California is a pop/rock group who were recording artists for Laurie Records in the 1970s and 1980s. They scored a number of hit records during this time and even made an appearance on Dick Clark’s American Bandstand TV show. Founding member, Les Fradkin, still leads the band today, although it exists on a smaller scale – his wife, Loretta Fradkin, is the only other permanent member. Deciding that there was a wealth of potential in some of the band’s archived recordings, California decided to set about work on a new album. The result is California Loves You, which consists of six reworked past singles, and six revamped California tunes, which until now were never released.
Singalong With California was originally recorded by Les in 1971 at Sound Exchange Studios in New York City where Denny Seiwell (Wings) was present and performed drums for the session. The song is appropriately named; its catchy chorus of la la la’s opens the album, introducing the joyful, nostalgic tone that characterizes the record. Lyrics like “I’ll take you and we’ll tumble onto the soft ground / Singing songs that we knew long, long ago” paint a breezy, carefree scene that perfectly complement the sweet melody that weaves throughout the song.
Take a Chance is one of the previously released California singles that was incorporated into this album. It’s a sweet tune that encourages the listener to let their guard down, take a leap of faith, and tell that special someone how you feel about them… “Take a chance / Give it a whirl / If you never try / You may never love the girl”. The song features a driving backbeat and strong backing harmonies and is fleshed out with delightful keyboard and brass textures.
Perfect World is one of the album’s strongest songs and it packs a ton of energy. The song describes the elation of being in love and again demonstrates California’s genius at crafting melody. The groove is up-tempo and awash with chiming 12-string guitar and lush vocal harmonies. Les and Loretta employ some deft chord changes and cover a lot of harmonic ground, with each turnaround leading smoothly into another hook. This song honestly just sounds like one really big chorus. Superb!
California Loves You will delight long-time fans of the band, and no doubt turn a lot of people on to California’s back catalog. The songs successfully capture the melodic, baroque-infused pop sound that the band is known for and it’s splendid to hear such wonderful ‘new’ material from them. This album celebrates the music of an earlier era, but the production has a refreshed, modern quality, bringing the talents of California into the 21st century.
BELOW: Listen to California Loves You and connect with their website and social media platforms. Please support California by visiting them online, and playing, downloading, and/or purchasing their music, or attending a live show! And, as always, thank you for supporting real music!
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