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Old 04-21-2013, 04:07 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default The Ditty Bops

OK, this review is going to start with what will appear to be a COMPLETELY off-topic story, I am going somewhere with it, please bear with me for about a couple/three paragraphs. The apparent sidebar anecdote is totally germane to my review.

At the time (last few days of 2004/first few days of 2005) I was the manager at a Radio Shack store. RS is one of the worst places to work (according to this survey #3 on the worst list), and this was one of my worst experiences. I & my team had just finished the year end inventory of the entire store, and I was told on December 30th that I had to recount the entire store AGAIN on January 1st. Yikes. Well, I hated to tell my team this and they hated to hear it, but there was nothing I could do. Except maybe quit. I probably should have, but I decided at the time that I wanted to keep my job.

So, late on New Year Day of '05 we scan every little last item in the store. Once the items are scanned, they are fed into a computer which spits out a reconcile report (the difference between what was counted and what the computer showed was onhand). The reconcile is 99% of the inventory. By the time the reconcile prints, it's now almost midnight. I put together the reports for my team members, and started looking for them. And looking for them. They had left, leaving me and another store manager to complete my inventory.

I have never been this pissed in my life. This would have been an all night job even with the team members who were now long gone. But it's just me and another guy now, this inventory would still be going when I opened the store the next morning. I am SPITTING MAD and just BELLOWING. MotherFUCKER! So here I am just fuming and shrieking profanity for several hours, all the while I was playing an eclectic mix satellite radio station on the stereo system. Then, something amazing and miraculous happened which changed my life forever.




This music just grabbed me and stopped me dead in my tracks. WTF was this??? I'd never heard anything quite like it, it sounded like bluegrass meets side two of Led Zeppelin III with the strangest image-inducing lyrics and one of the sweetest female voices I'd ever heard. I forget all about how angry I was and check the song ID, "Ooh La La" by The Ditty Bops.

So, after what turned out to be a 36 hour shift at my store, I finally get home and do a Google search. I find the album, and see that it's available from Amazon dot com. I ordered the album on the strength of that one listen to that one song. Then I passed out.




Then.....the wait

For WHATEVER reason, this order from Amazon-dot-fvcking-com took almost a month to complete. (side note, I never really forgave them for this, I still only order through Amazon if I can't find something elsewhere) The only saving grace in this was that their entire album was posted to their website, along with several fan video recordings of live shows. The Ditty Bops eponymous debut album became the only album I ever almost totally burned out before I even got the CD.

Which might have been true for a lot of albums, but not this. This album totally dominated 2005 for Paul Smeenus. I saw them twice that year, and became a total drooling fanboy for life.

The Ditty Bops are Abby DeWald (guitar and vocals) and Amanda Barrett (vocals, mandolin and sunrdy assorted instruments)



....and in the original lineup they employed Greg Rutledge on piano & accordian & John Landon on lead guitar & violin (and a series of standup bassists in studio)

The opening track on this magnificent Mitchell Froom produced debut is "Walk or Ride".




This is an Abby composition (their songs are usually distinctly either Abby or Amanda in style). One of the things that endears me to this is that for most of my life I've been a non driver and in those years I mainly got around on my bicycle



... as such I just loved the lyric

"But I'm feeling quite confused by the people who refuse to see
A simple way of life don't make you the loser
They say we won't make it far if we don't drive there in a car,
We'll be there with time to spare and find our own way home"

The second track is also an Abby song, "Wishful Thinking"



This song has a whimsical, almost Hawaiian vibe to it. I love the chorus, and the final line

"If the sky should open it's eyes and cry from up above
Let's shed some tears of joy and fall in love"

This segues into the aforementioned Amanda-penned "Ooh La La"




The imagery of this is incredible, picturing a wild taboo love affair in an Ozark, hillbilly setting, with three beautiful children complicating the affair. Consider the lyric

"Mama buried Pop atop the roof where he slept
One Leg on each side of pointed shingles"

This is on my short list of favorite songs by anyone, in any genre, ever. Especially in the remarkable way I stumbled across it.

