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Mixed Voice Contemporary A Cappella Recordings

Men's groups have their advantages. Women's groups have theirs, too. But the great thing about mixed groups is that they combine the best of both words, and have their own unique beauty. Rocking, jazzy, soulful, they've got it all, and like most contemporary groups, they cross genres, dabbling, exploring and offering multiple sounds and styles in each fun package. This is your opportunity to hear some of the most innovative and exciting versions of favorites, and charming and appealing originals. Don't miss this chance!

Displaying 1-50 of 120 items.


Pentatonix : Vol IV - Classicsnew

Review: Not only only one of the most talented a cappella groups performing today, Pentatonix is also one of the most prolific. This is their 8th recording and surely one of their best. This time they cover some of the great standards with their usual intricate arrangements and powerhouse delivery and this recording should be in every a cappella fans collection.

Songlist: Bohemian Rhapsody, Imagine, Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy, Over The Rainbow, Take On Me, Can't Help Falling In Love, Jolene (featuring Dolly Parton)

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43139c | 1 CD | $5.95 |


Various Artists : Harmony Sweepstakes 1997 onsale

Review: The earliest recording of a Harmony Sweeps National Finals that is still available. It was a classic year!

Songlist: Say, Say A Prayer, Stray Cat Strut, Nuclear Power, Change The World, Nothing Is Written, Hush, Higher And Higher, Spiderman, Get Down Tonight, All I Want, Some Kind Of Wonderful, Thinkin' About You, Human Nature: Seven Seconds, Celebration , If I Lost You

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2597c | 1 CD | $9.95 ON SALE $2.95 | A Cappella || Harmony Sweepstakes CDs


Various Artists : Harmony Sweepstakes 1998 onsale

Review: We are fortunate indeed to have assembled such a truly talented group of finalists for the 1998 Harmony Sweeps. Winners Metropolis, the barbershop quartet from Southern California, sing "Some Lucky Day" and the entertaining "Yakko's World." Audience favorite (and second-place finishers) +4dB begin the festivities with "In A Mellow Tone" and also perform the Real Group's "Chile Con Carne." Other groups include Canadians the Heebee-jeebees, catalog favorites Blind Man's Bluff, Ball in the House and Acapelicans (from Australia), Cool Shooz and the third place winners, the Sweet Adelines' quartet City Lights. Bonus performance: An improvised jam by our evening's hosts, SoVoSo.

Songlist: In a Mellow Tone, Some Lucky Day, Good Lovin', The First Time I Ever Saw Your Face, This Island Earth, That's How You Jazz (medley), Wake Up Call, Get It On, Virtual Insanity, Happy World, Maritime Folk Song, Chili Con Carne, Coronet Man, Yakko's World, Crawlin', Sign Your Name Across My Heart, Improvised Jam

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2998c | 1 CD | $12.95 ON SALE $4.95 | A Cappella || Harmony Sweepstakes CDs


Various Artists : Harmony Sweepstakes 2004 onsale

Review: This year's Harmony Sweepstakes reminded all who participated, how magical making music can be. Now, we all can share that magic by listening to this excellent live recording. With 20 years gone by, this national competition is still going strong and bringing out the very best in a cappella singing. This year's show had an excellent assortment of various styles, including jazz, pop, contemporary, Latin and much more. There were lots of humorous moments, including the national champions, Chapter Six's original song, 7th Wheel, as well as somber/uplifting moments including the beautiful performance of Kiss From A Rose by Impulse. Of course no one could forget Clockwork's performance of Inna-Godda-Da-Vida or Vox Bop's Commercial medley. With continuous stellar performances from all eight groups, this 19 track CD is sure to keep you entertained.

Songlist: Happy Birthday, It Don't Mean a Thing (If It Ain't Got That Swing), Blue Bayou, In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida, Salsa Te Triago Yo, 7th Wheel , Charlie on the M.T.A, Take 5 , St. Louis Blues, I've Got Rhythm/Fascinatin' Rhythm , God Bless This Child, Obsession , Cree (Believe), Isn't She Lovely, Use the Force, The Commercial Medley, Bye Bye Blues, Shining Star, Kiss From A Rose

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2004c | 1 CD | $12.95 ON SALE $4.95 | A Cappella || Harmony Sweepstakes CDs


Various Artists : Harmony Sweepstakes 2005 onsale

Review: It always seems to us as the Harmony Sweeps celebrates another year of its existence (its 21st, in this case), that "last year's Finals were so sublime, how could this year's possibly etc., etc." - but then we're in the sold-out, excited audience for this year's, and the first group is about to come on... what we're trying to say is somehow each Sweeps Final is better than the last. And what we love about the CDs is that they're live, 9 of the best a cappella groups in the world on one stage, singing their hearts out for 13 short minutes, for the National Championship. Last May, Mid-Atlantic's Cartoon Johnny, Boston's Firedrill, Chicago's Fiveplay, NYC's Traces, Denver's Face, Pacific NW's Groove for Thought, LA's Undivided and SF's own Moodswing were those groups. 19 songs, including "Joy to the World" and Best Original Song, "Walk the Straighter Road" by Kevin Kunz of National Champions Groove For Thought, David Lichtman Best Original Arrangement winner "Paper Moon" by Greg Murai of Moodswing, ("Moanin'" by Moodswing is also happily included), 3rd Place finishers Fiveplay sing Stevie Wonder's "Superstitious/IWish" and "I Never Knew," and runner-up and Audience Favorite Face have 3 winners, "Pink Panther Theme," "Harder To Breathe" and "Safety Dance." But let us not forget hosts Chapter 6, whose "Ode to Krispy Kreme" and "Don't You Worry 'Bout A Thing" drew standing O's, Firedrill's Motown classic "Chain of Fools," Traces' "Mary Don't You Weep," Undivided's "What's Goin' On" and Cartoon Johnny's "Crazy Love." A savory sampler from a magic night in May in San Rafael, CA!

Songlist: Ode To Krispy Kreme, Don't Worry 'Bout A Thing , Paper Moon, Mary Don't You Weep , Joy To The World , Superstitious/I Wish , Can't Stop Thinking About You, Crazy Love, What's Goin' On?, I Never Knew, Englishman In New York, Chain Of Fools , Pink Panther Theme , Moanin' , Walk The Straighter Road, Rock Your Body , Amazing Grace, Harder To Breathe , Safety Dance

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2005c | 1 CD | $12.95 ON SALE $4.95 | A Cappella || Harmony Sweepstakes CDs


Various Artists : Harmony Sweepstakes 2006 : 00  1 CD :  : 2006

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Blackbird

Various Artists : Harmony Sweepstakes 2006 onsale

Review: It's the first weekend in May, and the sold-out audience at Marin Veterans Auditorium in San Rafael, CA is buzzing with anticipation of seeing the Harmony Sweepstakes Finals, possibly the best live show in a cappella! 8 Regional-winning groups are backstage, having beat out as many as 8 other groups for the privilege of singing their hearts out for the National Championship. "Finals" has 16 of the best tunes from that memorable night, including Bay Area winner Clockwork's jazzy "My Baby Just Cares For Me," and wonderful cover of Radiohead's "Creep," part of an excellent set that won them 3rd place, and the award for "Best Original Arrangement." We hear Mid-Atlantic-winning Regency's "Only You" and high-energy "Jump, Jive and Wail," part of a great set that won them 2nd place. LA barbershop quartet Hi Fidelity, in "Addams Family" costume, bring us the "Addams Family" theme and a key-bending, hilarious "Blackbird," they won both Audience Favorite and the National Championship. New York Quartet 'Round Midnight's "Take the A-Train" and "Tin Roof Blues," Chicago's Elmo Thumm's "Last Train to Clarksville" and "Shooting Star," Denver's Curious Gage's "Long Train Runnin'" and "Windmills" show us how good Hi-Fidelity had to be to win. Boston's Traces sing "As" and "Wonderful World," which won Best Original Song," and the Pacific NW's Tongue Tied A Cappella give us a dynamic cover of the Starship's "We Built This City." Exciting cuts from a magic May evening in San Rafael!

