Jan Berry Tribute Album

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Jan Berry Tribute AlbumENCOMIUM IN MEMORIAM VOL. 1
Jan Berry of Jan & Dean

 

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ALBUM REVIEWS AND COMMENTARY
Last Updated September 30, 2009

This loving tribute was originally dreamed of as a collaboration between Berry and enough strings and brass and musical geniuses to give his complex arrangements of classic Jan & Dean hits, many that Berry based on classical music, the full orchestral treatment they deserved.

Berry's passing and budgetary restraints reigned that in, but using humbler, but incredibly talented and motivated performers (with a few ringers, P. F. Sloan included) Jan & Dean gems are redone in lush, loving, and excellent performances.

But for fans of Jan the absolute selling point is the bonus tracks. [Jan] as a young man used to make tapes for a friend and some of his faux DJ patter is included, as is a tape of an older [Jan] telling tales. But the lowest common demoninator selling point of this is an audio montage of Jan & Dean cursing like sailors between takes at recording sessions. I would drop some f-bombs to demonstrate how awesome this is, but I'm intimidated by these professional profaniteers so I'll just say it's freaking great!

Flamin' Waymon Timbsdayle
Roctober Magazine #47
Fall 2009

 

 

How strange it is that it takes a tribute album, of all things, to reveal the true artistry of Jan Berry, a primary architect of the West Coast sound who just may have been Brian Wilson’s equal as a songwriter and arranger.

The funny little ditties about little old ladies, cars, girls and superheroes that Jan & Dean spun into "beach music" gold were undeniably catchy, but perhaps they prevented some from taking Berry seriously as an artist. However, beneath the goofy humor was a complex, rich sonic environment — the product of Berry’s sublime arrangements and production.

Conceived while Berry was still alive — and the detailed liner notes say he was excited about the project’s possibilities — this lush, fully realized 23-track tribute was put together by producers Cameron Michael Parks and Mark A. Moore, as well as associate producers Alan Boyd and David Beard, using Berry’s personal archive of musical scores. And all involved — including guests like P.F. Sloan, Jill Gibson and David Marks among others — take great pains not to trample over Berry’s legacy, their orchestral flair and great reverence for the source material ensuring this was done right.

Swaddled in mellifluous harmonies and warm horns, "Dead Man’s Curve" and "I Found A Girl" — with its snappy, uptempo gait — are simply magical reworkings, while the instrumental "'B' Gas Rickshaw,' ignited by a drag-racing intro, surprises with its cinematic scope, sweeping strings and charming playfulness. "Ace of Hearts" and "When It's Over" swoon with heavy, delicious melodrama, without feeling insincere or heavy-handed, and "Carnival Of Sound" is vibrant and exotic, fulfilling Berry’s original psychedelic vision and offering ample evidence of his ability to change with the times.

With most tribute albums, it’s hard to tell if the artists are participating only to further their own careers. Or, rather, it’s painfully apparent that that’s exactly what they’re there for. On Encomium In Memoriam: Vol. 1 — Jan Berry of Jan & Dean, there is no room for such vanity. Each piece is meticulously crafted and gorgeously fleshed out; even the incidental scraps — from the harpsichord musings of "Bat No. 4" and "Bat No. 1" to the parade of found sounds that is "Filet Of Droll (Part 2)" — seem to be carefully thought out to reveal Berry’s entertaining court-jester personality. Truly, this was somebody’s labor of love.

Peter Lindblad
Goldmine Magazine
April 10, 2009 Issue

PDF Version From Magazine

 

 

Produced by Jan Berry’s biographer Mark A. Moore and Cameron Michael Parkes and featuring a plethora of Jan and Dean cohorts like PF Sloan, Vic Diaz (Matadors), Jill Gibson, Mike Deasy, David Marks, Don Grady (Yellow Balloon) and Probyn Gregory (Brian Wilson band) and Lisa Mychols this is a wonderful tribute to the late singer.

Based on the original versions arranged and produced by Jan and transcribed from his personal music scores the intention is to illustrate how good Jan’s arrangements were and to inspire listeners to re-examine the original recordings.

Eschewing the big hits in favour of more complex tracks like ‘Anaheim Azusa’ etc., and ‘When It’s Over’ and post crash tracks from the unreleased ‘Carnival Of Sound’ this is a wonderful album. Containing three previously unreleased songs and audio snippets of Jan with Arnie in the garage and in the studio, this is essential for all fans of Jan and Dean.

