Disc review: ‘Jersey Boys’ and the Norelco Falsetto of Frankie Valli - The Buffalo News

Share this article

print logo

Disc review: ‘Jersey Boys’ and the Norelco Falsetto of Frankie Valli

“Jersey Boys:” Music from the Motion Picture and Broadway Musical (Rhino). The operative word in the title is “Jersey.” If ever there were a Broadway jukebox musical aimed directly at the fabled “Bridge and Tunnel Crowd” so crucial to the financial backbone of the Broadway Theater, it’s the biographical musical about the rise and fall (and rise) of The Four Seasons, a sort of non-tragic white boys Garden State version of “Dreamgirls.” It was just the thing to get Broadway’s New Jersey fans to make the trip into town – not to mention tourists from everywhere else. Please be aware though that in their ’60s prime, the sound of the Four Seasons – especially the Norelco falsetto lead singing of Frankie Valli – was enough to give some pop music fans at the time fits. Until a woman with a rich musical sense of humor forced me to relent, I personally refused to dance to any jukebox where some fool played “Sherry” or “Big Girls Don’t Cry.” Theirs was not a universally beloved sound mostly because of Valli’s take-it-or-leave-it lead. The good news here is that Broadway and screen star John Lloyd Young doesn’t have quite Valli’s mechanical falsetto whine that could damage eardrums. The originals were not a patch, of course, on the silk and satin falsetto of the Ink Spots or the velvet of The Platters, not to mention the heavenly sounds of the great doowop groups like the Five Satins and the Flamingos (“I Only Have Eyes for You” was, along with the Ink Spots best, pop music sublimity.) So this pop music dead end at the time is a reasonably listenable biographical allusion to those Jersey Boys, with, no less, an attempt to sing Eddie Jefferson’s “Moody’s Mood for Love” (wherein Jefferson put words to tenor saxophonist James Moody’s solo.) 3 stars (Jeff Simon)

There are no comments - be the first to comment