March 27, 2010

Harmony Sweepstakes 25th Anniversary

This 25th Anniversary collection is 2 discs of prize-winning tunes and Big Fun from the first 25 years of the best a cappella show on the planet, The Harmony Sweepstakes National Finals! The first disc has 23 of our favorites from these shows, and it was, you might imagine, very hard to pick from… let's see—8 Regional Winners per show times 25 equals 200 great groups, times 3 or 4 songs per group, well, you get the picture. How can we forget The Idea of North's "Mas Que Nada," Naturally Seven's "Bridge Over Troubled Water," Chapter 6's marvelous "Wizard of Oz Medley" or Moosebutter's hilarious "Star Wars?" Now we, and you, don't have to! Just to give you a taste of all the goodies on Disc 1, we present a list of the groups that are included: 17th Avenue All Stars, The Idea of North, +4db, Hi-Fidelity, Naturally Seven, Moira Smiley & Voco, Chapter 6, Clockwork, Traces • Harmonytrix, Acapelicans, Moodswing, The Coats, The New Originals, Pickups, Chicago Voice Exchange, Metropolis, Moosebutter, Face, Citylights and SoVoSó. The second disc has 18 songs from the amazing 25th Anniversary Finals, featuring "Book of Love," "Cat is High" and "Ghost Train" from 3rd Place winner Rezonate, "Bye Bye Norman" and "Bill Bailey Medley" from 2nd Place winner and Audience Favorite, the Bay Area's own The Love Notes, and "Brand New Day" and "Don't Break The Heart" by National Champs Maxx Factor. Also included are "When the Lilacs Bloom" and "Nothing At All" from 2008 Champs Vocaldente, plus tunes from Road Show, Mouth Beats, 3 Men and a Melody, Cartoon Johnny and Evolution. It always seems to us that every Harmony Sweeps National Finals is even better than the last, but there's really no comparison, because they all are wonderfully unique. So, for a very reasonable price, treat yourself to this Sweeps banquet, and, as we have, settle back and savor each of the a cappella goodies within! 2009 2CDs 16.95
Listen to "Change in My Life

Posted by acapnews at 1:09 AM

Love Notes - All You Need is Love

Brittany, Mia, Caitlin and Stephanie, the artists formerly known as UnderAge, have been working, competing and performing together for six years. As UnderAge they became 2005 International quartet champions for the Sweet Adelines Young Women in Harmony division, which led to guest performances all over the country, sharing the stage with the Kingston Trio, participating in America's Got Talent in both Los Angeles and Las Vegas, and were guest performers in Germany for the Barbershop in Germany festival. They also won the 2009 Harmony Sweeps Bay Area Regional, and took Audience Favorite and 2nd Place at the Sweeps National Finals in San Rafael. Whew! "All You Need is (Love, actually, on the cover, it's a heart symbol)" is their 2nd CD, 12 of the tunes that have been gaining the group a huge following in web portals such as YouTube and Facebook, including our favorites "Bohemian Rhapsody" and "Angel of Music" from Phantom of the Opera, which they totally nailed at the Finals. Other favorites are "Come Fly With Me," the very funny "Angry Bill Bailey," "Straighten Up And Fly Right," "Hooked On A Feeling," "No, No, Norman" and "My Foolish Heart." The Notes are beautiful to look at, with wonderful, powerful leads and harmonies, perfect timing and a great sense of humor—what's not to love? 2333 CD 14.95
Listen to "I've Got You Under My Skin

Posted by acapnews at 12:16 AM

Mountain Blue - A Cappella

Originally known as Blue Cheese when this quartet of three men and one woman was formed at Brigham Young University in 2003. Inspired by old-time bluegrass musicians like the Stanley Brothers as well as newer groups like Blue Highway and Signature Sound, Mountain Blue began performing regularly at BYU's semiannual A Cappella Jam. "A Cappella" follows "Roll Back the Stone" and their debut album, "Gospel Train. There are 14 songs here, some favorites are the opening cut "Roll Back the Stone," Gully, Abernathy & Wheeler's powerful "John," Joe Isaacs' "Reaping in the Spirit," and Traditional songs "Down in the River," "Brethren, We Have Met to Worship," "Gospel Train," "Wondrous Love," "Amazing Grace," "Abide with Me," "We'll Soon Be Done" and the classic "Man of Constant Sorrow." Beautiful, authentic, heartfelt harmonies grace these wonderful, foot-tapping, feel-good tunes. Don't miss this powerful, down-home collection from Mountain Blue! 5704 CD 14.95
Listen to "We'll Soon Be Done