Pat Curran
Shindig! Magazine
Vol. 2, No. 8 — January-February 2009
London, England
www.shindig-magazine.com/us1960s-8.html

 

 

"He knew how to produce records very well. He had a very strong spirit for recording music. He was a great producer."

When no less an authority on making records as Brian Wilson spoke those words, he was paying tribute not only to a dear friend and respected contemporary, but to a man whose contributions to the creation of American West Coast music is somehow seldom ever given [its] rightful place alongside the achievements of, say, Phil Spector or Wilson himself.

Wilson was speaking, as he often does, of Jan Berry, whom as half of Jan and Dean (with Dean Torrence) was churning out hits back when those Beach Boys were still learning to blend voices in their parents' Hawthorne, Calif., garage.

Tragically, however, at the absolute peak of his powers and fame in 1966 – just as he was poised to create even more ambitious sounds that very year of Pet Sounds and Spector's "River Deep, Mountain High" – Berry, like the protagonist of his own song "Dead Man's Curve," suffered severe injuries in a horrific car accident that left him in various stages of debilitation for the remainder of his life.

Now, thanks to the Berry-knowledgeable team of producers Cameron Michael Parkes and Mark A. Moore, those sounds are finally being exhumed, replenished, and lovingly created anew across Encomium In Memoriam Vol. 1, a collection of fresh recordings mixed with vintage Jan and Dean session snippets that far transcends the slapdash retread ethos of your typical neighborhood-indie-band "tribute" album.

Read the full article at Medleyville.

Gary Pig Gold
Medleyville: Music Coverage For Eclectic Tastes

 

 

This tribute shatters the myth that Jan Berry merely recorded Brian Wilson songs to score a few hits after Jan & Dean's early ballad or doo-wop period had run out of gas. The scope and depth of the unreleased (and some not even bootlegged) tunes have never been heard by most listeners. Utilizing the original charts Jan used in the studio, the producers have done so much more than merely cover hits we've heard hundreds of times. They have produced a listening experience that chronicles Jan Berry's progress as a writer and producer. They take us from scenes of the surf and streets of summer to themes of love and hate, depression and drugs, psychedelic and spiritual enlightenment . . . Listening to this CD gets me wondering what might have happened had Jan completed and Warner Brothers had released the Carnival of Sound album as originally scheduled for 1968. These full length, full sound, versions of "Carnival of Sound" and "Fan Tan" and "Blowin' My Mind" will bring joy to those who have only heard studio snippets . . . The a capella excerpt from "The Anaheim, Azusa ..." is a unique example of what a Jan & Dean with a Beach Boys' vocal would have sounded like. Hard to improve any J&D hit but this comes close. And who among us wouldn't give their right arm to have been in the studio for a J&D or BB recording session! The Audio Montage cuts do just that. Hearing Jan talk with Arnie [Ginsburg] as they get set to record, listening to him interact with Brian Wilson, and role play as a radio DJ broadcasting from KJAN — great musical history.

Phil Miglioratti — Endless Summer Quarterly (excerpt)
Read the Full Review at: Esquarterly.com

 

 

30 tracks on this CD are in tribute to Jan Berry, half the Jan & Dean hit making team. Reverb Central is all about instrumentals, and there are two here, one from David Marks (David Marks & the Marksmen, Beach Boys), and one from Paul Johnson (Belairs, PJ & the Galaxies, Packards, Duo-Tones, Surfaris, Good Guys, Everpresent Fullness, etc.). Jan & Dean recorded a large number of tracks, some of which rank among the best of the beach genre. Musicians on the disc include many a familiar name, like P. F. Sloan and Mike Deasy.

Track By Track Review:
Paul Johnson - B Gas Rickshaw (4 stars)
Darn close to the original backtrack and instro, but with Paul Johnson's silky guitar. This solo project is a very reverent and unexpectedly cool tribute to the Original. Also called "Quasimoto," the song is poppy and infectious and fun. This is a really nice track. "B-Gas Rickshaw" has been covered by a number of bands in the last 25 years since the birth of the surf revival, yet this is the only one that is really close to the original arrangement. Writing credit for the song is Jan Berry.

David Marks - Bat No. 1 (3 stars)
This lovely guitar number is a brief 37 seconds, and is almost classical in nature. David Marks' playing is really good, and the sound soothing and pristine.

