The Felice Brothers
The Adventures of the Felice Brothers Vol. 1



by Ehar USER (3 Reviews)
December 5th, 2009 | 0 replies

Release Date: 2007 | Tracklist

Review Summary: The Felice Brothers most uneven album. One half seems to be looking at what is to come while the other seems like a less inspired version of their earlier sound.

"Adventures of the Felice Brothers, Vol. 1" was the Felice Brothers' first release on New York Pro, their own label, and was sold at shows for a limited time in 2007. It'll also a transitional album, forming a bridge between their early acoustic folk albums and their later more rock influenced releases. Because of this it turns out to be their weakest effort to date. This is not to say it's a bad album, there are still plenty of good songs. It just isn't quite up to the level of their previous offering or what was to come. Most of the best songs from "Adventures" were later included on on 2008's "The Felice Brothers" so this review will focus mainly on the unreleased material.

The album opens strongly with a string of fan favorites including the camp fire sing-along of ‘Radio Song’ and the funky, film noir ode ‘Helen Fry (She's A Master of Disguise)’. With the exception of ‘Trouble Been Hard’, a folky tune dating from the band's debut Iantown, all of these songs found there way onto The Felice Brothers' major label debut the next year. The first truly unreleased song comes with ‘Walk A While’ and unfortunately it's somewhat of a disappointment. There's nothing particularly wrong with it but it lacks the usual lyrical bite of middle brother Ian's songwriting and almost feels like painting by numbers.

Youngest brother James takes over vocal duties next with ‘Whiskey In My Whiskey’, a country tune about shooting down your unfaithful woman destined to become a classic at live shows. This is followed by ‘Doris Day’, one of the strongest unreleased songs from a lyrical stand point. With its wit and New Orleans swagger Doris Day is definitely a lost classic. Up next is ‘Oxycontin’, a somewhat forgettable ballad about the eponymous drug, but things pick up again the brothers’ rousing take on the traditional ‘Where’d You Get Your Liquor, Sally’.

The next song is somewhat of surprise, not because it’s bad or unusual, but because it has never been included on a later release. The Devil Is Real is easily one eldest brother Simone’s finest songs and here it gets a treatment worthy of its excellence. A beautiful ballad about the Queens Bridge and the wide open spaces beyond, The Devil Is Real presents The Felice Brothers at their most intimate and gentle. But this is not to last as the brothers’ launch into a rowdy version of the traditional spiritual ‘Glory Glory’ (better known by most as ‘Will the Circle by Unbroken’) which is cut short by a humorous confrontation with an angry neighbor.

The album closes with ‘San Antonio Burning’ a Dylanesque look at a California wild fire rife with apocalyptic imagery (I see Angels in boats/beating trumpets of gold/in the sky above the old rodeo) and raggedly soulful vocals. It’s a strong conclusion to The Felice Brothers most uneven album. One half seems to be looking at what is to come while the other seems like a less inspired version of their earlier sound. Ragardless the best was yet to come from The Felice Brothers.

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