Posts Tagged ‘Michael Longoria’

ImageThe Midtown Men is a band that used to be the ensemble featured in the Broadway Smash The Jersey Boys. The band consists of Tony-Award winner Christian Hoff, Michael Longoria, Daniel Reichard and Tony-Award nominee J. Robert Spencer. Having made a large impression during their time on stage in The Jersey Boys, the four performers decided to reunite and keep the magic going. As a result, The Midtown Men have created an album of cover songs that came from the same era as the Four Seasons. The newly released album by The Midtown Men is entitled Sixties Hits.

The album begins with a track featuring two of the biggest and most associated songs of The Four Seasons, “Let’s Hang On/Working My Way”. Known for his role as Frankie Valli in The Jersey Boys, Michael Longoria does a wonderful job capturing Valli’s voice, and this track really makes that point. As they are cover versions of these hit singles, “Let’s Hang On” and “Working My Way Back to You” had to feel just as authentic as the originals and the vocals of Longoria have you imagining the original songs right from the beginning of the tracks.

Since this is an album of covers from more than just The Four Seasons, the quartet of Longoria, Hoff, Reichard, and Spencer prove that they tried to stay loyal to the original songs while adding their own spin to them. A perfect example of that idea appears on the song “Can’t Buy Me Love”. Although staying pretty close to The Beatles’ arrangement of that band’s song, the version by The Midtown Men comes with a little surprise as a horn section appears to give the song added depth. While major fans of The Fabulous Four may resent the band’s songs being messed with, the arrangement of this song should actually have Beatles fans applauding the new version.

Along with the horn addition, the song “Happy Together” from The Turtles finds The Midtown Men giving the song a slightly different treatment than the original version: While the music itself stays close to what was originally written, it is the vocals that have changed slightly. The new vocal arrangement to the song breathes new life into the song without going overboard.

The Midtown Men return to their “roots” once more as they perform The Four Seasons’ hit “Dawn”.  Like the earlier Four Seasons songs “Let’s Hang On” and “Working My Way Back to You,” the group stays as close to the original as possible. It is this authentic feel to the songs the band is covering that made The Jersey Boys such a smash hit when it was on Broadway.

Falling into line with a long list of artists that have created a cover of the song “California Dreamin’” from The Mamas and The Papas, The Midtown Men took a slightly different take on the song. While they didn’t change the arrangement of the original version of the tune written by John Phillips and Michele Gilliam, the performance by the band has a slightly more folk-like sound than the original. And since there are many others who came before to create different arrangements to the song, this new version fits right in.

The Midtown Men’s album Sixties Hits finishes with two more songs from The Four Seasons: “Big Girls Don’t Cry” and “Bye Bye Baby”.

If there was one song on this release that wasn’t really true to the original single, it would have to be “Big Girls Don’t Cry”. The arrangement of the song strays just a little too far from the version by The Four Seasons. Anyone familiar with the original tune may find themselves preferring the original and simply skipping over this track.

For the song “Bye Bye Baby,’ The Midtown Men return to a sound that is closer to their predecessors: With an arrangement and sound that will surely make fans of The Four Seasons happy, “Bye Bye Baby” brings this new release of covers from The Four Seasons and several others to a perfect close.

While starting out simply as a group of actors playing famous musicians on stage, The Midtown Men definitely prove they deserved all of the accolades they received while on Broadway as that group. This album of “Oldies” from this talented quartet will give the older music fans something to enjoy, and the younger crowd will find this album the perfect introduction to the older music.