Phil Dirt — Reverbcentral.com
http://www.reverbcentral.com/

 

 

A joint production by Cameron Michael Parkes (vocals, piano, guitar, bass, percussion) of Box o’ Clox and producer Mark A. Moore, Encomium In Memoriam Vol. 1 celebrates the music of early ‘60s surf-rock pioneer Jan Berry of Jan & Dean. On par with Brian Wilson as a singer / composer / producer, Berry never quite got the same amount of respect in the music world and Parkes and Moore go the distance to correct that oversight with this 2008 tribute CD. Following his near fatal car crash in 1966, Berry carried on with partner Dean Torrence though sadly Berry passed away in 2006 [2004]. Famous for his Box o’ Clox tributes to Brian Wilson and The Beach Boys, Parkes and Moore have crafted a modern surf-rock inspired masterpiece with this Jan Berry tribute. Focusing on Berry’s original arrangements based on his personal archive of music charts and scores, the CD studio sound is enhanced by an incredible lineup of seasoned L.A. studio hands and voices including early Beach Boys’ guitarist David Marks and pop icon P.F. Sloan. The CD book is encyclopedic, filled with rare b&w photos and amazing details about Berry’s career and the making of this tribute.

Music Web Express 3000
http://mwe3.com/reviews/JanBerryTributeCD/

 

 

A young historian who lives in Raleigh has been researching a biography of Jan Berry of the early 60s pop surf vocal duo Jan & Dean for nearly a decade. Gaining Berry's confidence, Mark A. Moore secured a vast collection of the musician's personal and professional files, including handwritten scores of fully orchestrated songs. He also set out to produce a tribute album — believing, like many, that Berry never received the credit he was due as an arranger and producer . . . Now Moore's tribute CD has been completed [with] Cameron Michael Parkes, a versatile California musician who worked with Berry . . . The result is an important archive that presents an overview of Berry's career, both his hits and his later, largely unknown works. As an album, it stands on its own as deceptively complex pop orchestration that is just plain fun . . . There are gems that you almost certainly haven't heard.

Craig Jarvis — The News & Observer (excerpt)
Read the Full Story at: newsobserver.com

 

