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9.7.12

The Domenic Troiano Band




The Domenic Troiano Band - The Joke's on Me - 1978 - Capitol

In the music world, the inability to clearly categorize an album usually decreases its mass appeal. In other words, musical creativity doesn't sell records. As a result, loads of great "not quite this, not quite that" albums have been quietly forgotten. This is one of them. Domenic is pictured on the back cover of the sleeve with his bandmates surrounding him. With a bright light shining behind him casting a stellar shadow, he resembles a God-like figure. Some of the music on this album is indeed heavenly. This is my Troiano desert island album and definitely one of my all-time favorites. The songs here are strong and the band is excellent. Terry Brown's production is relatively sparse, but two keyboardists are used (only in the '70s!). Some of the keyboard tones are pleasant, but others sound dated by today's standards. Nonetheless, the material and Domenic's guitar playing completely make up for that flaw. The album opens on an ominous note with the title track, a nightmarish tune with a droning synth to enhance the mood. Dom plays some great licks in the song's breaks. "Maybe the Next Time," a light, jazz-rock tune, has 1978 written all over it. If it were sung by Donald Fagen, it would have been a Steely Dan hit. The third track, "Spud," is a laid-back instrumental with some neat, jazzy guitar runs. "Here Before My Time" is one of Domenic's best songs, a quiet ballad with intelligent lyrics. I'm not sure if Dom meant for the song to be autobiographical, but I believe it is ("I'm tryin' to get by in a world that seems so blind, I'm here before my time, or am I last in line?"). Here's where the album goes from really good to incredible. The last song on side one, a seven-minute instrumental called "Eleanora Fagan," just might be my favorite Troiano song. Simply put, it's better than most songs you've heard. It quietly begins with an slow, elegant guitar line. Gradually, drums and layers of keyboards enter and give the melody more depth and emotion. Domenic's guitar playing in the third verse is stunning; he is a musician who can stir up the listener's emotions through his playing alone. Just as you're about to burst into tears as the band reaches a crescendo, the instruments quickly fade, only to slowly build once again for the grand finale. Find this very out-of-print album just to hear this song. You won't be disappointed. (Who is Eleanora Fagan? Billie Holiday.) Side two consists of three songs which are essentially one long piece. The result is arguably Troiano's masterpiece. The idea to link the songs together and create a side-long epic was brilliant. "Road to Hell" is a tough rock song with touches of jazz and funk played in a very strange time. A diabolical choir invades the song's finale, and it starts to sound like you've actually entered hell. That's when you're dropped off into the "War Zone." It truly is the sonic equivalent of a battlefield. The length, nearly 10 minutes, adds to the effect. After an instrumental introduction, the song sounds pretty normal, with a couple verses and a chorus which includes a synthesizer that sounds like a car alarm. The lengthy middle section includes instrumental solos, creepy keyboard sounds, and weird vocal effects. Near the end of the song, you begin to wonder if you'll ever see the light of day again. Just when you think there's no escape, the song segues into "Look Up," an absolutely ethereal piece of music. This is aural utopia. The song is a thoughtful and heartfelt ballad about turning to a higher power when things are bad. Yes, artists other than Christian performers can sing about faith and do it well. I think Domenic deserves a lot of respect for that alone. Why critics and the public didn't pay more attention to this album is a mystery to me. The Joke's on Me is Troiano's most unified album, in terms of musical style, delivery and concept. Dom wrote all of the songs on the album and he sings all of the lead vocals. You can find some of his best guitar work here, too. Troiano's heart and soul really come through in the album's words and music, especially on "Eleanora Fagan" and "Look Up". And can you name a balding rocker besides Domenic who would bare his head proudly on an album cover? It all adds up to music and an artist that is real, someone who isn't caught in the machinery of the music business. All of these reasons are why I think this is his best album; you really can't go wrong here. If you can find a used copy of it, consider yourself lucky. [Unless otherwise stated, all text © 1999-2010 JDF] © http://www.troianomusic.com/joke.html

The late Canadian guitar icon, Domenic Troiano was a gifted, world-class guitarist and band leader. He formed the bands Mandala and Bush in 1970. He helped create the "Toronto Sound" in the 60′s and 70′s. In his career he replaced the Band's Robbie Robertson while Robbie was playing with Ronnie Hawkins. He also replaced the James Gang band's guitarist Joe Walsh and replaced Randy Bachman in the The Guess Who. Domenic played with many great artists including Joe Cocker, Donald Fagen, Diana Ross, David Clayton-Thomas, Etta James, and also produced albums for for other artists. He was inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame in 1996. "The Joke's on Me" is full of relaxed, down-to-earth R&B, funk, and soul with a jazz touch and is HR by A.O.O.F.C. Please forgive the slight "snap, crackle, and pop" on this vinyl issue. This would be a wonderful album for somebody to remaster for CD. After his death, Randy Bachman said "I'm sure the heavenly jam sessions with Lenny Breau and Jimi Hendrix are taken to a new level, now that Dom has arrived." Donald Fagen said that "I was sad to hear that Domenic Troiano lost out to cancer the other day. Dom was a touring mate of ours in the mid '70s when he was with the James Gang. Walter and I used to stand in the wings after our set and watch as he played the long, psychedelic solos required of him. It was the sort of gig where he'd end up under a followspot on his knees sending these sustained, creamy lines heavenward, or at least out into the crowd of worshipful, wine and quaalude-addled young men. Nevertheless, Dom always added a very personal elegance to everything he played. We'd met him before, in the late sixties in New York when we were doing session work for Gary Katz. He had just done a couple years with a popular "blue-eyed" soul unit, Mandala. We were both knocked out by his beautiful technique and the energy he brought to the session. He could do it all - startling licks, clear octave lines, driving rhythm parts - whatever the party called for. Everyone wanted to play with Dom. When we were starting up Steely Dan, he was one of the first guys we called. Dom said, thanks, but he was just too busy." Try and listen to his "Burnin' at the Stake" album. Check out Domenic Troiano's s/t album on this blog and read a detailed bio of Domenic @ http://www.troianomusic.com/bio.html [All tracks @ 320 Kbps: File size = 106 Mb: Vinyl issue]

