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Classic & Current Contemporary Non-Schlock-Rock Metropolitan Music

Broken Boy Soldiers (2006) - The Raconteurs

The Raconteurs - Broken Boy Soldiers album cover« The Raconteurs

I first heard about The Raconteurs when reading an NME article on The White Stripes. The reference was there because Jack White sings and plays guitar in this band. Even though I am a big White Stripes fan, what really caught my eye was the name "Raconteurs."

About a year ago I wrote a bio for Jeff Cooper's black and white photography Web site. Not only is Jeff an amazing artist photographer, he is an unreal storyteller. I was trying to find a way to convey this gift but the word "storyteller" just didn't quite fit. So I decided to use the word Raconteur to describe verbal relationship with his photographs. I thought it was an obscure, cool word that would be uniquely Jeff. So a few months later when I saw that there was a band called The Raconteurs it felt like something of a lattice of co-incidence.

The rhythm section came from a band called The Greenhorns - Jack Lawrence, bass and Patrick Keeler, drums. Then there's Brendan Benson, who plays guitar and sings. These guys along with Jack White are a great combination of pop and harmonies. I am sure there are reviews all over the place and I'm not going to write one here.

I couldn't believe as soon as The Reconteurs new album Broken Boy Soldiers came out it was available on eMusic. Now I'm hooked on The Raconteurs. I recently paired The Raconteurs' song "Steady, As She Goes" with "Help" by the Beatles on Jason Jeffries's show on ErrorFM.

Not too long ago I saw a post on Peter Case's blog by a guy who said he hadn't heard the record but he hated it already because of the hype. Somehow, I have missed the hype. Below is a what I posted on the blog, and the then the guy said he'd give them a chance after all. (I'm not attempting to rag on you here, ackles! Did you ever get a chance to hear them?)

-- June 14, 2006 (DD)

Posted By Deaconlight / Posted At 5/30/06 on Peter Case's blog:

The Raconteurs are not The White Stripes. Jack White is only 1/4 of the band.

I don't really like to use the word crafted when it comes to music - sounds too rock critic - but the songs on this record remind me of the craft of songwriting. I mentioned harmonies in a previous post. Don't get me wrong I like a lot of new bands, some of which have that sorta generic new harmony (haven't bothered to figure out the actual interval but in most cases it grates my Nerves), but it was so nice to hear harmonies built off the old tonic, subdominant, dominant way of music still sounding so beyond vocals.

Then there are the backing vocals. This record highlights that art. The song that first hit me long ago as showing the impact of backing vocals was The Beatles singing "Help" because it's one song where the backing vocals actually come first. Broken Boy Soldiers is a record where the backing vocals add great texture to the songs.

Anyway, I'm going to stop because I am NOT a music critic. Just trying to offer some things to think about. Too much hype can kill great stuff. I dropped out of listening to several bands back in the 80s - just because of the hype - that I later rediscovered. Years of great listening lost!

Good songs are good songs. I have seen many times where hype got in the way of a great record. At least give Broken Boy Soldiers a chance before you write it off. Listen to "Steady As She Goes," "Hands," "Intimate Secretary," or "Call It a Day" at least three times. If they don't grab you, then by all means, trash The Raconteurs.

The Raconteurs - Broken Boy Soldiers Original Album Tracks

Download The Raconteurs - Broken Boy Soldiers on iTunes
  1. Steady, As She Goes
  2. Hands
  3. Broken Boy Soldier
  4. Intimate Secretary
  5. Together
  6. Level
  7. Store Bought Bones
  8. Yellow Sun
  9. Call It a Day
  10. Blue Veins
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