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REVIEW: Carolina the Band – Turn: A Legacy of American Classics

Producer: Wayne Haun
Record Label: Club 44 Records
Website: www.carolinaquartet.com

When this project came down, it definitely was a bit different to say the least.  Carolina The Band decided to change things up a bit and have produced this project entitled Turn – A Legacy of American Classics.  It is their way of helping preserve the music that several generations, including mine, grew up with.  The press release describes it “as songs that celebrate faith, family and freedom.  They have done an outstanding job on what I hope will be something they continue for years to come.

Listening to these nine songs, let me relax and become nostalgic about my life growing up in the 60s and 70s.  The project has something for everyone and each have been updated musically with the full orchestral sound. 

 Even though, the songs were country or pop in their time, there is the message of hope through out it.  The first song is the title cut from the 50s made famous by The Byrds.  “Turn, Turn, Turn” was a  chart topper that has actually been sung in many churches over the years since it is taken from the first eight verses of Ecclesiastes 3.  It has stood the test of time and the Band does an outstanding job with a new sound for the old song.  Heaven or eternal home is the message that can be derived from the country classic of the 70s “Green, Green, Grass of Home”.  This song was one of my favorites in the 60’s that was sung by a lot of country greats and even was one of Elvis’s recording hits.  If you have never heard any of the previous recordings of this song, listen to the Band sing this one, it is outstanding.

Love songs have always been the staple of country and pop over the decades.  It was either about a lost love or a present one.  Both types are represented on this project.  There is the lost, but still yearning again for, love in “I Can’t Stop Loving You” which was written in the late fifties by Don Gibson and has been performed by singers in each generation since.  The Band has made this sound like the original song.  “Little Green Apples” is a country song that was a great crossover hit in the 60’s and is about a deep love.  When you hear this song, if you have never heard it before” it will make you feel good about love.

A big band feel comes through on the only song I have never heard “If Had My Druthers” , a big hit for the great Bobby Darin in the 50s.  It is a bit unusual song with a conversation between singers in the middle of it.  I love the big band sound with a full orchestra.  This song is just an example of the variety heard in this project. 

On many of these songs, you can hear the great four-part harmony of the group.  It really stands out.  Another one is the oldest song on the project, “Home On The Range”, which is the unofficial anthem of the Old West.  It is also known as the “Cowboy Song”.  I grew up in Southern Ohio where are native son was the king of the Cowboys, Roy Rogers, so I have heard this song so many times in my childhood, but The Band’s offering here was the first time I have ever heard with a great tight harmony that make me feel like it is being song at church with a men’s quartet singing.  I think it is the best rendition of this classic I have ever heard.  They truly have done an outstanding job with a true American classic.

No project on American Classics sung by Carolina the Band would be complete without “Carolina in The Morning”.  This pop song which was written for Broadway has had some of the all-time great pop performers sing it and record it.  You can hear the enthusiasm of this project come out in this song.  They truly had a great time performing each of these nine songs but this one stands out .

The final two songs had to be included because not only are they pop classics but they also morphed into something for more than a song.  “Tie A Yellow Ribbon Around the Old Oak Tree”  was a huge hit for the group Tony Orlando and Dawn in the 70s about a prisoner who needed to know if his love still wanted him after three years.  But in the years following, it has become a symbol of hope for loved ones who have missing members of their families.  During the Iran hostage crisis it started being used to welcome the hostages home.  Today it is used for soldiers coming home from a long trip overseas or for a missing child or loved one.  The group did well in including this important piece of American culture on this project.

The final song is a rendition of a most unusual pop song of the 70s. “I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing”  This song has been a source of hope and love for now some 50 years and to think it was started by a tired, irritated ad executive who was stranded at an airport and was written for Coca-Cola.  On an album about legacy, the Band had to include this song since it has been changed to that song of hope that we could really use today. 

Nine songs from millions of songs that have been written and sung over the past 60 years was all they could include on this project but the Band did an outstanding job of selecting songs that bring a smile to your face during this time of so much division and negativity.  I recommend this project for anyone from all generations.  Older fans can relive their youth and childhood while today’s fans can hear some music that you can close your eyes and just relax which is something we all need. 

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Dave Angle
Staff Writer/Reviewer