Conjerti - Morreale - Dibley
Band members Related acts
line up 1 (1972)
- Sam Conjerti -- vocals, acoustic guitar, bass, keyboards
- Dave Dibley -- vocals, acoustic guitar
- Marty Morreale -- vocals, acoustic guitar
- Tony Conjerti -- bass
- Gary Jones -- drums
- Doug McNamara -- lead guitar
- Sam Conjerti (solo efforts)
- Forgotten Dreams (Marty Morreale)
- Nik and the Nice Guys (Marty Morreale)
- Studio 54 (Marty Morreale)
Rating: ** stars
Title: Earth Free
Country/State: Buffalo, New York
Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+
Catalog ID: -
I've always been a sucker for small label obscurities so when I stumbled across a copy of "Free Earth" at a local record store, I was interested in it. Admittedly I was confused with respect to the band name. Was this trio known as Conjerti - Morreale - Dibley, or Free Earth? Add to that the cover art wasn't particularly appealing, nor was the track listing's apparent religious orientation (the liner notes thanked God for life). Ultimately the $300+ price tag was more than enough for me to pass on the purchase. Anyhow, a couple of years later I stumbled across a copy of Brian Hulitt's legitimate 2007 reissue. Unlike the 1972 original on Sundance Records (catalog S.R. 1001), the Void package (released with band member Sam Conjerti's cooperation), was affordable.
Apparently associating rarity with quality, this is one of those albums that gets plenty of attention from high priced dealers. It's accompanied by the usual hype that goes along with the sky high asking prices. Descriptions like "Christian hippie 1970s folk/rock", "CSNY sensibilities" and "tremendous acid electric folkrockers" will certainly attract the attention of some buyers. Some may even enjoy the eleven songs. My suggestion would be to listen to a couple of tracks on YouTube prior to buying.
In spite of the hype, I'd argue "Earth Free" is best categorized as a folk album. All eleven tunes were built on strumming acoustic guitars; a handful reflecting the addition of a full rock ensemble arrangements (bassist Tony Conjerti, drummer Gary Jones and lead guitarist Doug McNamara). Sam Conjerti, his cousin Marty Morreale and Dave Dibley all sang and while their voices were professional, none had an instrument that was going to drastically change your life. Based on the title track, Dibley probably had the best voice of the three. For better or worse, several of the performances ('I Wonder If She Noticed Me (I Always Notice Her)', 'Remember Our Love' and 'Little Girl') reminded me of mid-'70s Neil Young. Elsewhere, if you were a big fan of Christian rock, you were likely be disappointed given the band's evangelic leanings were at best subtle and understated. If you were looking for those CSN&Y harmonies ... well keep looking. If you craved psych influences ... again, keep looking. Those comments all sound pretty critical and I really don't want to come off as a complete naysayer. These guys were clearly committed to their music and trying to make some profound comments on life. Exemplified by the title track (easily the standout performance), some of the songs were quite pretty. Still, the results just didn't register with me.
- Morreaale - Dibley" track listing:
1.) Water To Wine (Sam Conjerti - Dave Dibley) - rating: ** stars
Normally a song with a title like 'Water To Wine' would send me running for the record player tone arm. To the band's credit, the lyrics weren't blatantly devote and the acoustic melody was pretty, even though it sounded somewhat incomplete. The tune just kind of ran out of steam at the end. The track was originally released as a single:
1972's 'Water To Wine' b/w 'I Lost My Love' (Sundance catalog number MC 5720)
By the way, you'll note the 45 is credited to Earth Free. Who knows and who care?
2.) I Needed To Be In Love (Sam Conjerti) - 3:09 rating: *** stars
Reflecting a full band arrangement, 'I Needed To Be In Love' sounded like it had some issues with the recording speed. Conjerti's vocals sounded very wobbly with the backing vocals equally shaky. In fact the whole song sounded like the recording tape wasn't running at the right speed. On the positive side, the lead acoustic guitar was quite pretty.
3.) I Wonder If She Noticed Me (I Always Notice Her) (Sam Conjerti) - 3:12 rating: *** stars
While I didn't like his falsetto, I will admit that Conjerti sounded much more comfortable and steady on the acoustic ballad 'I Wonder If She Noticed Me (I Always Notice Her)'. Maybe due to the dark, listen-to-my-problems vocals, there was kind of CSN&Y vibe on this one.
4.) Remember Our Love (Marty Morreale) - 3:32 rating: *** stars
Marty Morreale's lone contribution to songwriting chores, he also apparently handled the lead vocals ... If it was Morreale on vocals, he had a nice enough voice and the result was another, dark, lost-love ballad that deserved comparisons to mid-'70s Neil Young. The thumping Tony Conjert bass and Doug McNamara's jagged lead guitar reminded me a bit of Crazy Horse's raw backing support to Young.
5.) I've Been There for a Long Time (Sam Conjerti) - 7:04 rating: *** stars
The strumming opening acoustic guitars were promising, but the thin vocals sounded like they'd been recorded in a bathroom stall in a different state. Once again the Neil Young comparison wasn't totally off kilter. Clocking in at over seven minutes, this was the album's longest and most challenging piece.
6.) Fugue from Lower Town (Dave Dibley) - 3:07 rating: ** stars
Admittedly my attention span is pretty limited, so by the time 'Fugue From Lower Town' hit my ears, this album was starting to suffer from sounds-the-same syndrome.
1.) Race To the Sun (Dave Dibley) - 3:51 rating: *** stars
To my ears it took some effort to figure out who was singing. Since he wrote the tune, I'm guessing Dibley handled the vocals on 'Race To the Sun'. Nice acoustic guitar on this one. By the way, the lyrics showed the song title as 'Race of the Sun'.
2.) She Said She Won't Be with Me Tomorrow (Sam Conjerti) - 3:17 rating: *** stars
Spotlighting Conjerti's likeable, but unsteady voice, 'She Said She Won't Be with Me Tomorrow' sounded like an unfinished demo. On the positive side, this one reflected a full band line-up with Doug McNamara's meandering lead guitar and Tony Conjerti's bass slapped on top of the acoustic arrangement. I also liked the hysterical backing vocals.
3.) Little Girl (Dave Dibley) - 4:44 rating: *** stars
'Little Girl' opened up with some interesting guitar before diving straight into Neil Young territory. And like most of the album the results were pleasant, if unexceptional.
4.) I Lost My Love (Sam Conjerti) - 2:35 rating: *** stars
The full rock band opening offered hope they'd break out of their folky roots. I'll give them credit for trying. 'I Lost My Love' actually offered up a recognizable melody, but ultimately they just couldn't shake their torpid tendencies.
5.) Earth Free (Dave Dibley) - 3:17 rating: **** stars
I don't want to read too much into their lyrics, but the title track seemed to have a pro-ecological message. 'Earth Free' was also the album's prettiest performance.
Morreale stayed active on the Buffalo, New York music scene playing in a number of bands including Forgotten Dreams and Studio 54. He now lives in South Carolina playing in various local groups, including High Tide.
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