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The Renovators

The Renovators - Rhythm & Blueprints - 2000 - Berger Platters

A US based band whose last release I reviewed not so long back, The Renovators ply their trade in older styles like the rhythm & blues as performed by people like Little Richard, John Lee Hooker, BB King & the like, though definitely with their own stamp on things as well as having some of their own input & newer sounds as well. The album takes a good hard look back at what others have done & seeks to better it, with classic sounding tracks like "Everybody Loves The Blues", which draws on decades of blues history & the popularity of the blues with some great guitar work. An interesting inclusion here is the surf style guitar instrumental of "Bandaido", one of my favourites from the album, which sits perfectly in this company alongside great highlights such as the rather eclectic pacing of "I Don't Ski" & the countryish "Never Really Saw Your Face". The band have already achieved quite some success in getting airplay & with the release of this album, surely it will only improve. © Terry Allen, hEARd Webzine, Australia

The Renovators are four-piece from Bronxville, New York. This is their second album and it's a real goodie. I find it hard to dislike a band who let the sponsorship go so rampant that the CD booklet even tells you where they buy their ice cream, who can write a blues that begins, "I was talking to my career counselor via e-mail," and who can be so retro, so contemporary, and so original all at the same time. Not content with confining themselves to straight blues, (though there are a few tunes leaning towards the more sensible side of blues-rock) everything is blues-based. There are nods to many musical genres of the fifti es and sixties, from the heavy surf guitar instrumental "Bandaido", the rockabilly styled "Renovator's Boogie", the old time Rock 'n' Roll of "Something Else" and the jazz-blues of "You Snooze, You Lose" to a Hendrix-y ballad in "I Keep Dreamin'", the late sixties rock of "Special Ride" and the only less than excellent track, "Blue Reggae", which is singer/songwriter stuff with a Caribbean lilt. Elsewhere these guys show they know how to tear the house down with some jumping blues, and put a smile on your face as they do it. Yep, they can even write some genuinely witty material - take a listen to "I Don't Ski." It doesn't bother me that I don't either but I can certainly appreciate the sentiment. About the nearest I can come to this lot is Little Charlie & The Nightcats - but I doubt that Charlie & Co. could knock you up a conservatory with the same style as these guys (sorry, you'll just have to check the CD booklet). Rating: 9, © Norman Darwen, Blue Print Magazine, UK

A nice set of dyed-in-the wool, gutsy barroom blues played by a set of talented vets. The Renovators are best at straight-ahead blues/rock, but they demonstrate an impressive versatility, covering the entire spectrum of rhythm and blues: from country and rockabilly to jazz-inflected tunes. Fans of Blues will find this CD thoroughly enjoyable. © Jim Esch, Orange Street Press

Owners of The Loft Recording Studios in Bronxville, NY, brothers, Al and Ted Hemberger have toured with Robert Plant , Hall and Oates, and Peter Frampton -- among others. Rhythm and Blueprints shows The Renovators, to be accomplished bar blues players, with a bit of fun thrown in. There's some greatt ongue in cheek lyrics, with great vocals and backing harmonies. "Rhythm & Blueprints" is by no means a blues or blues rock album like the ones we are used to. Sone of the song themes are humourously quirky. Fishing and club dates are two of the quirky song themes ! Sounds odd, but the strong playing, and the humour of the band carry off these "themes", and make Rhythm and Blueprints a good album. The album has Latin, Motown, swing, rock 'n' roll, and jive influences. The musicianship is A1, with some really cool lead guitar licks, and terrific keyboard work. The album skirts around the blues a lot, but blues elements are always buried underneath the many musical elements on this album. Blues to lift your blues ! A very good album from this talented band. Try and listen to the band's great "Live at Pete's" album.


1. Rip up the House
2. Everybody Loves the Blues
3. Big One, The
4. Who's to Blame?
5. Renovator's Boogie
6. It's Been Done
7. Something Else
8. Bandaido
9. Never Really Saw Your Face
10. You Snooze, You Lose
11. Special Ride
12. Blue Reggae
13. I Don't Ski
14. I Keep Dreaming
15. Excavator

All songs composed by The Renovators


Bob Mayo (vocals, guitar, keyboards)
Bob Rasero (vocals, guitar)
Al Hemberger (vocals, bass, percussion)
Ted Hemberger (vocals, marimba, drums, percussion)


