MP3 Squeaky Clean - Pull Together
Rock and Roll
19 MP3 Songs
ROCK: Americana, KIDS/FAMILY: Kid Friendly
SQUEAKY CLEAN''S NEW CD PROMOTES SPIRIT OF
UNITY, HEALING AND RECONCILIATION
(U2''S BONO SAID TO BE "CONCERNED")
Since founding SQUEAKY CLEAN in 1983, Suzanne C. Smithline and Glenn Paul Manion have conceived a number of different missions for their band. At first they worked to preserve a stylistically pure and historically accurate form of rockabilly, as demonstrated on their debut record in 1984. Next they refashioned themselves as downtown hipsters COMBO LIMBO, gaining attention from college radio and the distinction of being cited as New York''s "Best Unsigned Band" by the SKC/NY Music Awards. SQUEAKY CLEAN was then reborn with the mandate of teaching schoolchildren about the roots of rock and roll and the decades of the 1960s and 1970s by means of an innovative series of multimedia school assembly programs, reaching thousands of students every year since 1988.
With their latest CD release "Pull Together" (DD 305), Suzanne and Glenn have taken on no less a challenge than overcoming the cultural divisions in America that resulted from the toxic political rhetoric of recent years. "I feel the divisions in America are overhyped anyway," remarks Glenn. "Look at what matters most to people, and they''ll all say the same things: a safe neighborhood to raise a family, a good education for their kids, staying healthy and even helping those who are less fortunate. Our core values are not all that different, despite what the commentators and politicians say."
Suzanne and Glenn took their inspiration from a time when America was truly divided: the late 1960s and the early 1970s. Yet alongside all the heightened political passions of that era, voices of calm and sanity could be heard on the AM radio, of all places. "It was comforting to hear music that expressed hope," recalls Suzanne, and comfort is one of the CDs themes: the reassurance of a trusted teacher ("To Sir With Love"), a close friend ("Lean On Me"), the familiar routines we fall back on when times are uncertain (Glenn''s original tune "Comfort Food").
But it is not easy to make common cause with people whose background and beliefs are alien to you. Several selections on the CD recognize this fact: as Sly Stone said "Different strokes for different folks...we got to live together." ("Everyday People") Lennon and McCartney''s "We Can Work It Out" can be read as a plea to listen hard to someone with whom you have deep disagreements. Of course in Queens, New York (home of Suzanne and Glenn), no culture is truly alien for long, especially to children who mix comfortably with people from every nation ("The Kids From Queens").
SQUEAKY CLEAN''s music is definitely kid-friendly and family-friendly, but their approach is light-years away from the typical cutsie-poo fare that is sold as "Children''s Music." "We started out as a rock and roll band, not a children''s act, and that really comes across in our performance," declares Glenn. "Maybe we''re not quite as ''out there'' as we were when we were playing CBGB''s, but we didn''t really change that much. We just found a different audience that appreciates our kind of outrageousness. I really only know one way to perform, and that''s to put it all out there."
SQUEAKY CLEAN''s new performances of classic songs from the late 1960s and early 1970s compare favorably with the original recordings, thanks in no small part to their longtime recording engineer Al Houghton of Dubway Studios. "Al did a great job with the rhythm tracks," raves Suzanne, "and both of our drummers [Alan Michaels and Phil Leone] came through in a big way." Modern recording technology gives these classic songs a punch that was not possible to achieve all those years ago.
The collection of songs conveys an overall feeling of hope and the band has high hopes for its new mission. As Glenn states: "We can''t help feeling that we''ve created something that is in tune with the times; that maybe our music will help bring people together to do the hard work that needs to be done."