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Bones 'n Clones
© 2001 James Velvet

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James Velvet
Bones 'n Clones

Total Time: 28:06
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STYLE: Rock-n-Roll

HOME TOWN: New Haven, CT.
                         New England, USA

Visit James Velvet's WEB SITE

Get James Velvet  GIG INFO

James Velvet

1. I Got a Shirt
2. Here/Today
3. John Alley
4. New Language
5. Lately I Wake Up Dreaming
6. She's Lonely
7. Long Long
8. New England

Check out James Velvet's
NEW CD - Just Plain Jane and
                   Other Modest Proposals
& also his CD - Wide Awake In My Head

Check out James Velvet's band -
The Mocking Birds

Frank Critelli puts James Velvet
"On The Sofa"
for an interview,
read it HERE.

Issue #28                                  May/June ‘01

Do you have a favorite shirt? You know the one, the one that makes you smile every time you put it on, the one that makes everything all right, the one that just makes you feel so good about life that you’re bursting at the seams and you want to shout out to the world that life is beautiful and life is good, the one that erases every stressed out moment and allows you to bathe in the joy of the time at hand. After all, that’s the reason you put it on in the first place, right? That’s why it’s your favorite shirt, that’s why you choose to wear it, to make everything all right. Some people take that favorite shirt and tuck it away to wear only for special “one at a time”, “over the top” type events (like concerts, c’mon you’ve never owned a favorite concert shirt?), these are the everyday favorite shirts – the shirts that helped make the day special for one reason or another simply because they felt so good – the everyday shirts that have worn themselves so thin and fragile over the years that they must be preserved in order for them to survive (case in point, I still have, but rarely wear the last pair of Pro-Keds that I purchased just shortly before they stopped manufacturing them in ’78).

James Velvet has shirts like this, and one of them is music. James Velvet wears music like his favorite shirt, James Velvet wears his music everyday and it makes his life good. James Velvet exudes Rock-n-Roll from every part of his heart and soul and it shows. Like the smile brought forth from the comfort of your favorite shirt, Rock-n-Roll makes life good. James Velvet knows this, shows this, and wears it well.

Rock-n-Roll was born in the 1950s and is now entering the very mature generational half-century age. Rock-n-Roll is now 30+ years removed from the teenagers who still use it as a form of teen rebellion and angst. But what they don’t realize is: for the first time in history, the youth creating Rock-n-Roll have parents that understand where they are coming from. Their parents created Rock-n-Roll and now it’s time for the kids to understand their parents, the original Rock-n-Roll rebels who expressed themselves through the same artistic outlet. Sure, this type of common thread original freedom has been chronicled in the past with every general type cross culture tie-in you can think of, But this is Rock-n-Roll we're talking about, know what I’m saying? And if Rock-n-Roll has taught us anything over the last half century it’s that musical expression can break down communication barriers. It’s time to realize that Rock-n-Roll has not grown old; it has matured. And a matured Rock-n-Roll can still kick out the jams and allow people to feel good regardless of age.

I want to be 80 and still be playing guitar, still be Rock-n-Rolling, Hell 100, it makes me feel that good. And, if my music can make one other person feel that same way, well, that’s what it's all about.” James Velvet told me this as we sat over a couple of brews at a pub in New Haven, Connecticut. Cut James Velvet and he bleeds Rock-n-Roll. James Velvet carries the Rock-n-Roll torch deep into the soul, creating and playing music that captures the essences of such artistic merit as writing songs the way John Lennon would probably be doing if he were alive, by playing Rock-n-Roll like Elvis Costello would if he were still playing Rock-n-Roll; James Velvet delivers the purity of Rock-n-Roll in a Buddy Holly-esque manner; he nods to Dylan; adores the Sex Pistols; and is quick to note the importance of Presley, Cobain and every regular guy with a PC, CD burner and an artistic vision.

Put on the “Bones ‘n Clones” CD and while your pulling this favorite shirt over your head you can hear the lazy downbeat chord inviting you to relax and enjoy… “I Got a Shirt” is the song that’ll make you feeling so good so quick that by the time James begins to introduce it - life is good. “Bones ‘n Clones” never lets up after that. “I Got a Shirt” Rocks with a toy piano. Now that may sound trivial in a way, but when you take into consideration that this is the song that launches the most pure 28 minutes of Rock-n-Roll bliss that will become to be known as your favorite shirt of a CD, you’ll know from the way that the toy piano is jammin’ on the solo in the middle bridge, that everything/anything else to come is just going to add even more pure joy to the pleasure…

Here/Today” is the next track and it hits the “Let’s get it on” tradition of Rock-n-Roll dead center. Set against a Motown funk a la Sly and the Family Stone, and War, it produces the hip-thrusting dance of the human sexual experience in such a way that by the time the final 2 words seal the deal, we all can smile about some great personal journey. It also gives us the Mantra for the rest of the disc, and for that matter, the rest of our lives – “The moment we crave is this moment right here / The moment we lose, will not reappear” – Share the moment, Cherish the moment, Live the moment, Enjoy the moment.