Songlist: Addams Family , My Baby Just Cares For Me , Only You , Take the 'A' Train, Last Train to Clarksville, Blackbird, Jump, Jive & Wail, As , Creep, Tin Roof Blues, Shooting Star, We Built This City, Long Train Runnin', Sunglasses, Windmills, Wonderful World II

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2006c | 1 CD | $12.95 ON SALE $4.95 | A Cappella || Harmony Sweepstakes CDs


Various Artists : Harmony Sweepstakes 2007 : 00  1 CD : 

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Home

Various Artists : Harmony Sweepstakes 2007 onsale

Review: On a perfect May Saturday night in San Rafael, CA, the sold-out audience witnessed another unbelievable evening of unaccompanied vocal harmony singing. Eight Regional winners were up on stage, singing their hearts out for the fans and the judges, with the National Championship on the line. The best 18 songs of the night, including from local favorites the folk/world female ensemble Solstice with "Wade in the Water" and the dynamic "Kappee." A pair of songs from Audience Favorites Denver's "Face," includes the gritty, powerful rocker "Home," that won them 2nd Place. Three tracks from the evening's winners National Champs from Los Angeles, Moira Smiley & VOCO with the folk tune "Bring Me Little Water, Silvie," "Szerelem" and the lovely, moving "Stand in that River." Other favorites are New York's The Fault Line's "Some Kind of Wonderful;" the Pacific NW's V-Chords' "Don't You Worry 'Bout a Thing", Boston's Men in Black's "Run Around" and Chicago's Nightwatch's very funny "Defying Gravity." And let us not forget host group 2006 Champions Hi-Fidelity (hey, that's 2 in a row for L.A.!), whose "Enterprise/Sulu Medley" reminds us how brilliant and funny they can be.

Songlist: O Fortuna, Bring Me Little Water, Silvie, Steal My Kisses, Rock Around The Clock, Sugarcane Jubilee, Don't Worry 'Bout A Thing, Wade in the Water, Szerelem, Home, Some Kind of Wonderful, Run Around, Sold (The Grundy County Auction Incident), Defying Gravity, Stand in that River, The Lion Sleeps Tonight, Enterprise / Sulu Medley, Kappee, Always Look on the Bright Side of Life

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2007c | 1 CD | $12.95 ON SALE $4.95 | A Cappella || Harmony Sweepstakes CDs


17th Avenue All-Stars : 17th Ave All Stars : 00  1 CD : 

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I'm On Fire

17th Avenue All-Stars : 17th Ave All Stars

Review: Original member Norm Silver, aided and abetted by Jackie Farrell and Rita Dean, who also appeared on the All Stars last recording, "True Colors," are joined by three new members (including a vocal percussionist), though their musical journey in fact began much earlier - they won the Harmony Sweepstakes in 1993! The six members of this mixed group recently won the Denver regional competition of the Harmony Sweepstakes. Therefore their sound has evolved as well, and though their warm blend and soulful performances have not changed, depending on whom is assigned the lead vocal duties, a variety of impressions emerge. The earthy "Walking In Memphis," for example, is balanced by the eighties sheen of "Don't Stop Believin'." Superior clarity and a spacious mix helps to open up the ears for this tuneful new incarnation.

Songlist: Don't Stop Believin', I Wish, Walking In Memphis, I'm On Fire, Seesaw, God Shuffled His Feet, All Kinds Of People, My Child, You Don't Treat Me No Good, That's The Way Of The World, September

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2592c | 1 CD | $14.98 | A Cappella |


17th Avenue All-Stars : Blend

Review: Pride of Denver, CO, and 1993 Harmony Sweeps champs 17th Avenue All-Stars have given us 5 excellent Contemporary CDs, and their 6th, "Blend" is their best yet. One of Colorado's best-loved musical acts, the Stars are real audience-pleasers, whether performing their award-winning Pop Music Show, Dance Party or Doo Wop Show. Formerly a 4 man, one woman quintet, they are now an all male act, adding soulful Jimi Alexander. Blend features 12 finely-crafted covers, some favorites are Christopher Cross's "Ride Like the Wind," one of the best covers we've heard of the Beach Boys' "Good Vibrations," great falsetto leads on Earth Wind & Fire's "Let's Groove Tonight," a fun, seedy take on the Cars' "My Best Friend's Girl," Mr. Mister's "Kyrie Eleison," Richard Marx's "Should've Known Better," Paul Simon's hit "You Can Call Me Al," America's "You Can Do Magic," and Lionel Richie's "All Night Long." Tight vocal percussion, sweet leads and the Stars' shear ability to entertain make Blend a joy to listen to, and another winner for one of our favorite Sweeps champions!

Songlist: Something About You, Ride Like The Wind, Good Vibrations, Let's Groove Tonight, My Best Friend's Girl, Heaven, Kyrie Eleson, Beautiful Soul, Should've Known Better, You Can Call Me Al, You Can Do Magic, All Night Long

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1205c | 1 CD | $14.98 | A Cappella |


17th Avenue All-Stars : Simplicity : 00  1 CD : 

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Johnny

17th Avenue All-Stars : Simplicity

Review: Released in the same year as their triumphant success in the Harmony Sweepstakes, Simplicity is the defining moment of the early All Stars with Robert Johnson joining the group and La Tanya Hall considered a member of the group rather than guest artist. On this release there are mostly originals, wonderful originals at that, such as "Johnny" by Jeff Harris which has been covered enough to become a standard. A similar mix of musical styles as the first release graces this recording but the group has matured tremendously.

Songlist: Sly Medley, When I Think Of You, Power Of The Holy Ghost, He's Back & I'm Blue, Simplicity, One Way Or Another, Johnny, If You Love Somebody, Love And Joy, You Are The One, All I Have Is Me, Stay With Me Tonight

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2232c | 1 CD | $14.98 | A Cappella |


17th Avenue All-Stars : Talkin' Acappella

Review: Here's history for you. In 1991 just as the a cappella resurgence was beginning the All Stars began singing their mix of doo wop, soul, rock, and gospel which were to propel them to national prominence in 1993 as the winners of the Harmony Sweepstakes. In addition to originals by Robert Anderson, Jeff Harris and Norm Silver, the recording includes mostly covers arranged by Robert Anderson, "Why Do Fools Fall In Love", "Try A Little Tenderness", "You Talk Too Much", "Wonderful Tonight" and "Fire" among others...

Songlist: Why Do Fools Fall in Love, Second Chance, Try a Little Tenderness, On, the Americas, The Letter, You Talk Too Much, Swing Down, Chariot, Forbidden Love, Wonderful Tonight, Fire, Minute by Minute, Ywa (Yuppie with Attitude)

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2230c | 1 CD | $14.98 | A Cappella |


17th Avenue All-Stars : True Colors : 00  1 CD : 

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Sixteen Tons

17th Avenue All-Stars : True Colors

Review: The departure of La Tanya Hall to a solo career and untimely death of Jeff Harris left Robert Johnson and Norm Silver to rebuild the group with arranging assistance by founder Robert Anderson. New members Jacquelyn Farrell, Rita Dean and Evan Blackstone continue the standard of vocal excellence. The ten songs include only one original by Robert Johnson who was busy with production as well. Included are "Sweet Dreams", "Stand By Me" and "Working In A Coal Mine" in addition to the beautiful title track "True Colors"..

Songlist: Sweet Dreams, Drive My Car, Sixteen Tons, Yes We Can , Stand By Me, True Colors, Working In The Coal Mine, Swing Low Sweet Chariot, Brother John, Some Kind Of Wonderful

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2234c | 1 CD | $14.98 | A Cappella |


a.k.a. Pelican Groove : Plunge

Review: An East Coast quintet covering a variety of adult contemporary compositions, and one original - "(I Will) Bring You Love," (reminiscent of classic Lamont/Dozier/Holland). The Beatles "Hey Bulldog" is a clever selection, and the arrangement is particularly well-conceived - each part is strong and balances the whole. "Time and Tide" is a great opportunity for Alice Burge, the group's lone female, to let it rip - its range is all over the place, reaching heights where the air gets thin! "Fly Like An Eagle" is tinged by a doo-wop influence - of the sort exemplified by the Persuasions - and it gives the tune an edge that's cool. "Bob Away My Blues" has the group riffing on vocal horn parts and shuffling, while embellishing with slides and chromatic fills. Other songs: "Something To Talk About," "Crazy Love" and more.