Intro/general thoughts: The Renovators are a four-man blues-rock band who are carpenters and contractors by day and great musicians at night. Their music is influenced by their career roots, and provides some innovative musical styles and topics. It is also responsible for their total image of hard-working rockers who enjoy building houses, playing the blues, and sex. Notable: These guys are truly an international band, with their music heard on radio stations in Canada, France, Spain, Australia, England, Germany, and Alaska. Highs: The Renovators have a great sense of humor, and put it in their music. From the double entendre'd and titillating, "The Big One," to the dream-dashing "It's Been Done" to their day-job appropriate "Bandaido." Lows: I honestly have no complaints about the band. They played 54 minutes of solid blues-rock with great production, excellent songwriting, and superb musicianship. What can I complain about, except that there's nothing to complain about? Favorite Lines: An excellent example of The Renovators humor -- at times they're dirty and overt, at other times they're subtle and dry, as in "It's Been Done." So I went to my therapist of the last twenty years She had cured my addition to sex and dark beers Eight hours a day for two years we consulted I was trying my best, but no progress resulted. Fans: If you love Albert Collins, Robert Cray, BB King, Elwood Splinters Blues Band, or even the Blues Persuaders (reviewed right here on Indie-Music.com!), you need to check out The Renovators. Indie-Notes: The Renovators are the first band I've ever seen to have full-color advertisements in their CD cover. Presumably they did it to help underwrite their printing and recording costs. The cover also incorporates their carpenter day jobs and sense of humor into the overall package they're promoting. Very creative and memorable. Summary: In the grand old style of today's modern blues and blues-rock, The Renovators provide a fresh feel for the music. Their music is influenced by, but not copied from, bands that are enjoying a revival on blues radio throughout the country. If there's a blues station in your area, call them and ask them why the hell they're not playing The Renovators. © Erik Deckers, Indie-Music.com

Calling neighbors KISM & KMTT! Rhythmic blues boys The Renovators have one very AAA-friendly record with "Who's To Blame?" adding a dash of jazzy salsa blues that you just gotta share! The thought provoking familiarity of "Never Really Saw Your Face" makes The Renovators Rhythm & Blueprints a seller waiting to be sold! © Get Fancy, February, 2000

The Renovators are good-time blues-rockers from downstate New York who specialize in comical tunes. Rhythm & Blueprints is a clever release that’s part blues, part classic rock. The band’s name alludes to guitarist Bob Rasero’s non-musical occupation: When he’s not playing guitar, Rasero renovates buildings. The remaining Renovators are also known for outside ventures: Brothers Ted (drums) and Al Hemberger (bass, vocals) own and operate The Loft Recording Studios in Bronxville, N.Y.. Bob Mayo is Peter Frampton’s longtime keyboardist, and he's also worked with sundry other classic rockers, including Aerosmith, Foreigner and Robert Plant. The Renovators favor catchy boogie riffs and witty wordplay. Though the tunes "It’s Been Done" and "I Don’t Ski" are a bit too flip for me, the remaining songs on Rhythm & Blueprints hit the spot. Especially funny is "The Big One," a ditty that likens fishing to sex. I’ll leave it to you to decipher the real message from these lyrics: "I cast my plug at my favorite hole/And felt a tug at my fishin’ pole/My bobber’s bobbin’/My rod is wobblin’/Feels like the big one!" Instrumentally, the Renovators incorporate a wider variety of styles than your average blues-rock outfit. "Rip Up The House" and "Excavator" are raucous rockers. "Everybody Loves the Blues" has an irresistible gospel groove. Led by Rasero's blazing guitar, the band stretches out on the surf-blues instrumental "Bandaido" and the atmospheric Hendrix-like "I Keep Dreaming." "Who's To Blame" has a slow Latin groove, while "You Snooze, You Lose" offers a swing beat. The band even tries its hand at a reggae-calypso hybrid on "Blue Reggae." It takes creative musicians to write infectious tunes, and it takes creative minds to write genuinely funny lyrics. The Renovators accomplish both on Rhythm & Blueprints. Rating: *** (out of ****) © Ed Kopp, AllAboutJazz.com, Popcorn Music Reviews

If anyone else ever has mounted this particular scheme for paying their recording bills I've never heard of it. The CD booklet is a 16-page color brochure on which appear ads for a dozen businesses in Maine and New York. My guess is that, in exchange for the pictures of their work places and the accompanying testimonials ("When the Renovators want ice cream they..."), these businesses put up the dough for the Renovators to record and press Rhythm & Blueprints. And you thought the Republicans and Democrats knew all the fund-raising tricks... Yeah, but the music is good, better even than last year's Sheetrock the House, because the Renovators have played together longer. The 15 songs on Rhythm are lighter and hold up better. The Renovators particularly bear listening to, because they're equally adept at straight blues rock and its more humorous cousin. Yes, you are allowed to laugh while singing or listening to the blues, and the Renovators do an excellent job turning just the right phrase to hit the funny bone. They open with "Rip Up the House," words generally uttered to indicate that the band is having a good night but in the case of carpenter/band leader Bob Rasero an obvious double entendre. Likewise "The Big One," an erstwhile fishing tale that takes on a more lewd tone when read closely. "You Snooze You lose," "It's Been Done" and "I Don't Ski" follow in the same vein. Want something more serious? Step into the rockin' blues of the instrumental "Renovator's Boogie" or the sweet, slow "Who's to Blame" on which either Rasero or Bob Mayo lays down some very tasty guitar. (Brothers Al and Ted Hemberger complete the group on bass and drums respectively.) There's a joshing tone to "Never Really Saw Your Face," but that slide acoustic opening screams serious Delta blues. Regardless of how they got Rhythm and Blueprints on the street, the Renovators have made a tasty, fun and funky record. © Face Magazine, Portland, Maine, October,1999

