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Tony Visconti Helps Richard Barone Glows Again

07/19/2010
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Richard Barone is back with a Tony Visconti-produced new album, Glow, which will be released by Bar None Records on September 14, 2010. Here is the announcement:

Glow, the new album from Richard Barone, frontman of cult faves the Bongos, is a sonic delight, like a lost solo Beatle album from a glam-rock future-world.

After taking a break from performing to produce others and write a book Barone is back, working with producer Tony Visconti (along with Steve Addabbo, Jill Sobule and others). Glow indeed glows with songs like "Gravity's Pull," "Yet Another Midnight" and a captivating cover of T. Rex's "Girl." The king of chamber pop shines on this stunning new addition to his catalog.

The album started as a somewhat casual collaboration between Barone and Visconti. Richard had wanted to work with Tony ever since scheduling conflicts prevented the latter from producing the Bongos' major label debut. Most of Glow's tracks were written in the studio; some, like "Girl," came together very quickly and others, like "Sanctified," became elaborate Visconti productions. The album utilizes lots of vintage synthesizers and obscure music-making devices that Tony had accumulated from working on sessions with Brian Eno, David Bowie, T. Rex and others.

Glow also features state-of-the-art gear that Barone picked up through his close collaboration with Gibson Guitars, including the Digital Les Paul guitar. Each string has the ability to be recorded on its own individual track. The title tune was written when Richard stopped by producer Steve Addabbo's studio to pick up a hard drive and showed him the prototype instrument. "Walking through Manhattan, I started hearing the arpeggio chords of 'Glow' in my head," says Barone, "Then some words and a melody became attached, set to the rhythm of my walking. When I got to the studio, I couldn't wait to show Steve the guitar, plug it in and demonstrate the possibilities. I started playing 'Glow' and asked if we could record it. It was amazing how quickly it came together."

Amid the high-tech studio recordings Glow also has some lo-fi parts that just sounded right in sequence. Garageband-generated "Radio Silence," recorded at home on a laptop, comes off as a Euro-Vision style four-on-the-floor classic. The Paul Williams co-written "Silence Is Our Song" is from a live radio broadcast on New York WFUV-FM DJ Vin Scelsa's "Idiot's Delight" program.

How did Barone end up writing with the guy who gave us such pop radio classics as "Rainy Days and Mondays" and "We've Only Just Begun?" Did you know Williams wrote the B Side to Tiny Tim's "Tip Toe Through the Tulips"? Richard did. He met Williams at a tribute show and the two writers from different eras immediately hit it off. After a number of delays Richard made it out to Paul's house in California and an all-day marathon writing session ensued. "I started strumming chords as he circled his living room spouting phrases I quickly jotted down on a yellow legal pad. We wrote like that all day," he says.

Another frequent Barone collaborator is Jill Sobule. Among other songs, Barone co-wrote "Bitter" for her album Pink Pearl and Sobule returned the favor on "Odd Girl Out." The song tells the true story of a lesbian teen in the pre-Stonewall days of the West Village. This time Richard scribbled down lyrics while Sobule strummed.


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