Friendly Rich and the Lollipop People – The Friendly Rich Show [Pumpkin Pie Corporation, 2006]

Friendly Rich and the Lollipop People - The Friendly Rich ShowFriendly Rich, born Richard Marsella, is a composer from Brampton, Canada, who has composed background music for 3 seasons of MTV’s The Tom Green Show. Since 1994, he has recorded exclusively for his own eclectic record label, The Pumpkin Pie Corporation. So far seven full-length CDs have seen the light of day.

The music on “The Friendly Rich Show”, played by a large ensemble that includes bassoon, clarinet, accordion, trombone, banjo and even harpsichord, is extracted from the touring liveshow that Mr. Rich composed with the help of theatre wizard David Hannan. You don’t need to see the visuals to enjoy this CD though, because the variety in instrumentation and the amusing stories (Jack the Moose anyone?) make this a very entertaining album.

One moment you think you’re listening to a children’s story, the next you dream away to a Nino Rota-esque melody, but the best reference point perhaps are some of the Residents’ recent concept-albums, with just a little dash of Tom Waits (both the voice and the instrumentation) thrown in for good measure.

No pounding drums or distorted guitars here, but a very tight ensemble, weird intermissions in Italian, a circus-like atmosphere and lots of dark humour.
Oh, and there’s a prank phone call at the end…

Marco Kalnenek

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