The next song is without question the most all-time popular song from this album, their gloriously happy rendition of the 1915 "Sister Kate" by AJ Peron and Clarence Williams, at that time considered to be quite the naughty tune:



I've video-recorded (with the ladies permission) this song twice, once in June of 2005 and again in their 2006 concert in Portland OR which I uploaded to YouTube. The "Sister Kate" performance was moved here and replaces, the other follows this review



(much more and I do mean MUCH more on the 9/12/2006 show in my next review)

I gotta tell you, it just doesn't get any more fun than this.

Track 5 is "Breeze Black Night", one of my favorite Abby compositions, with it's wind-chime opening...



The next song is the Abby penned "Gentle Sheep", a wonderful social commentary. I love the lyrics to this song. All of them. Were this vinyl (which I would pay a LOT for if it existed) this song would conclude side one.



Amanda's "Pale Yellow" would then open side two. Apparently, her first spoken word as a baby was, in fact, "beer", which contributes to the song title and is specifically mentioned in the lyrics. Amanda's voice is effing gorgeous in this sweet song.




"Four Left Feet" is the first of MANY of Abby's waltzes (virtually every album contains one, sometimes even two). She's really good at this. I like this song a lot even though I would pick this as this first album's down moment. Any time the weakest song on an album is still thoroughly enjoyable, you are definitely dealing with greatness.




"There's A Girl" is also a quarter-notch below the rest of this album IMO, and like "Four Left Feet" I still enjoy it a lot. I hear a lot of Everly Brothers influence in this.




Then comes the gorgeous "Unfortunate Few". The amateur live video recording of this was my favorite of those that were featured on their original website, but no longer seems to be on YouTube (their website has totally changed, for reasons that will be explained in future reviews, I intend to review the entire Bops catalog)




Then comes Amanda's "Short Stacks". This video by Amanda's BFF Michael Lucid tells a story, a cut & paste animation of little ghost girl visiting her grieving family. It literally made me bawl when I first saw this



Then the great finale to this great album. "Wake Up" is Amanda's social commentary about breaking free from the restrictive norms of workaday society and becoming your own expressive self




BUT....there is then a hidden track. I only know the name of this track because Abby told me after the first show I attended in Seattle when they opened for Tegan & Sara. It is not credited on the album. "In The Life You Wrote" is a quiet and I do mean QUIET reflection on someone who recently had passed, I don't know who unfortunately. I can find no reference to it at all on the internet, other than a listing of Google searches (my own?) and passing mention of a hidden track. Which is a pity, because it's brilliant and deserves attention.

Next review: Moon Over The Freeway (2006)

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Old 04-22-2013, 12:23 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default

This is from the June 2005 show I taped (with permission) here in Seattle. I'm quite certain it's a cover song, I don't know who wrote it but it's likely to be from the first half of the 20th century. If anyone can tell me who wrote this I I'd be very appreciative. It's not on any Bops album or EP.

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Old 04-23-2013, 12:22 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Moon Over The Freeway (2006)





As I stated in my previous review, The Ditty Bops eponymous debut album completely dominated 2005 for me. And as also stated I saw two Bops shows that year, the first opening for Tegan and Sara on March 10th (mini review) and again on June 25th (mini review). At each of those shows, I heard songs that weren't from the debut album. Both were very good, entertaining shows by an indie group I'd become completely spun out on, small but fun and musically rewarding nights at the famed Crocodile Cafe in Seattle. Little did I know at the time at these two events that 1. some of those songs I hadn't previously heard prior to those shows would become part of their 2006 follow-up, Moon Over The Freeway, and 2. when it came to Ditty Bops concerts, I hadn't seen ANYTHING yet.

