching "When You Come Back to Me Again," Michael Jackson's "Thriller," and the final cut, traditional hymn "Nearer My God to Thee." Solid vocal percussion, fine arranging, strong harmonies, powerful leads (especially Michael Buble on "Home")--it all adds up to great entertainment from one of our favorite collegiate ensembles!
Songlist: THX/20th Century Fox Fanfare, Spider-Man Theme, Take On Me, Superstition, Black Balloon, Sing, Sing, Sing, Sunshine Medley, No Not Much, Home , When You Come Back to Me Again, Praise The Man, Super Mario, Thriller, Home, Bigger Than My Body, Nearer My God To Thee
Vocal Point : Standing Room Only
Review: In 2001 Bob Ahlander, one of Vocal Point's founding members (in 1991) returned to BYU as faculty director of Vocal Point, directing the group in performances at several venues at the Salt Lake City Winter Olympics, to the semifinals at the International Championships of Collegiate A Cappella," and wowed the audience at the 13rd Annual A Cappella Summit in San Rafael. "Standing Room Only" is a polished, confident CD for this 9-man collegiate group, of 15 beautifully arranged pieces in different musical styles. From Contemporary pop (Maroon 5's "Harder to Breathe," Phil Collins' "Strangers Like Me," Eve 6's "Promise"), to Classic Pop ("Runaround Sue," "The Way You Look Tonight," "Ain't No Sunshine"), to Contemporary Christian ("He Is Born," "Primarily Vocal Point" Medley), to Bluegrass ("O Brother, Where Art Thou? Medley") to traditional Gospel ("Be Still, My Soul," and the bonus track "12 Days of Christmas"), this is all bright, spirited, fun music. These guys are amazing live, and it shows bigtime on "Standing!"
Songlist: Header to Breathe, Strangers Like me, Stick Shifts and Safety Belts, The Way You Look Tonight, Ain't No Sunshine, He Is Born, I'm a Believer, O Brother, Where Art Thou? Medley, Thank You, Runaround Sue, Promise, Primarily Vocal Point, Be Still, my Soul, Straighten Up and Fly Right, Yeah, Yeah
Whiffenpoofs : A Very Whiffenpoof Christmas
Review: This is officially, a 14-tune, "Best of the Whiffenpoofs Christmas Songs" CD. The song selection ranges from the 1963 'Poofs' harmonic rendition of "Coventry Carol" and the 1964 group's melodic "Le Sommeil de L'enfant Jesus" to 1992's "Jingle Bell Rock," and 1994's "Up on the Housetop." Then we have the 1998 group's "Christmas Song," 2001's rendition of James Taylor's "New Hymn," and the group's trademark "The Whiffenpoof Song." These various versions of the oldest collegiate a cappella group in the US treat us to a range of emotions about Christmas, lonely (2004's poignant "Lonely Christmas Eve") hungry (the 1990 group's "Home Cookin'") to traditional and sacred (1998's "Christmas Song," 2003's "Ave Maria" and "O Holy Night" and 2003's "Ave Maria"). Admittedly, though, a few have no obvious connection to Christmas whatsoever, like 2000's "Walking in the Air," 2001's "Time After Time," and 2004's Bohemian Marching Song "Aj Lucka Lucka, Siroka". But we won't split hairs-the 'Poofs are known for their sense of humor, and the singing is beautiful!
