Mike Browning – Class Act / JEM Celebrates Brian Wilson
While I don’t usually review two releases at once, both of these are cover albums so it seems appropriate. First up is Mike Browning’s Class Act.
Having taken a production class taught by The Spongetones’ Jamie Hoover, Mike Browning decided to take each of the songs covered and make them his own. He sang lead, played various instruments and produced the disc. One listen to Class Act and it comes abundantly clear – Mike’s got great instinct for knowing what works.
Some of the highlights include covers of XTC’s “Madam Barnum”, Bob Dylan’s “My Back Pages”, The Beach Boys’ “Do It Again” and my favorite on the disc, Tommy Tutones’ “867-5309”. Having done just about everything from soup to nuts on Class Act, you can come to only one conclusion – Mike Browning has the chops. Get your copy at his Bandcamp page. For more info on other contributors and an interesting backstory, visit his website.
JEM Celebrates Brian Wilson
Marty Scott of JEM Records has assembled quite a lineup on this latest offering, JEM Celebrates Brian Wilson. Two tracks that stand out immediately: The Weeklings’ take on “Help Me Rhonda” and The Anderson Council’s version of “Girl Don’t Tell Me”. The Weeklings take an original approach to “Rhonda” while The Anderson Council land somewhere between the original version and the Smithereens cover of a few years back.
Jonathan Pushkar and Richard Barone alternate vocals on with their cover of “I Get Around”, making this another winner on an album full of ‘em.