New York Rock & Roll Ensemble

Faithful Friends

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The second release from this rock-classical fusion act is a highly enjoyable, albeit forgotten, album from the 1960s. One of the first major bands to mix classical music with rock, the New York Rock & Roll Ensemble also included future pop composer Michael Kamen. The ensemble's 1969 sophomore album continues where their debut left off, with pop/rock numbers like "I'm So Busy" and a cover of Jimi Hendrix's "Wait Until Tomorrow" interspersed with straight classical pieces such as Bach's "Trio Sonata No. 2 in G Major." The album's highlight is the acoustic-based original "Kite Song"; a song featuring falsetto vocals from ensemble member Brian Corrigan and a very pretty cello melody. Most of the songs sound influenced by Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, as well as late-'60s pop/rock harmony-based groups such as Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young. Kamen lends his dramatized vocals to most of the tunes on the album in pure Broadway meets '60s rock fashion; other members of the ensemble sing as well. While heralded at the time for their courageous musical explorations, the New York Rock & Roll Ensemble peaked with this and their follow-up album, Reflections, failing to capture the same magic on their subsequent releases.

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