J.D. Brennan

Pot of Gold

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J.D. Brennan released a number of albums on his own Scyne Records label in the 1980s; his band, Gold Fever, was a staple in the suburbs of Boston. With a penchant for Elvis Presley-style pop bordering on rockabilly, especially in his vocal phrasings, the recordings equal the authenticity of the band's musicianship, as they were produced, for the most part, in his basement. Pot of Gold not only features Gail Parker and Monica Lauderdale, two important elements of the Gold Fever band who helped them get beyond bar band status, but a guest appearance by Grammy award-winner Luther "Guitar Jr." Johnson on "Be Bop a Lula." Unlike Willie Alexander's 1980 New Rose/R.C.A. primal scream rendition of the Gene Vincent hit released in Europe, Brennan plays it by the book, just as he does on "Baby Let's Play House." Luther Johnson's playing is exquisite, with J.D. Brennan garnering much respect among his peers; Brian Maes of the '90s band RTZ showed up on keyboards on recordings after this album. Pot of Gold has a healthy 14 tracks, mostly covers of songs like Bruce Springsteen's "Pink Cadillac," Jimmy Reed's "Baby What You Want Me to Do," Jody Reynolds' "Endless Sleep," Ral Donner's "Girl of My Best Friend," along with J.D. Brennan originals like "Ninety Pound Weaklin'," "See Me Tonight," or his arrangement of the traditional "Gold Fever Rock." A true Boston band who slugged it out in the trenches, not caring about trendiness or airplay on the major stations. College radio picked up on Pot of Gold and it remains a solid document of a group who performed exactly what they wanted without a thought for the flavor of the month. Despite its sonic limitations, the disc gets better with age.