Songlist: Aj, Lucka Lucka, Siroka, Christmas Song, Coventry Carol, Jingle Bell Rock, New Hymn, O Holy Night, Lonely Christmas Eve, Walking In The Air, Le Sommeil de L'enfant Jesus, Home Cookin, Ave Maria, Up On The Housetop, Time After Time, The Whiffenpoof Song
Whiffenpoofs : Century
Review: CT, Yale campus, five of the Yale Glee Club's finest singers retreated to Mory's Temple Bar, where proprietor Lewis Linder, also a music lover, welcomed them in, and the Whiffenpoofs' legend began. Four of the men were in the Glee Club's Varsity Quartet, which sang at alumni functions. The fifth allowed them to improvise more complex harmonies for the old songs they loved, and this attracted appreciative customers. The group set a weekly date to meet, Mory's at six. The name came from a line in an obscure musical comedy, "Little Nemo," based on cartoonist Winsor McKay's sublime Sunday comic, "Little Nemo in Slumberland." The Whiffenpoof was a fabulous creature who lived in a frozen lake, who would rise through a hole cut in the ice lined with cheese, which he would sniff, squawk a loud "poof," and thus be caught. The group's anthem, "The Whiffenpoof Song," was composed by Glee Club member Todd Galloway, and given lyrics by Whiffenpoofs Meade Minnigerode and George Pomeroy, and the exclamations of all present led to the deathless lyric "We are poor little lambs who have lost our way, Baa, baa, baa..." being reverently sung, standing, at every subsequent Whiffenpoofs gathering. The "best of" songlist contains romantic classics from the 1909 version of the Whiffenpoofs' "Aj, Lucka Siroka" to the 2009 group's "Soon It's Gonna Rain." Other favorites are "September Song" (1950), "Minnie the Mermaid" (1940), "Little Pony" (1975), "The Girl From Ipanema" (1994), "I'll Be Seeing You" (1991), "Something Like The Blues" (1987), "Bye Bye Blackbird" (1994), "Have You Met Miss Jones?" (1962), "A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square" (1989) and "Saving Ourselves" (1949). In fact, every cut here is a nostalgic, harmonic gem. Treat yourself to this sumptuous musical banquet, one of our all-time favorite Collegiate groups, well, since 1907!
Songlist: Aj, Lucka, Lucka Siroka, September Song, Minnie the Mermaid, Little Pony, Down By the Salley Gardens, I Cover the Waterfront, The Girl from Ipanema, Bye Bye Blackbird, I'll Be Seeing You, Soon It's Gonna Rain, Everything, New Hymn, Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea, Something Like the Blues, Have You Met, Midnight Train to Georgia, A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square, Saving Ourselves, The Whiffenpoof Song
Whiffenpoofs : Dragonfish
Review: The Whiffenpoofs, 14 talented young Yale undergraduates, are 2005's version of the oldest collegiate a cappella group in the US, founded in 1909, "Whiffenpoof" being a mythical "Dragon fish" appearing in a Broadway musical called "Little Nemo," based on the brilliant Art Nouveau color comic strip "Little Nemo in Slumberland" by Winsor McCay. In any case the 'Poofs have always been one of our favorite, and funniest collegiate groups. 18 songs, beginning with the lusty Bohemian Marching gong "Aj, Lucka, Lucka, Siroka" and finishing with the butter-smooth harmonies of "The Whiffenpoof Song," a noir heartbreaker we always associate with soldiers of the two World Wars. In between are a jazzy "Bye Bye Blackbird," a funny, surprising arrangement of "The Girl from Ipanema," innovative arrangements of Cole Porter's "Too Darn Hot," Bob Marley's "Waiting In Vain," Irving Berlin's "Steppin' Out With My Baby," "Midnight Train to Georgia" and Lambert, Hendricks & Ross' "Little Pony." There's a nice Whiff original, "Time After Time," a pair of James Taylor covers, "You Can Close Your Eyes" and "New Hymn" and the poignant "I'll Be Seeing You." 18 spirited, finely-crafted tunes. "Dragonfish" is an impressive collection from a wonderful a cappella tradition at Yale, as strong and vital now as in its beginnings.
Songlist: Aj, Lucka Lucka, Siroka, Bye Bye Blackbird, Something Like The Blues, The Girl From Impanema, Down By The Salley Gardens, Too Darn Hot, You Can Close Your Eyes, New Hymn, Time After Time, On Broadway, Little Pony, Waiting In Vain, Steppin' Out With My Baby, Have A Little Faith In Me, Walking In The Air, Midnight Train To Georgia, I'll Be Seeing You, The Whiffenpoof Song