Walk Away Renee/Pretty Ballerina

Walk Away Renee/Pretty Ballerina

by The Left Banke


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While the rise of folk-rock acts like the Byrds and the Lovin' Spoonful brought 12-string guitars and autoharps into the rock & roll vocabulary, and the Beatles' "Yesterday" and "Eleanor Rigby" opened the door for a more artful use of strings in pop music, the Left Banke pioneered something new with their debut single, 1967's "Walk Away Renee," which incorporated a small string section, harpsichord, and woodwinds to give the song a light yet dramatic Baroque flavor that was unique in rock at the time, and a perfect complement to the song's bittersweet tale of unrequited love. The Left Banke's follow-up, "Pretty Ballerina," was even more striking, and while the group started to fall apart almost as soon as they achieved success, their debut album, named for the two hit singles, was one of the best LPs released in a year full of innovation in pop music. Michael Brown, the group's keyboard player, wrote most of the songs, and with producer and arranger Henry Lookofsky (who was also Brown's father) he helped brainstorm the unusual sound of the Left Banke's material, but vocalist Steve Martin-Caro also played a major role in these sessions; his vocals, which could go from the wistful "Barterers and Their Wives" to the full-on rock shouting of "Lazy Day" at the drop of a hat, are impressive, and he helped write three of the album's best songs, "She May Call You Up Tonight" and "I Haven't Got the Nerve," and "Shadows Breaking Over My Head." Walk Away Renee/Pretty Ballerina is hardly unusual for a rock album of the era in that most of the tracks were dominated by session musicians rather than actual bandmembers, and in many respects, this album was a triumph for the producers and arrangers (among them Steve Jerome and John Abbott, along with Lookofsky) as much as the band, but they also gave this LP a remarkably diverse feel, from the Baroque sound of the hit singles and the formal-dress psychedelia of "Shadows Breaking Over My Head," to the country-rock accents of "What Do You Know," and the straightforward rock of "Lazy Day" and "Evening Down." If the Left Banke's moment of stardom was fleeting, Walk Away Renee/Pretty Ballerina reveals, for a brief and exciting moment, they were one of the best and most innovative American bands in rock & roll.

Product Details

Release Date: 06/28/2011
Label: Sundazed Music Inc.
UPC: 0090771627629
catalogNumber: 6276
Rank: 22513

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Left Banke   Primary Artist
Michael Brown   Piano,Harpsichord,Electric Piano,Vocals,Clavinet,Electric Harpsichord
Seymour Barab   Bass,Cello
Rick Brand   Guitar
George Cameron   Percussion,Drums,Tambourine,Vocals,Vocal Harmony
Tom Finn   Bass,Vocal Harmony
Gorgoni   Guitar,Guitar (12 String Acoustic)
Harry Lookofsky   Strings
Joe Mack   Bass
George Marge   Oboe
Hugh McCracken   Guitar
Rogers   Drums
Buddy Saltzman   Drums
Jeff Winfield   Guitar
Steve Martin-Caro   Vocals,Vocal Harmony
George Hirsh   Guitar
John Abbott   Bass,Guitar
Warren David-Schierhorst   Drums

Technical Credits

Bert Sommer   Composer
Michael Brown   Composer
George Cameron   Composer,Photo Courtesy
Harry Lookofsky   Producer
Bill Jerome   Producer
Steve Jerome   Producer,Engineer
Quaglieri   Photo Courtesy
Steve Martin   Composer
Michael Lookofsky   Composer
Tony Sansone   Composer
Clark Besch   Photo Courtesy
Scott Schinder   Liner Notes
Jere Real   Liner Notes
Bob Calilli   Composer
Cookie Dakes Wrublewski   Photo Courtesy
Steve Martin-Caro   Composer
John Abbott   Arranger

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