The name Renovators is a good gimmick and concept, it certainly works well as they integrate their activities in ‘their package’ However the music is more than strong enough to face the big wide world in its own right. After reviewing many blues CDs each year, I consider this as one of the best of its type for several years. I have nothing but admiration for The Renovators latest presentation entitled Rhythm and Blueprints. If you have been unlucky enough not to discover this band till now, you’ll note that they are a great uptempo blues band, by courtesy of the blues brothers Hemberger. Ted Hemberger on drums and Al Hemberger on bass and vocals, have made a name for themselves recording and playing throughout the Northeast. Also they own and operate The Loft Recording Studios in Bronxville, New York. All songs on this CD were composed and arranged by the Renovators and almost everything about Rhythm and Blueprints is sheer class. The production is first class and the musicians are fantastic. This is a sophisticated and progressive production. From the content of the disc to the cover notes there is a touch of humor that shines through together with the bands obvious freshness, clarity and and sheer joy. Their sound is rounded out by the meaty prowess of guitarist Bob Rasero, former sidekick to the legendary Coco. Incidentally, I hear that when Bob is not renovating music in his own studio, he is renovating buildings. And occasionally you can spot Bob along the shores of Portland, Maine tracking ‘The Big One’. The first track on this CD sets the tone with Rip Up the House which is about getting together with your drinking mates and working on the house; or at least ripping the place up ! Rhythm and Blueprints is incredibly varied with very funny lyrics and has a nice up-front sound about it, mostly upbeat and charming. The guys finish off their set with a funky, raunchy song Excavator which I guess is a tongue in cheek comment on their skills as renovators. You get over 50 minutes worth of blues on this disc and not much of it is sad. This blues musical formula has pleasant ideas and dreams thrown in. These guys are more than proficient at what they do. The guitarists know what they are doing, the vocals work, and the drums and bass keep everything on the right track. For sampling of their sound from both their CDs, Sheet Rock The House and Rhythm and Blueprints. Finally I hope this band continues to get the recognition that they deserve. It's one of the best CDs that I've heard this year. On a scale from one to ten, I give this performance a nine plus. © 1997, 1999 Fleurieu Communiations ® All rights reserved

If one is looking for a mainstream Blues album than this one may not be what is expected. This album is not one "Blues" tune after another. Most stay within the boundaries of the Blues genre, though some are just barely within the boundaries. This is a key attraction to the band, they have something new and entertaining around each bend. The Renovators take the listener on a musical journey of the melodic structure they've renovated just for the listener. Entering each song the listener gets the opportunity to visit familiar, not shocking, melodies that have gone through a renovation and now shine with a new vibrance and beauty. Another tool that these musical renovators use with skill is a unique sense of humor. The lyrics are skillfully crafted using double meaning word play as an art in itself. If The Renovators fail to bring a smile and a song in your heart, they can recommend a counselor. He may tell you that it's been done, but never as well as The Renovators. So give up, give in, and groove to Rhythm & Blueprints, it WILL change the way you think of Blues forever. This album got an excellent rating right down the line. Some of the songs were of a caliber that they could have been graded higher, but we have excellent as the highest possible grade, for this we apologize to The Renovators and our readers. © Larry, Downeast Reviews

This is what happens when true talent gets the freedom in the studio to record good, great, and FUN music. A super-high quality recording that really covers the Blues map well, this independent release this independent release is as good or better than the major label Blues. Masterfully recorded, performed and written, the upbeat tunes (particularly "Renovator's Boogie") are KILLER. Guitar players note: THICK Fender tones ahead; the Renovators are coming! © Renegade Newsletter, May 2000


Need a change of view? Call The Renovators! Adjustments to the spirit? Installments of humor? Try The Renovators!! A new attic or front porch? RENOVATORS!!!! They have the tools. They know the styles. The Berger Brothers, Ted Hemberger on drums and Al Hemberger on bass and vocals, have made a name for themselves recording and playing throughout the Northeast. They own and operate The Loft Recording Studios in Bronxville, New York, hosting such artists as Christina Aguilera, Don Philip, Mandy Moore, Britney Spears, NSYNC, Richard Shindell, Southside Johnny, Martika, Milo Z, Procol Harum, Robin Trower, Dave Koz, and The Skatalites. Bob Mayo, keyboards, has toured and recorded with Peter Frampton, Aerosmith, Foreigner, Robert Plant, Dan Fogelberg, and Hall and Oates. The sound is rounded out by the meaty prowess of guitarist/buddy Bob Rasero, former sidekick to the legendary Coco. A consumate Renovator, when Bob is not Renovating music in his own studio, he is Renovating BUILDINGS. And sometimes he can be seen along the shores of Portland, Maine tracking The Big One. © www.bellyup4blues.com/bands/renovators

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