Jersey Boys

Original Broadway Cast Recording

Rhino, 2005

REVIEW BY: David Bowling


I have bought the Four Seasons on 45 rpm record. I have bought the Four Seasons on LP record. I have bought the Four Seasons on CD. I have bought the Four Seasons on DVD. I even have an old Four Seasons 8-track lying round. And now the Four Seasons, or at least their music, has come to Broadway.

The Four Seasons may have seemed like an odd choice to build a Broadway musical around. The majority of plays never even reach Broadway and of those that do, many end up losing large amounts of money. Jersey Boys, which opened on Broadway November 6, 2005, was not only successful but went on to win four 2006 Tony awards including best musical of the year.

The Four Seasons were a hit making machine from the late 1950’s to the disco era of the early 1980’s. Combining Frankie Valli’s falsetto vocals and the writing and production of Bob Gaudio and Bob Crewe the Four Seasons melded do-wop harmonies and pop song structures into a niche in the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame. The Four Seasons legacy encompasses a number of memorable songs that still haunt the radio airwaves. Songs such as ‘Let’s Hang On,” “Rag Doll,” “Sherry,” “Dawn (Go Away),” “Big Girls Don’t Cry,” ‘Walk Like A Man” and “My Eyes Adored You” have cross generational appeal and have remained popular long after their release. my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Jersey Boys is a chronicle of the Four Seasons lengthy career. It can be called a documentary musical as their career is presented as spoken word rather than acted out. This cast album follows that format with brief biographical statements leading up to the presentation of groups of songs.

In many ways the singing and production of Jersey Boys is superior to that of the Four Seasons originals. The singers who portray the Four Seasons, especially John Lloyd Young as Frankie Valli sound uncannily like the group. My only gripe is that the sound is to modernized and perfect.

The first third of the CD tends to drag a bit as it focuses upon the groups early years and back-up session work. Songs such as “You’re The Apple Of My Eye,” “Short Shorts,” “An Angel Cried” and “A Sunday Kind Of Love” just don’t measure up well to the hits that will follow. But once “Sherry” and “Big Girls Don’t Cry” begin blaring from the speakers Jersey Boys is on safe and many times spectacular ground. Hit follows hit and whether you are familiar with the music of the Four Seasons or not, it is a wonderful romp through the life and times of a talented group.

Jersey Boys is a well-crafted and excellent look at the career of an All American music group. Jersey Boys succeeds and ultimately shines because of the music. It has at its disposal one of the great pop catalogues in music and makes use of it well.

The Jersey Boys CD is an extremely good listening experience and can stand on its own even if you have not seen the play. So grab the CD, sit back, put on your head phones, and enjoy the musical ride of one of the legendary groups in American pop history.

Rating: A-

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© 2008 David Bowling and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Rhino, and is used for informational purposes only.