Sounds of Modification

Band members                             Related acts

  line up 1 (1967-68)  

- Joe Cavalea -- vocals, brass

- Mike "Butch" Cavouto -- drums, percussion

Bob Dorsa -- vocals, bass

- Frank Porcelli -- vocals, lead guitar

- Pete Maletta -- keyboards


  supporting musicians:

- RIchie Cruzz -- horns

- Steve Harber -- horns

- JImmy Huss -- horns




- Gator (Mike Cavouto)

- The Naked Truth Band (Joe Cavalea)

- A New Place To Live

- The Rhythm and Blues Express Band (Bruce Cavouto)

- Summer Breeze (Frank Porcelli)





Genre: pop

Rating: 3 stars ***

Title:  Sounds of Modification

Company: Jubilee

Catalog:  JGS-7013

Country/State: Long Island, New York

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: --

Available: SOLD 

Catalog ID: SOLD 

Price: SOLD  $30.00



Sounds of Modification was one of Long Island's contribution to the flood of mid-'60s pop bands that straddled "summer of love" styled "sunshine" pop and late inning pop-psych influences.  The group featured the talents of horn player Joe Cavalea, drummer Mike "Butch" Cavouto, bassist Bob Dorsa, guitarist  Frank Porcelli and keyboard player Pete Maletta.


Having begun to attract some attention  playing local New York clubs, dances and colleges (The Bridal Patch, The Fox Theatre, Thee Ye Olde Red Lion Tavern, Hofstra's College), they found a mentor in the form of Bob Gallo (of Four Seasons fame).  Gallo helped them score a recording contract with Jerry Blaine's New York based Jubilee Records.  Produced by Gallo who also wrote nine of the album's ten tracks, 1968's "Sounds of Modification" was a competent and professional debut, but under Gallo's direction little of the band's true identify came through.  Speculation on my part, but I'm guessing Gallo saw an opportunity to push his songs on the band in the hope of scoring royalties.  Shame they weren't given an opportunity to record original material, or at least covers of their own choice.  The band also lacked a first rate singer (perhaps explaining the multiple "group" vocals), but were clearly talented.  Drummer Cavouto and horn player Cavalea were the stand outs.  While the majority of tunes like 'Balloon Man', 'I'm Gonna Buy a People' and their Bee Gees cover 'You' offered up little more than frothy pop-oriented "product" there were a couple of stand out performances.  The album's most psych tinged offerings, 'What Is This in the Mist', 'Tell Me' and 'Going to a Place Called Love'  were also the strongest numbers.  Imagine a weaker Association, or a second tier group like The Orange Coloured Sky, or The Nickel Bag and you'll get a feel for their sound.  Not bad, but hardly a must-own collection.  By the way, clocking in at 30 minutes, this is a real short album.


For anyone curious, to learn more about the group, they started a Facebook page at: 


"Sounds of Modification" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Balloon Man    (Bob Gallo) - 2:50    rating: *** stars

If you were looking for a song which dripped mid-'60s vibes, 'Balloon Man' would be a good choice.  It's all here - mild Brian Wilson flavors, summer of love lyrics; catchy, radio friendly vibe and a slight psych tinge.  Surprising to see the track wasn't tapped as a single.  

2.) I'm Gonna Buy a People   (Bob Gallo) - 2:23    rating: *** stars

Well, I'm certain it was innocent, but the title probably isn't what we'd consider politically correct today.  Featuring a bouncy melody, Joe Cavalea's horns, and group vocals 'I'm Gonna Buy a People' was a good example of their pop-psych moves.  Cute, but also awfully close to irritating.

3.) What Is This in the Mist    (Bob Gallo) - 2:30   rating: **** stars

'What Is This in the Mist' found producer Bob Gallo and the band diving headlong into psychedelia.  All but abandoning their earlier pop moves, this one threw in a wide array of sound effects, treated vocals, and a lysergic aura for an atypical, but interesting track.  Not sure who took lead vocals, but this was one of the best vocals on the album.  Shame it was so short.

4.) You   (Barry Gibb) - 3:16   rating: ** stars

Producer Gallo was apparently friends with Barry Gibb\.  Gibb showed up at one of their recording sessions, leading to their cover.  A sappy, over-orchestrated ballad, the album's lone outside cover, their take on The Bee Gees' 'You' wasn't all that different from the original.  Needless performance.

5.) Try and Forget Me    (Bob Gallo) - 1:50    rating: *** stars

Opening up with some bouncy Cavalea's horns, 'Try and Forget Me' offered up the album's most pop-oriented track.  Almost bubblegum in structure, it was quite radio friendly and equally disposable.


(side 2)

1.) You Are Asking for the Key    (Bob Gallo) - 2:55    rating: * star

It's almost as if mid-'60s recording contracts included a clause that all bands had to include at least one hokey, country-styled tune on their albums.  Sounds of Modification responded with the hideous 'You Are Asking for the Key.'  Imagine one of those faux-country tunes on a Monkees album.  No, it wasn't cute.  Total yech!  Bassist Dorsa on lead vocals.

2.) Tell Me    (Bob Gallo) - 3:02    rating: **** stars

In spite of the overwhelming orchestration that threatened to drown out the band, the ballad 'Tell Me' was one of the few performances where the band actually managed to showcase a bit of originality.  Another track with a slight psych tinge and another highlight.

3.) Going to a Place Called Love   (Bob Gallo) - 2:25     rating: **** stars

Cavalea's opening horns gave 'Going to a Place Called Love' a circus-like feel and then the song dived into prime pop-psych territory.  Complete with weird time signature, vocal effects, backwards tapes, and those horns, it was actually a pretty cool song, though far too short.

4.)  I'm Painting a Picture    (Bob Gallo) - 2:15   rating: *** stars

Pete Maletta's plunking keyboard chords have always reminded me of Benny Anderson's playing style.  Elsewhere 'I'm Paining a Picture' was an up-tempo, horn-powered rocker.  Better vocals would have helped since these ones sounded like they'd been recorded after the band had finished running a marathon.

5.) Toreador   (Bob Gallo) - 4:45   rating: *** stars

The opening sound effects, horns and melody certainly sounded like you were sitting in the midst of a bullfight.  That was underscored by Frank Porcelli's flamenco-styled acoustic guitar.  Can't say I was a big fan of the group vocals and the bullfighter theme was just lame.




The band also released a series of three non-LP 45s.  Co-written by Gallo and Joe Cavalea, 'Darkness Fills My Lonely Heart' was a psych number far better than anything on the album.  Also written by Gallo the bubblegum-psych tinged 'Carry On Carole' was one of their stronger performances.  Great hook.

- 1968's 'Darkness Fills My Lonely Heart' b/w 'I'm Down Again' (Jubilee catalog number 45-5637)

- 1968's 'Carry On Carole' b/w Darkness Fills My Lonely Heart' (Jubilee catalog number 45-5640)

- 1969's 'Umbrella Song' b/w 'I Don't Know That (Jubilee catalog number 45-5653)






In 1972 they released a sophomore album under the band name "A New Place To Live."