Ron and Shirley


Band members                             Related acts

  line up 1

- Bill Anderer - keyboards

- Jay Baccile - drums

- Tom Boyer - lead guitar

- Shirley Bristle - vocals, guitar

- Jack Deluca - bass

- Charles Gallagher - sax

- John Houpt - drums

- Mike Roberts - keyboards

- Ron Russo - vocals, guitar


 

 

- none known

 

 


 

Genre: rock

Rating: **** (4 stars)

Title:  Rock and Scroll

Company: C&C

Catalog: RRRS 191277-AB

Year: 1977

Country/State: New Jersey

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: bottom left corner had slight crush (see picture)

Available: SOLD

Catalog ID: SOLD 4471

Price: SOLD $100.00

 

I normally shy away from Christian rock and on those rare occasions where I've made exceptions, I've typically been disappointed (recent acquisitions by The Moonrakers and The Water Into Wine Band coming to mind). Here's one of the true exceptions that deserves it's rapidly growing reputation in collector circles ...   Besides, how can you avoid buying an album with liner notes that read "The time has come to probe into the soul & spirit of human kind & caress a new experience in sound.  A sound that is as ageless as the universe!" ?

First off, I can't say I know much about this duo. Apparently from New Jersey (their album was recorded at C&C Studios in Glassboro NJ and released by the small Jersey-based C&C label), Ron and Shirley were singers/guitarists Ron Russo and Shirley Bristle. Co-produced by Russo and Ed Candelora, their sole release, 1977's "Rock and Scroll" offered up an interesting blend of Christian themes and rock instrumentation. Certainly a turnoff to many rock fans, the duo's religious agenda was out front and center on material such as "Sealer Healer", "Christian Man" and "Troubled Sea". That said, with backing from the trio Universe (drummer Jay Baccile, guitarist Tom Boyer and bassist Jack Deluca), Russo and Bristle packaged all nine original tracks in surprisingly mainstream and attractive rock arrangements. The proceedings were certainly helped by the presence of guitarist Boyer's first-rate playing and the fact Russo had an attractive voice (Shirley's obtrusive and occasionally shrill supporting vocals took a little getting use to - check out her performances on "Jude" and "Comforter"). Interestingly, I've seen the LP turn up on a number of big dollar psych sales lists. While the closing number "Bad Love Is a Demon" boasted a distinctive psych edge (complete with weird time signature and oddball sound effects), in spite of what dealers would have you believe, it was the exception to the rule. The majority of the set, including selections such as "Soul Winner" and "Love Is Real" sported a more mainstream rock sound with heavily religious oriented lyrics. Certainly not for everyone, but if you could live with the religious overtones, the LP was occasionally a pleasant surprise and something I play with surprising regularity. (Copies originally came with a lyric insert and what appeared to be a homemade promotional flyer.)

"Rock and Scroll" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Soul Winner (Ron Russo) - 4:06

'Soul Winner' opened the album up with some blazing sax and an unexpectedly soulful flavor.  Ron and Shirley weren't the most dynamic singing partners you've ever heard, but they fairly sounded energetic, if not always in tune and the tune had kind of a laidback lysergic vibe that I found attractive.   rating: *** stars
2.) Sealer Healer (Ron Russo) - 2:44

Pretty acoustic ballad with some of the cheesy '70s synthesizer that I find mesmerizing.   The lyrics were a bit heavy handed and clunky, but their voices blended nicely on this one.   rating: *** stars
3.) Christian Man (Ron Russo) - 3:05

Ron actually had a very nice voice; clearly and powerful.  Shame it was wasted on some of these pithy tunes.   rating: ** stars
4.) Troubled Sea (Ron Russo) - 4:31

To my ears 'Troubled Sea'  had kind of a CSN&Y vibe - Yeah, the religious lyrics weren't going to register with most CSN&Y fans, but Ron may actually have been a better singer than any of those guys and the tune had a dandy melody and some of the collection's most melodic lead guitar.  One of my favorite tunes on the LP.   rating: **** stars
5.) (Write a Letter) Jude (Ron Russo) - 5:13

' (Write a Letter) Jude' sported one of the album's better melodies and some nice vocal interplay from the pair.   rating: *** stars

(side 2)

1.) Backslider (Ron Russo) - 2:56

One of the album's standout performances, 'Backslider' had a nice bouncy melody, excellent guitar, and a lyric that soft-peddled their personal agendas.   rating: **** stars
2.) Comforter (Ron Russo) - 3:01

Shrill and relatively bland ballad with lyrics that were a little more blatant than some of the other tunes.   rating: ** stars
3.) Love Is Real (Ron Russo - Shirley Bristle) - 5:20

Un spite of some lackadaisical John Houpt drumming and a shrill vocal from Shirley (on this one she reminded me a bit of a young Kate Bush), 'Love Is Real' was my favorite tune.   Nice song structure and the tune had the best rock arrangement with Ron turning in the album's best guitar solo.   rating: **** stars
4.) Bad Love Is a Demon (Ron Russo - Shirley Bristle) - 6:19

This was one seriously messed up tune ... "B" flick organ; heavy metal bass and screaming lead guitar (displaying a surprisingly melodic touch), Atari video game sound effects, to say nothing of Shirley's stoned, slightly flat sounding lead vocals ...  great tune.   rating: **** stars



This appears to be their only recorded effort. Anyone know what happened to them?

 

 


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