Psychedelic-Rock'n'roll: The Left Banke - Walk Away Renée Pretty Ballerina (BAROQUE POP US 1967)

8 May 2009

The Left Banke - Walk Away Renée Pretty Ballerina (BAROQUE POP US 1967)

Left_Banke,Walk_Away_Reneè,pretty_ballerina,psychedelic-rocknroll,baroque,montage,desirèe,front"THE LEFT BANKE - WALK AWAY RENEE PRETTY BALLERINA" (BAROQUE POP US 1967)

The "Left Banke" was a New York City band formed in 1965 and consisted of keyboardist/songwriter "Michael Brown", guitarist "George Cameron", bassist "Tom Finn", drummer "Warren David" and singer "Steve Martin" (aka "Steve Martin Caro").
After some initial sessions, "Warren David" was ousted, with "George Cameron" switching to drums and "Jeff Winfield" eventually being brought in on guitar.

Left_Banke,Walk_Away_Reneè,pretty_ballerina,psychedelic-rocknroll,baroque,montage,desirèe,denverMeanwhile, "Michael Brown"'s song, "Walk Away Renée", was sold to "Smash Records", a subsidiary of "Mercury Records", and became a hit in late 1966.
"Pretty Ballerina", also written by "Michael Brown", charted in early 1967, and "Left Banke" released an LP entitled, "Walk Away Renee / Pretty Ballerina" (Smash Records SRS 67088 US 1967), by which time, "Rick Brand" had replaced "Jeff Winfield" on guitar.

A listen to "Left Banke"'s first LP, "Walk Away Renée / Pretty Ballerina", will show you how versatile "Left Banke" really is.
Baroque melodies such as "Shadows Breaking Over My Head" and "Barterers And Their Wives" stand side-by-side with Hard-Rock numbers like, "Lazy Day" and "Haven't Got The Nerve".

Left_Banke,Walk_Away_Renèe,pretty_ballerina,psychedelic-rocknroll,baroque,montage,desirèe,live"Walk Away Renée / Pretty Ballerina" also contains "Left Banke" third single, "She May Call You Up Tonight" / "Her Evening Gown" (Smash Records S 2097, 1967), which is a completely new sound.

Left_Banke,Walk_Away_Reneè,pretty_ballerina,psychedelic-rocknroll,baroque,montage,desirèe,singleThe Left Banke: "Pretty Ballerina" / "Lazy Day", Smash Records 2074, Dec. 1966

The kind of songs the "Left Banke" write require good vocalists, and since the group originally started out as a vocal group, it is not surprising that loud, screaming numbers as "Haven't Got The Nerve".

Left_Banke,Walk_Away_Reneè,pretty_ballerina,psychedelic-rocknroll,baroque,montage,desirèe,steve_martin"Steve Martin" has gotten a reputation of one of the finest vocalists in the music business.
Lending support to "Steve Martin"'s lead are drummer "George Cameron"

Left_Banke,Walk_Away_Reneè,pretty_ballerina,psychedelic-rocknroll,baroque,montage,desirèe,george_cameron and bass guitarist "Tom Finn".

Left_Banke,Walk_Away_Reneè,pretty_ballerina,psychedelic-rocknroll,baroque,montage,desirèe,tom_finnThe blend of their voices is beautiful, and they can work out complex harmony arrangements to new songs in minutes.
Instrumentally, "Left Banke" has a strong accent of descending bass lines.
"Tom Finn", who learned his instrument as a member of the group, now has a unique touch on the bass, and his patterns are an important part of the "Left Banke"'s sound.

Left_Banke,Walk_Away_Reneè,pretty_ballerina,psychedelic-rocknroll,baroque,montage,desirèe,violins"George Cameron"'s drums are more syncopated than most, and his steady beats and unusual cymbal strikes add to their groovy sound.
While a recording studio gives you the opportunity of using strings and wind instruments, their live performances were disappointing until the addition of lead guitarist "Rick Brand" to the group.

Left_Banke,Walk_Away_Reneè,pretty_ballerina,psychedelic-rocknroll,baroque,montage,desirèe,rick_brandAt this point, tension between "Michael Brown" and the rest of the group began to surface, as Brown recorded a single, "Ivy, Ivy" / "And Suddenly" (Smash Records S-2089, 1967), under the "Left Banke" name, using session musicians and "Bert Sommer" on lead vocals.

Left_Banke,Walk_Away_Reneè,pretty_ballerina,psychedelic-rocknroll,baroque,montage,desirèe,teen_vibeIn late 1967, "Left Banke" reunited and recorded more material, including the single "Desirée", which just slipped into the Hot 100 (Billboard Chart #98).

Left_Banke,Walk_Away_Reneè,pretty_ballerina,psychedelic-rocknroll,baroque,montage,desirèeThe Left Banke: "Desiree" / "I've Got Something On My Mind", Smash Records 2119, Jun. 1967

"Michael Brown" left the group for good soon afterwards, replaced for touring purposes by "Emmett Lake".
The songs cut by the various incarnations of the group in 1967-1968 were assembled into a second LP, "The Left Banke Too", which appeared in November of 1968.
"Left Banke" tottered on as a live entity into 1969, but soon fell apart due to lack of success and money frustrations.

Left_Banke,Walk_Away_Reneè,pretty_ballerina,psychedelic-rocknroll,baroque,montage,desirèe,live,sundazedLater that year, "Michael Brown" and "Steve Martin" reunited in the studio to cut yet another flop single as "Left Banke", "Myrah" / "Pedestal" (Smash Records S-2243, 1969), which would be their final single on "Smash Records".
After leaving the "Left Banke" in 1967, "Mike Brown" helped form the band, "The Montage".
While "Micheal Brown" was not an official member of the group, his presence is unmistakable.
They released one self-titled album featuring a re-make of "Desirée", before "Michael Brown" left.

see also "Montage - 1968 Montage" (Baroque Pop Left Banke US 1968)


Anonymous said...

One of the greatest albums ever made.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the Montage/Left Banke - Mike Brown rocked!

Gram InterNational said...

I've always said, it doesn't get any better than The Left Banke 1967.