BY LEE ZIMMERMAN
The Paley Brothers had everything a sibling outfit could ever ask for—the savvy, the talent, the looks and the connections that shoulda, coulda propelled them to the big time. Signed to Seymour Stein’s exclusive Sire Records—home to such prestigious label mates as the Ramones, the Pretenders, the Talking Heads and, ummm, Madonna—they were geared to get notice, a destiny otherwise assured by their boyish teen dream presence and cuddly close knit harmonies. Drawing on such assured influences as the Beatles, the Beach Boys and even label mates the Ramones—not to mention fellow revivalists like the Raspberries and the Bay City Rollers(!?)—their instantly infectious sound caused the fans to swoon and the bean counters to start tallying their profits.
Sadly though, the Paleys’ tenure was cut short after only a single album and EP, both included here as part of a package that includes every note every recorded and destined for vinyl at the tail end of the ‘70s. A treasure trove of superb power pop, affirmed by the presence of prominent guests like Brian Wilson, The Records’ Will Birch and guitarist James Burton and various Ramones, it features a generous 26 tracks, all brimming over with the effusive energy and boyish enthusiasm that became their stock and trade. Ironically, it’s the unreleased tracks that stand out: the superb yet self-deprecating “Invisible Man”; the impossibly catchy “Sapphire Eyes”; a live version of Tommy Roe’s “Sheila”; all which captures the kids screaming and swooning, not to mention “Boomerang,” with a repetitious refrain that does all the title promises. That’s not to denigrate the material that came out originally; rather, it shows how much potential was sadly left behind. Perhaps, perhaps…
Inevitably, the evidence offered herein suggests that the Paleys might have been the logical successors to the Everly Brothers (listen to their remarkably close knit harmonies on the heavenly honky tonk of “I Heard the Bluebirds Sing” if further proof is needed) had the fates not intervened and dealt them an unexpected blow. Time for a comeback perhaps?
DOWNLOAD: “Invisible Man,” “Sapphire Eyes,” “I Heard the Bluebirds Sing”