The Greenberry Woods

after the Beatles, part two

Rapple Dapple (Sire)

The Greenberry Woods

By Paul Moffett

It could be a songwriting and arranging exercise gone crazy: "Hey, guys, let's write songs like Lennon/McCartney and arrange them like George Martin did in the early years!"

It could be a clever bit of packaging by older management.

At their recent Louisville show, drummer Miles Rosen claimed that the sound "just happened."

Perhaps. The "packaging" of the band says otherwise. The group wore identical black, collarless T-shirts on stage, for instance. The sequential photos in the CD are of the boys leaping about on a grassy hillside. The CD title is Rapple Dapple, for goodness' sakes. Paul is dead and I am the Walrus.

Whatever the source of the "similarities," Baltimore band The Greenberry Woods (Abbey Road, Strawberry Fields Forever, Penny Lane), have produced a splendid CD full of sing-along three-minute pop gems, rather like the early Beatles discs. Working from within the basic guitar-based quartet form, the band has crafted tunes that are both singable and playable, an important consideration to songwriters who would no doubt like to hear their tunes covered in bars across the nation.

The songs are mostly about love and losing it, looking for it and, occasionally, finding it again. The lyrics are Ô90ish introspective and pop psychologically attuned, as illustrated by the opening verse from "I'll Send a Message": "I used to play love tongue-in-cheek/Now I wish I'd kept my tongue in check/What can I do to reclaim my self-respect?"

They reclaim their self-respect with a perfect radio chorus.

"Ill send a message/And I know just where I'll start/I'll send a message/I'll send a message to your heart."

Scattered throughout the album are some nifty guitar riffs that don't really, quite . . . almost edge into something familiar, then scurry off in a different and interesting direction. In particular, listen to the opening to "That's What She Said." It's real George. "The Sympathy Song" likewise has a crunchy guitar progression introducing what might be the most singable of the choruses on this disc.

GBW seems to have learned some of the lessons of rock 'n' roll well. Witness the opening lines to "Trampoline," the first tune on the CD: "Here's a place/Here's a time/Here we are/A shooting star/Here's a word/Make that two/Now we're through/La de da/Come and see/Trampoline."

If they can continue on the long and winding road they've chosen, they could bounce pretty high. The CDs are available at local record stores and QMF Too is playing some cuts.

Now, if I can just get this CD to play backwards. . .