The Bongos

Hoboken's Bongos -- founded as a trio consisting of Richard Barone (guitar, vocals), Rob Norris (bass), and Frank Giannini (drums, vocals) -- made no pretense of being anything other than a pop band; fortunately, they were a good pop band, covering guitar pop from the Byrds to T. Rex, all of it pulled together by Barone's original songs. Although he was the focal point, the other members were by no means peripheral. After their first full-length album, Drums Along the Hudson (1982), James Mastro joined and contributed some stellar hooks. After releasing a series of singles and an EP on tiny Fetish Records in 1980 and 1981, the Bongos signed to independent PVC Records. Drums Along the Hudson compiled all their previously released tracks. They then moved up to major label RCA and released the five-song Numbers With Wings (1983) and the album Beat Hotel (1985), before leaving RCA and splitting up. (Later, Drums Along the Hudson and a two-fer of Numbers With Wings and Beat Hotel were reissued on CD by Razor & Tie.) At their best, the Bongos made some irresistible guitar pop.
William Ruhlmann, Rovi

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