Tuesday, September 26, 2017


Anyone who knows me, knows I don't buy much new music. The last album I bought was a Count Basie CD featuring his hits from 1939.

However, I had the fortune to scrape some pennies together and treat myself to Don Ciccone Sings Brian Gari. A treat it definitely was. Every track, even the radio interviews and audio outtakes, was great to hear.

Don Ciccone was the lead singer and songwriter of The Critters.Ciccone wrote the group’s hit, “Mr. Dieingly Sad,” which reached the Billboard Top 25 in 1966. He later joined Frankie Valli’s Four Seasons from 1973 through 1981 before becoming the musical director and bassist for Tommy James and the Shondells. Don Ciccone had a fabulous voice that was sadly silenced on October 8, 2016 at the young age of 70.

The songs that Don sang were written by Brian Gari. Brian has been in the industry for fifty plus years has written almost 900 songs. He had his first song published at 15 and recorded at 17. He signed with Vanguard Records in 1975 recording for them through 1976. For the next few years he performed his songs in New York comedy and cabaret clubs such as the Ballroom, Reno Sweeney, Catch a Rising Star, the Improv, the Comic Strip and the Copa. All along he was writing what was to become his first Broadway musical, LATE NITE COMIC , which debuted in October of 1987 at the Ritz Theatre (now the Walter Kerr.) The album made Top 10 for film and show albums at Tower Records. His songs have been performed and/or recorded by such artists as Margaret Whiting, the Tokens, Jana Robbins , Kaye Ballard, Lesley Gore., Andrea Marcovicci, and now the late great Don Ciccone.

Don recorded the musical gems over a period of time from 1971 to 1990. Despite the twenty year period, what is great is that Don's voice aged so well. As for the songs, it makes me happy that someone like Brian Gari is continuing to write great compositions. My favorite recording is a surprisingly upbeat - "Where Did The Music Go", but there really isn't a bad song on the album. Other high points of the CD are songs like "Bicycle Ride", "Happy Thoughts", and "I Just Had To Say My Last Goodbye" - which is another favorite of mine. 

An added feature is a great radio interview that Don Ciccone had with a young Alan Colmes. Colmes sadly died last year as well. You can see the admiration that Brian Gari had for Ciccone as this CD is lovingly put together. You can also see the admiration that Don had for Brian as he really sang all of the songs here with love and respect. The world is seemingly in chaos now, but this CD shows that beauty and creativity is not dead. The late Don Ciccone would be proud...

MY RATING: 10 out of 10

If you would like to buy a copy of this CD, please order through this link for the $14.99 price:

1 comment:

  1. Mr. Dieingly Sad was not a BILLBOARD top 25 hit. The Critters had trouble gaining traction in the US - what success their singles had, was regional across various markets in the US. Mr. Dieingly Sad and a few other songs from The Critters did however go over well in the UK where Dieingly Sad was a charting hit for them on the UK Singles Chart. It peaked at #17 across the pond. Their cover of Younger Girl did OK in the Los Angeles market charts. I knew Don in the 70s when he was with Frankie and I was working in A&R at A&M Records.