Ron Dante


Band members                             Related acts

- Ron Dante (aka Carmine Granito) -- vocals 

 

  backing musicians:

- Jeff Barry -- percussion, backing vocals

- Gary Chester -- drums, percussion

- Ron Franginpane -- keyboards

- Chet McCracken -- lead guitar

 

 

 

- Abraham & Strauss

- The Archies

- The Cabin Crew

- The California Gold Rush

- The Chan Clan

- Bo Cooper (Ron Dante)

- The Crackerjack Society

- The Cuff Links

- Ronnie Dante and GRP

- The Detergents

- The Hardy Boys

- Noah's Ark

- The Pearly Gate

- The Street People

- The Two Dollar Question

- The Webspinners

 

 

 


 

Genre: pop

Rating: 4 stars ****

Title:  Brings You Up

Company: Kirshner

Catalog: KES 106
Year:
 1970

Country/State: Staten Island, New York

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: includes photo insert

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 1171

Price: $40.00

 

Along with Jeff Barry and Toni Wine, singer/songwriter Ron Dante was largely responsible for the commercial success of The Archies.  Given the forced anonymity that went along with their role in The Archies, it was only natural that all three singers would want to stretch out and enjoy success under their own names.   As it turned out Dante was the last of the trio to formally quit The Archies, but the first to release a solo project - in this case 1970's "Brings You Up".  Released by Don Kirshner's Kirshner imprint (the same label responsible for The Archies catalog), the album was produced by Barry (who also contributed two songs with songwriting partner Andy Kim), 

 

Purely speculation on my part, but having listened to this album dozens of times, the marketing strategy seemingly to up-market Dante to an older, more sophisticated audience (not sure the signed photo insert supported that notion).   Musically the album showcased Dante originals.   The overall sound remained pop heavy with compositions like the title track, the harpsichord-powered  'Sweet Taste of Love', and 'Go Where the Music Takes You' sounding very similar to the earlier Archies catalog.    That said, lyrically songs like 'Games' (seemingly reflecting a child's view of divorce), the pretty ballad Jo-Anna', and 'A Million Voices' found Dante and his collaborators at least touching on more adult oriented themes; - admittedly wrapped in highly commercial melodies and arrangements.. While there were a couple of flat spots, propelled by Dante's wonderful and highly commercial voice, the overall results were quite impressive; certainly as good as the fourth Archies album ("Sunshine").    

 

"Brings You Up" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Let Me Bring You Up   (Jeff Barry - Andy Kim) - 3:08

As mentioned, if you're a certain age (probably qualified, or about to qualify for AARP), the voice was instantly recognizable, as was the bouncy, power-pop vibe.   Tapped as a single, you had to wonder how radio didn't simply eat this insidiously catchy tune up.   Great way to start the LP.   The quality isn't great, but YouTube has a promotional video of the song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SZtZ_ZXTr5M rating: **** stars

2.) A Million Voices  (Ron Dante) - 2:40

Near perfect power-pop with one of those hysterically optimistic early-'70s lyrics that make you smile and shake your head in wonder.   The choral effect was created by multi-tracking Dante's voice.   rating: **** stars

3.) Go Where the Music Takes You   (Howie Greenfield - Ron Dante) - 2:28

With the music-oriented lyric it wasn't hard to imagine 'Go Where the Music Takes You ' being slotted into an Archies segment.   Very bubblegum-ish and mindless fun.  rating: *** stars

4.) Jo-Anna   (Milford - Ron Dante) - 2:21

Pretty, but somewhat stark and pedestrian ballad.   YouTube has a live demo of the song at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xVA_kWevutI   rating: ** stars

5.) Sweet Taste of Love   (Jamie Carr - Ron Dante) - 2:22

Co-written with Archies background singer James Carr, 'Sweet Taste of Love' was another bubblegum ballad that had a killer chorus and some wonderful harpsichord accompaniment.    One of the album's strongest performances..   rating: **** stars

6.) Games  (Ron Dante) - 2:32

Yeah, it was still a pop tune, but 'Games' found Dante dropping the blatant top-40 moves for a surprisingly enjoyable "adult" tune.  As mentioned above, lyrically the song dropped the usual moon-in-June lyrics in favor of what seemed to be a personal meditation on the effects of divorce on chidden.  One of the album highlights   rating: **** stars

 

(side 2)

1.) Lovin' Lady   (Kim Millford - Ron Dante) - 2:28

With a mild Latin-flavored percussive edge, 'Lovin' Lady' was another track that successfully ditched the bubblegum image.   rating: **** stars 

2.) C'mon Girl  (Jamie Carr - Ron Dante) - 2:54

Pretty, commercial pop ballad with sterling backing vocals and a touch of Archies-styled organ (the second composition co-written with Archies background singer James Carr).  Also released as a single, you had to wonder how radio missed out on this one.  YouTube has a live performance of the song at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n3xyPCf-Wn0   rating; **** stars

3.) Muddy River Water   (Gene Allen - Ron Dante) - 2:22

Written with former Brill Building partner Gene Allen, 'Muddy River Water' mixed some lame life's-tough-as-a-songwriter lyrics with a nice mixture of pop and Latin melodies.  The combination of the rocking melody and Dante's energetic delivery more than made up for the lyrics.  Shame it faded out so quickly.  rating: **** stars

4.) How Do You Know   (Andy Kim - Jeff Barry) - 3:14

The second Barry-Kim composition, underscored by Ron Frangipane's  stabbing organ washes and some great handclaps 'How Do You Know' was another pop tune that reflected a distinctive Archies feel.   Nifty tune that should have been a single.   rating: **** stars

5.) Mr.Sun   (Ron Dante) - 1:55

'Mr. Sun' was a sweet and bouncy ballad, if innocuous and forgettable.  rating: *** stars

6.) Don't Let Love Pass You By   (Ron Dante) - 2:40

Perhaps the album's most frenetic performance, the rocker 'Don't Let Love You Pass You By' has always reminded me of a good Monkees tune.      rating: **** stars

 

Kirshner released two singles off the album:

 

- 1970's 'C'mon Girl/ b/w 'Sweet Taste of Love' (Kirshner catalog number 63-5007)

- 1970's 'Let Me Bring You Up' b/w 'Who Do You Know?' (Kirshner catalog number 63-1010)  # 102 pop

 

Perhaps because it was competing with the Archies' "Sunshine" album,  the collection did little commercially.  Or if you were a cynic, you might wonder if Kirshner purposely sought to minimize sales so as to leverage Dante to return to The Archies fold to sing, write and produce 1971's "This Is Love".

 

 

 

 


 

 

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