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18 Feb 2017

Sleepy Hollow “Sleepy Hollow” 1972 US Psych Pop







Sleepy Hollow “Sleepy Hollow” 1972 US Psych Pop
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Sleepy Hollow were a power pop trio who hailed from Philadelphia,USA and comprised of members, Richard Billay (vocals,guitar,piano), Richie Bremen (bass) and Joe Zucca (drums). The band released a single album on the Family record label in 1972. Family was an independent label that released a handful of records between 71 and 74 before going bust and is probably most known for releasing Billy Joel's debut solo LP.

The music on the album evokes late period Beatles with Billay doing a fine Lennon snarl on LP opener "Sincerely Yours". "Take Me Back" is a pure Raspberries-esque ballad with some fine George Harrison influenced slide guitar. "Talking Out Of Turn" sounds like it came straight off Emitt Rhodes' Mirror album and the guitar solo sounds uncannily like the one on "Hotel California" by the Eagles, pre-dating it by a good five years! "Lady" is a gentle McCartney style acoustic ballad with string section added by co-producer Tom Sellers (known for his top 20 hit cover of the Who's "Overture From Tommy" as the Assembled Multitude in 1971). Closing track "Hades" is an epic, Christmas themed ballad with massive orchestration, clocking in at over 6 minutes and an unlikely choice for a single release.
The LP was re-released in 1977 under the name "Billay" on the infamous tax scam label, Tiger Lily. In true Tiger Lily style, it was released without the band's knowledge.

Not a lot of info can be found about what happened to the band after the album came out but a YouTube search brought up a great power popper by Billay/Sleepy Hollow called "I Surrender" and the artwork attached to the video shows Sleepy Hollow plus another new member and appears to be a collection of recordings dating from 1974-1998. If anyone knows of these recordings I would be grateful of any details...............

Slapping an album with a Beatles comparison is usually the equivalent of an artistic and commercial kiss of death. Luckily, this was one of those rare cases where the comparison actually had some basis.

Recorded at Philadelphia International's Philly-based Sigma Studios, 1972's "Sleepy Hollow" was co-produced by John Madara and the late Tom Sellers (of Assembled Multitude fame). The limited liner notes indicated Sleepy Hollow was a trio featuring the talents of singer/guitarist Richard Billay, bass player Richie Bremen and drummer Joe Zucca.

With Billay responsible for all nine tracks, material like 'One Time' and 'Lay It On the Line' did have a late-inning Beatles flavor, though to my ears a better overall comparison would be Badfinger ('Take Me Back'), Emmit Rhodes ('Love Minus You'), or perhaps even a mid-1970s Lennon solo album ('Lady'). The trio's sound wasn't particularly original, but Billay had an impressive chameleon-like voice that managed to recall both Lennon's tougher sound ('Sincerely Yours' would not have been out of place on "Walls and Bridges") and McCartney's more pop-oriented material ('One Time' complete with great backing vocals). Artistically this may not have been a major statement, but made for one fun album and was simply miles ahead of most of the Beatlesque competition.
Bad-cat.............

Sleepy Hollow, a Philadelphia based power pop unit, is one of the biggest mysteries I've encountered in my years of digging for obscurities. Virtually no information about the personnel or the band's history can be found online. Having said that, this entry will be posted strictly on the strength of the album's contents. Sleepy Hollow very much subscribe to the late era Beatles perspective and it permeates everything found here. Taking more of a simplistic route, in the vein of the Hudson Brothers, their self-titled album is chock full of quality classic pop. With the piano at the forefront, each lilting track serves up hook after hook, and it's all produced quite well considering its age and obscurity. Most certainly not destined for reissue anytime soon, I recommend you snag this fine album before it slips into nowhere land once again!..............

Contrary to everything you’ve ever read, the Beatles did NOT break up in 1970. They just laid low in Bolivia for a few years, then got back together in 1972 under the pseudonym Sleepy Hollow. Laugh if you must, but it all makes sense when you hear this album. Sleepy Hollow’s 1972 long-player pretty much picks right up from where Abbey Road left off. Lessee, there’s a John song – “Sincerely Yours” sounds almost exactly like “I’m Losing You” with bluesy minor key piano melody, double-tracked vocals and big titanic “I Want You (She’s So Heavy)” power chords. There’s a Paul song – the bouncy “Love Minus You” could’ve been something swept up off the floor during the White Album rehearsals. And there’s even a George song – “Take Me Back” sounds uncannily like “All Things Must Pass,” with its slow, sad melody, lo-fi echoey production, and George’s classic weeping guitar sobbing softly in the background. One track – “Lay It On The Line” – sounds just like a Joey Molland song from the later Badfinger days, and don’t think those guys weren’t studying their Beatles albums each and every day. The only Beatle who’s not represented on Sleepy Hollow is Ringo. And if that’s not proof enough for you, then go play “Octopus’s Garden” again and tell me how you would handle the reunion.

Sleepy Hollow could easily be the Beatles long-lost comeback album after their two-year hiatus, and if true, it also would’ve taken some of the pressure off those yahoos in Klaatu four years later. Only the album’s final song, a feel-good ditty called “Hades,” deviates slightly from the Fab Four and post-Fab Four style.  With its giant operatic progrock vibe and monster string section, it’s what “A Day in the Life” might’ve sounded like if it had been recorded in 1973 with the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra. Or if George had befriended Jeff Lynne way back during the Sergeant Pepper sessions. Man, did we dodge a bullet there.

I know, I know, there’s no proof this is really the Beatles in disguise. Ahh, but that’s where you’re wrong. Remember that whole “Paul is dead” theory? The Beatles were pretty sneaky about planting clues in their albums, and Sleepy Hollow is no exception. Just the name of the album is a major clue – the monster in Washington Irving’s “Legend of Sleepy Hollow” is a headless horseman. Remember how Paul died? “He blew his mind out in a car.” Spooky, huh? But wait, there’s more. The name “Ichabod Crane” is an anagram for “Ace Choir Band,” which fans of the Beatles would agree is a pretty fitting name for the Fab Four. It’s also an anagram for “Bad Acne Choir,” which Beatle haters would agree is a fitting name for the band. You can also rearrange the letters and get “Bad Crab Nacho,” which is how one family in Peoria, Illinois thinks Paul really died. And try mumbling “Ichabod Crane” – it sound eerily like “I buried Jane,” as in Paul’s ex Jane Asher. I’m getting creeped out just thinking about this stuff. And I haven’t even begun playing it backwards.......

Sleepy Hollow
*Richard Billay - Guitar, Piano, Vocals
*Richie Bremen - Bass
*Joe Zucca - Drums

Tracklist
Sincerely Yours 3:01
One Time 2:05
Take Me Back 3:53
Talking Out Of Turn 2:48
Lay It On The Line 2:43
Love Minus You 2:30
Lady 2:40
Roller Coaster Man 2:58
Hades 6:16

johnkatsmc5, welcome music..