Barry Leaves Rockapella
March 30, 2002 8:01 PM   Subscribe

1970: Paul Quits the Beatles. 2002: Barry Leaves Rockapella. For fans of modern a capella, this is big news.
posted by yhbc (20 comments total)
Persons interested in learning more about modern a capella (it ain't just barbershop quartets, and hasn't been for some time) are encouraged to visit Mainely A Capella, the best source I've found for CD's (if there's a music store in the world with an a capella section, I haven't found it), videos and songsheets. Sadly for me, I thought I might craft a post around this site, and when I went to gather links, I was hit by the news that ended up as my post. So long Barry, and thanks for all the bass.
posted by yhbc at 8:11 PM on March 30, 2002

"Back to Back/Belly to Belly...I don't give a damn cos I'm stone dead already..."

Rockapella are terrific. I remember seeing them on a documentary about a capella on PBS(the title of which escapes me), it also featured the astounding Persuasions, who were a favorite of major doo-wop fiend Frank Zappa, so much so that they recorded an album of Frank's songs("Anyway the Wind Blows" makes great doo-wop.) The store link is a great starting point, too. Thanks for highlighting an underappreciated form.
posted by jonmc at 8:28 PM on March 30, 2002

I love a cappella with a passion and all the magnificient skills involved in order to produce that type of sound. Does Bobby McFerrin's work (I'm thinking specifically of the types of performances he did like the one on Saturday Night Live in the mid-80s, a ditty called "Drive My Car" or something similar) classify as a cappella? Another great group I've been a fan of for years has been The Blenders, whose terrific album Totally Whipped is now available on cd. What these guys, and basically all a cappella singers for that matter, can do with their voices alone just blows me away. I'm not too well-versed in modern a cappella groups beyond a scattering of Rockapella and the aforementioned Blenders but anytime a member of a group like that leaves, it can radically change the whole dynamic of the sound in a way that other genres of musical performance can't really experience to the same degree.
posted by evixir at 8:29 PM on March 30, 2002

evixir - are the Blenders that you mention the ones who do "Don't F**k around with Love" as straight-faced doo-wop?
posted by jonmc at 8:35 PM on March 30, 2002

I would definitely include Bobby McFerrin in the a cappella (now with two p's, as intended!) universe, and set him high up in it. I HATED Bobby McFerrin, back in my rock'n'roll is everything days, for "Don't Worry, Be Happy". Much later in life, I heard on the local college radio an astounding one-man performance of, I kid you not, the entire Wizard of Oz, suitably condensed of course. The "who killed my sister?" and the "oh-WEE-oh" parts were standouts. When I heard the announcer say the artist who did all the vocals was Bobby McFerrin, I reassesed.
posted by yhbc at 8:50 PM on March 30, 2002

Hehhehheheh. Rockapella: Blind Dates without instruments.
sorry, maybe one of those you-had-to-be-there things. And, if you were, you probably wish you weren't :)
posted by dchase at 8:55 PM on March 30, 2002

I think I've heard of this guy -- is he the one who sounds like Thurl Ravenscroft (ie: "Tony the Tiger")?
posted by RavinDave at 9:18 PM on March 30, 2002

jonmc - PBS published a soundtrack to the special


Got it in front of me now. 13 tracks. Personal faves: zombie jamboree, under the boardwalk (rockapella/true image), and the mint juleps and ladysmith black mambazo doing the lion sleeps tonight.

it's called "do it a cappella." good stuff.
posted by NortonDC at 9:20 PM on March 30, 2002

For all things a cappella (not a store, like Mainely Acap), visit the Contemporary A Cappella Society. It is run by Deke Sharon of the group The House Jacks. One great benefit of membership is their a cappella arrangement library. The Usenet group is another a great resource for the community.

Also, perhaps you'd like to check out or compete in an a cappella competion, a college a cappella competition, attend the East Coast or West Coast A Cappella Summit, or read reviews of a cappella CDs to figure out which ones are worth buying. There's plenty out there when you start looking for it!
posted by girlhacker at 9:35 PM on March 30, 2002

girlhacker, yes CASA is great. I would also add Varsity Vocals as another good resource, especially for their Best of College A Cappella competition and CD series, which can be an excellent introduction to contemporary trends in a cappella.
posted by yhbc at 9:56 PM on March 30, 2002

bah....Rockapella jumped the shark when they were on Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego.
posted by PeteyStock at 10:39 PM on March 30, 2002

PeteyStock - bah....Rockapella jumped the shark when they were on Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego.

Man, I don't know about that. The Carmen Sandiego CD also had the XTC song Cherry in Your Tree:
Cherry cherry in your tree
Jump down on the ground and make a pie with me
Cherry cherry in your tree
Jump down on the ground and make a pie with me

I got toys like the other boys
Come down from your tree now
I can set you free now
I got toys like the other boys
For baking love with you
For baking love with you


I'm the cook who wrote the book
Pour a little soul now
Right into the bowl now
I'm the cook who wrote the book
On baking love with you
On baking love with you
Cherry in your tree now
Do you love just me now
I'm the chef of the treble clef
Roll into the flour now
Knead it for an hour now
I gotta give props to a whoever put together a kid's record and snuck that one in there.
posted by NortonDC at 11:03 PM on March 30, 2002

Good god I hate a capella. Death to all college a capella groups who stand around on the quad in their ties, smiling and snapping their fingers. They were the bane of my college years.
posted by akmonday at 10:59 AM on March 31, 2002

Good god I hate a capella.

A cappella comes in many genres and guises. Few people like all a cappella styles, just as few people like all musical styles. Even college a cappella these days comes in multiple flavors, ethnicities, and styles.
posted by girlhacker at 11:57 AM on March 31, 2002

akmonday - that was barbershop style which ain't for everyone. The Persuasions that I mentioned up above are a capella R&B, which is a hell of a lot cooler. Check 'em out to give me a chance at changing your opinion.
posted by jonmc at 5:01 PM on March 31, 2002

Ooh, I like barbershop. One of my lifelong dreams was to sing Mr. Sandman with a few other decent singers, and madrigal singing was the highlight of my high school vocal career. Oh, the memories...
posted by evixir at 6:33 PM on March 31, 2002

A thread about a cappella and nobody's mentioned The Bobs yet? For shame! One of the funniest bands you'll ever hear and they sing amazingly well.
posted by shinybeast at 6:50 PM on March 31, 2002

The Bobs are the Rolling Stones if Rockapella are the Beatles. And yes, they are great live.
(No, I don't represent them).
posted by yhbc at 6:55 PM on March 31, 2002

I've been digging collegiate A Capella recently. Found a great link, with complete MP3 downloads, here. I'll have to check these other bands out.
posted by Fofer at 8:50 PM on March 31, 2002

The Bobs are amazing. One of my all-time favorite concert moments was hearing them perform "White Room" and sound just about like Cream. (They had a mike run through a distortion effect so they could get that overdriven guitar sound.) Bobby McFerrin is just frustratingly good. I saw him live once and realized that he can emulate a bass guitar a cappella that sounds about 10 times better than I do playing a real bass guitar. I have no clue how he gets those tones.
posted by tdismukes at 7:01 AM on April 1, 2002

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