Sleepy Hollow

Band members                             Related acts

  line up 1

- Richard Billay -- vocals, guitar, keyboards

- Richie Bremen -- bass

- Joe Zucca -- drums, percussion



Billay (Richard Bailey. Richie Bremen, and Joe Zucca)

- Rich Billay (solo efforts)





Genre: rock

Rating: *** (3 stars)

Title:  Sleepy Hollow

Company: Family

Catalog: FPS-2708

Year: 1972

Country/State: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: minor ring wear

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 5867

Price: $75.00



Slapping an album with a Beatles comparison is usually the equivalent of an artistic and commercial kiss of death.  Luckily, this is one of those rare cases where the comparison actually has some basis.


Recorded at Philadelphia International's Philly-based Sigma Studios, 1972's "Sleepy Hollow" was co-produced by John Madara and the late Tom Sellers (of Assembled Multitude fame).  The limited liner notes indicated Sleepy Hollow was a trio featuring the talents of singer/guitarist Richard Billay, bass player Richie Bremen and drummer Joe Zucca.  With Billay responsible for all nine tracks, material like 'One Time' and 'Lay It On the Line' did have a late-inning Bthe late  Emitt Rhodes ('Love Minus You'), or perhaps even a mid-1970s John Lennon solo album ('Lady'). The trio's sound wasn't particularly original, but Billay had an impressive chameleon-like voice that managed to recall both Lennon's tougher sound ('Sincerely Yours' would not have been out of place on "Walls and Bridges") and McCartney's more pop-oriented material ('One Time' complete with great backing vocals).  Artistically this may not have been a major statement, but it made for one fun album and was simply miles ahead of most of the Beatlesque competition.  All told one of the better Beatlesque releases I've heard and one of the best tax scam albums out there.  I'd love to know what happened to front man Billay


"Sleepy Hollow" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Sincerely Yours  (Richard Billay) - 3:01   rating: **** stars

An engaging mid-tempo rocker, 'Sincerely Yours' sported an early solo John Lennon sound.  Say what you will about the album's lack of originality, but on this one Billay nailed Lennon right down to his take-no-prisoners snarling delivery.

2.) One Time  (Richard Billay) - 2:05  rating: *** stars

The up-tempo ' One Time' sounded like something pulled off an early Badfinger album.  Extremely commercial and radio ready, if would have made a nice single.

3.) Take Me Back  (Richard Billay) - 3:53   rating: **** stars

Another radio friendly effort, the ballad ' Take Me Back' sounded like a mash-up of Badfinger and Eric Carmen and the Raspberries channeling Paul McCartney.  Billay even managed to mimic the Badfinger harmony vocals and Pete Ham's instantly recognizable slide guitar sound.   Four years later the tune reappeared as a 1976 promo single on ATCO credited to Rich Billay 












- 1976's 'Take Me Back' (stereo) b/w 'Take Me Back' (mono) (ATCO catalog number 5-7055)

4.) Talking Out of Turn  (Richard Billay) - 2:48  rating: *** stars

Kicked along by a nice slide guitar, ' Talking Out of Turn' was a straightforward rocker that momentarily managed to breakaway from the Beatles/Badfinger influences.  One of my favorite performances.   

5.) Lay It On the Line  (Richard Billay) - 2:43  rating: *** stars

Another pretty ballad, ' Lay It On the Line' showcased Billay's best McCartney impression.  If you like McCartney, you'll like this one.  If you think he's shallow and saccharine, then stay away.   


(side 2)
1.) Love Minus You  (Richard Billay) - 2:30  rating: *** stars

'Love Minus You'  started out side two with an Emitt Rhodes-does-McCartney pop number.  The results were extremely catchy, but likely to put some folks into a diabetic coma.  Bremen turned in some great bass work on this one.   

2.) Lady  (Richard Billay) - 2:40   rating: ** stars

The first real disappointment, 'Lady' was a pretty, but instantly forgettable ballad.  Imagine something lifted off of an early Eric Carmen solo album ...

3.) Roller Coaster Man  (Richard Billay) - 2:58  rating: *** stars

Complete with punchy horns the rocker ' Roller Coaster Man' sounded like an early Raspberries track with a Beach Boys segment thrown in the middle.  Those comparisons where meant as compliments.   

4.) Hades  (Richard Billay) - 6:16  rating: *** stars
'Hades' ended the album with another Lennon-esque ballad.  Heavily orchestrated (courtesy of Tom Sellers), this one was apparently meant to be the album's big statement.  Complete with stark piano, echo treated vocals (which served to underscore the comparison to Lennon's voice), Christmas bells and a big backing chorus, the results were a little over-the-top for me, but so what ...   Family actually released it as a single:





- 1972's 'Hades' b/w 'Sincerely Yours (The Next One's On You)' (Family catalog number FPA 0916).  









The album's also interesting for a tie-in to Morris Levy'sTiger Lily label tax scam label.  Tiger Lily somehow obtained the "Sleepy Hollow" tapes, reissuing the album under the band name Billay (Tiger Lily catalog number TL 14033).  Naturally there was no attempt to get approval from the band members.  In fact, the members were apparently unaware their album had been repackaged (see below).


Bremen is apparently still active in entertainment field, having co-written music for the play DeeDee & Danny.  There's also a Richie Bremen who was part of Lionel Richie's touring band.


And out of the blue I got an email providing a bit of information on Richard Billay.


"Hi, I saw your review of Sleepy Hollow and I couldn't resist emailing.

I can tell you Richard Billay's whereabouts. Rich has worked at Queens College in New York, doing video production, for nearly 30 years.  I worked with him when I went to college there.  He was writing and recording Christian music in the early '90s (none of it signed) but I don't know if he's still doing that.

He used to talk about the Sleepy Hollow days with a bit of disgust - he said he didn't like the way the record company was promoting the band - trying to make a Beatles comparison. Well, he was a big Beatles fan! Go figure. ;) I think after that, he didn't want much to do with the music business."


And here's what Richard Billay had to say about the album itself:


"Never knew about the second release of the "Billay" version of the Album.  I did know the original album was available on Ebay for a hefty sum -  very interesting."


Richard Billay

January 2010



SRB 10/2009 updated 12/2015