|THE SMITHEREENS "Meet The Smithereens!" (KOCH Records)
"Meet The Beatles!" -although their second album- was the first official U.S. release of what soon became the world's most famous band. All the songs were written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney themselves and I never realized how mind-shattering that must have been for the music fans in a time period, where bands rarely ever wrote their own material. I was too young to get all the excitement firsthand, the group broke up just before I started listening to the radio seriously. Although it's funny how familiar these catchy old songs always sounded, I must have picked up a lot unconsciously! But for kids of the right age it definitely must have been like Dennis Diken says: "There was no turning back after hearing this LP and seeing The Beatles on the "Ed Sullivan Show". We were instantly hipped to the fact that there could never be anything cooler than playing in a rock&roll band."
And that brings us to The Smithereens. The Jersey Beat Meets The Mersey Beat! Jim Babjak (guitar, vocals), Dennis Diken (drums, vocals, percussion), Pat DiNizio (vocals, guitar) plus Severo "The Thrilla" Jornacion (electric bass guitar) have their Beatles-like statues on the cover of "Meet The Smithereens!" Of course we know them from their previous seven albums -reaching gold and platinum- or we've at least heard their hitsongs: "A Girl Like You", "Too Much Passion", "Strangers When We Meet", "Blood And Roses", etc. Their musical style was already influenced by The Beatles, so they're the perfect group for this superb sounding, affectionate tribute. The booklet features liner notes by Beatles promoter Sid Bernstein and Beatles historians Bruce Spizer, Dennis Mitchell and Andy Babiuk, among others.
Yes, The Smithereens play all twelve songs originally featured on "Meet The Beatles!", so there we go: "I Want To Hold Your Hand", "I Saw Her Standing There", on and on. It's truly great... And it's so much fun!!
Written by Johanna J. Bodde, January 2007.