Songlist: 8th Avenue Shuffle, Hey Bulldog, Time & Tide, Fly Like An Eagle, All Around The World, Superman's Song, Crazy Love, Something To Talk About , Little Bitty Pretty One, (I Will) Bring You Love, Bob Away My Blues

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2142c | 1 CD | $14.98 | A Cappella |


Accidentals : Intermittent Plush

Review: NYC-based, unique mixed-voice octet the Accidentals won the 1995 Harmony Sweeps Finals, winning first prize, audience favorite, and best song. "Plush" is dedicated to the group's beloved New York City, but besides Paul Simon's "Still Crazy After All These Years," most of the material is not related to NYC. Rather, it's the jazzy, sophisticated sound, thanks especially to arrangements and music by the group's Margaret Dorn, on these 21 songs that make us think of the Big Apple. Poetry is a very strong theme here: "The Earth and Man" is from a poem by Stopford Brooke, "The Mermaid" and "The Dolphin" are poems by Eleanor Wilner, and "Jazz Fantasia" and "Prayers of Steel" are poems by Carl Sandburg. "Betrothal," "3 Females" and "Lunch in the Rain" are poems by Marcia Pelletiere," and "It Ceased To Hurt Me," "Did You Ever Stand," "The Night Was Wide" and "Our Only Lullaby" are poems by Emily Dickinson. Other favorites are "Hymn," "Watercolor," Christopher Cross' "Sailing" and the accompanied "Many Voices." "Plush" is a complex, stunning, beautifully done piece of work by one of the best vocal ensembles on the planet!

Songlist: Hymn, Watercolor, The Earth and the Man, The Mermaid, Sailing, Jazz Fantasia, Prayers of Stell, The Woodsman and the Ax, Still Crazy After All These ears, Betrothal, 3 Females, Lunch in the Rain, What a Piece of Work Is Man, It Ceased To Hurt Me, Did You Ever Stand, The Night Was Wide, Our Only Lullaby, The Dolphin, Many Voices

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7422c | 1 CD | $14.98 | A Cappella |


Accidentals : Mostly A Cappella

Review: 1995 Harmony Sweepstakes winners present songs of exquisite arrangement including Margaret Dorn's well known "You Win" and "Wheel of Time." A Latin rhythm Rudolph the Red Nose? Yes! e. e. cummings' "In Just Spring" given a musical score at last by Jim Vincent. The Cycodrama Suite should be mentioned. It's a tribute to cult rotten-film director Ed Wood Jr. and one of the most sophisticated pieces of humor in a cappelladom. The Accidentals are a mixed chorus of 8 voices. The songs are beautifully sung, arranged, produced and totally original.

Songlist: You Win, If I Love Again, Rudiana, Wheel Of Time, Ed Wood:The Sinister Urge, Icon Of Peace, The Steam Is On The Beam, In Just Spring, Cycodrama Suite

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2337c | 1 CD | $14.98 | A Cappella |


Accidentals : Popular

Review: They are a vocal orchestra! That's the overwhelming impression we get when listening to the Accidentals. Where other groups may be vocal bands, the voices in the Accidentals act more as if they were sections of an orchestra, each weaving a thread into the larger tapestry of song. What is even more amazing is that each of the voices can be heard clearly and individually, even on those rare moments when more than two members are creating a chorus! All in all they sing some of the most complex arrangements in all of acappelladom. Now how about the tunes? We are treated to a sense of the complexities of life itself in a new composition by Dennis Deal, "The Horizon." There are a couple musical doffs of the cap to their hometown, New York City. But wait, turn up the volume and be prepared to be blown away by a marvelous arrangement of "Eli's Comin'" which infuses a brand new spirit into a tune which was becoming a cliche. Humor...did we mention the great sense of humor. It's pretty sophisticated stuff for although there are verbal jibes at reality which are a crack-up, the music itself is a co-conspirator to making one slide from chuckles to guffaws. Try "Beatnik" for a musical joke extroadinaire in which the singer's biography goes from too cool to...no no no we won't give it away. On another tune you will discover for yourself the context of the phrase, "...pucker up sucker and kiss the world goodbye!" You'll laugh, you'll cry, it's beautiful, it's funny, you'll be beguiled by one of the best a cappella albums of the new millennium!

Songlist: The Horizon, Autumn In New York, Eli's Comin', Beatnick, City of Angels, I Love New York, The More I See You, Never Never Land, Somebody's Out There, Eleanor Rigby, Loves Me Like A Rock, Where or When

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2703c | 1 CD | $14.98 | A Cappella |


All About Buford : Supercar

Review: Boston-based Contemporary a cappella mixed quartet (2 men, 2 women) All About Buford came onto our radar screen only recently, when they won the Harmony Sweeps Boston Regional. The group gave an excellent performance at the Sweeps Finals, and "Supercar" is a very good CD. There's a smoky, street-savvy, manic edge to all these songs (all arrangements by the group), a lot of it coming from brilliant vocal percussionist Adeel Pandith. The first cut is an amazing hardly-recognizable cover of Jonatha Brooke's "How Deep Is Your Love," the second is a cross between Don Henley's "Nobody Else In The World But You" and Stevie Wonder's "Superstitious," that totally works. "My Funny Valentine" is a moody, smoky gem, Patty Larkin's "Wolf at the Door" and Norman Whitfield's "Car Wash" fit nicely into the mix. Sean Altman does a quirky little intro to Buford's strong cover of Sean's and Billy Straus' "Falling Over You." Our favorite cuts are originals by group member Taunia Soderquist, "Supercar" and "Do You Trust Me" (from the first CD), songs of the street with roots in rap. As the live intro guy says at the beginning of the CD, "this group is right in the middle of the Boston a cappella club scene, and they're wicked hot!" Recommended.

Songlist: Intro, How Deep Is Your Love?, Nobody Else in the World But You, My Funny Valentine, Supercar intro, Wolf at the Door, intro sung by Sean Altman, Fallin' Over You, Do You Trust Me?, Car Wash

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7376c | 1 CD | $14.98 | A Cappella |


Angie Doctor / Dan Schumacher : He Said, She Said

Review: The venerable and multi-talented member of The Bobs, Richard Bob Greene, produced and arranged the Vocal Jazz "Duets For Two Voices," which features Angie Doctor, a founding member of the Grammy-nominated PM Singers, but best known to us as a beloved member of Clockwork, which won 2 Grammy nominations, 5 Harmony Sweeps Bay Area Regional championships, and 4 top 3 finishes at the Sweeps Finals. Dan Schumacher sang Baritone with Kickshaw, which won the Pacific NW Harmony Sweeps Regional in 1997 and he has since grown tremendously as a Jazz vocalist. There are 12 songs here, all, to quote the liner notes, "Naked harmony: one man and one woman, with no band, no multi-tracking and no overdubbing-entangled yet liberated, precise yet passionate." Some of our favorites are "Honeysuckle Rose," "One Note Samba," the very funny "Brandenburg Gate," Queen's "Another One Bites the Dust," "Temptation," Greene's own funny, manic "Let's Go Wild," Kern/Hammerstein's "All the Things You Are," and "Milonga del Angel," where Greene makes it a trio, adding his powerful bass to Dan and Angie's leads. These have long been some of our favorite vocalists and composers, and this album is as pure, clear and sweet as we have ever heard Vocal Jazz. Doctor and Schumacher sing and harmonize beautifully, they sass and tease, give and take, and give us a lot to love on "Duets for Two Voices!"

Songlist: Honeysuckle Rose, One Note Samba, Brandenburg Gate, I Know That You Know, Tanguedia Gate, In The Heart of the Dark, Another One Bites the Dust, Temptation, Let's Go Wild, All the Things You Are, Breaking Us In Two, Milonga del Angel

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6086c | 1 CD | $12.95 | A Cappella |


Apes & Babes : Planet Of

Review: Four young men and four young women formed their a cappella group apes&babes in Norway in 1999, thinking it would only be a small summer project, but it took off from the first tone. Enthusiastic audiences demanded more, and since then the eight singers have ridden their fiery energy, driving rhythms and musical playfulness to success in several festivals and memorable concerts throughout Norway. Now they are based in Chicago, and in addition to saying that we think they should seriously consider entering the Chicago Regionals of the Harmony Sweepstakes in 2010, we really like this group! They started out with the intention of pushing the a cappella envelope, to sing pop without instruments and still sound like a band-and they have created a fresh, richly harmonic unique sound with faux instruments and an infectious spirit that continues to delight audiences (and judges!). There are 12 songs here, many with Norwegian titles, but the songs spoke to us very clearly, whether we understood the words or not. "Bei mir bist du schon," is the U.S. hit from the Swing era sung in German and English; you might remember "La Cumparsita," sung in Spanish, as "Hernando's Hideaway;" "La Sagesse" (Women, I'm Calling You) is a powerful tribute to the wisdom of women, mostly sung in English; "Little Sparrow" is a traditional folk tune with a strong message, and the Bulgarian folk tune "Gankino Horo" recalls the Swingle Singers with its driving symphony of nonsense syllables. "Miseriou" is a traditional Greek folk dance, brought to us in several different "ape-styles" and "Nane Coha" is a popular song among the Romany people about a girl who is getting married, but alas, has no dress. "Tika Tiki Kardi" by the Iranian singer Arash Labaf, is a driving, dramatic deep-bass folk tune, and the opening song, "Villemann og Magnhild" is a medieval Norwegian ballad about trolls, heroes and love. A beautifully designed liner notes booklet gives us the stories behind the songs and all the lyrics. Great stuff, from beginning to end-don't miss your chance to take a walk on this very cool a cappella planet!

