Len Barry

Ups & Downs

  • AllMusic Rating
  • User Ratings (0)
  • Your Rating

AllMusic Review by

This would be the sappiest album of all time, save that it is so obscure. Len Barry was a member of the Dovells, who landed five top 40 hits between 1961 and 1963, including the two Top 5 songs "Bristol Stomp" and "You Can't Sit Down," energetic little power pop tunes before power pop came into vogue. His 1965 hit, "1-2-3," is irresistible. Now imagine those wonderful sounds from "1-2-3" behind preachy, boring epistles about life and family and feelings. "I Promised You the World Today Once" sounds like a precursor to the Philly sound, and Barry is from Philadelphia, but the pop sensibilities that Gamble & Huff successfully gambled on are not present here. Even more puzzling is the presence of the Crystal Mansion's David White Tricker, who wrote the brilliant pop tune "The Thought of Loving You," later covered by the Manhattan Transfer. Why that song wasn't recorded for this disc and why the elements that made up "The Thought of Loving You," "1-2-3," "Bristol Stomp," and "You Can't Sit Down" are missing from this album are just two of the mysteries here. Although he sings on key, and the record works better than say, Rob Grill of the Grass Roots on his dreadful Uprooted album, there is no reason to put record buyers through this dreck. The title track, "Ups and Downs," would have some merit if they pushed it more toward the "1-2-3" style arena it cries out for. The A&R man must've been on vacation when this horse got out on the track.

blue highlight denotes track pick