Band members Related acts
line up 1
- Richard Billay -- vocals, guitar, keyboards
- Richie Bremen -- bass
- Joe Zucca -- drums
- Rich Billay
Rating: *** (3 stars)
Title: Sleepy Hollow
Company: Tiger Lily
Catalog: TL 14033
Country/State: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+
Comments: minor ring wear; DJ pressing; small cut out hole top right corner
Catalog ID: SOLD 5866
Price: SOLD $180.00
So here's one of the harder to score Tiger Lily releases (this is the only copy I've seen in 25 years of collecting), and like most Tiger Lily albums this one has a strange history. In this case, before being released under the band name 'Billay' this collection saw a 1972 release on the Family label. The first time around it was credited to the band Sleepy Hollow. This time around it had the same album title, same ten songs, same running order, but radically different cover art.
Family catalog number FPS-2708
Slapping an album with a Beatles comparison is usually the equivalent of an artistic and commercial kiss of death. Luckily, this was one of those rare cases where the comparison actually had some basis. Recorded at Philadelphia International's Sigma Studios, 1972's "Sleepy Hollow" was co-produced by John Madara and the late Tom Sellers (of Assembled Multitude fame). Obviously named after front man/singer/guitarist Richard Billay, the trio was rounded out by bass player Richie Bremen, and drummer Joe Zucca. With Billay responsible for all nine tracks, material like 'One Time' and 'Lay It On the Line' did have a late-inning Beatles flavor, though to my ears a better overall comparison would be Badfinger ('Take Me Back'), Emmit Rhodes ('Love Minus You'), or perhaps even a mid-1970s Lennon solo album ('Lady'). The trio's sound wasn't particularly original, but Billay had an impressive chameleon-like voice that managed to recall both Lennon's tougher sound ('Sincerely Yours' would not have been out of place on "Walls and Bridges") and McCartney's more pop-oriented material ('One Time' complete with great backing vocals). Artistically this may not have been a major statement, but made for one fun album and was simply miles ahead of most of the Beatlesque competition.
1.) Sincerely Yours (Richard Billay) - 3:01 rating: **** stars
An engaging mid-tempo rocker, 'Sincerely Yours' sported an early solo John Lennon sound. Say what you will about the album's lack of originality, but on this one Billay nailed Lennon right down to his take-no-prisoners snarling delivery. The song was subsequently released as a single off of the Sleepy Hollow LP:
- 1972's 'Hades' b/w 'Sincerely Yours (The Next One's On You)' (Family catalog number FPA 0916)
2.) One Time (Richard Billay) - 2:05 rating: *** stars
The up-tempo ' One Time' sounded like something pulled off an early Badfinger album. Extremely commercial and radio ready, if would have made a nice single.
3.) Take Me Back (Richard Billay) - 3:53 rating: **** stars
Another radio friendly effort, the ballad ' Take Me Back' sounded like a mash-up of Badfinger and Eric Carmen and the Raspberries channeling Paul McCartney. Billay even managed to mimic the Badfinger harmony vocals and Pete Ham's instantly recognizable slide guitar sound. Four years later the tune reappeared as a 1976 promo single on ATCO credited to Rich Billay
- 1976's 'Take Me Back' (stereo) b/w 'Take Me Back' (mono) (ATCO catalog number 45-7055)
4.) Talking Out of Turn (Richard Billay) - 2:48 rating: *** stars
Kicked along by a nice slide guitar, ' Talking Out of Turn' was a straightforward rocker that momentarily managed to breakaway from the Beatles/Badfinger influences. One of my favorite performances.
5.) Lay It On the Line (Richard Billay) - 2:43 rating: *** stars
Another pretty ballad, ' Lay It On the Line' showcased Billay's best McCartney impression. If you like McCartney, you'll like this one. If you think he's shallow and saccharine, then stay away.
'Love Minus You' started out side two with an Emmit Rhodes-does-McCartney pop number. The results were extremely catchy, but likely to put some folks into a diabetic coma. Bremen turned in some great bass work on this one.
2.) Lady (Richard Billay) - 2:40. rating: ** stars
The first real disappointment, ' Lady' was a pretty, but instantly forgettable ballad. Imagine something lifted off of an early Eric Carmen solo album ...
3.) Roller Coaster Man (Richard Billay) - 2:58 rating: *** stars
Complete with punchy horns the rocker ' Roller Coaster Man' sounded like an early Raspberries track with a Beach Boys segment thrown in the middle. Those comparisons where meant as compliments.
Hades (Richard Billay) - 6:16
And out of the blue I got an email providing a bit of information on Richard Billay.
I saw your review of Sleepy Hollow and I couldn't resist emailing.
And here's what the man had to say about the album itself:
"Never knew about the second release of the "Billay" version of the Album. I did know the original album was available on Ebay for a hefty sum - very interesting."
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