Before I discuss the album, I want to take a moment (ok, a megamoment) to talk about that 2006 U.S. tour, as far as I know one that is utterly unique in modern music history. That is not hyperbole*. If this type of tour has ever been done, on this scale, before or since, I haven't heard about it

(*And if there's one thing I do love, it's hyperbole. In fact I enjoy hyperbole eleventy-nine quadrabazillion times more than every man, woman, and child that has ever been born, or ever *will* be born, combined. Times Four. Billion. Cubed.)

They started in their home neighborhood in the Silver Lake area of Los Angeles, went north to the SF Bay area, points in between, then headed east over the Sierras, through the desert southwest, across the Rockies, through Texas, The Great Plains, through Appalachia and finally NYC......

On BICYCLES.

That's right. Their crew drove vans carrying their stage gear, but the ladies pedaled approx. 4700 miles across the country.

http://thedittybopsbiketour.blogspot.com/


Then, from there they flew to Seattle and played a show, the only reason I didn't go is 1. I was still a slave at Radio Shack and couldn't go, 2. I'd taken my vacation starting the following day and had tickets to see them with friends and family at the Aladdin Theater in Portland two nights later. In any case, they then pedaled the approx. 200 miles to the Portland show.

As good as the previous shows were, they were simply entertaining small shows. I absolutely did NOT expect the full-on headline-act-force-to-be-reckoned-with event that I, my friends and family, and my trusted mini-DV camcorder saw that night. Including an opening act (Datri Bean) that had me so floored that I almost broke my neck RUNNING to the merch table after the opening set to buy her CD. I will post one of the songs from MOTF I recorded and uploaded to YouTube in the main body of the review, but there is one unbelievably charming song I posted on my channel that isn't on any album, so I will post it here



So after my amazed camera ran out of tape as the last song ended two hours after the first had began (the previous shows were both under 50 minutes) I went up to the stage where Amanda was talking to some fans. I had DVD's for her and Abby that I'd made from the 6/25/05 show, and I wanted to get them to her. She thanked me and as always was totally nice and gracious....but to my utter shock I also noticed that, having just put on this incredible show, she was *sick* and I mean snarfling, sneezing, coughing. And I found out that Abby was even sicker. These women are super heroes in my eyes.




That was posted as an explanation as to why they wouldn't be able to ride the 120 miles from Portland to Eugene.

SO.....the album, Moon Over The Freeway. I didn't think it would be possible but it's EVEN BETTER that their magnificent 1st album. And then some.

When I got this CD in the mail and put it in my CD player, I pumped my fist in the air in joyous celebration. The title track that opens the album was one of my favorite songs on the 6/25/05 DVD I'd made! (the song is playing in the Bicycle Tour video I posted above).




Then comes "Angel With An Attitude". I absolutely love this song, but there's no YouTube that I deemed good enough to post here or I absolutely PROMISE you I would have. AWAA is about as rowdy as the Bops get, IMO.



"Fall Awake" is one of the best of the Abby penned soft/quiet songs. It was wonderful on the Portland '06 DVD. It also is the perfect song to follow the raucous "Angel/Attitude"



In an album full of all-time favorite Bops songs, track 4, "Aluminium Can" may be my favorite of all.





The next track was actually something I'd heard about the year prior (2005) from a good friend in Indianapolis. He had attended a Bops show there, and evidently there was some gynophobic bellowing heckling lout in the audience. Abby pointed the guy out, said "This is for you!" and then, as my friend had told the story, the ladies just cut this pathetic loudmouth to fecking ribbons. He (my friend) was amazed. Turns out the heckler had been served with "Fish To Fry". I recognized it as the song my friend had described instantly.




Nothing, at all, lets up with "In The Meantime".



Then, it's time for Abby's waltz, and like the previous album it's the down moment of MOTF and like the previous album, "It's A Shame" is wonderful, an even prettier waltz than "Four Left Feet" from the first album.



Then, back into the world of amazing and wonderful, "Waking Up In City" is a comic view of a world polluted beyond recognition.




Crimony this is a great album.

"Falling Upside Down" is a lovely Amanda song, her voice is simply gorgeous throughout, but especially in the chorus.



