Band members Related acts
- Frank Pisani -- vocals
- Frank Devon
- The Partnership
- Frank Pizani
Rating: 3 stars ***
Country/State: Chicago, Illinois
Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+
Comments: minor writing on front cover
Catalog ID: 5771
I'll be the first to admit that I've wasted more than my share of disposable income on tax scam albums that haven't been very good ... actually I've spent more than my share of money on tax scam albums that have sucked. The good news is that you get an opportunity to benefit from my experiences and poor choices ... So amidst all the tax scam sludge, once in awhile a really good album unexpectedly pops up. 1977's "Sky" is one of those unexpectedly enjoyable ones.
Namesake singer/songwriter Frank Pisani was based in Chicago where his recording career seems to stretch back to the mid-1950s, including a roughly a dozen singles up through the mid-1970s under a variety of names and musical genres (big band crooner, rockabilly, 50s teen star). I'm sure there's more than this rough outline, but most of it has little interest to rock fans.
credited as Frank Devon
- 1955's 'Cry Baby' b/w '' (Klick Records catalog number KL-1602)
credited as The Highlights featuring Frank Pisani
- 1956's 'City of Angels' b/w 'Listen My Love' (Bally Records catalog number 7-1016
- 1957's 'To Be with You' b/w 'Will I Ever Know' (Bally Records catalog number 7-1027)
credited as Frank Pizani with Lew Douglas & Orchestra
- 1958's 'Angry' b/w 'Every Time' (Bally Records catalog number 7-1040)
credited as Frank Pizani
- 1960's 'Wanna Dance' b/w 'It's No Fun' (Afton catalog number 616)
- 1960's 'Steady Cha Cha' b/w 'The Stars Will Remember' (Afton catalog number 617)
- 1969s 'So Goes My Love' b/w 'Play a Slow One' (Warwick catalog M 518)
- 1960's 'Lisa the Tower of Pisa' b/w 'You're Breaking My Heart' (Carlton catalog 476)
- 1976's 'Candy & Me' b/w 'Little Serenade (Chi Town C-T-3)
credited as Frank Pisani
- 1961's 'I Volunteer' b/w 'If You Should Ever' (Argyle catalog 1001)
- 1965's 'Ain't Gonna Be Your Fool' b/w 'My Funny Valentine) (Afton catalog number ???)
- 1974's 'Sweet, Sweet Summertime (Part 1) b/w 'Sweet, Sweet Summertime (Part 2)' (C.J. Records catalog 667)
- 1983's 'I Love You Papa' b/w 'Tribute To Durante' (Happy Days catalog number HDS 501)
- 1980's 'Fightin' Jane' b/w 'Please Don't Make It Funky' (Happy Day Records HDS 500)
credited to The Partnership
- 1975's 'Where Are You' b/w 'Jean and the Sweetheart Tree' (Poco Records catalog number ???)
- 197?'s 'Rubber Ducky' b/w 'Al Di La' (Poco records catalog number 5349)
The mid-1970s seem to have found him trying to break into the rock scene. That said, there's actually a good chance these six tracks reflected period demos and Pisani wasn't even aware this set was released by the tax scam Dellwood label. Regardless, produced by Mark Brown (who also co-wrote much of the material with Pisani), "Sky" showcased a nice blend of commercial top-40 and progressive moves - imagine Kansas if they'd decided they really wanted to be a top-40 presence. Pisani had a very nice voice; commercial, but gruff enough to pull this stuff off without sounding like he was trying to pander to the audience. That said, trying to match his earlier catalog and lounge act stage persona to these updated tunes made for an interesting mind game.
"Sky" track listing:
1.) Death of the Sun (Mark Brown - Frank Pisani) - 7:60 rating **** stars
The lead off track 'Death of the Sun' served to underscore the collection's progressive moves. Propelled by a nice mix of fuzz guitar and stabbing keyboards, the track had a great melody that more than compensated for the occasionally dorky lyrics. Yeah it went on a little too long, but for his part Pisani turned in a nice vocal that would have made any Uriah Heep fan proud. The song sounds even better cranked up, or on a good set of headphones.
2.) Special Love (Crutchfeld - Frank Pisani) - 3:18 rating ***** stars
It may have been a slice of AOR, but 'Special Love' had one of those guitar riffs that instantly dug into your head and wouldn't let go. Hard to believe a band like Journey could sell millions of records and this was totally ignored. Easily the best song on the album and could have been a major hit.
3.) Her Song (instrumental) (Mark Brown Frank Pisani) - 6:30 rating **** stars
Side one ended with the extended instrumental 'Her Song'. Some of the synthesizers haven't aged all that will, but the track still managed to generate considerable energy. Perhaps due in part to those cheesy synthesizers, one of my album favorites.
'Grabing Air' started with slowly with an extended keyboard and synthesizer dominated instrumental segment, before the vocal kicked in. The song's okay, but lacked the focus of some of the other tracks. Not my favorite performance.
2.) Lament (Ventura - Frank Pisani) - 3:19 rating *** stars
'Lament' found Pisani and company aiming for the lowest common denominator; pure unadulterated AOR. That's not to imply AOR was a bad thing. The song benefited from a decent melody and some frenetic lead guitar. Easily as good as anything you heard on mid-1970s FM radio.
3.) The Pack (Ventura - Frank Pisani) - 5:00 rating *** stars
The first couple of times I heard it 'The Pack' left me totally cold. It struck me as cold, pretentious, and a major bore. I'm not going to try to convince you it was a great performance, 'cause it wasn't. That said, repeated spins started to reveal some of the song's charms. Yes, it was pretentious beyond belief, but in a funny kind of way. Full of tortuous time shifts and melodic stops and starts, the refrain actually got it down well ... that's where we lost our way'. This one must have been intended as kind of an in-house gag ... 'Hey look, you though ELP was deep and meaningful. Check this out !'
Far from perfect, but it's a shame the album didn't get some promotion as it was better than 80% of the competition. If anyone cares, this one makes it on my top-five tax scam release list.
I'm guessing this is the same guy, but in case anyone's interested, there's a Frank Pisani still active in music and comedy (though I suspect his act doesn't include anything from the "Sky" album),. He has a small and outdated website at: http://www.frankpisani.com/
You missed one 45 on Frank's Discography that you have posted. One side was a novelty tune called "Rubber Ducky" which was sung as Jimmy Durante. here's the Stats:
Rubber Ducky/Al Di La Poco 5349 (early 70's?)
Just thought you'd like to know. Frank still does shows at various Lounges and Fests around the Chicago and Milwaukee areas.
Stan Adams January 2011
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