August 23, 2008

Dick Van Dyke and the Vantastix - Put on a Happy Face

Dick Van Dyke, who all of us loved in "The Dick Van Dyke Show," Disney's "Mary Poppins" "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang" and many others, ordered some a cappella CDs from us awhile back and we mentioned the fact on the news blog. Mike Mendyke, formerly of Five O'Clock Shadow, read this and soon thereafter happened to run into Dick in a Starbucks. One thing lead to another and soon they formed a quartet that would sing on the set of "Diagnosis: Murder". We love stories like this, and Dick Van Dyke looks and sounds great on these 14 cuts! "Put On A Happy Face" from Bye Bye Birdie, Randy Newman's "You've Got a Friend in Me," "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang," "Baby of Mine" from Dumbo, "High Hopes," "Bare Necessities" from The Jungle Book, "Pick Yourself Up," "A Lover's Wuestion," "It's Not Easy Green," "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious," "Ac-cent-tchu-ate the Positive," and the heartwarming "Theme from Dick Van Dyke Show," with unpublished lyrics attributed to Morey Amsterdam. Two bonus cuts are Dick reciting "A Visit from St. Nicolas" (Twas the Night Before Christmas) and "Old Fashioned Christmas" a nice original by Bryan and Michael. Dick Van Dyke is as funny, personable and entertaining as ever, and Eric, Michael and Bryan, the Vantastix, provide great backup vocals, solos, harmonies and stellar arrangements for all the songs. "Put on a Happy Face," obviously a labor of love for Van Dyke, did exactly that for us, and we're sure this gem will be loved by children and fans of all ages! 2513 CD 16.95
Listen to "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang

Posted by acapnews at 12:48 AM

August 22, 2008

Sterling - Sunday Morning

Pride of Houston, TX (formed in 1995), Sterling first caught our attention with their excellent debut CD, "Saturday Night." The energetic young foursome has been steadily climbing in Barbershop Harmony Society competitions, Baritone Justin Oxley was replaced by Bryan Pulver, and it was time for these deeply spiritual men to release their 2nd album, "Sunday Morning," a wonderful Gospel collection. 14 songs, beginning with a whole new take on "Get Happy," "Turn Your Radio On," an outstanding "Gospel Medley," "This Old House," the spirituals "Great Gittin' Up Mornin'" and "Mary Had A Baby;" "I Go To The Rock," "When I Lift Up My Head," "When I Survey the Wondrous Cross"…these are some of our all-time favorites. Sterling appropriately finishes with "Taps" (with a non-vocal trumpet solo by group member Ross Larrison), and the lovely "Irish Blessing." "Sunday Morning" left us, and we trust will leave you, with that "Sunday Morning" feeling--uplifted, inspired, grateful and blessed! 5842 CD 14.95
Listen to "Great Gettin' Up Mornin'

Posted by acapnews at 1:45 PM

Bluegrass Student Union - Commencement

1978 International Barbershop Harmony Society Quartet Champs BSU have had a legendary career spanning more than 3 decades, 100 recorded songs and 1000 live performances. "Commencement" is a remarkable gift to their fans and to all fans of Barbershop, combining a dvd that follows the college analogy with a "Digital Video Disc Yearbook" in four Chapters, Freshmen, Sophomores, Juniors and Seniors." These feature clips of some of the group's influences, which they call "hero quartets:" the Suntones, the Citations and many others, with the groups' commentary on what made them want to sing along with and learn from these quartets. A favorite from Chapter 1's 14 clips would be "The Old Songs Medley," from Chapter 2's 6 clips, "Porgy and Bess Overture," from Chapter 3's 20 clips, "Mardi Gras Medley," and from Chapter 4's 9 clips, "The Bluegrass Gospel Medley." Then we come to an audio CD of 8 tunes, a few favorites are "Back in Business," "It's Sand, Man," "I Can't Run Away From You," "Without A Song" and "It's a Wonderful Life." This audio disc is excellent, the frosting, if you will, on the cake that is the dvd. "Freshmen," for instance, has over 41 minutes of wonderful live video clips, "Sophomore" has over 29 minutes, "Junior" over 44 minutes and "Senior" 38 minutes—of wonderful vintage costumes and great music, that shows the evolution of a group known as the "valedictorian" of the Barbershop Harmony Society's "class of 1978." Trust us, there's more incredible history and music here than we can begin to describe to you. If you love Barbershop or vocal harmony in general, just treat yourself to Bluegrass Student Union's lifetime achievement: "Commencement!" 5004 DVD 34.95

Posted by acapnews at 1:22 PM

Hi-Fidelity - Reach For The Stars

Speaking of really funny, top-drawer Barbershop show quartets, '06 Harmony Sweeps National Champion and Audience Favorite Hi-Fidelity are one of our personal favorites. Having cracked us up and broken our hearts with their perfectly costumed Adams Family set at the Sweeps, they have Reached for the Stars in their new show, and grabbed them! 16 tunes, the first half being more standard Barbershop fare such as "Make 'Em Laugh," "Best Seat In The House," the live, hilarious, chord-cracking "Bright Was The Night Parody," the live, loaded-with-BHS-in-jokes "Second Place Parody," "I Don't Know Medley," the exquisite "Danny Boy," the side-splitting "(Everyone's Kissing My) Fanny," "Heart Of A Clown," and "Unforgettable" (with guest Sweet Adelines quartet SparX) The second half tunes are the true icing on the cake. The first 3 are from HF's live set from the '07 Denver BHS, performed in perfect Trekkie costumes and personas, "Enterprise/Sulu Medley," "Star Trek Dialog" and "Star Trek Girls Medley" (this stuff is as funny as any Barbershop sketch comedy we've heard!). The related, but not live, "Come Fly With Me/Fly Me to the Moon Medley," "Wish Upon a Star/Impossible Dream Medley," "Lost In The Stars" and "Goodbye" finish the album very nicely. Funny, touching, beautiful stuff from one of the best quartets in the business! 5831 CD 14.95
Listen to "Star Trek Girls Medley

Posted by acapnews at 1:19 PM