Songlist: Villemann og Magnhild, Gankino Horo, Vinyl-intermezzo, Miserlou, Bei mir bist du schon, Nane Coha, Tike Tike Kardi, Minnharpeslatt fra Sunndal, La Sagesse (Women, I'm Calling You), Little Sparrow, La Cumparsita, Basull (Su Ru Ruddi)

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5876c | 1 CD | $15.95 ON SALE $9.95 | A Cappella |


Backbeats : Backbeats : 00  1 CD :  : 5017273008829 : NRVS88.2

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Firework

Backbeats : Backbeats

Review: The Sing-Off season two finalists, The Backbeats, release their self-titled, debut album. The record, "The Backbeats From The Sing-Off," features a mix of hand-selected cover hits, including the group's rendition of Beyonce's "If I Were A Boy," which helped seal their top three position on season two of the show. The album also includes a track featuring the Grammy-nominated and season three judge from "The Sing-Off," Sara Bareilles, who guests on the group's version of Sara's hit "Uncharted."

Songlist: Thinking 'Bout Somethin', Born This Way, Every Teardrop is a Waterfall, Turning Tables, Till The World Ends, Firework, Cry Me A River, Need You Now, Who Are You?, If I Were A Boy, Monster, Uncharted

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2088c | 1 CD | $16.95 | A Cappella |


Bar & Grill Singers : A Time To Grill

Review: "Warning: all of the sounds on this recording were produced by lawyers," the liner notes on this CD caution us. But we all have a favorite lawyer with a birthday, or will buy the hilarious, all-too-true "A Time to Grill" for ourselves! These dozen mixed-voice Austin lawyers, who have previously graced us with "Licensed to Grill" and "Grilling Me Softly," bring us more hilarious, law-related lyrics to pop hits (primarily written by group members Paul Carmona, Alan Waldrop and David DuBose). "Appointed Forever" (to the tune of "Happy Together") and "The Longest Time" also appeared on "Licensed," all the others are new material. "It's In His Briefs" (It's In His Kiss), "Man of Constant Workload" (Sorrow), the "Gospel" classic, "Mighty Law Firm In The Sky," "Bill Me Anytime" (Sugar In The Morning), the heartbreaking "Defending P.I. (Personal Injury)," (Bye, Bye, American Pie); "Jet Plane," "Maybe Tomorrow" (Lady Madonna), "Judicial Retirees" (Drifting Along with the Tumblng Tumbleweeds),"Ethics Trouble" (Trouble, Right Here in River City), and finishing, incongruously, with a nicely-done "Star Spangled Banner." Mostly lightly accompanied, by the group. This is, once again, spot-on, brilliant, funny stuff that you, and your lawyer friend/relative/whatever, will totally love. If you don't, sue us!

Songlist: Appointed Forever, It's In His Briefs, Man of Constant Workload, Mighty Law Firm In The Sky, Bill me Anytime, Defending P.I. ("Personal Injury"), Jet Plane, Maybe Tomorrow, Judicial Retirees, The Longest Time, Ethics Trouble, Star Spangled Banner

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7436c | 1 CD | $14.98 ON SALE $14.95 | A Cappella |


Bar & Grill Singers : Grilling Me Softly

Review: Perhaps you thought their first recording ("License To Grill"), had exploited all avenues of satirical possibility. Fortunately, and just in time for the corporate gift-giving season, this mixed ensemble has returned with another appeal! Frequently accompanied, these parodies are all over the map stylistically - 50's R&B ("Three Certifications"), four-part vertical harmony ("Contingent Fee"), choral ("Meditation Chorus"), and even hippie/flower child folk - "Puff For My Class Action." The group strikes a variety of poses vocally, too, mocking everyone with equal rapaciousness. Genuinely funny and solid enough musically to avoid any charges of contempt.

Songlist: Court TV, The Jury Sleeps Tonight, I'm Billing Time, That Witness Lied, Contingent Fee, Puff For My Class Action, Three Certifications, Mandatory Pro Bono, Up On the Bench, The Language Of Law, Hourly Billing, Mediation Chorus, Kiss It Goodbye, Bar & Grill

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2714c | 1 CD | $14.98 |


Bar & Grill Singers : Licensed To Grill : 00  1 CD : Stephanie Austin Letson : 

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Fees

Bar & Grill Singers : Licensed To Grill

Review: This mischievous group of lawyerly miscreants is irrepressible-they satirize all affairs legal (and otherwise), using as their foundation various popular songs of the fifties and sixties. From " Frivolous Suit" (sung to Runaround Sue) and Mr. Foreman (Mr. Sandman) to our favorite, Appointed Forever (sung to the Turtles classic, Happy Together), this bevy of barristers (thirteen, to be exact) from Austin, Texas is tuneful and engaging. Some of the songs are lightly accompanied by piano and/or guitar, but we recommend leniency and suggest that you purchase this immediately nonetheless!

Songlist: Jury Jive, Make Up Your Mind, Mr. Foreman, Reversed And Rendered, Go On And Lie, Appointed Forever, Custom Tailored Suit, To Litigate, Alimony, Fees, The Longest Time, Frivolous Suit, Three Wise Judges, Operator

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2885c | 1 CD | $14.98 |


Bobs : Best Of onsale

Review: Musical malfeasants the Bobs are simply one of the most beloved and original a cappella groups ever, writing such classics as "Slow Down Krishna," "Kill Your Television" and "Drive By Love." Not only were the Bobs acclaimed for their original material, they were also beloved for their hilarious and technically masterful renditions of cover songs including "Psycho Killer," "Helter Skelter" and "Purple Haze." Along the way they were Grammy-nominated, appeared on PBS in their own one hour special and were added to the Smithsonian Institute's Museum of American History! "Best of the Bobs" a.k.a. "Twenty Songs from Twenty Years" is an instant collector's item, with rare outtakes, twelve previously unreleased tracks in all including three brand new songs. No greatest hits re-hash, this CD takes you through dark and winding passages into the very center of the Bobs' twisted psyches, behind the scenes to the core of the Bobs' creative genius. A must have for any Bobs fan.

Songlist: The Boxer, Giant Robot Store, Weekend in Cincinnati, Bee Bop I Love You, A Cappella Choir In The Sky, Fluffy's Master Plan for World Domination, Hey Coach, Don't Call Me A Queer, Swingers, Elwood Decker, The Wind Cries Mary, White Room, Searchin, Slow Down Krishna, Share A Load, Mopping, Mopping, Mopping, Please Let Me Be Your Third World Country, Helmet, Art for Art's Sake, Cowboy Lips, Helter Skelter

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2950c | 1 CD | $14.98 ON SALE $4.95 | A Cappella |


Bobs : Biographies onsale

Review: Since 1983, when the Bobs, the original "band without instruments" put out their first, self-titled album, we started our own love affair with this talented, funny, edgy, envelope-pushing group. Matthew Bob Stull, Dan Bob Schumacher, Richard Bob Greene and newest member Angie Bob Doctor, local Harmony Sweeps favorite performer and host, have come up with the goods for 30 years of recording and performing, and now have taken a long-overdue item off their bucket list, "the concept album." "Biographies" is an album about historical figures, both famous and not-particularly-famous, and the group that has been described as "Manhattan Transfer meets Monty Python" nails it! A few of our favorite song titles will give you a taste: "Andy (TV comic Andy Kaufman) Always Dreamed of Wrestling," Lord Buckley explains the life of Jesus on "The Nazz," "The Homey Rumours" takes on the "great one" Jackie Gleason, "Clarence Birdseye Flash Frozen Food" speaks for itself, as does "Fidel's (Castro) Fashion Manifesto," "Julia's Too Tall" is a delicious take on the life of Julia Child; "Lorenzo da Ponte" (Mozart's librettist) will make you forget the movie's Antonio Solieri; "Tesla, Tesla 1,2,3" (a forgotten Bay Area genius now totally in and hot); "Johnny Ramone" (Punk pioneer and guitarist for the Ramones) and finally, "Shut Up and Sing," the autobiography of the Bobs. No surprise to us, this collection is funny, intelligent, ironic and cutting-edge from beginning to end. Don't miss "Biographies," another winner from one of our all-time favorite mixed-voice a cappella quartets!

