Yank Barry


Band members                              Related acts

- Yank Barry -- vocals

 

  supporting musicians:

- Vinnie Bell -- lead guitar

- Phil Bodner -- sax

- Sam Brown -- guitar

- Burt Collins - flugelhorn, trumpet

- Tony Levin -- bass

- Don McDonald -- drums

- Lloyd Michaels - trumpet, flugelhorn

- David Spinozza -- guitar

 

 

 

- The Footprints (Barry Yanks)

- Randall's Island (backing group)

- Stone Circus (Larry Cohen)

 

 

 


 

Genre: pop

Rating: 3 stars ***

Title:  The Diary of Mr. Gray

Company: McConnell Records Ltd.

Catalog: 2-001

Year: 1972

Country/State: Montreal, Canada

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: outer box shows minor wear; includes 78 rpm into and two LPs

Available: 

Catalog ID: 5243

Price: $100.00

 

This one has an odd pedigree that's probably best described by the following email I received from Larry Cohen (aka Jonathan Caine) a couple of years ago:

 

First of all we [Stone Circus] weren't from California. We were a New York based band.  In fact all of us, with the exception of Sonny Haines, were originally from Montreal. We moved to New York to form the group with Sonny and worked under the name The Funky Farm.  It was only when the album was released that we found out, much to our surprise, that the band had been renamed by Mainstream Stone Circus.

We were together for a year and went our separate ways after the release of the record. I next wrote another obscure album called THE DIARY OF MR. GRAY which was recorded in New York with 45 musicians and sung by Yank Barry (formerly the singer with The Footprints).

 

Larry Cohen

May 2004

 

Produced by Behn Lanzarani, "The Diary of Mr. Gray" was a concept piece, who's plotline was largely lost to me though madness related to drug abuse seemed to be a big part of it.  Largely penned by Jonathan Cohen, tracks like ''I'll Still Be Remembering You', 'Slipping Away', 'Welcome Town' and 'Land Between the Worlds' featured a decent set of pop that was actually quite commercial and with the right marketing and promotion, probably could have done something sales wise.  The horn arrangements won't appeal to everyone, but so what.  As lead singer Barry Yank had a nice, if somewhat anonymous voice that was well suited for the material. (He was apparently quite a character and at some point I'll have to do a little more research on the man.)  The collection was also interesting in that the title track 'Mr. Gray'  had also been recorded by Stone Circus and may in fact be the same song.  Not that the collection was perfect.  Over-orchestrated ballads like ''Victim of Your Soul and 'Are You Dreaming' sounded like they'd been swiped from some lame off-Broadway show (reinforced by the fact the sides were titled 'Act 1', 'Act 2', etc.).  For a private press release the collection was exceptionally elaborate, complete with an all-star cast of New York sessions players and excellent sound quality. From a marketing perspective the set was also quite impressive.  Packaged in a fake leather box, the set that including a one sided spoken word, a 8 rpm record, two LPs (one featuring slightly different quad instrumental versions of the songs), and various inserts.  It was also notable for being one of the first quadraphonic releases.

 

"The Diary of Mr Gray" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Introduction To The Diary of Mr. Gray

 

(side 2)
1.) nothing

 

(side 3)

1.) Mr. Gray   (Larry Cohen) - 3:11

2.) I'll Still Be Remembering You   (Larry Cohen) - 2:43

3.) U Can't Help Feeling   (Larry Cohen) - 2:43

4.) Looking for a Home   (Larry Cohen) - 2:42

5.) Victim of Your Soul   (Larry Cohen) - 3:43

 

(side 4)
1.) Slipping Away   (Larry Cohen - Behn Lanzarani) - 2:02

2.) Are You Dreaming   (Yank Barry - Behn Lanzarani) - 3:14

3.) Welcome Town   (Larry Cohen) - 3:04

4.) Land Between the Worlds   (Larry Cohen) - 2:14

5.) Phantom Lady   (Larry Cohen) - 3:32

 

(side 5)

1.) Mr. Gray   (Larry Cohen) - 3:11

2.) I'll Still Be Remembering You   (Larry Cohen) - 2:43

3.) U Can't Help Feeling   (Larry Cohen) - 2:43

4.) Looking for a Home   (Larry Cohen) - 2:42

5.) Victim of Your Soul   (Larry Cohen) - 3:43

 

(side 6)
1.) Slipping Away   (Larry Cohen - Behn Lanzarani) - 2:02

2.) Are You Dreaming   (Yank Barry - Behn Lanzarani) - 3:14

3.) Welcome Town   (Larry Cohen) - 3:04

4.) Land Between the Worlds   (Larry Cohen) - 2:14

5.) Phantom Lady   (Larry Cohen) - 3:32

 

There's also a single:

 

  

 

 

 

'Looking for a Home' b/w 'Welcome Town (McConnell catalog number MGV-110)

 

 

 

 

 

 

The album seemed to have sold well in Southern Florida where Barry briefly lived.  In 1972 Barry actually performed the whole whole album in Miami with backing from the band Randall's Island.  

 

I'm not going to get into Yank's fascinating/bizarre personal life.  You can check those aspects of his life out at the following website:  http://www.yankbarry.com/biography.php

 

 

 

 

 

 

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