Jeff Elbel + PING - The Eleventh Hour Storybook

Published Monday 15th May 2006
Jeff Elbel + PING - The Eleventh Hour Storybook
Jeff Elbel + PING - The Eleventh Hour Storybook

RATING 5 5 5 5 5
OUR PRODUCT CODE: 16771-11116
LABEL: Independent

Reviewed by Philip Croft

Jeff Elbel has been recording now for well over 10 years and this is his fourth album backed by PING. You would think by now that Illinois-based Jeff would have some idea about what musical direction he wants to take but based on this album that doesn't appear to be the case. In places we are treated to songs that sound like they are being performed by a Beatles or Kinks tribute band. In other places the band go in for rugged, bluesy rock numbers, which is when they are way, way at their best. And in yet other places Jeff opts for appalling novelty songs such as "Goodnight Rabbit" (based on a Bugs Bunny cartoon), "Muffin In The Oven" (described on the Marathon Records website as "an insensitive maternity song") and "Bark Along with Cody", a song which is said to be getting considerable airplay Stateside from radio presenter Dr Demento! I suppose it could be that Americans have different ideas to us Brits regarding what is funny and what isn't and they would probably describe this as quirky but to me this is a lost opportunity, Jeff and the band can clearly write and perform real quality bluesy rock numbers and if they just stuck to that this album would be far, far better than it currently stands.

The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.

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Reader Comments

Posted by Jeff in Chicago @ 07:10 on May 30 2006

Cross Rhythms notified me that Storybook had been reviewed, so I thought I'd read the story. Upon doing so, I thought, "by golly, a key song has been entirely misrepresented." And then I saw the Comment field. If I felt that the writer had pegged the album accurately (for good or bad), however, I'd have made no comment at all. He's quite welcome to his opinion, and my ego can take a bad review. I'll close by reaffirming the fact that I appreciate Mr. Croft took the time and effort to review the album at all.

Posted by Jeff Elbel in Chicago @ 07:08 on May 30 2006

Really? _Nothing_ worse? Youthinks whatever you likes, of course. I didn't intend to whine, regardless. I read the story and felt like engaging the process. I'm not exactly what you'd call world famous, nor shall I ever be. And that's fine. Still, I put these albums out myself, and enjoy having people hear them. I have never reviewed a review or responded to one before, and I'll likely make a rule never to do so again. But if someone's put off by a bad review and I believe is off the mark, it seems perfectly fair play to respond on a website.

Posted by Dan Smart in United Kingdom @ 13:36 on May 17 2006

Methinks that the artist doth protest too much! make your music and let reviewers do their job of critiquing how good it is. There's nothing worse than a whining artist complaining when a critic doesn't like the review!

Posted by Jeff in Chicago @ 17:54 on May 15 2006

My reservations notwithstanding, I DO appreciate that Philip Croft spent some of his time with the record and wrote down his feelings about it.

Posted by Jeff in Chicago @ 17:46 on May 15 2006

My wife (who doesn't care for a lot of my material) loves "Muffin in the Oven," and my daughter (who doesn't pay attention to much of my material) loves "Bark Along with Cody." Those are also reviews worth considering. These songs are admittedly not the meatiest fare, but they're fun. They don't represent the balance of the album anyhow. At concerts, they do well at winning over unfamiliar listeners, who might then be inclined to give ear to the stories behind other songs.

Posted by Jeff in Chicago @ 17:44 on May 15 2006

To call "Goodnight Rabbit" an "appalling novelty song" suggests that Philip Croft didn't consult the lyric listings, and perhaps didn't listen to the song. He claims to prefer the bluesy rock side of Ping, and "Rabbit" is the Stones-iest the band has ever gotten. I presume he's referring to preference for things like "Getting Ahead of Myself," but specific references are saved for negative comments.

The opinions expressed in the Reader Comments are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms.

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