Bill Popp & the Tapes

My Lonely Mind

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Most aspiring musicians found the music of the Beatles and the British Invasion they fostered inspiring; some found it defining. Among the latter is Bill Popp, who, with his group the Tapes, has now made four self-released albums, all of which reflect the influence of the British Invasion many decades after the fact. Actually, the group sounds like some of the American bands that arose in the wake of that invasion in the mid-'60s, bands like Los Bravos and the Beau Brummels that sometimes have been grouped under the "garage band" or "Nuggets" labels. Bill Popp & the Tapes cover the Beau Brummels' "Just a Little" on this album, just to make the connection obvious. The bandleader, who has a day job as a plumber, is now in his mid-fifties and pursues his musical career as an impassioned sideline. He has a clear tenor that is somewhat reminiscent of Peter Noone of Herman's Hermits and Gerry Marsden of Gerry & the Pacemakers, and he writes songs full of romantic longing and self-reflection set to catchy pop/rock tunes that his band plays sweetly. On this album, he remakes his 1982 debut single, "Love and Lust," and allows his guitarist, Gerry Barnas, to contribute a song and lead vocal of his own, "I See Your Face." For a change of pace, he tries an Irish-tinged closer, "Emily Lives in Ireland." Whatever the sources of the material, the music remains unfailingly tuneful and true to its heroes. As such, Bill Popp & the Tapes are to Queens, NY, what the Smithereens (with somewhat greater commercial success) are to Carteret, NJ, a local '60s rock tribute band moved to create original music in the manner of its idols and doing so effectively.

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