"Get Up And Go" even challenges "Angel With An Attidude" in the raucous department.




By this time when MOTF received it's first play on my system I was simply astounded. The album that had utterly dominated the previous year had been one-upped in a scale I'd never even imagined possible.

Then, a cover of the Everly Brothers (actually written by Felice and Boudleaux Bryant) "Bye Bye Love". OK, forget what I said about "It's A Shame", this is the down moment of MOTF but it's still wonderful, whimsical, and flawlessly performed.



"Nosy Neighbor" is yet ANOTHER brilliant song, about someone who gets too deep into the dark behind-closed-doors goings-on of a small southern town



Then, maybe the most razor-witted biting-sarcasm-with-a-pretty-smile song I've ever heard closes this magnificent album



(truly magical performance of this here by your humble reviewer)

As great as every Ditty Bops album is, Moon Over The Freeway is their masterpiece

Next review: Pack Rat (EP, 2007)

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Old 05-05-2013, 10:52 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Pack Rat (EP - 2007)




This EP was made from tracks that were recorded during the period of late 2004-2006 but not included on the first two albums that I previously reviewed. Which would usually indicate a lower quality than the albums that the songs weren't selected for, especially when one considers the extremely high start-to-finish quality of the eponymous first album and the brilliant "Moon Over The Freeway". However, this collection of songs really amazed me. These songs were top shelf quality, all of them, and whatever the process was that omitted this little gem from those two great albums, I just love Pack Rat.

Consider the opening track, "Dead And Gone". There was no uploads, at all, of this song. At some point in the future I may upload one of the songs from this EP that I recorded here in Seattle in June 2005 (an appropriately named song I might add), but for now I will only upload this opening track. I don't know the whole story but clearly this is a song about a seriously abusive relationship, made all the more biting and sarcastic by the smiling upbeat tempo and texture of the song



Next is the song I recorded in June 2005 at the Crocodile Cafe in Seattle, the sweet, pretty, and appropriately named "June Gloom". As I said I will upload this recording to YouTube as time allows, with the caveat that, at that show that night, there was some IDIOT standing next to me that would NOT fecking STFU. I was sorely tempted to offer the guy $50 to either shut up or GTFO of earshot of my camcorder, but I didn't.

The next lovely track is "Taking Me The Wrong Way" A very good performance video here, although there's about 30 seconds of intro to skip through



Next is the almost ridiculously charming "Look Outside", even this EP contains one Abby-penned waltz, and as usual it's lovely. I can find no upload of this, even Spotify doesn't have Pack Rat, and it's out of print and next to impossible to find, so unless I decide to upload this (not ruling it out) it's gonna be a case of taking my word for how pretty this song is.

Then, the uber-fecking-delightful title song closes this incomprehensibly under-appreciated (even by Bops fans) EP




Up next: Summer Rains (2008)

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Old 05-06-2013, 05:50 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Summer Rains (2008)

EDIT: This entire thread was deleted over a Google complaint (gee I WONDER who filed that complaint, certainly not someone who proudly BOASTS about filing complaints with Google over anything and EVERYTHING imaginable, including countless of his own posts, over being all butthurt over being banned for being a colossal doosh for years. No, I'm quite certain it was just some random blue-haired old ladies perusing Music Banter. Yeah, that's probably it). So seeing as the album cover of the Bops third album is SO OFFENSIVE I asked the inimitable Plankton to put some clothes on Amanda and Abby. He is amazing and did a fantastic job. I thank him, and also the mods Janszoon and Vanilla for helping restore this thread I worked on for MONTHS last year.



Change was afoot in 2008, and although that year's release by the Bops had me thinking they could just keep turning these amazing albums out one after another after another, Summer Rains was in fact a turning point. This was to be the last album the Bops would release as a band, and the first that they would market and distribute on their own, severing ties with record labels and Amazon dot com's distribution. After this album, things would be wonderful but totally different for my favorite female duo.