STEELY DAN TRIVIA: Domenic played with Donald Fagen on Diana Ross' "Ross" album and also on Eye To Eye's "Shakespeare Stole My Baby" album, both albums produced by the great Gary Katz

TRACKS

1 The Joke's on Me 3:50
2 Maybe the Next Time 4:24
3 Spud 3:48
4 Here Before My Time 4:25
5 Eleanora Fagan 7:04
6 Road to Hell 6:25
7 War Zone 9:13
8 Look Up 7:0

All tracks composed by Domenic Troiano. N.B: Tracks 6-8 are essentially one long piece which comprised the B-Side of the original LP. On this post the three tracks are unified into one long track, making a 6 track album

BAND

Domenic Troiano - Guitar, Lead Vocals
Keith Jones - Bass, Vocals
Dave Tyson - Keyboards, Vocals
Jacek Sobatta - Keyboards
Paul DeLong - Drums

BIO

Singer, songwriter, and famed guitarist Domenic Troiano is probably best known for the time he served as a member of the famed rock group, the Guess Who. Over more than three long decades in the music world, Troiano did a lot of other work with different bands, blues style and rock, including the James Gang, the original Bush, and Mandala. He later composed tunes for both film and television. He even completed several solo albums in the '70s, earning himself a spot in the Canadian Music Hall of Fame. Some of the solo numbers Troiano recorded so long ago, became available on CD just before the new millennium rolled around, proving that many fans still hold interest in his music. Domenic Troiano was born in 1946 in Modugno, Italy. When he was little more than a baby, his family picked up and moved to Toronto, Canada. He was raised with a love for music, both rhythm & blues and good ol' rock & roll. When he was in his mid-teens, his desire to learn to play the guitar resulted in him teaching himself. Maybe that's why his style became so much his own and was later imitated by many other artists. One of the early influences on Troiano was a guitarist by the name of Robbie Robertson. In a twist of fate, Troiano started his professional career by replacing Robertson in a band that performed with Ronnie Hawkins, a fellow Canadian singer. Troiano worked with the band for less than a year, then moved on to other groups. One of those early bands was Five Rogues, which changed its name to Mandala. It was with Mandala in 1967 that Troiano made his first recordings and began to climb the ladder to fame. Some of that fame started from negative press, complaints from parents about the group's corrupt music style, the way the guys dressed, and even the length of their hair. Of course, the more parents complained, the more their teens loved Mandala and its music. When Mandala came to an end around 1969, Troiano and some of the other members pulled together to start a new group, Bush. ABC/Dunhill singed the band and sent it on tour with major groups at the time like Three Dog Night. After a short life, Bush met a quick end, but never one to give up, Troiano went solo. In 1972, before he could finish an album of his own, he was called in to join the James Gang, replacing Joe Walsh. For the next year, Troiano recorded with the group, but continued to work solo also, completing not one, but two solo albums, a self-titled one in 1972, and then Tricky in 1973. Both albums were released under the Mercury Records label. During that same time, he recorded two other albums with the James Gang, writing a number of the songs himself. 974 and 1975 found Troiano serving as a member of the Guess Who. After that group folded too, he took some time working on his own again, trying his skills at a little funk and some jazz. Two years later he was under contract once more, this time with Capitol Records, where he finished a third solo album, Burning at the Stake, and then a forth offering, Jokes on Me. It was followed in 1979 by Fret Fever, Troiano's last solo album.
In the early '80s, Troiano was back with a band, this one called Black Market. The group released one independent recording in 1981. When success didn't come to Black Market, Troiano walked. He soon turned his attention to composing for films and television, and doing session work for other artists in the '90s. Domenic Troiano passed away May 25, 2005 after a long battle with cancer. © Charlotte Dillon © 2012 Rovi Corp | All Rights Reserved http://www.allmusic.com/artist/domenic-troiano-mn0000175101

12 comments:

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

LINK

p/w is aoofc

Kilgore Trout said...

Excellent choice, works by this Canadian master are hard to come by. Thanks

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

Hi,KT. I think there's only one of his albums on CD and that's some kind of compilation album. The other stuff is available on that crap "digitized from vinyl". The guy was a very original musician, and could have been a member of the early Steely Dan. Few got that chance! Thanks a million, & TTU later...P

Kilgore Trout said...

track 5 is not downloading??

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

OK,KT. Thanks. I'll sort it ASAP...P

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

N.B: HERE'S a link to Track 5 which is missing from the original rar file

http://www.packupload.com/NGE9QHC8GZR

Kilgore Trout said...

Thanks again.

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

Hi,KT. Thanks for your patience! TTU soon...P

Mr Grimsdale said...

Tremendous. Anything else by him available? All other 'sources' seem now deleted.

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

Hi,Mr Grimsdale. His s/t album is on this blog. Just search. Thanks

KDNYfm said...

Troiano is a true Canadian icon, and I had the privilege of seeing him perform with Bush, the Guess Who and with his own band around the release of this album. Didnt get to see Mandala, but I got to hear them live as I wasnt old enough toget in the bar they played at.
Email me, I could likely help you out with some uploads of other Troiano material...Tricky, Bush (extended version), Mandala, his James gang/Guess Who albums and some other albums he has played on or produced etc.

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

Hi, KDNYfm. Thanks for the info and the offer. Keep in touch...P