Friday Desk Clearing: RIP Ray Price, Death Of Samantha and Sherman Baker

When I was growing up, I didn’t appreciate Ray Price. The first songs that I heard of his were during the ’70s – probably part of some Tel-K TV compilation – that just seemed too mellow and old-fashion for my youthful ears. When I discovered “Heartache By The Numbers” I discovered why Price was so admired. Not only is it a great tune, but it’s a  country song prototype,

Here’s an old black & white clip of Price preforming that song

I probably also saw Price at some point while I would watch Hee Haw on Channel 8 in Cleveland. And here’s a not-especially-smooth Cleveland segue. One of the big bands to break out of Cleveland in the 1980’s was the Death of Samantha. While DoS and I never really operated in the small circles, I have pride for Cleveland bands. I’m bringing this all up before Death of Samantha reformed and will be putting out a new double disc CD in February – it’s their first album in 24 years! The guys haven’t been away from music during this time. Frontman John Petkovic and guitarist Doug Gillard were part of Cobra Verde and Gillard being among the many Guided by Voices members too.

One of the music scenes that I did get into during the ’80s was the music coming out of Hoboken – the dB’s, the Feelies, the Bongos. Oh, I could go on to a Trypes reference too). Anyway, I am working towards a rather easy-to-make segue. I recently got an album by Sherman Baker. I didn’t know anything about him but there was something about his music that caught by ear. A couple songs into his self-titled album, I realized what it was – Baker mines a similar dreamy pop sound that Richard Barone of the Bongos did/does. Baker’s music sorta splits the difference between Barone’s youthful, rockier Bongos days and his more recent, more orchestral music.

here’s a video to Baker’s tune Ducks In A Row

it’s an album well worth discovering particularly for fans of the Hoboken power pop/college rock scene.

that’s all for now

happy weekendin’





About Michael Berick

I am a longtime writer, and lover, of music and pop culture. I have written for Entertainment Weekly, the Los Angeles Times, the LA Weekly, the San Francisco Chronicle, Cleveland Scene and more places (that I wouldn't take up more of your time mentioning now).
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