Posted by acapnews at 12:03 AM

March 4, 2010

Beelzebubs - Play the Game

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! 1779 CD 14.95

Posted by acapnews at 5:05 PM

Persuasions - A Cappella Soul

We first time were blown away by the Persuasions at Hill Auditorium in Michigan in 1971, in an era when when rock bands like the Doors would roar into town with their huge amps, guitars and synthesizers, and Motown legends like Gladys Knight and the Pips would make the short trip down from the Motor City to show us how it was done. The Persuasions opened for soulful Gladys, and the audience, there to hear her sing her hit "Heard It Through the Grapevine," wasn't expecting much. Holding just microphones, the Persuasions put on a soul clinic, and left to an astonished, appreciative standing ovation! The second time was at the West Coast A Cappella Summit 5 or 6 years ago where we got to go backstage and talk to Jerry, Jimmy, Jayotis, Joe and Toubo after a sublime set. "A Cappella Soul" is on Best of Rounder Records' "Perfect 10 Series," and it's aptly labeled. The ten are "All I Have to Do Is Dream," "Let Them Talk," "That's Heaven to Me," "Can't Do Sixty No More," "I Woke Up This Morning," the spiritual "Ain't That Good News," the Doo-Wop hit "Crying in the Chapel," "I'll Come Running Back to You," Elvis's "Return to Sender" and "Let's Get Married/Sincerely." Every one of these is marvelous. Treat yourself to "A Cappella Soul," a banquet from the legendary, pioneering Persuasions, still up there with mikes, doing their thing cool as you please, showing us mortals how it's done! 8145 CD 9.95

Posted by acapnews at 4:53 PM

Five By Design - Stay Tuned

Pride of Minneapolis, MN, mixed-voice quintet Five By Design is famous for being the first vocal group to create and star in their own original musical retrospectives for symphony orchestras and big bands! "Stay Tuned," in fact, features 17 tunes from just such a collaboration, with Willis Delony & The Robert Baca Jazz Orchestra. Every song here is a Swing Era classic: "I Feel A Song Comin' On," "Sh' Boom," "Hey There," "Papa Loves Mambo," "New York, New York," "Istanbul," "'S Wonderful," "The Girl From Ipanema," "More" and "Cherry Pink And Apple Blossom White." Five By Design clearly loves their music, they have a fresh, clean sound, the Robert Baca Jazz Orchestra is smokin,' and the song selection couldn't be more entertaining—so get "Stay Tuned" and enjoy!

4002 CD 14.95

Listen to "The Duke of Dubuque

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Posted by acapnews at 4:49 PM

Moira Smily & VOCO - Small Worlds

We loved watching Moira and VOCO, her talented partners, pull off their surprising win at the 2007 Harmony Sweeps Finals in San Rafael, CA, especially their introduction of "body percussion to augment their sweet a cappella harmonies. "Small Worlds" is a "physical theater" of four voices, cello, violin, accordion, banjo and body percussion on 10 "post-folk" songs, guided by Bela Bartok. Some of our favorites are: "Izgrejala," "Makedonska," "Silverlake," "Summer Has Come," "Russia" (Siberia's Snows), "Out of a Child" and "The Hat—Matchmaking Song." Haunting, beautiful, powerful and mysterious songs from Moira, Jessica B., Jessica C. and Christine! 2777 CD 14.95
Listen to "Summer Has Come

Posted by acapnews at 4:45 PM

March 3, 2010

The Alley Cats - Greatests Hits

One of our favorite all-male Doo-Wop quartets of all time, The Alley Cats first got together for some streetcorner harmonizing at Fullerton College (CA) in 1987, were the Disney house Doo-Wop band and won the LA Harmony Sweeps Regional. So we had our chance to be blown away by their dynamic and hilarious live act at both the West Coast A Cappella Summit as well as at the Harmony Sweeps National Finals. "Greatest Hits" is of course a "Best Of," featuring winners like "Don't Be Cruel" and "Sh-Boom" from their best-selling CD "The Doo-Wop Drive-In Live;" "Remember Then" from the CD "Strike #!;" "Morse Code of Love" and "Love Potion #9" from "Cruisin';" "Little Darlin'," "Come Go With Me" and "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" (the best we've ever heard it) from "The Cat's Meow;" plus two never released cuts, "The Longest Time" and "Unchained Melody." Also included are 5 stellar cuts from their new live show, "Bandstand Boogie," "Rock Around The Clock," "Sherry," "Higher and Higher" and Tennessee Ernie Ford's deathless top-40 hit "Sixteen Tons." And finally, the Cats' very first, very hot original Doo-Wop song, "You Make Me Weak!" "Greatest Hits" is a Doo-Wop party, Big Fun from first cut to the 17th—don't miss this one! 1365 CD 14.95

Posted by acapnews at 3:45 PM