Mission in Medford

Liner Notes

Mission in MedfordThe A Team is:

  • PAULE CRATON - Lead and backing vocals
  • MARC HICKOX - Bass extraordinaire
  • JOHN MONTERISI - Rhythm guitar, lead vocal on 10 and backing vocals
  • “SLAMMIN’” PETER PARCEK – Lead and slide guitars , electric sitar
  • SCOTT SHREVE - Drum Thunder and conga
  • “SUPER DUPER” BOB COOPER – Keys on 3, 4, 6, and 7
  • DAVID SPARR - Keys on 1,2,5,8,9 and 10
    DON ANDERSON on trumpet and E.V.I.
    JEFF GARMEL on tenor sax
  • DUCKY CARLISLE - tambourine, backing vocals
  • Special Guest: BRIAN TEMPLETON - lead and backing vocals on 4

Don plays trumpet and electric valve instrument in the local R&B-flavored band Hipsocket, together with Jeff on sax, Scott on drums, Bob on keys and John on guitar. Don also plays in a Latin jazz band called Jazz Marauders. Peter and Marc play in the international band The Singhs. Marc has also been garnering a lot of session work in Boston with the likes of Eddie Floyd and others, while Peter has won two Boston Blues Society competitions and was just recently named by Gibson Guitars as “one of the 10 guitar players you should be listening to.” The warm and wonderful voice of Paule Craton has been heard lately in several studio projects of original work and jazz standards. Ducky has recorded Susan Tedeschi and Nora Jones, while he tours internationally as a rock drummer. Brian is a new friend we met through Ducky; he sings and records with his band The Radio Kings.

Essentially, the band is a swat team of talented musicians who met through John and agreed to take three weekends away from their own groups and individual projects to come together and record at Ducky’s studio (unofficially “The Pond”). There were no rehearsals to speak of. We worked in groups of two or three over Talisker or tea, and developed our reading of the songs on our own. Recording was done with amazing efficiency, and always in just one or two “takes.”

The best things about The A Team experience are the freedom, the chill vibe, and the range of material that come from being a “studio band.” This record was tremendous fun to make; the result is a freshness you can hear.


Notes on the Music (by John)

One Step Forward is a tribute to Sam Cooke; I wrote it while reading his bio. It has a tablespoon of Latin mixed in as was popular in pop songs of the early 60s. Jeff steps up to solo on sax, while Peter throws out one tasty guitar fill after another. All About You is a (way) up-tempo swing blues, the first tune written for this project. Paule shines with lots of attitude in her vocals, and Scott’s monster drum fills over the last eight or so measures are worth the price of the CD. The third track, Dock Song reminds me of old Van Morrison in style. It’s a lazy, summer song set at our lake house in Maine. Paule’s voice is warm and sexy, isn’t it? And in the outro Peter’s guitar keeps changing up against the band and voices in interesting ways. Sweet.

Girlfriend Like Big Papi has taken on a life of its own. I had my heart set on doing a straight-ahead funk tune with this band. This idea came from a Red Sox bumper sticker; the tune just about wrote itself. We’re all big Red Sox fans, and we hope Red Sox nation will give a listen. That’s mighty Brian Templeton kicking ass up front on vocals. Marc’s bass fill just before the first chorus always drops my jaw. Isn’t this fun? We want to play it at Fenway. La Niebla (The Fog) is a sad tune about loss and addiction, written in a minor key with a samba-like groove. The intro is Paule, Peter and me "live"; the drums join in at the outro, and Peter’s solo conjures a soul lost in the fog. Heal You, one of my faves, is "old school" R&B with some Stax sound over pretty changes. Band members give and take and make room for one another like they’ve played this tune together for years; in fact, I think this was the first take. Paule’s voice is all heartfelt sincerity. Lovely.

1-20-09 was pre-released on Inauguration Day. Thanks to everyone for lots of positive response. This tune is New Orleans’ musical revenge on the last administration. That’s Bob Cooper playing the awesome Fess-style piano. These Regrets is another “old school” R&B ballad with a great “solemn” horn arrangement by Don. Ducky and Peter came up with the killer guitar tone. The outro continues haunting after the song fades. I have no idea where Moonspell came from; it’s like Steely Dan meets the Neville Bros. in a moon lit dream. Dave Sparr and Peter trade solos before the band builds on John’s riff and Scott thunders back to Paule’s vocal. Personal note: thanks to Paule for singing the word “voodoo.” John sings for Most Sacred Mystery, the CD’s psychedelic finale. But for me, this tune is all Peter and Ducky-- lots of cool, experimental guitar and sitar. All I had to do was ask Ducky “You know, make it like Revolver…” and he did the rest.

Heartfelt thanks to the band for helping to bring my tunes to life… J