Songlist: Andy Always Dreamed of Wrestling , The Nazz , The Homey Rumours , Clarence Birdseye Flash Frozen Food , Valentina Tereshkova , Fidel's Fashion Manifesto , Elwood Decker , Hedy Lamarr Spreads it Around , Julia's Too Tall , Lorenzo da Ponte , Tesla, Tesla, 1,2,3 , Johnny Ramone , Bach to Bach , Shut up and Sing

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2965c | 1 CD | $14.95 ON SALE $4.95 | A Cappella |


Bobs : Coaster onsale

Review: The Bobs have left an indelible impression since their formation as a new wave a cappella group 20 years ago. "Coaster" swerves into the 21st century, with the same wanton desire to corrupt the minds of all who listen that have characterized the Bobs' previous nine recordings. Musically, of course, the membership - Matthew, Richard, Joe and Amy - are exceedingly qualified, more than might be suggested by such lyrical perversions as "keeps me warm at night/she's like a fire, she's like a tire" ("Rubber Girl") and "rising from my coffin/for coffee and a muffin" ("Drive Time Blues"), while walking the high wire between classical, jazz, rap and rock. There's even an accompanied pop tune - "Believe In Love" - that sets aside the musical malfeasance in favor of an unabashedly sincere performance by Joe Bob. The addition of Amy's wickedly mischievous contributions such as "Bring To Boil" and "Fluffy's Master Plan For World Domination" show that the Bobs had better not plan on retiring any time soon.

Songlist: Caravan, Drive Time Blues, She Made Me Name Her Earl, Loyal Officer, Barber Lips, A Vacant Stare, Turtle Girl, That Old Swamp, Rubber Girl, Bring To Boil, Believe In Love, Bach To Bach, Hidden Bonus Track, The Druid Song, Let's Adopt A Highway, Light My Fire, Fluffys Master Plan, A Cappella Choir

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2900c | 1 CD | $14.98 ON SALE $4.95 | A Cappella |


Bobs : Get your Monkey off my Dog

Review: The Bobs' 14th CD is a stunning compilation of 18 new, original songs sprung from the dangerous minds of ASCAP-award winners (and Grammy nominations for vocal arranging) The Bobs. Recorded in Seattle, Berkeley and in Room 144 of the Best Western in Marshalltown Iowa (yep, that's right!), this collection features guest appearances by former Bobs Gunnar Madsen and Lori Rivera. What's the album about? Oh, the usual assortment of obvious topics. Tubas, fast food, feng shui, the wild west, vibration, lame pickup lines, the faux poor, wrong numbers, annoying simians, religious cooking, cow tipping, hope, David Mamet, giant bagels, dating, poverty, and the ability to par-tay... This is classic Bobs guaranteed to please both new and old fans alike.

Songlist: Silver Lining, The Tight Pants Tango, Come Here Often?, Sandwich Man, Funk Shui Massacre, Imaginary Tuba, I Dreamt That David Mamet, Buddha Bakes, Never Date a Musician, Silver Lining II, Diappointment Pants, Cow Tipping, Part II, Howard Peterson, Hit the Road, Greg, Poverty, Tom Spath, Get Your Monkey off My Dog, Party Arty, Hope

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2457c | 1 CD | $15.95 | A Cappella |


Bobs : i brow club

Review: The more things change... Janie Scott has retired to be replaced by Lori Rivera who is a great compliment to the strength of voice, vision, and personalities of Richard, Joe, and Matthew. As it turned out this will be the only album to mark her participation in the band, drat! Extraordinary musical sophistication is the hallmark of this CD, with, of course the wry view we've become accustomed to sharing with Richard Greene in his songs. Typically, in "Hey Coach, Don't Call Me A Queer," he explores the fascist tendencies found in high school athletics. Increasingly greater sophistication is the hallmark of The Bobs. The Bobs have a considerable reputation for outrageousness and satire even beyond the frontiers of the a cappella community. "Change of Heart," sung by Lori "Bob" Rivera, is a tragicomic tale anchored by a "heartbeat" and a "churchbell" accompaniment. The joy-buzzer of a cappella, the Bobs constantly challenge your mind while entertaining your ears.

Songlist: The Ambient One, Hey Coach Don't Call Me a Queer, Why Not Try Right Now, Swingers, Late Model Love, The Crow, Bongwater Day, Is It Something That I Said?, The Waiting Song, The Vapor Carioca, There's a Nose Ring in my Soup, Bums in the Baseline, Leisure Suit, Like a Parrot, The Gate

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2459c | 1 CD | $14.98 | A Cappella |


Bobs : My I'm Large : 00  1 CD :  : 7911

Listen to
Banana Love

Bobs : My I'm Large

Review: Goofy and totally original are two legitimate perspectives on a group which has songs regarding a confusion of child/adult size issues ("My I'm Large"), 'security blanket' aspect of helmets ("Helmet"), the prognosticative propensities of a weatherman sung by his wife ("Weatherman"), polka joy at The Fat Room ("Bulky Rhythm") etc. etc.. There are another dozen gems of skewed perspective and joyous wit by the team of Gunnar Madsen and Richard Greene. You must, but just in case you don't know, BOB, is a dog show acronym for Best Of Breed. Though some new listeners may not know it, the Bobs are one of the most important voices in the world of a cappella music!

Songlist: My I'm Large, Helmet, My Husband Was A Weatherman, Mopping, Mopping, Mopping, Bulky Rhythm, You Really Got A Hold On Me, Johnny's Room, Please Let Me Be Your Third World Country, Valentino's, Banana Love, Little Red Riding Hood, My Shoes

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2451c | 1 CD | $12.95 | A Cappella |


Bobs : Plugged onsale

Review: Kill your television! Good advice but that's not really the message in the tune with that name, written completely from bumper sticker messages. That begins material that shares sardonic and whimsical views of tattoos, coffee, love, tagging, beat poetry and more. In the last album the Bobs began working with Scott Matthews and this producer is a significant participant in the creation of the all original work mostly written by Richard Green or a Green/Finetti collaboration. This reviewer's personal favorite is the beat poetry with a fabulous, very spare backing.

Songlist: When We Start To Sing, Tattoo Me Now, Kill Your Televison, Meat On The Moon, Elwood Decker, Cafe, Reasons, Stranger Then Love, Smoke, Spray, Too Cool To Care, Bus Tours, I.T.H.O.T.M.O.A., Andy Always Dreamed Of Wrestling

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2456c | 1 CD | $14.98 ON SALE $3.95 | A Cappella |


Bobs : Rhapsody in Bob

Review: From one of the most inventive vocal groups in history, Rhapsody in Bob has both a classic that truly rocks and classic rock. Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue concerto premered in New York in 1924 in a program called "An Experiment in Modern Music" alongside pieces incorporating barnyard calls and a tin can. Gershwin originally called the piece American Rhapsody because it was such a melting pot of varied musical elements. So, what better group of artists to revisit this auspicious beginning than The Bobs, with a killer combination of vocal chops, Grammy-nominated arranging, and an inscrutable sense of humor that makes them impossible to categorize? Tallest Bob Ever Dan Schumacher (formerly of Kickshaw) debuts with The Bobs (replacing tenor Joe Finetti) on this album, which also features brand new recordings of six cover tunes ranging from Kurt Weill to Tom Petty to a new Bobs version of Cream's White Room. We love the Bobs!

Songlist: Dinner Bell , (I Was A) Teenage Brain Surgeon, There Ain't Nobody Here But Us Chickens , Alabama Song, Free Fallin' , White Room , Rhapsody in Blue

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2955c | 1 CD | $15.98 |


Bobs : Shut Up and Sing

Review: Yea! Humor rules once again as the fab four return to their goofus roots. Though still writing, Gunnar has nearly retired, with just a couple of appearances as a guest vocalist. Joe Finetti is expanding the musical complexity with an additional palette of sounds not heard before. Historical note: Andrew Chaikin is the vocal percussionist on Mr. Duality. The Bobs have the courage to deal with common social afflictions such as sports autograph sessions (the reggae "Sign My Snarling Doggie") or "Spontaneous Human Combustion." Poof, there goes another one!

