DarielB – Flying Under the Radar

CD Review: Got It Bad For The Holiday Band

Posted in CD Picks by darielb on September 9, 2008


Genre: Beach & Boogie

For the past week or so, I’ve had Got It Bad For You, the Holiday Band’s latest, playing in the car. According to lead vocalist, Mike Taylor, “We set out to produce a real Carolina beach music CD … with that shag feel …” And that’s exactly what this is.

Six of the ten tracks are receiving regular radio play on the beach stations, so you’ll be singing along as soon as you pop the CD in the player. Three of the tracks are in the top 20 of Craig Fleming’s Smokin’ 45.

Released on Ripete Records in April, it’s not what I’d consider a true concept CD, more like a compilation. In fact, Mike Taylor told me they like to take sort of a shotgun approach and see what works. For Holiday Band fans, this’ll be right on target.

Got It Bad features three original tunes by Mike Taylor and/or Duane Neese and seven other offerings. In a telephone interview, Mike said, “I’d like to get back to more songwriting. I write a lot by mysel, but I find working with another lyricist takes me in new directions, which is good.

“What I like about working with Duane is that he’s both a good musician and lyricist. We’ve written some for the Castaways and may do work for some others, too.”

Duane Neese’s “Motor Under the Hood,” is the CD’s first track and features Duane on lead vocals. It’s a funny, bluesy tune about … well, it’s a guy thang. And, while it’s already a terrific live tune, the radio version is getting a very strong response, too. By the way, Mark Black is playing saxophone on this one.

The title tune, “Got It Bad,” is a Neese-Taylor collaboration with Mike on lead vocals. It’s just climbed to number 20 on Craig Fleming’s Smokin’ 45, (Read on for the other two).

The duo wrote the third original, “Do You Really Love Me” for bass player Doug Neese to sing. “It’s got a Caribbean feel, but more subtle, without all the steel drums and vibes,” says Mike.

Mike Neese takes the lead on Chris Rea’s “Fool (If You Think It’s Over),” which is proving to be a favorite with shaggers. Arrangement is by Mike Neese and Mike Taylor.

The very popular “Rabbit Got the Gun” is also on the CD. This recording was Mike Taylor’s first vocal after having vocal surgery. It was a great choice, and if you’ve heard him perform “Rabbit” live, you know the voice keeps getting better and better. Guest performers for this track include Ronnie Waters on guitar and Randy Gilkie on piano.

These next two are my two favorite tracks on the album: “I Know It’s Hard But It’s Fair” features Mike Taylor on lead vocals and really showcases the solid vocal harmonies of this group. The R&B tune was written by guitarist/songwriter Lowman Pauling of the 5 Royales. I love this studio version.

“There’s No Getting Over Me,” with Duane on lead vocals, was written by Tom Brasfield, with music by Walt Aldridge, and originally performed by Ronnie Milsap. Again, a solid recording.

“Love Is Here and Now You’re Gone,” from the Motown machine of Holland-Dozier-Holland features Mike Neese on lead vocal, and at number 18, is the third track to chart in the top 20 of the Smokin’ 45.

The two final tracks include the Paul McCartney tune “Only One More Kiss,” with Mike Neese on vocals and the gospel number, “Rough Side of the Mountain,” with Mike Taylor and Shonda English on vocals.

The CD was recorded at Studio East in Charlotte with Tim Eaton and Mark Stallings and at Bradley House with Fred Shaw and Curtis Carpenter.

The Holiday Band is a tight, talented group of musicians who have been playing together for years. The group actually formed in 1991 when sound man Alan Brantley (now with Hip Pocket) was backing Gary Brown on a CD. The experience was positive for both and evolved into the original Holiday Band, which worked part time, playing mostly private gigs. Mike Neese was in this original group. Mike Taylor joined in 1992. At that time, David Franks (Band of Oz) was playing keyboards and Tommy Rogers (The Inmen) was the drummer.

In 1999 the group’s Shotgun Boogie CD took off and the Holiday Band began playing more shows. In 2003, the Holiday Band took home Group Album (Southern Soul Revue), Song of the Year (I’m Man Enough”), Songwriter of the Year (Mike Taylor for “I’m Man Enough”) and Group of the Year.

Current drummer Bill Ward has been with the band for 13 years. Bass player Doug Neese (Mike’s cousin and Duane’s brother) joined 12 years ago. Saxman Mark Payne signed up 10 years ago. Duane Neese, lead vocalist who also plays horn, joined the group in 2006. He’s the new kid.
Holiday Band Website

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