Bones ‘n Clones” is full of these moments “John Alley” is an intense song that shares Rock-n-Roll’s debt to classic depression-era songwriting with a half buried John Henry syntax and John Barleycorn tragic influence. Spinning a yarn/telling a tale against a ringing chorus of heavy acoustic guitar duels it brings to us the down home country twang that was born and grew up in traditional folk songs. And, the lead solo is so damn banjo played that to say it could sit next to Bron-Yr-Aur on Physical Graffiti the way it Rocks and makes the blood pump; you’d be thinking me a CRAAA-Aaz-Zy Man. When James stretches the final chorus by two sustaining notes, were so far gone that track 4 “New Language” takes advantage of us by throwing in obscure chord homage’s to JWH era Dylan, Lyrical reference to The Beatles (a perfectly placed gem that sustains itself in a witty and intelligent story of romantic relationships and how they can turn from misunderstanding), and an ending that looks up to The Music Machine, a band from the 60s psychedelic garage band movement, (found on the so beautifully chronicled -and spoken of highly by us here at IndepenDisc- Nuggets Box Set) and their song Talk Talk. I know there are a ton more in there, but they’re buried so deep into Rock-n-Roll history that it’s better left to find as they reveal themselves with each subsequent listen.

Lately I Wake Up Dreaming” comes in just after the midpoint and hits us in such a Rock-n-Roll manner that the only way I can bring some point of reference into how much artistry James Velvet brings to the music is to have you listen to it: Click on the song Title.
(I apologize to those who can’t access the streaming RealAudio™ file and suggest you buy a copy of the CD so that you can experience what everybody else is experiencing right now  ;-)   ß see the wink?).

The final 3 songs wrap up the disc with as much aplomb as the first half; offering a diverse Neil Young inspired cross-reference of music history. I bet Alejandro Escovedo would be envious of “She’s Lonely”, and Bruce Springsteen would die to be able to belt out “Long Long” live on stage with the E Street band ripping this amazing Rocker to shreds in front of the 50,000 or so fans that are definitely out there.

Finally “New England” presents James Velvet’s love and affection for the land he calls home. The song lends a “Ya’ll come back now” charm that builds to a genuine immigrant pub style sing along with (again) the various stringed instruments dueling at the center. Capped by the “I’ve lived before” mature angelic harmonies of another local New Haven rock legend; Kriss Santala, it is a perfect ending to a perfect disc. After hearing this song you can’t help to return, to put that favorite shirt on again, to smile, to feel good, to enjoy Rock-n-Roll, to enjoy life.

Put your favorite musical shirt on,
Put on “Bones ‘n Clones” by James Velvet.
Now available for: $9.98 +s/h*

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Bones ‘n Clones” is James Velvet’s first solo release in 10 years, now don’t think it’s been for lack of material, au contraire, James Velvet hasn’t achieved cult status as The Godfather of Rock-n-Roll in Connecticut by idly noodling around for 10 years between releases. No, James Velvet heads the Renowned Rock-n-Roll unit known as The Mocking Birds. Formed in ’92 The Mocking Birds consist of James Velvet (vocals, rhythm guitar), Johnny Java (bass) Dick Neal (guitar, slide guitar) and Jon Peckman (drums) most of whom played on "Bones ‘n Clones"; from their standard last Saturday of the Month gigs at New Haven’s Café 9 (The Musicians Living Room) to various gigs opening for The Band, Marshall Crenshaw, The Kinks, Dan Hicks and others, James and The Mocking Birds have released 6 CDs of original Rock-n-Roll music that measures up to the best of ‘em, and the same can be said for “Bones ‘n Clones”.

*Shipping & Handling charges:
USA - $3.00 for the first 2 CDs ordered,
                     Add $1.50 per each CD after.
Canada - $5.00 for the first CD ordered,
                          Add $2.00 per each CD after.
Everywhere else -$7.00 for the first CD ordered,
                                        Add $3.00 per each CD after.

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