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Jersey Boys

John Lloyd Young, Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons, And Various

Rhino 2014

Review by David Bowling

 

Who could have guessed that the story and music of the Four Seasons would become the basis for one of the most popular and commercially successful Broadway Plays of the last quarter century. The play and lead actor John Lloyd Young both won 2006 Tony Awards. The original Broadway cast album won a Grammy Award in 2007.

Time has passed and Jersey Boys has been released as a major film. Many critics have not been kind to the movie and it has only been marginally successful.  The music from the film has not been released as a traditional soundtrack. While music from the film is present; there is also an abundance of tracks by The Four Seasons themselves and a few from the Broadway musical.

Sometimes you just have to leave well enough alone. They should have gone with a straight soundtrack of the film. The music of the Four Seasons is some of the best pop of its era but is readily available in any number of compilations. Here, it tends to detract from the overall flow of the music from the film.

The saving grace is the voice of John Lloyd Young and the music itself. Young played the role of Frankie Valli on stage and in the film and his voice is very close to a young Valli. While he able to present the essence of the songs; he does so in a very modern way, which gives them energy and snap. His performances on such Four Seasons classics as “Sherry,” “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You,” “Working My Way Back To You,” “Big Man In Town,” and “Dawn (Go Away)” transport the listener back to a different era.

When you get to songs like “Beggin,’” “C’mon Marianne,” “A Sunday Kind Of Love,”  and “Who Loves You,” the voices of Young and Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons have been spliced together. The music is fine but it is still an odd combination. This oddity is very apparent with the film ending “Sherry” and “December, 1963 (Oh What A Night),” which is sung by just the four actors playing the Seasons.

The album ends with three tracks by the Four Seasons. “Sherry,” “Dawn (Go Away),” and “Rag Doll” are always welcome but one can help to think they were included to fill out the album.

There is nothing inherently wrong with the music contained on Jersey Boys;  the problem is with the concept of the album. For a more cohesive approach to the music from the play and the band; there is the cast album and the numerous compilations.

 

Rating: **1/2

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