Jan Berry "I will probably call 32 times today. The Jan Tribute made a tear or two come to these eyes that have seen soooo much."
Artie Kornfeld
Jan Berry's former roommate / Co-Writer of "Dead Man's Curve," "Hot Stocker," and "Drag Strip Girl" / Co-Creator and Promoter of Woodstock 1969
Jan Berry "I spent hours and hours listening to your masterpiece [Encomium] . . . and want you to be certain that I really appreciated what you've done to honor Jan. Hearing those songs really took me back to the days . . . and you should be really proud of the excellent job that you've done. Thank you so much for bringing Jan back . . . or more precisely 're-invigorating' Jan and his tremendous contribution to music."
Dr. Don Altfeld
Jan Berry's former roommate, fellow medical student, and songwriting partner. Co-writer of "The Little Old Lady (from Pasadena)"
Jan Berry "I am still one of the many 'Presidents' of the Jan Berry Fan Club!!!! I hope this album reaches out to everyone."
Bruce Johnston
The Beach Boys
Jan Berry "This is a great CD . . . The tracks are beautiful and honestly I didn't expect to hear so many great songs - wonderfully performed by some very talented artists. Harmonies are great - my favorite track this minute is "I Found A Girl." It's a CD you won't get tired of. Good job, Mark, Cameron and everyone else involved!"
Michael DeMartin
Brianwilson.com - Administrator
Jan Berry "The choice of material is first rate, the little snippets, the audio soundbites, the unreleased songs, the missing string and vocal parts, the poem to music. It is just so good . . . continuosly on repeat on my cd player."
Pat Curran
Shindig! Magazine (UK)
Jan Berry "Jan Berry was a great friend and a wonderful man to share an apartment with. My first hit ["I Adore Him" by the Angels] was written with Jan . . . many more. He was without a doubt a prince amongst men. I miss him greatly. He was one of the important points in my life that led, by example, to my creating Woodstock in 1969. I dedicate all my 100 plus platinum albums to my dear friend forever, JAN BERRY. PEACE JAN.
Your pal,
Artie Kornfeld — October 18, 2008
Jan Berry's former roommate, co-writer of "Dead Man's Curve" and "The Pied Piper" / Producer of the Cowsills and many others / One of the originators of the Woodstock festival in 1969
Jan Berry "This is a WONDERFUL thing you are doing."
Nancy Sinatra
Jan Berry's old friend and schoolmate / "These Boots Were Made For Walkin'"
Jan Berry "Very cool project."
Darian Sahanaja
Brian Wilson's Band / The Wondermints
Jan Berry "Very clean and crisp 'sunshiney' lead vocals and nice background harmonies as well . . . Sounds fantastic."
Nick Walusko
Brian Wilson's Band / The Wondermints
Jan Berry "I join Brian [Wilson] in wishing you great success . . . as Jan was not only a friend to both of us but a good guy."
Jeffrey Foskett
Brian Wilson's Band
Jan Berry "Great job on 'Anaheim, Azuza' . . . This song is insane !"
Julia Wolff
Riviera
Jan Berry "Jan Berry was a genius and started the whole thing. I'm a huge fan. I even mention Jan & Dean in my new CD. First cut on the album."
Ron Dante
The Archies / Producer, Barry Manilow, Cher, Dionne Warwick, Pat Benatar, Irene Cara, Ray Charles, John Denver, etc.
Jan Berry "Sounds like a hit to me."
Peter Noone
Formerly of Herman's Hermits
Jan Berry "[Blowin' My Mind] . . . I remember the song well . . . On some newer & greater level, I know that Jan is still 'arranging!'"
Pam MacGregor
Jan Berry's longtime friend and former housemate
Jan Berry "If he was alive, which he is through his music, memory, energy and legend, Jan would, and does -- love this. Gotta Keeee-e-e-e-e-e-ep It Goin'"
Stan Oliver
Writer, friend, and former manager
Jan Berry "You should be so proud . . . I know how much work this took with just 'Fan Tan,' so the whole thing is quite an achievement. Jan must be chewing his Fan Tan gum and rocking out in heaven."
Debra Gussin
Songwriter
Jan Berry "How pure [Tripsitter's] vocals sounded . . . Almost Four Freshmen-esque . . . Great work!"
Brian Chidester
Dumb Angel / Pop Surf Culture
Jan Berry "Jan & Dean's influence on my own songs is astronomical! Thank you for the music!"
Jonathan Scott
Doleful Lions
Jan Berry "Wow . . . You're takin' me back . . . great work."
Gypsy Carnes
The Tasmanians / Blues Messenger
Jan Berry "A great project . . . I love both Jan and Dean . . . I was weened on them. I worked with them, emulated them."
The Late Eddy Medora
The Sunrays
Jan Berry "Excellent !!! . . . Jan was real good, wasn't he?"
Gary Griffin
Jan & Dean, Beach Boys . . studio recordings and touring bands
Jan Berry "Congratulations . . . I know it was a labor of love . . . and it looks like it turned out great."
Chris Farmer
Former Jan & Dean band member / OC Beach Band
Jan Berry "Thanks for keeping the memory of my friend, Jan Berry, alive."
Don Zirilli
Papa Doo Run Run
Jan Berry "[Anaheim] is a great piece of work!!!!! Particularly relevant for me. Many many years ago (60's) I tried to work out these harmonies to play this song 'live' I can't remember for sure, but I think I got close, but never got around to doing it onstage. We played the 'Marquee Club' many times around 1967-68 London and we would open with 'The Little Old Lady From Pasadena' . . . but I wanted to try to open with 'Anaheim' one week. In the audience would be John Bonham, maybe Phil Collins, members of the Birds (Ronnie Wood's band) / the Action, etc. Can you imagine a time when you could play this sort of stuff at a major 'jazz'/blues club? Harmony nights 'a la' Brian Wilson, Jan and Dean, Association, Critters, Four Seasons, Strawberry Alarm Clock, sandwiched between John Mayal / Eric Clapton / Long John Baldry / Time Box / Mike Patto nights!!!!! I think those nights, sadly have long gone. Keep up the good work."
Tony Rivers
The Castaways, Harmony Grass, Cliff Richard, Shakin' Stevens, Live Aid 1985 with Elton John and George Michael, etc.
Jan Berry "You've managed to capture the sound of that time perfectly. Great lead vocal sound."
Alex Valdez
Formerly of The Yellow Balloon
Jan Berry "You've really captured the spirit and energy of the times . . . nice and open sounding."
Sterling Smith
Former Beach Boys associate, Harpsichord player on "Lady Lynda," from the Beach Boys' LA - Light Album
Jan Berry "Jan & Dean have been "blowin' my mind" for a long time now. Nice to see."
Steve Stanley
The Now People
Jan Berry "Sounds very sweet and I think it's an approach that is faithful to Jan & Dean."
Gary Olson
The Ladybug Transistor
Jan Berry "Absolutely won-won-wonderful."
Gary Pig Gold
Musician and Pop Music Journalist
Jan Berry "The World could use some Jan & Dean right about now!"
Cosmo Topper
 
