Simone Felice

TrackAlbum
Dawn Brady’'s SonSimone Felice
The Devil Is RealLive From A Lonely Place
Don’'t Wake The ScarecrowLive From A Lonely Place
Have You Seen It?Long Live The Duke & The King
If You Ever Get FamousNothing Gold Can Stay
The Morning I Get To HellNothing Gold Can Stay
New York TimesSimone Felice
One More American SongNothing Gold Can Stay
ShakyLong Live The Duke & The King
Union StreetNothing Gold Can Stay

spotify-logo-primary-horizontal-dark-background-rgb-sm

 

Contributor: Peter Viney

This includes The Duke & The King as well as Simone Felice solo.

Simone has appeared live as Simone Felice, Simone Felice and Friends, The Simone Felice Band and The Simone Felice Group. He was originally drummer in The Felice Brothers, before forming the acclaimed The Duke & The King. Simone radically reinvents and improves his songs, and later solo albums, Live From A Lonely Place and Simone Felice reprise songs The Felice Brothers did first like Don’t Wake The Scarecrow (The Felice Brothers 2008) and All When We Were Young (Yonder Is The Clock 2009). His best-known and most popular Felice Brothers song, Radio Song appears in every solo live show, but doesn’t make the cut because it’s not on any solo recording. It would have been one of the first choices.

The Duke & The King take their name from the trickster characters in Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain, appropriately as the first album, Nothing Gold Can Stay was regarded as a duo with Bobbie Bird on bass and vocals, extracting a lovely sound from his Gibson EB3 bass. That album contained some of the work he performed most often over the next four years: If You Ever Get Famous, The Morning I Get To Hell, Union Street, Summer Morning Rain, Water Spider and One More American Song.

The Duke & The King expanded to a four piece for Long Live The Duke & The King in 2010. The additions were Simi Stone on vocals and violin, and ex-Funkadelic drummer Nowell Haskins. YouTube will find you the four piece version doing The Morning I Get To Hell from the earlier incarnation on The Jools Holland Show on 7th October 2009, following Gladys Knight. The surprise was Bobby Bird dropping his bass guitar, Nowell Haskins dropping the drums, and doing the song with just Simone’s guitar and all three singing and adding percussion. It is the best version too (though live with Simi Stone was as good, but not recorded). Long Live The Duke & The King included the “virtual single” Shaky, now Simone’s best-known song, No Easy Way Out (lead vocal Simi Stone) and Shine On You. Several tracks have a late 60s psych feel: Children of The Sun, O’Gloria (sic), Hudson River, Have You Seen It?. It was a toss up which of the four to choose.

The Duke And The King were so good that it was hard to believe they were put on ice as Simone Felice went solo with ever-changing line-ups of musicians … sometimes with Simi Stone sharing vocals. The material from the four-piece record gets less of a live airing, probably because it was conceived as four piece work.

Live From A Lonely Place was initially a vinyl release which has him reclaiming his earlier songs from The Felice Brothers and The Duke & The King in solo versions. Highlights include The Devil Is Real and Your Belly In My Arms as well as improved versions of Don’t Wake The Scarecrow and All When We Were Young from The Felice Brother era. The Devil Is Real is even better in live performance with other musicians.

Two CDs with his brother Ian Felice, The Big Empty and Mexico are earlier demos, sold mainly at gigs, and both worth having,

The Simone Felice album from 2012 is another where I’d be happy to say “pick the lot”. New York Times was featuring on live shows in 2011, before the album was released. The other narrative stories draw on memories of growing up in “a shitty town in the Catskills”: Dawn Brady’s Son, Charade, Stormy-Eyed Sarah, Ballad Of Sharon Tate, Courtney Love, Hey Bobby Ray as well as evidence of his strong melodic sensibility in the anthemic You & I Belong and Gimme All You Got.

His live shows are like seeing Neil Young or Bruce Springsteen right at the beginning of their careers: that powerful and that charismatic. Regular live covers include Neil Young’s Helpless, Bob Dylan’s Knocking On Heaven’s Door and I Shall Be Released, and Bruce Springsteen’s Atlantic City.

Simone Felice website

Review, Simone Felice, live April 2011

Review, Simone Felice Band, live April 2012 (with Simi Stone)

Review, Simone Felice Group, live September 2012 (with Simi Stone)

Review, Simone Felice, live July 2013

Our contributor is covering the “solo” years (2009-2013) so who’s going to step up with a Felice Brothers toppermost?

TopperPost #51

5 Comments

  1. Jon Lyness
    Aug 19, 2013

    Great list, Peter. Mine would be largely the same, though I’d probably try to shoehorn Summer Morning Rain and Gimme All You Got in there somewhere. Amazing what a strong body of work he’s created in less than five years.

  2. Rob Millis
    Aug 21, 2013

    Is that absolutely it for The Duke & The King, Peter? After the Felice Brothers (who I didn’t think much of; too Band-by-numbers even down to the hats and shirts) I really enjoyed that period.

  3. Peter Viney
    Aug 21, 2013

    At one of the shows last year someone asked Simi and she said The Duke & The King were “on hold” but not gone. I have my doubts though. Simone seems to have a wide circle of musicians to collaborate with and seems to like changing the line-ups.

  4. Peter Viney
    Feb 1, 2014

    Today’s “Daily Telegraph” had a “500 Must Have Music Tracks.” Under Singer-Songwriter, among the ten best selected: Dylan, Paul Simon, Joni Mitchell, Bruce Springsteen, Leonard Cohen, Elton John, Lou Reed, Nick Cave, we deservedly have The Felice Brothers on “Don’t Wake The Scarecrow.”

    In “the Best of The Rest” (11-20) we have Randy Newman, Neil Young, Carole King, Ian Dury, Van Morrison, Nick Drake, Patti Smith, Loudon Wainwright III, Tom Waits, Janis Ian.

    Reading their lists, this is not hasty selections. Simone Felice deserves his place in the Best Ten.

  5. Peter Viney
    Apr 20, 2014

    Simone Felice review for 19th April 2014. The new 2014 album “Strangers” has so many tracks for Toppermost inclusion, I’d take Bye Bye Palenville and The Gallows for sure, but I can’t see anything I could take out of the ten above. It’ll have to be twelve.

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

↓