Filet of Sound
Band members Related acts
line up 1 (1973-77)
- Mike Groh -- vocals. drums, percussion
- Denny Lewan -- vocals, bass, guitar, percussion
- Mike Peace -- vocals, guitar, coronet
- Bob Kaider -- keyboards, synthesizers
- Mike Semarka -- sax
- Attila and the Huns
- The Huns of Time
- Filet of Soul (Mike Groh, Denny Lewan, and Mike Peace)
- Mike Peace (solo efforts)
Rating: 2 stars **
Title: Prime Cuts
Company: Fillet of Sound
Country/State: Thorp, Wisconsin
Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+
Catalog ID: 3367
As Attila and the Huns and then Filet of Soul, throughout the mid-1960s and early-1970s Mike Groh, Denny Lewan, and Mike Peace recorded some first rate singles and a strong album. By the early-1970s Filet of Soul had morphed into Filet of Sound, opting for a more pop/lounge act sound.
I pulled this brief description off of Peace's website:
"Each musician individually has had over ten years of experience in the entertainment field.
Together for four, they have been gathering a huge following with radio and press interviews and appearances on the Ron Hunter Toda Show (NBC). Chicago Riverside Concert, many distinctive supper clubs among which are; The Chicago Playboy Cub, various Ramada Inns, Embassador (sic) East Hotel of Chicago, for an astounding mass audience of 500,000 !!!"
The sad thing is I really enjoyed the Filet of Soul album and while I couldn't blame these guys for adapting to popular tastes in order to pay their bills, their was something profoundly sad in hearing them having to morph into this ...
"The "FILET" is a unique, polished and extremely appealing group with exceptional harmonious vocal styles and arrangements. (FILET SHOW BAND) They have the ability to create a full and intoxicating sound that captivates and thrills audiences everywhere with their own intense original material, top 40 hits for 50's, 60's on-target impressions of; Frankie Valli and the Four Season, The Beatles, The Beach Boys, Bee Gees, Neil Diamond, Tom Jones, Every Bros., Righteous Bros. and an electrifying, heart warming tribute to Elvis...To top it off, the group has daring comedy routines that are truly hilarious and quite unique, transforming themselves into many outrageous characters !!"
Released on their own Filet of Sound label, 1977's "Prime Cuts" appears to have been an adaptation of their club act. Produced by the group, the album featured a MOR-ish mixture of oldies (including a Four Seasons medley), dance material, and a handful of originals. There's no point in comparing it to their earlier catalog since the comparison would simply make you cry. And to give these guys credit, they certainly gave it a good try. There simply wasn't much they could do with the covers. If drunk office workers wanted to hear Jackie Wilson, well you kind of had to give it to them ('Higher & Higher'). If people wanted to hear mindless disco, well, you kind of had to give it to them ('More 77'). Best of the lot were a couple of Peace originals tucked to the end of the album. 'Now and Then' was an MOR-ish top-40 styled single that would have sounded good on radio. 'I Think I'm Alive' sounded like an end-of-album throwaway track, but found the band abandoning pop for a darker rock sound. Maybe it was all tongue in cheek ... By "Freedom" instead.
Prime Ciuts" track listing:
1.) Oh Lorreta (Denny Lewan) - 3:55 rating: *** stars
Admittedly, featuring a smooth, blue-eyed soul flavor, 'Oh Lorreta' wasn't half bad. Yeah, it still had an MOR-ish, lounge act vibe to it, but at least the melody was decent.
2.) Higher & Higher (Chuck Jackson - Carl Smith - Raynard Miner) - 3:06 rating: ** stars
Hard to imagine anyone could mess up this Jackie Wilson classic, but these guys came close. Every time I hear it I think about Bill Murray's Nick the Lounge singer skits.
3.) Four Seasons Medley - 5:26 rating: ** stars
Yeah, this was definitely Friday night at the Ramada Inn material. I'll give them credit for turning in a decent enough Frankie Valli tribute, complete with lots of falsetto passages and snippets of the hits - 'Walk Like a Man', 'Sherry Baby', 'Just a Little Bit Longer', etc. Easy to picture all those office workers kicking off their shoes and getting down to this one. Yeah, I've done it myself (when younger().
4.) If (David Gates) - 2:47 rating: * star
The Bread original was nothing to brag about, but their cheesy synthesizer slathered cover was simply painful to listen to. I think Groh was featured on the breathless lead vocals.
5.) All I Wanna Do Is Dance (Denny Lewan) - 3:05 rating: ** stars
I've spent more than my share of time drinking cheap beer in a crappy hotel lounge, but I've got to tell you that to my ears Lewan's disco-ish 'All I Wanna Do Is Dance' had roughly the same appeal as a fire alarm.
1.) More '77 (Riz Ortalani - Nino Olivierio - Norman Newell - Marchello Cioriolini) - 3:21 rating: * star
And just when you thought it had to get better, they decided it would be a good idea to record a disco-fied version of 'More (Theme from Mondo Cane)'. I remember my parents owning the original album ("Mondo Cane: Original Motion Picture Sound Track Album").
2.) We Never Said Forever (Austin Roberts - Chris Welch) - 3:40 rating: *** stars
Funny, but 'We Never Said Forever' had the kind of top-40 commercial potential that could have gotten the song mid-'70s airplay. Kind of a Bellamy Brothers vibe on this one. I seem to remember The Osmond Brothers recording a rocked-up version of the tune.
3.) Riding White Horses (Mike Peace) - 3:581 rating: * star
Peace tends to be a good songwriter, but on this one it sounded like he was simply trying too hard for commercial potential. The result was just plain saccharine. Would have made a nice insurance commercial jingle.
4.) Now and Forever (Mike Peace) - 3:14 rating: **** stars
I know 'Now and Forever' was music as a business proposition, but I have to admit this one was a guilty pleasure. Catchy melody, sweet harmony vocals, Easy to see why the guys tapped this one as the album's single:
- 1977's 'Now and Forever' b/w '' ???(Filet of Sound catalog number FOS 4503A/B)
5.) I Think I'm Alive (Mike Groh - Mike Peace - Demny Lewan) - 4:11 rating: **** stars
Quite unlike anything else on the album, 'I Think I'm Alive' abandoned their lounge act moves in favor of a surprisingly lysergic tinged effort. It would have gotten an even higher rating were it not for the goofy attempts at humor.
For you hardcore fans, Peace has put tons of material out on YouTube. Included is a bunch of Filet of Sound material.
Here's their Three Dog Night medley: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fkf2bteurMY
Not sure their quite as proud of their attempts at humor. Here's a link to their "tribute" to country music: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pClBLNVXgy0&index=1&list=PLqJAD_A_kXSIldPZZz2ju2f2wLTjAml7i
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