Jan Berry "This is a very worthy project and one which, given the Dennis/Carl Wilson set we've devoted a lot of arranging time to, we can relate to as well . . . intriguing to hear the Carnival of Sound stuff."
Adam Marsland
Adam Marsland and His Chaos Band
Jan Berry "Love the tracks, so good Jan is getting the recognition he deserves! . . . Love the Tripsitter vocals for Anaheim, great blend! . . . So good you're doing this. Jan's production always made me stop and listen with wonder! Big influence on me."
Michael Clark
Producer
Jan Berry "What a great project . . . did not realize how multi-faceted Jan was in the music biz."
Mike Zuko
Singer-Songwriter
Jan Berry "Jan & Dean . . . the original Beavis & Butt-Head."
Ian Wagner
Writer for the Switchbla de Kittens, based on Jan & Dean's Batman LP
Jan Berry "I was one of the 2 drummers on the Inner City Unit version of [Jan & Arnie's] "Gas Money" (the out of time one) . . . Well done for putting this . . . together for 2 legends."
Mick Stupp
Inner City Unit, Geno Washington, Chatshow, Grand Drive, Songwriter, Producer
Jan Berry "I love Jan & Dean !"
Billy Sheehan
Bassist, David Lee Roth, Steve Vai, Solo Artist
Jan Berry "Without Jan & Dean, there would be no Beach Boys."
Sky Saxon
The Seeds

 

 

BLOGS

Question

It's simply an amazing compilation and, if like me, you're always a bit wary of 'tribute collections' then rest assured . . . this one is WORTH hunting out. (Read More) . . .  
 
 
 

 

Uncanny

Encomium In Memoriam: Jan Berry's Carnival of Sound . . . Any fan of Brian Wilson who does not investigate the music of Jan Berry is doing him/herself a great disservice . . . Instead of just focusing on the hits, Parkes and Moore wisely chose to track down Berry's strongest work regardless of commercial notoriety. Parkes and Moore have certainly done their homework. They have an intimate knowledge of Berry’s music. In particular, the liner notes are very detailed and informative. In addition to their own music contributions, Parkes and Moore enlisted the assistance of a talented and varied group of musicians . . . It’s the arrangements and compositions that are the real focus of the project. The first song on EIM, "The Anaheim, Azusa & Cucamonga Sewing Circle, Book Review and Timing Association," is so strong that I kept repeating it over and over. It took me a few days of listening before I heard the album all the way through because I kept repeating this tune so much. TAA&CSCBRATA just leaps out of the speakers and right into your ear drums. This song is mastered loud! But it sounds wonderful. Tripsitter’s vocals are absolutely sublime. If you really want to investigate the intricate harmonies, you can check out the a cappella excerpt that’s the first of 7 bonus tracks . . . Another key part of EIM is the inclusion of several tracks from Jan & Dean’s unreleased Carnival of Sound album from 1968 . . . All in all, EIM is a treat for fans of Berry, Wilson or '60s pop music in general. It was produced by two very knowledgeable and talented musicians and is a fine tribute to the genius of Jan Berry. (Read More) . . .

 

Uncanny

I recently received a copy of the marvelous new tribute album "Encomium In Memoriam Vol. 1: Jan Berry of Jan & Dean." It's a testament to the genius of Jan Berry. I think that an honest appraisal of Berry's music is a key part of understanding Brian Wilson's artistic output. "Encomium In Memoriam Vol. 1: Jan Berry of Jan & Dean" is so good that I want to really dig into it fully before I discuss it more; expect additional details in the near future. (Read More) . . .

 

Poppermost: Lex on Jan Berry (Jan & Dean)

A while back, I was having lunch with my friend Jeff Celentano of Las Vegas pop gods Tripsitter. He told me that he and the band were about to record a Jan and Dean song as part of a tribute project. I immediately said, “The Anaheim, Asusa, and Cucamonga Sewing Circle, Book Review and Timing Association.” He gave me a surprising glance and laughed out loud. Something tells me he’d know that I would go for a “semi obscure” gem instead of an obvious hit.

I later listened to the Tripsitter version after it was completed and placed on a very cool Jan and Dean Tribute MySpace Page. I listened to the song over and over again, grinning from ear to ear (and yes, Jeff; I was jealous as hell). “Anaheim” was a song that I secretly dreamt of covering for a Poppermost “favorite oldies” project down the line. The Tripsitter vocals shimmered and accentuated the strange syncopation of the melodies perfectly. It’s a great tribute, not only to one of my favorite L.A. pop acts, but also one of the all-time underrated producers of the 60s in Jan Berry. (Read More) . . .