Songlist: Drive By Love, Mr. Duality, Tweak You Peak, Naming The Band , Sign My Snarling Doggie, Spontaneous Human Combuston, Rainbird, Shut Up & Sing, Angels Of Mercy, Something In My Ear, Lady Cop/ Take Me In, Slow Down Krishna, Synaesthesia

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2454c | 1 CD | $14.98 | A Cappella |


Bobs : The Bobs

Review: You know how the importance of historical moments are valued by whether you can still remember where you were when some major event occurred? Well this reviewer still remembers the moment a version of Helter Skelter was played on a tiny non -commercial radio station in the sticks of northern California and my host jumped up, and literally ran to the radio to turn it up mumbling, "This is really weird!" We were instantly hooked on one of the most original a cappella groups ever. This is still one of the best albums of all time! The original (and only) Nu Wavers. Someone has created an a cappella Hall Of Fame and wisely included this one.

Songlist: Art For Art's Sake, Prisoner Of Funk, I Hate The Beach Boys, Bus Plunge, Cowboy Lips, Helter Skelter, Through The Wall, Be My Yoko, Lazy Susan, Nose to Nose , Trash, The Deprogrammer, Eddie The Jinx, Democratic Process, Psycho Killer

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2450c | 1 CD | $12.95 | A Cappella |


Canvas : Finally

Review: Canvas is Lisa Eve Knight and Jennifer Sharon, sopranos, Karis Pratt and Jocelyn Markey, altos, Dave Doody and Cason Swindle, tenors, Karl Hillstrom, baritone, and James Bacher, bass; they're from Seattle and this is their first CD. This is a fun-sounding, versatile group of singers, who are equally comfortable in several genres. Pop, the upbeat opening ABBA cover, "Take a Chance On Me," an ethereal Beatles' "Blackbird," Harry Belafonte's "Jump in The Line," "Over The Rainbow," Choral: Billy Joel's sweet classic, "And So It Goes." Jazz, "Conjunction Junction," "I'm With You," Duke Ellington's "It Don't Mean a Thing" an incongruous "Let It Snow," an appropriately crazed "The Simpsons Theme" and the classic "Twisted." An impressive debut CD, and we look forward to even more colorful vocal brushstrokes on the next Canvas!

Songlist: Take A Chance On Me, Conjunction Junction, I'm With You, Blackbird, Jump In the Line, It Don't Mean a Thing (If It Ain't Got That Swing), Twisted, And So It Goes, Over the Rainbow, Let It Snow, The Simpsons, Take A Chance On Me, Group Version

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2909c | 1 CD | $14.98 | A Cappella |


Cartoon Johnny : Face The Music

Review: Energetic 5-man, one-woman vocal band Cartoon Johnny first hit the Washington, DC area in 2001 under the name "3 guys mike." After a year, two of the original Mikes moved on, and 4 new men and one woman joined, changing the makeup of the group and updating the name. In their 3rd appearance at the Mid-Atlantic Harmony Sweeps regional, the group won 1st Place, best arrangement for "Signed, Sealed, Delivered" and "Audience Favorite." They went on to perform a strong set at one of the best Harmony Sweeps Finals we've ever seen and heard. "Face the Music" draws on influences from classic soul to modern alternative, and includes a variety of sure-fire audience favorites and the group's own original music. 7 songs, some favorites are George Michael's "Careless Whisper," live covers of Lennon/McCartney's "Drive My Car," and the rock classic "Higher and Higher," and the originals "Bring Me to Life," "Secret Smile" and the live cut, "Better from Here," written and arranged by group member Mike Henrickson. A strong debut CD from a fast-rising, spirited, talented sextet from Washington, DC!

Songlist: Careless Whisper, Sebastian, Bring Me To Life, Drive My Car, Better From Here (Live), Secret Smile (Live), Higher and Higher (Live)

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7453c | 1 CD | $14.95 | A Cappella |


Cartoon Johnny : Power Up : 00  1 CD : 

Listen to
Let's Groove

Cartoon Johnny : Power Up

Review: Washington DC's 5-man, one woman a cappella sextet Cartoon Johnny, who impressed us with a strong set at the 2005 Harmony Sweeps Finals, and who released an excellent debut CD, "Face the Music," bring us "Power Up!," which features a strong combination of original material and covers. The originals, "More Like You," "Rock Your Body," "Love Will Decide," "When Will You Come Home," "Walked Away" and "What I Want," showcase the talents of Baritone Mike Henderson, who also does most of the group's arranging, mixing and editing. Earth, Wind & Fire's "Let's Groove," Sting's "If You Love Somebody," Stevie Wonder's "Signed, Sealed, Delivered" and P. Collins' "Why Can't It Wait 'Til Morning" are other favorites among these 11 cuts. Cartoon Johnny has a full, rich sound with wonderful vocal percussion, faux instruments and effects than make us check the liner notes for the reassuring "All sounds heard on this recording were generated by the human voice or body," which is of course there. Every cut here is a winner, and "Power Up!" is one of the best Contemporary recordings we've reviewed this year!

Songlist: Let's Groove, More Like You, Rock Your Body, Love Will Decide, Walking On Sunshine, When Will You Come Home, Walked Away, If You Love Somebody (Set Them Free), What I Want, Signed, Sealed, Delivered, Why Can't It Wait Till Morning

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2509c | 1 CD | $14.95 | A Cappella |


Chromatics : AstroCappella 2.0 : 00  1 CD : 

Listen to
Nine Planets

Chromatics : AstroCappella 2.0

Review: Whoever said it doesn't take a rocket scientist to sing a cappella hasn't heard the Chromatics (Padi Boyd, Lisa Kelleher, Paul Kolb, John Meyer, Deb Nixon, Alan Smale and Karen Smale)! Funded by various NASA info groups, this CD doubles as a multimedia CD-ROM containing lesson plans, images, movies, slide shows etc., all about our solar system. With songs like "Nine Planets," "Lunar Love," "Come and Visit Mars" and "Dance of the Planets," the Chromatics' purpose, to teach in a fun way, is obvious-but what is surprising is how good they, and the songs, are. Learn and enjoy!

Songlist: Nine Planets, The Sun Song, Habitable Zone, Lunar Love, HST-Bop, Come Vist Mars, A Little Bit Of Rock, Dance Of The Planets, Doppler Shifting, Wolf 359, Cosmic Radio Show, High Energy Groove, Swift Song

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2946c | 1 CD | $14.98 | A Cappella |


Chromatics : First Light

Review: Making their first appearance in our catalog, this talented nine-piece group has produced an entertaining CD that includes various covers such as Rush's "Subdivisions" and Alanis' "Ironic," as well as four originals. The album's opener is "Chromatic Organum," by CASA and Bobs' songbook arranger Anne Raugh, which describes the nature of a cappella singing. Another highlight is "Fast Food," which is capably performed by Padi Boyd. The Chromatics show much promise and we appreciate that they chose some material not typically heard a cappella.

Songlist: Chromatic Organum, Synchronicity, Web Goodness, As I Lay Me Down, I'm Too Sexy, Fast Food, Always Something There to Remind Me, American Tune, Subdivisions, Airplane, Ironic, Buns & Muffins

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4288c | 1 CD | $14.98 | A Cappella |


Club For Five : Uni

Review: Club for Five, 3 men and 2 women from Helsinki, Finland, was founded in 2001. It consists of musicians with diverse musical backgrounds, Maija, Susanna, Jouni, Tuomas and Tuukka.Their repertoire (both Finnish and English) is mainly self-arranged and/or self-composed pop music containing influences from many musical genres. Their 1st CD, "Eni-ilta" (Premiere) was released in 2004, gained excellent reviews and went Gold in Finland in only a few months. It contained covers of Finnish standards and pop songs with imaginative arrangements. In 2005-2006 they recorded their second album, called "Uni" (A Dream), which is a beautiful, unique collection of 11 all brand new songs. They are all in Finnish, but as with early releases by The Real Group and Rajaton, beautiful, innovative vocal work creates its own language. Listen to songs like "Kun Kaikki muut viela nukkuu," the amazing faux backup band on "Ma tulin sukuun," the poignant, dramatic "Pysahtynyt sunnuntai," the haunting "Kevat uskaltaa" and the surprising, powerful "Ostoskavelylla." Beautiful liner notes, all in Finnish, but the photos also have their own language. This is a very exclusive Club is for five major vocal talents who can sing rings around practically everybody, and have big fun doing it. "Uni" is one of the best contemporary CDs we've heard this year!

