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Crack The Sky

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Crack The Sky - Cut - 1998 - Stepford Wives Records

This album, after a nine year absence, was a comeback of sorts for Crack The Sky. And it's not a bad effort. Although it does sound as if they are trying too hard to capture the sound of the early records. But now with four guitarists, these guy can blast out some rock! First, there's a remake (with a harder edged tone) of "We Want Mine", originally from the "Animal Notes" album. There's "Why Me?", which sounds quite a bit like "Flashlight" from "Safety In Numbers", "Oh, Madonna" sounds like "Lighten Up McGraw" from the same album, and "Cut (The Sequel)" sounds like it could have originally been on the "White Music" album (yet with this grouping, they push it enough to sound good). The best, and most prog song, is "The Art Of Wondering". With it's loud unison intro and middle section, and slow funky bass behind the vocal sections, it's a joy to listen to. There are some throw away songs, too, like the silly rap of "Hey Earl", and the silly blues of "Little Stinky". This album showed that there was still some life left in this band. ***/5 © Evolver 3/5 2009-7-2 © Prog Archives, All rights reserved http://www.progarchives.com/Review.asp?id=224195

Crack the Sky is a progressive rock band formed in Weirton, West Virginia, USA in the early 1970s. In 1975, Rolling Stone Magazine declared their first album "debut album of the year", and in 1978, Rolling Stone Record Guide compared them to Steely Dan. Despite this, they have had only meagre success in the Baltimore area due to poor record promotion and distribution on behalf of Lifesong Records, but continue to release albums to a small, but devoted fan base to this day. The band completed a new concept album in 2007, entitled The Sale, which features the return of original bassist Joe Macre performing and co-producing the record with John Palumbo. "Cut" has received many mediocre reviews and like so many other albums from CTS, will always be compared to their first 1975 debut s/t album. This is a curse that has befallen many artists. It's just not realistic for a band to produce classic album after classic album, and many music critics' expectations remain too high. "Cut" is not a classic album, but at least eight of the tracks are good and retain the band's unique sound. Listen to the band's "Live Sky" album. CTS's "Rare!" album is @ CTS/RARE The band's "From The Greenhouse" album is @ CTS/FTG N.B: FTG album link is on batubia.com Scroll down page. The DL link is under "website hosting". Click the green arrow


1 Why Me? 4:48
2 Cut (The Sequel) 5:08
3 Oh Madonna 5:52
4 God 4:19
5 Eye To Eye 4:25
6 The Art Of Wondering 5:10
7 We Want Mine (Still) 4:33
8 Hey Earl 3:39
9 I'm Gonna Kill Myself 3:19
10 Little Stinky 1:22

All songs composed by John Palumbo except Tracks 6 & 8 by Palumbo,Tracey, Zebron


Guitar, Keyboards, Piano, Lead Vocals - John Palumbo
Guitar - Rick Witkowski , Ron Zebron
Guitar, Vocals - Bobby Hird
Bass Guitar - Carey Ziegler
Drums, Vocals - John Tracey
R. Brown - LeadVocals on "Hey Earl"
Ali Palumbo, Kara Gilanelli - Additional Vocals