This album, however, is right there with the first two albums musically. The album kicks off with the beautiful title track




Then another episode of loveliness, "When's She Coming Home"





Then, just when you think maybe the ladies have left behind the upbeat swing style that had marked the first two albums, along comes "Skinny Bones". This song just launched me into the stratosphere when I first spun this album back then. The subject of the song is pretty obvious, Amanda is blasting her critics, and rightly so. I fecking love love LOVE "Skinny Bones". An absolutely incredible live in studio performance from the same session as the "Summer Rains" video I just posted





Then, the ladies ask the musical question:





Here we are, the third album, and not one weak track. This continues with the lovely "Next Best Thing", which is kinda the first glimpse into what the Bops were about to come, from the swing-influenced group that I had grown to love to the acoustic duo that I would be falling in love with on future albums





The band returns for the lovely "Because We Do". Another song I absolutely love





Then, the very good "Interlude For Ten Strings", Abby flexes her guitar playing muscle here




Then "I Stole Your Wishes", not that there were many that didn't either know or suspect but this is the ladies "coming out" that they are in fact lovers. Good for them. I always believed that they were, and I applaud any and all that proclaim themselves to be true to what they are.

*edit: The original video was replaced, I'll re-post the wedding video later in the thread

The song itself is a lot of fun, I love the string bass





"All Over You" continues the fun, by this time I was convinced that these ladies were simply incapable of anything else





"Feel From The Outside" is lovliness that again brings up a glimpse as to what the ladies would become on future albums, also featuring Jesca Hoop






Then, the final song with full band, the wonderful "Weeds Are Winning"





Summer Rains, and with it the band era of the Ditty Bops, concludes with the sweet, sweet sweet "Sugar and Spice"





As I've stated throughout, the albums (including EP's), and for that matter, tours, that followed would be very different. Up Next: Songs For Steve (EP - 2009)

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Old 05-12-2013, 12:57 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Songs For Steve

Again, change was afoot in the late 2000's in Ditty Bops world. Summer Rains was the third straight nearly perfect band-driven project by Amanda and Abby, and the show that year was another amazing performance, with guitarist/violinist John Landon and Keyboardist Greg Rutledge opening the show with their thoroughly enjoyable Ice Cream Truck project




....So, in 2009 my work got the better of me and I missed the release of the two EP's that year, Songs For Steve and The Color Album (my next review). Then, in late July of that year the Bops went on tour, I got tickets to see them with a lady friend in Portland, at the Aladdin Theater there (this would be the third straight time I'd witnessed their performances at that venue).

What I didn't realize is that a record-breaking heat wave would take place on those days. I was taking Amtrak from Seattle to Portland, under ordinary conditions I would've made it to the Union Station with hours to spare, but because of the baking temperatures the train had to s-l-o-w d-o-w-n because the fecking rails were softened by the heat. I have a hard time wrapping my head around the idea that even these scorching temps were hot enough to soften iron rails, but that was their story and they were sticking to it.

So as it turned out I juuuuuuust barely had time to check into my room, hail a cab, pick up my friend in the Alphabet District, then cross the Ross Island Bridge to the Aladdin. It was so fecking hot it was just stupid. Both me and my friend were withering. THANK GOD the venue had a/c....

So, when we take our seats, I'm puzzled by the stage set-up. Or, more to the point, the complete lack. No piano, no amps, nothing but two chairs and mics lowered to the seated vocalists and their instruments. Had they not set up yet? Had the heat delayed them too? Was this the set for the opening act?

Then, the ladies came out alone. I had been preparing my friend for the band experience I'd seen four times previous. As they came out alone, Abby and Amanda and their instruments, for the first time in my 4 1/2 years of following the Bops career, I felt a tinge of disappointment.

Then, the ladies put on the prettiest, most thoroughly gorgeous ninety minutes of acoustic duo music I'd ever witnessed. Both myself and my friend were in awe of how fecking beautiful this night of music was, and neither of us will ever forget it. I will be referring to this event in my next review for The Color Album, but for now I'll focus on Songs for Steve.