Songlist: UNi, Aurinkoon, Ei Se Vaan Ole Niin, Kun Kaikki Muut Viela Nukkuu, Ma Tulin Sukuun, Pysahtynyt Sunnuntai, Kuu Ylla Kaupungin (Moon Over Bourbon Street), ĪKevat Uskaltaa, Hiutale, Huoleton, Ostoskavelylla

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1207c | 1 CD | $15.98 | A Cappella |


Cluster : Steps : 00  1 CD : 

Listen to
I Wish

Cluster : Steps

Review: Five young Italians, three men and two women, students at the Niccolo Paganini Conservatory in Genoa, got together to form Cluster in 2004. They have been touring Europe and Italy ever since, showing off their unique sound, a combination of jazz, pop and fusion. The group does their own arrangements and released their excellent debut album "Cement," which got 3 CARA nominations, in 2006. They recorded 2 EPs in 2008 and 2009 that also received CARA nominations. The 14 tracks on "Steps" show just how far this incredibly talented quintet has come. They nail Trish Delany Brown and Michel Camilo's jazzy "Just Kidding" (which has some light piano), but all other tunes are a cappella, and include some wonderful faux instruments. A particular treat are the group-written originals, including Nicola Nastos' title tune, "Unthought" and "Fake," "Could It Be" by Luca, Eric and Liwen, "Simple Words" by Letizia and Liwen, and "224" by Erik with words by Emily Dickenson. Outstanding covers of Stevie Wonder's "I Wish," Antonio Carlos Jobim's "One Note Samba," Chick Corea and Neville Porter's "Spain," Freddie Mercury's "Love of My Life" and Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah" fill out the songlist. There is some stunning electronic augmentation of vocal effects that make us wonder exactly what we're listening to, but the arrangements are so good, and the vocals so amazing, that we can only accept the statement on the back ("This is an a cappella recording, except for Colin Santosa's piano no instruments were used") as Gospel. "Steps" is filled with such a number of marvelous sounds and auditory treats that we intend to come back to it again with a pair of excellent headphones and savor it at our leisure. "Steps" is one of the best of the year!

Songlist: Just Kidding, Steps, Could It Be, One Note Samba, Simple Words, I Wish, Mi Sono Innamorato Di Te, Comecar De Novo (The Island), Fake, 224, Spain, Love Of My Life, Unthought, Hallelujah

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5866c | 1 CD | $15.95 | A Cappella || Vocal Jazz CDs


Denver A Cappella Project : Beyond Ordinary

Review: This Colorado-based evenly-mixed voice a cappella octet was formed in 1999, and has a varied repertoire ranging from Jazz to Pop, Classical and Gospel to Folk. "Beyond Ordinary's" 14 cuts highlight this versatility, beginning with Stefan Farrenkopf's deadpan "Easter Island Head," Jesse Harris' moody "Don't Know Why," Charles Sylvestri and Eric Whitacre's brooding , dissonant "Sleep," the nice Derric Johnson-arranged "Railroad Medley," a bluesy, rhythmic "Route 66," traditional favorites "Amazing Grace" and "Ezekiel Saw de Wheel," Greg Jasperse's ethereal "Voice Dance," Lennon/McCartney's "Lady Madonna," the Moses Hogan-arranged spiritual "Elijah Rock," and finishing strong with the traditional "All Creatures of Our God and King." DACP has three excellent recordings and years of live performances under their belts, and it shows. Sweet harmonies, solid vocal percussion, deep basslines, spirited leads-this is fun stuff from this talented octet!

Songlist: Easter Island Head, Don't Know Why, Sleep, Where the Sun Will Never Go Down, Railroad Medley, Route 66, Amazing Grace, Ezekiel Saw de Wheel, Voice Dance, Witness, Lady Madonna, Take On Me, Elijah Rock, All Creatures of Our God and King

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2443c | 1 CD | $14.95 | A Cappella |


Denver A Cappella Project : Denver A Cappella Project : 00  1 CD : 

Listen to
I'm A Train

Denver A Cappella Project : Denver A Cappella Project

Review: The premier recording from The Denver A Cappella Project, delights with their highly eclectic style. This closely knit group sings such favorites as the sentimental "Shenandoah" arranged by James Erb, "Try to Remember," from the Fantastiks, arranged by Gene Puerling and the dazzling Ward Swingle arrangement of "Flight of the Bumblebee." This group will continue to entertain for years to come.

Songlist: I'm A Train, Waltzing Matilda, Shenandoah, Country Dances, Elijah Rock, Flight of the Bumblebee, I'll Follow the Sun, I Can See Clearly Now, I Need You, Try to Remember, I Sing, You Sing, Where the Sun Will Never Go Down, Silent Night

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7414c | 1 CD | $14.98 | A Cappella |


Denver A Cappella Project : The Big Picture

Review: DAP is a dynamic eight-part mixed (4 men and 4 women) a cappella ensemble that performs a wide array of musical styles--from classical to jazz to pop to gospel to folk that has been performing together for about 3 years. Every member had considerable experience in barbershop groups, choirs, bands and the like, and most of them are married or related to at least one other group member. They have been performing to a wide variety of audiences in and out of Colorado to rave reviews. 14 varied songs, from Woody Guthrie's "This Land (is Your Land)" and jazzy covers of "The Drunken Sailor" and Lennon/McCartney's "Follow the Sun" to a stunning rendition of Dvorak's 'New World" Symphony 2nd Movement." Ward Swingle's arrangement Rimsky-Korsakov's "Flight of the Bumblebee" shows the group to be in company, in terms of sheer talent, with the Swingle Singers. "That's All," "You Are the New Day," "Heartache Tonight," Phil Everly's "When Will I Be Loved," Billy Joel's "Lullabye (Goodnight, My Angel)" and "Stars and Stripes Forever." This group nails them all. A surprising, recommended CD by a very talented new octet!

Songlist: This Land (Is Your Land), The Drunken Sailor, I'll Follow the Sun, Dvorak "New World" Symphony, Flight of the Bumblebee, That's All, Take A Chance on Me, You Are the New Day, A Quiet Place, Heartache Tonight, When Will I Be Loved, Lullabye (Goodnight, My Angel), The Star Spangled Banner, Stars and Stripes Forever

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7384c | 1 CD | $14.98 ON SALE $12.95 | A Cappella |


Essentials : Nothing But Blue : 00  1 CD : 

Listen to
Free Ride

Essentials : Nothing But Blue onsale

Review: Dan, Thom, Janet and Joe (he spells it Jo3) are the London, Ontario-based mixed voice Contemporary a cappella group The Essentials, contains a faux "Parental Advisory" on the back of the cardboard jewel box sleeve for "Acappella Content," warning that it contains only human voices and drums, but "it still sounds so full that you'll think there's a whole band playing." Continuing, it adds: "Lyrics are suitable for all ages"-whew! We hope no parents will be scared off from enjoying this excellent collection by the warning, and conversely, that those in search of questionable lyrics will at least enjoy some great a cappella covers! Our favorites among the 12 songs include the a laid back arrangement of the Reggae anthem "I Can See Clearly Now," the Edgar Winter Group's "Free Ride," The Doobie Brothers' "Takin' It to the Streets," Tim McGraw's poignant Country hit "Some Things Never Change," Stephen Stills' Buffalo Springfield and CSN&Y hit, "Love The One You're With," a soulful, funky cover of Dave Mason's hit for Joe Cocker, "Feelin' Alright," the Rockapella standard "Falling Over You," and a live recording of Ray Gillen's Badlands Gospel hit, "In A Dream." Lead duties are shared among the four, and each shows off their serious talents as the others provide rich, sumptuous background vocals. Add some marvelous arrangements and you have "Nothing But Blue," the debut winner from The Essentials! Extensive liner notes with all the lyrics.