The band CRACK THE SKY started in the Ohio River valley (the members are originally from the Pittsburgh, PA area; John came from West Virginia to Pittsburgh). Originally named ARCANGEL, they became Crack the Sky when they signed with Lifesong records. They broke first in Pittsburgh, and eventually "emigrated" to and were "adopted" by the Baltimore, MD area. They recorded albums and played live shows with various personnel changes from the mid '70's until the late '80's. They played an original mix of quirky rock and roll with many time changes and switch-ups mixed in with a few Beatles-esque touches. Originally fronted by John Palumbo, the group's initial lineup also included Jim Griffiths (guitar), Rick Witkowski (guitar), Joe Macre (bass) and Joey D'Amico (drums). They were quasi-adopted by the Baltimore radio station, WIYY (98 Rock); this station above all others continued to play the classic hits from the band, and ended up sponsoring their reunion shows at Hammerjacks nightclub in 1986-1988. Their first album "Crack The Sky", released in 1975, was declared album of the year by Rolling Stone magazine, and contained such "cult" hits as Ice, Hold On/Surf City and She's A Dancer. Unfortunately, it never got promoted very well, and failed to catch on with the public. This was followed by their second in 1976, "Animal Notes", which contained such songs as Rangers At Midnight and Maybe I Can Fool Everybody (Tonight), was more quirky and less accessible than the first album, but good, nonetheless. Unfortunately it fared as well or worse than thier first album. John Palumbo left the band in 1978 during the writing of their third album, "Safety In Numbers", which resulted in songs on the first half of the album having words & lyrics by John, but the second half having words & lyrics by assorted (remaining) band members. John's leaving was "due clearly to a divergence in artistic direction." While many thought that losing John would damage the band, they were able to put together a good third album, followed by a tour which received rave reviews and produced their fourth, live album in 1978, "Live Sky". ("This band has come all the way down from an acid trip just to play for you...") This is an excellent example of the band live, with replacement vocalist Gary Lee Chappell, and credits (for the first time) Vince DePaul on keyboards, although he had played keyboards for the band on previous live outings. (I can't count the number of people I've talked to who saw Crack The Sky open for some band or other, and said that Crack basically blew the other band off the stage - that the headliner was a let-down after Crack played!) After Live Sky the band put out a greatest hits collection in 1980 titled Classic Crack. After leaving the band, John P. pursued a solo career, putting out the album Innocent Bystander in 1978. You can see the pain he was going through at the time, as many of the songs revolve around living through relationships dying (Dear, Dear), related change-of-life issues (It's Okay To Die, The Crying Father From Idaho) and also a song addressing how/why he left the band (Madness On Comet Way). After "Live Sky" the band broke up, but soon came back together in 1980 in their third incarnation of John Palumbo, Rick Witkowski and Vince DePaul to create the album "White Music", rumored to be a contractual obligation album. This album spawned such radio hits as All American Boy and Hot Razors In My Heart, and helped fans discover or renew their interest in the band. Unfortunately, soon after the album was released, the band broke up again, ostensibly for good. After that, in 1981, John once again re-formed the band in its fourth incarnation, with Vince DePaul (keyboards), Carey Ziegler (bass), Michael Taylor (guitar) and John Tracey (drums), and put out the album "Photoflamingo". This album received less-than-rave reviews from the critics and public, and today is one of the bands least well- known albums. As John wrote all the music and lyrics for the album, CRACK THE SKY began to become thought of as "his band", which caused him both joy and suffering for many years afterwards. The next offering from the band came in 1983 with "World In Motion I", yet another disappointment for the band. It never got much airplay other than Mr DJ, and the album itself was very hard to find in stores, eventually virtually totally disappearing from the record bins. The lack of acceptance of this album probably contributed to John again calling an end to the band, and the same year put out "The End", the bands supposed swan song. The album contained a collection of live songs from some previous albums as well as a couple of new (or previously unreleased) offerings. At this point, it seemed that CRACK THE SKY was finally gone forever, as John P. had grown to feel it like an albatross around his neck. He continued to pursue his solo career and released "Blowing Up Detroit" in 1984, which contained which contained such songs as Blowing Up Detroit and Drifting Back To Motown. Band members Carey Zeigler, John Tracey, Bobby Hird and Vince DePaul went on to form the local Baltimore band No Heroes, which played some Crack tunes as well as original tunes. Eventually, in 1986 John decided to make another CRACK THE SKY album, "Raw". He once again wrote all the words & lyrics, as well as produced the album. There were no previous band members on this album; the only other artist listed in the credits is Jamie LaRitz (guitar). Many fans did not deem this a "real" CRACK THE SKY album, as John was the only previous band member on the album. He apparently felt the tug of the CRACK THE SKY legend, or the laments of the fans, as he decided to resurrect the band for a series of live shows in 1986 at the Baltimore, MD club Hammerjacks. The band, consisting of mostly-original members John (guitar/vocals), Rick Witkowski (lead guitar), Joey D'Amico (drums/vocals), Vince DePaul (keyboards) and Carey Ziegler (bass/vocals) played three nights in March 1986 to an enthusiastic, sold-out audience. While they didn't play anything from "Raw" at these shows, there were two songs from the "Blowing Up Detroit" album, as well as most of the bands classic songs. They came back again in the Christmas Week in 1986 with a few more shows, this time incorporating the title track from "Raw" into the show. Possibly spurred on by the overwhelming reception the band received at the Hammerjacks shows, he continued to work with the other band members, and eventually did other live shows at Hammerjacks as well as another local Baltimore club, Painters Mill (before it burned down) in 1986 and 1988. Eventually, in 1989 there was a new CRACK THE SKY album named From The Greenhouse, featuring all of the members from the Hammerjacks shows except for Carey Zeigler, who was otherwise engaged during the recording sessions. (Carey did play with the band when they played more Hammerjacks shows after the release of Greenhouse.) This album featured the title track, as well as a critique of the American "yuppie" lifestyle in Lost In America. The band played more shows at Hammerjacks in support of this album. The same year John released his third solo album, "Victim Of The Nightlife". It contained a re-release of Drifting Back To Motown, as well as Dancing With The Fuhrer and a cover of Lou Reed's Walk On The Wild Side. (This is not surprising, as it's reminiscent of a song from CRACK THE SKY'S first album, She's A Dancer, which also talks about transsexuality issues. The next year, 1990, saw the release of the last (to date) studio album from the band, titled "Dog City", which didn't receive very much airplay, even from the local Baltimore radio stations. After this album, John once again dissolved the band to pursue his own projects. John went on to form a band named CRUEL SHOES and released a single album in 1993(?). This appears to have been a one-shot deal; I cannot find any curent information on this band. Finally, in late 1994 a new disc was released, titled "Rare!", containing a collection of singles from previous albums (both CTS albums and Palumbo solo efforts), live versions and previously unreleased alternate versions of songs -- outtakes from previous albums. This disc includes two songs recorded at two of the Hammerjacks shows. It was not received well by critics (panned as a rehashing of old material), but is a must-have for completists and true CRACK THE SKY/John Palumbo fans. In May and August 1996 the band played sets of shows at a small club in the Baltimore, MD area A.L. Gators. The band lineup is the same as on the album "The End"; John Palumbo, Rick Witkowski, Carey Zeigler, John Tracey, Bobby Hird, with the addition of Nat Kerr on keyboards. They also played the 2nd Annual COLT FESTat Merriweather Post Pavilion on Sunday, August 11th, 1996. CRACK THE SKY got back together again on May 31st, 1997 at Bohagers nightclub in the Fells Point area of Baltimore, MD. They played two shows, with the opening band being the Patty Reese Band, whom John Tracey also played with. (The Patty Reese Band played a drummer-less show.) Once again CTS wowed the standing room only crowd with two hours of their hits, including bringing back an old chestnut, Robots For Ronnie and a punked-up version of We Want Mine [source: & © http://www.crackthesky.com/library/] © http://www.progarchives.com/artist.asp?id=2123


A.O.O.F.C said...


p/w aoofc

VaTAga said...

Thank you very very very much! It`s great band!

A.O.O.F.C said...

Hi,VaTAga. Thanks. CTS are a very underrated band, but they have a unique sound and a big following. I'll try and post some more soon. Cheers! Catch you later!