The opening track sets the tone and the theme for SfS, "Heaven Isn't For The Angels". Songs for Steve was recorded in the ladies own living room after hearing of the death of their dear friend Steve Zinn, who was tragically lost in a mororcycle accident earlier that year. Consider the album art:



...this six song dedication to the life of this man, who in the ladies words "reminds us everyday to be totally rad!", begins with "Heaven Isn't For The Angels"



The next song is more loveliness, "Take My Hand Monchichi". I'm not as sure as to the meaning of this song as I am with "Heaven/Angels" but is appears to take place on a mountainside camping trip. If I were to guess it's possibly a tender moment near the tragic end of Steve Zinn's life.



The next song was so effing gorgeous at the performance at the Aladdin that both myself and my friend were on the edge of tears, it was so staggeringly beautiful we were both in total awe, and neither of us will ever forget hearing "Dancing In The Moon" that night.




Next is "Somebody's Gone", another gorgeous song of mourning and remembrance.



Actually, the entirety of Songs for Steve is gorgeous songs of mourning and remembrance. Another stunning song from the Portland event, "Where Are You Now"




This EP concludes with "Pink Motor Helmet". I wish I had a chance to know Steven Zinn. He must've been a remarkable man.




Thus ends Songs For Steve. Up Next: The Color Album

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Old 05-20-2013, 12:28 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Default The Color Album EP




There was another fundamental shift in the Bops after the previous album of mourning and remembrance of the tragic passing of ladies dear friend Steve Zinn. Their lyrics on all the previous albums contained many positive, upbeat themes, but also many with a very sarcastic tone (such as some of my favorites "Fish To Fry" and "Your Head's Too Big"). Starting with "The Color Album" they became almost entirely positive, even up to the point of love songs from the perspective of two cats on future albums. They never said so anywhere that I'm aware of, but I believe that they meant it when they said of Zinn "He reminds us everyday to be totally rad!". I have to admit that I kinda miss the bite of some of the first three albums, but that doesn't diminish the fact that every song on "The Color Album" is a lovely piece of music. The obvious theme of this is that each song represents a color of the rainbow.

The opening track represents red, at least that's the only connection to color I can find with "Heart On My Sleeve" (the rest of the songs on this EP are much more clearly identifiable as color-themed). This song is charming and whimsical





This is followed by "Under The Orange Sun", which was one of the songs from this EP that they performed on that sweltering night of July 29th 2009 at the Aladdin Theater in Portland as mentioned in my previous review. Again, charm and whimsy abound, but also a new trend in Abby's playing begins to emerge here. She has become by this time absolutely fabulous at being her own bass player. This will become even more apparant on the next album





Then comes "Lemon Tree", this actually really reminds me of their opening act at the magnificent aforementioned 9/12/06 show that I recorded, Datri Bean, old-timey and fun.




Then comes the lovely "Evergreen", also very 1920's, this was played at the Aladdin that steamy day in Portland.




The mood then quiets down with "Blue I'm Blue", another song played at the 7/29/09 scorcher





Without any question, my favorite song from that show on that blistering night and my favorite song on The Color Album is "Indigo Eyes". This is one beautiful song, my friends...




The next color is Violet, which happens to be the seventh color of the rainbow, in this song titled "Seventh Ray"




Then, an homage to their hometown, smoggy Los Angeles, the ridiculously charming "Pink City".