Songlist: I Can See Clearly Now, Free Ride, You and I, Invisible, Floating Away, Takin' It To The Streets, Some Things Never Change, Reality, Love The One You're With, Falling Over You, Feelin' Alright, In A Dream

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7541c | 1 CD | $14.95 ON SALE $3.95 | A Cappella |


Euphorics : Born To Sing onsale

Review: Two man, two women Canadian Contemporary Quartet the Euphorics, blew us away winning the 1999 Harmony Sweeps Bay Area Regional and gave a great performance at the Finals. We loved their debut album "Standing Up for Love" by have been waiting patiently for its sequel, and now happily hold "Born to Sing" in our hot little hands! The wonderful harmonies and leads by Joni Bye (alto/soprano), Helen Davis (alto/soprano) and Bing Jenson (bass) are as solid and crisp as ever. There is one significant change, the fine tenor of Nathan Aswell, has been replaced by that of David Steele; but we have to say the group is sounding better than ever. "Born to Sing" has 10 songs, beginning with a Curtis Mayfield/Bob Marley medley, "People Get Ready/Three Little Birds/One Love," a very funny group reggae original, "When the Big One Comes," a sweet Lennon/McCartney medley, "Eleanor Rigby/Across the Universe," Billy Joel's "River of Dreams," Richard and Robert Sherman's "I Wanna Be Like You," a nice traditional medley, "Down to the River to Pray/I'll Fly Away/Man of Constant Sorrow," bass Bing's hit from the Sweeps, "I Sing Low," "When the Night Feels My Song," Neil Young's "After the Goldrush" and closing with Stevie Wonder's "As." Every one of these is a winner. The Euphorics have a huge, spirited sound and put on a live show as entertaining as any we have seen. Treat yourself to "Born to Sing," and enjoy!

Songlist: People Get Ready/Three Little Birds/ One Love, When the Big One Comes, Eleanor Rigby/Across the Unverse, River of Dreams, I Wanna Be Like You, Down to the River to Pray/I'll Fly Away/Man of Constant Sorrow, I Sing Low, When the Night Feels My Song, After the Goldrush, As (always)

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2501c | 1 CD | $14.95 ON SALE $3.95 | A Cappella |


Euphorics : Standing Up For Love

Review: Our neighbours to the North in Vancouver have treated us to a highly accomplished collection of contemporary songs, of which seven are written by the group themselves. However, to classify the Euphorics as a contemporary group doesn't tell the whole story. In fact, their sound incorporates elements of so many styles, that the result is quite their own. "Tell Them Before It's Too Late" is a revival-style musical sermon that uses the stage as it's pulpit; likewise, "Standing Up For Love" features a soprano part that would do any Southern gospel soloist proud. The Euphorics interpretation of "Bohemian Rhapsody," which as any group of singers know, is a challenging arrangement to execute, ascends into the thrilling crescendo, followed by a freefall into a gutsy "guitar" breakdown. "Message in a Bottle" is uncannily reminescent of the original, given the quality of the tenor lead-it has that same relaxed intensity that Sting is known for. "You Can't Hold On" builds the tension in the verse with a luscious minor sixth chord, resolving to a sunny chorus. "Suite: Judy Blue Eyes" is one of the showpiece songs for any vocal group, and The Euphorics don't stray far from the CSN's trademark harmonies, though they do add a repeating bass motif for depth. An impressive opening move for the Euphorics.

Songlist: Beauty Is A Beautiful Thing, One More Day On Earth, Suite Judy Blue Eyes, Tell Them Before It's Too Late, Bohemian Rhapsody, Standing Up For Love, Only Silence Says It All, To A God Unknown, Message In A Bottle, You Can't Hold On, Hallelujah

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2990c | 1 CD | $12.98 | A Cappella |


F'loom : Uvula Rasa

Review: The singing of the two men and one woman of Rochester, NY-based F'loom reminds us of Bobby McFerrin and friends at their most freeform and experimental. The first cut, "Om Chi-Chi" for instance, is a vocal percussion/nonsense syllable fest that finishes in kind of a jaded alien orgasm. "Hey Mama Numina" is more gibberish chanting. "Egg of Love" has recognizable words, and is a stream of consciousness poem to beat music. "Yesmiel" is a 3/4-speed Jewish Beatles medley-takeoff. "Western Wind" is a dissonant tone-poem, "Summer Is Icumen In" is sweetly and traditionally done, "Ye Shall Receive" is all funny strange spoken word, reminiscent of the Firesign Theater. 17 cuts, as eclectic, out-there and interesting as you can imagine!

Songlist: I. Love Me Don't, Egg of Love, Jolifanto Bambla, Hey Mama Numina, II. Wha?, M'ood Music, Om Chi-Chi, Heiemo Og Nykken, III. Uh-oh..., Fuifiat!, Starhums, Ye Shall Receive, IV. Cover Me, Caravanaggio, The Eldritch Variations, YesMiel, V. Apothekariosis, The Second Coming, Lullaby, At The Still Point of the Turning World

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2606c | 1 CD | $14.98 | A Cappella |


Fermata Town : Hold That Thought

Review: Boston's Fermata Town, founded in 2009 and inspired by the wealth of new talent in the a cappella world, became the newest member of the Contemporary A Cappella League; and promptly won the very competitive Boston Harmony Sweeps Regional. At the crazy-good National Finals in San Rafael, CA, the group tied for third place and their rendition of "Starting Line" won the award for Best Original Song. "Hold That Thought" features 9 cuts, all with stellar arrangements, primarily by group members Katya Dreyer-Oren and Philipp Walzer. Some favorites are The White Stripes' "Seven Nation Army," Gym Class Heroes' "Stereo Hearts," a sweet original by group member John Mayer, "Dreaming With A Broken Heart," Ceo Lo Green's sassy "Forget You," Curtis Mayfield's anthem "People Get Ready," Jason Mraz' "Geek In The Pink," Kimbra's "Settle Down" and Britney Spears' "Circus." A solid debut album from fast-rising Fermata Town, whose secret to success is simple: "We love a cappella and we love each other!"

Songlist: Seven Nation Army, Stereo Hearts, Dreaming With a Broken Heart, Lazy Song, People Get Ready, Forget You, Geek in the Pink, Settle Down, Circus

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22306c | 1 CD | $11.95 | A Cappella |


Flying Without Instruments : At Last onsale

Review: We enjoyed a 10-minute taste of 4-man, 4-woman San Francisco-based FWI at the 2005 Bay Area Regional (OK, actually they appeared as a septet, the maximum that may compete in the Harmony Sweeps). The group, first formed in 1996 as a quartet, love making music together and they wowed the crowd at the Regional with the Texas Swing tune "San Fernando Valley" Palestrina's incongruous, albeit lovely "Sicut Cervus," and the Jefferson Airplane Summer of Love psychedelic anthem, "White Rabbit," all included here. 11 a cappella songs in total, Billy Joel's "And So It Goes," the Rockabilly classics "Truck Drivin' Man" and "High and Lonesome," the very funny "Big and Stupid," our friend Richard Greene's "(Please Come Back and) Mess Me Up Again" and U2's brief, sublime harmonic gem "MLK" are favorites. "FWI At Last" is an impressive debut CD for FWI.

Songlist: San Fernando Valley, Big & Stupid, White Rabbit, And So It Goes, Truck Drivin' Man, Tenderly , Sicut Cervus, High & Lonesome, (Please Come Back and) Mess Me Up Again, You're No Good, MLK

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7439c | 1 CD | $14.98 ON SALE $4.95 | A Cappella |


Flying Without Instruments : FWI Will Rock You : 00  1 CD : 

Listen to
The Spider

Flying Without Instruments : FWI Will Rock You

Review: FWI describes itself as "a refreshingly quirky yet musically substantive eight-person San Francisco-based a cappella ensemble known for its versatility and unpredictability." Founded in 1996, this 4-man, 4-woman ensemble gave a very impressive performance at the 2005 Bay Area Regional, and prides itself in singing something for everyone. These 17 cuts are clear evidence of this: a wonderfully harmonic cover of CSN&Y's "CarryOn/Questions" medley, Shakira's "Whenever, Wherever," Lennon/McCartney's "Can't Buy Me Love" performed as a Renaissance madrigal, and the heart-tugging WWII anthem " I'll Be Seeing You" are part of a musical Whitman's Sampler that continually delights and surprises. k.d. lang's hit "Constant Cravings," Z. Randall Stroope's lovely "Amor de mi Alma," J.S. Bach's hilarious "Traffic Fugue" (with lyrics added, with no disrespect, by C. Seagrave); Randy Weeks' country tune "Can't Let Go," and the silly "Plastic Jesus," Joni Mitchell's "Big Yellow Taxi," and The Arachnid Suite: "The Spider" and " The Spider in the Bath" are favorites. This is fun, entertaining stuff with something to please everyone!

Songlist: Carry On / Questions, Whenever, Wherever, Can't Buy Me Love, I'll Be Seeing You, Hurt, Constant Craving, Amor de mi Alma, Traffic Fugue, Can't Let Go, Go, Lovely Rose, One , Plastic Jesus , Big Yellow Taxi, The Spider, Spider in the Bath, My Immortal, Happy Together

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2487c | 1 CD | $14.95 | A Cappella |

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