Fotomaker – The Fotomaker Collection (1995): Forgotten Series

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What happens when a pair of Rascals meet a Raspberry? They become Fotomaker!

Formed 1976 by bassist Gene Cornish and drummer Dino Danelli — who played in the Rascals, one of the greatest bands of the 1960s — Fotomaker also included guitarist Wally Bryson, who played in one of the greatest bands of the ’70s, Raspberries. Based in Long Island, New York, the band further featured the talents of guitarist Lex Marchesi and keyboardist Frankie Vinci.

During its inception, which lasted a few years, Fotomaker cut three studio albums. The band received a heavy push in the beginning, but an ill-fated combination of spotty distribution and traveling the disco route pretty much killed the plot. And what a tragedy that was, because Fotomaker certainly had the chops and the songs to attain raging success.

A thoughtfully chosen retrospective, The Fotomaker Collection (Rhino Records) centers on the band’s first and foremost vision. Honoring its heritage, the band filtered the heartfelt soul of Rascals through the pop rock mentality of Raspberries. But a modern concept, involving brand new songs and state-of-the-art production, firmly indicated Fotomaker intended to establish its own identity.

Although Fotomaker didn’t scale the lofty heights as expected, the band did enjoy a bit of radio time. Gushing with celestial choruses, tingling tempos, cool keyboard excursions, and potent riffs, “Where Have You Been All My Life” peaked at No. 81 on the charts early in 1978, while the comparably smooth and sparkly “Miles Away” clocked in at the No. 63 position that fall. Bolted tight with energy, excitement, and shrewd moves, both these songs are true blue power pop nuggets.

Fueled by the band’s flair for mixing muscle with melody, “Can I Please Have Some More,” “Two Can Make It Work,” “Name Of The Game,” and “Plaything” rate as other songs heard on the disc bound to slip into your brain and not let go, where “All There In Her Eyes” is an expressive ballad, “The Other Side” favors a progressive edge, and a previously unissued track, “Baby, I…” sizzles and squirms to a rough and raw-boned gait.

Shaped of sturdy instrumentation, grand and glossy hooks, and clear, direct, and catchy vocals, each song on The Fotomaker Collection is a real winner. Not only will fans of the Rascals and Raspberries take a shine to these pop rocking prizes, but those with a penchant for acts like the Left Banke, Badfinger, and Todd Rundgren will be pleased as well.

Beverly Paterson

Beverly Paterson

Beverly Paterson was born the day Ben E. King hit No. 4 with "Stand By Me" -- which is actually one of her favorite songs, especially John Lennon's version. She's contributed to Lance Monthly and Amplifier, and served as Rock Beat International's associate editor. Paterson has also published Inside Out, and Twist & Shake. Contact Something Else! at reviews@somethingelsereviews.com.
Beverly Paterson
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