Next up, the first full length album since 2008, "Love Letters" (2011)

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Old 08-07-2013, 02:24 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Love Letters (2011)



By 2011, the Bops had shed every microfiber of "edge" that so permeated their early work. There was not so much as a particle of the rapier sarcasm that was so abundant on songs such as "Gentle Sheep", "Wake Up", "Fish To Fry" or "Your Head's Too Big". They had ditched their crack band, no John Lambdin, no Greg Rutledge, just the two by-now married women. Two women who are apparently utterly incapable of writing or recording ANYTHING that doesn't command the listeners attention. Like every album before, "Love Letters" is one wonderful song after the next, front to back. It is also the first full length album released since 2008's "Summer Rains", and from the way things look right now (as of the 2013 original posting of this review and as of this edit in March 2016), the last ever Bops album written and conceived as an album. (There will be one more review after this)

Also, I can not find one singular YouTube video, even amateur ones, of any song from this album, so I'm forced to use Spotify links. My apologies to those unable to access them.

PSYCH! I found the whole album yesterday! YouTubes forthcoming...

This final album opens with the title track. There is a taste of what has become of Abby's playing that runs throughout "Love Letters". Having by this time no band behind her, her playing has evolved to a point where she has become her own bass player. I realize that there's a basic element of that in most guitarists, but she has really become brilliant at it by 2011.




The next track is the completely charming 'Marion" (Although the way it is sung, it seems to be about someone named "Mario").




This is followed by my absolutely favorite track on "Love Letters", the transcendentally gorgeous "The Pretty Girl Got Away". It boggles my comprehension that at this late stage of their careers these women could continue to pen such works of this astonishing magnitude of beauty.




This is followed by the delightful "I Wish I Could".




"Waste Away" is almost as staggeringly beautiful as "The Pretty Girl Got Away". A side note, there is YouTube clip of a song called "Waste Away" from their 2004 show (I don't recall an internet show at that time, I think it was produced for local independent cable access TV), but it's a totally different song.



Beautiful harmonies run throughout "Still Inside". A Ditty Bops song with beautiful harmonies, what a concept! 8^P




I absolutely LOVE "Wandering Eye". I recall a great performance of this song the last time I ever saw them just over 2 years ago in Seattle.




"Charlotte" is a song of dreamy, ethereal beauty.




"Jealous Of The Sun" is a joyful number, another that features Abby's self-accompanying bass lines.




"The Windy Song" continues the loveliness. These ladies simply are not capable it seems of anything else.




And if there's one spectacular example of Abby's development as her own bass player, it is with no question in my mind "Sad Song Of My Heart". Maybe the fact that I'm a bass player makes me hyper-aware of this, but I am totally drawn in by this element of Abby's playing at this stage.




And if there's an equally spectacular example of the COMPLETE absence of the "edge" that permeated the early albums, it would easily be "Lady In My House". This is a love song about two CATS, fercryin'outloud. And yet, they pull it off. It's wonderful.




"Love Letters" concludes with the wistful "Gone Fishin'". A lovely end to a beautiful album and a magnificent recording career.




There would be one more release, 2012 "Jelly For President"...
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Old 08-08-2013, 02:02 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Default A brief word about "Jelly For President"

OK, as stated in the final paragraph of the "Love Letters" review, I felt duty-bound to cover the final release, "Jelly For President - Yes We Jam". So I started to listen to it on Spotify.

I was wrong about it being a collection of unreleased recordings. The Bops were just having fun with the election. Duh. Well, as the title suggests, it's about a cute little koala, with a cute little voice, talking about how he was gonna run on the platform of having fun.

Jelly For President

It's cute cute cute cute cute. TOO cute. I can't finish this. This is my all time favorite female duo, and I want to remember them that way. It's not that it's bad, the music is their fine throwback usual style, but the WAY Over the top cutesy just ruins it. I can't finish it. I'm going to consider "Love Letters" the end of an amazing 7 year career and call it good.

I see this review thread has some 550 views but I've yet to hear from a single person about this series of reviews. I know I've gotten a few people interested in the Bops from playing them (possibly way too much) in Plug, But I would like to know if someone, anyone, got anything out of this series of reviews. If not, this was a labor of love and I"m glad I did it anyway.
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Old 08-10-2013, 04:59 PM   #10 (permalink)
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GREAT thread Paul!! The question I would have to ask is how can anyone NOT love the Ditty Bops.

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