Sprague Brothers , Wichita Falls Recording Artists

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Some of the many kind words we've received

Sprague Brothers -- David Greenberger reviews Forever and a Day, by the Sprague Brothers. They are indeed two brothers, Frank and Chris. They write all their own songs, play all the instruments, and they look and sound like they've stepped out of a time machine from the 1950s. Their musical idols are Buddy Holly, the Everly Brothers, and Bobby Fuller. "They are no mere revivalists; they draw on the rock and roll sound of the 50s and early 60s, but infuse it with their own character". NPR ("All Things Considered")

"What really stands out for me are their voices though.  Great harmonies on great original melodies, with the kind of clear vocal style that reminds me of Bobby Fuller.  Very memorable tunes". Anthony Mason, CBS news

Let The Chicks Fall Where They May and Forever And A Day by the Sprague Brothers (Frank and Chris). "This brother tandem cranks out some of the coolest retro pop around. The Sprague Brothers can sound like the Everly Brothers on one track, the Beatles on another song, and the Bobby Fuller Four on still another song. They also play some very nifty instrumental tracks. Those with an ear for jangly and chiming guitar riffs will be happy with “Remember, Forget, Remember, Forget” and “When Will I Find Love Again.” Eric Sorensen,  fufkin.com

"On Let The Chicks Fall Where They May (Hightone), the Sprague Brothers come on like a great lost West Texas rock band. This is among the best retro rock in recent memory, and just to show you they know their stuff, it's dedicated to their Mom. The best song is Battle Of The Bands, about the teen combo showdown of your dreams--or nightmares". Dave Marsh,  Playboy Magazine

"Most non-non-triumphant!" Keanu Reeves, At the Lava Lounge, Hollywood CA

5 out of 5 stars! Amazon.com

Reviewer: Fred Burwell, Beloit, WI  

"The Savage Sprague Brothers is already my favorite album of the year. If you are a fan of traditional rock 'n' roll played with passion and fervor, then check out this wonderful CD. The album leans toward a West Texas blend but is stylistically diverse. The meat of the album clearly lies with Frank Lee Sprague's original compositions. If radio pays attention, there are at least three bona fide hits here. "This You Did" has the wondrous feel of classic 45s from the sixties with ringing guitar hooks and heart-rending vocals. "She's An Adulteress" sounds like something Buddy Holly might have written in the mid sixties had he lived. It features a Sonny Curtis style descending guitar riff and convincing vocals. The singer sings every line as if he really means it. I sure wish we heard songs like "U.S.A." on the radio and in dance halls. It's a catchy, joyous sounding tribute to one of America's greatest contributions to the world - ROCK 'N' ROLL!

There are so many highlights to the Savage Sprague Brothers. "Charlene's" rolling acoustic guitar rhythms and spare production recall the beautiful "apartment tapes" Buddy Holly recorded shortly before his death. The Spragues roughen up things a bit with the chugging "Two Hands In My Pockets", a raunch 'n' roll tune with a pounding beat and LOUD guitar solos. The Spragues dip into the Holly style on a couple of other occasions, the vocals on "Once Again I'm Fallin'", the piano riff (like "Think It Over")on "In Your Heart" and there's a Bobby Fuller ballad feel to "It Doesn't Hurt Anymore". As an added treat, instrumental fans will enjoy the quirky Ventures groove of "The Invisible Man". Covers such as the revved up opener, "Betty's Got a Hot Rod" and one of the sweetest Everly-style ballads you'll ever hear, "Nothing Matters But You" feature dazzling new arrangements by Frank Lee Sprague.

Throughout the album, the playing and singing is top notch. Frank and Chris Sprague know exactly what they're doing. There's no excess, no sugar coating to "update" the sound, yet there's nothing dated sounding here. It's as authentic, tasteful and fresh rock 'n' roll as you'll ever find!"

Here is one of the first reviews we received! It's from Rockin' 50's magazine, & it is an article about our first release "Real Gone Rock n Roll"

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5 out of 5 stars Fabulous Rock 'n' roll!, October 20, 2005
Hearing the Sprague Brothers' "Best of the EssBee CD's Volume 1" for the first time, made my day. Like a lot of people who love authentic rock 'n' roll, I'm often disappointed by so-called "revivalists." The Sprague Brothers, on the other hand, don't sound as if they are reviving anything. This is their music. It would be a mistake to pigeonhole the Sprague Brothers. Most unusually, they don't stick to one bag, but are true masters of the various genres of early rock 'n' roll, from rockabilly and boppin' country to surf and Texas-style rock 'n' roll to British Invasion style. Best of all, they mix it all up in their own way, with unique conviction and dedication (plus a great sense of humor)!

This album of rare recordings is a treat from start to finish. Along the way are many highlights such as their storming version of "Penetration" where Frank Lee Sprague's guitar rumbles and roars. There are amazing covers of "Hippy Hippy Shake" and "Tall Tall Trees", the spot-on rockabilly of "Rock Rock" and the pumping piano rocker, "Rock 'n' Roll", which sounds like a lost Jerry Lee Lewis hit.

At least half of the album features Frank Lee Sprague originals, classics in their own right, fresh-sounding and vital, from the lovely ballad, "My Tender Heart", to the autobiographical "Nesman Studios." There are also unusual and effective arrangements, such as turning the 50's style Addrisi Brothers song, "I'll Be True" into a Merseybeat raveup.

Throughout the album, the musicianship and singing is top shelf. Whether it's rockabilly or surf or any other brand of rock 'n' roll, Frank Lee Sprague plays lead guitar with fire and gusto, creating an exciting style recognizably his own. Chris Sprague's drumming never fails to propel the music.

If you love rock 'n' roll played with joy and spark, I highly recommend this CD and all the others by the Sprague Brothers and Frank Lee Sprague. I can't wait for volume two!
Fred Burwell (Beloit, WI USA) -
 

Sprague Bros kick ass!
Short,sweet, and to the point, this stuff rocks!!!!!!!!!!!! Whether you are in the car, blowing down the road, in the shop, working on a hot rod, or just kicked back on a sunday afternoon, doing something on the grill, this is great music! i still catch myself smiling while listening to it, wherever i am
Submitted by a reviewer in benbrook, tx
 
The Sprague Brothers:  This music is traceable straight back to Buddy Holly--influenced by the Merseybeat sound that he influenced--as well as to the Everly Brothers. The songs are clearly part of a tradition, yet avoid falling into nostalgia. "Hardship" has the spare rocking and close harmony of the Everly's work, but is so exuberant that the song looks forward more than it looks back. Likewise, "She's Gonna Leave" evokes the earliest recordings of the Beatles but its verve is timeless. Guests on hand include  Randy Fuller (from the Bobby Fuller Four).
CD universe

 

Review of the new Sprague Bros EP "4 New Smashing Songs!" December 2008

"Do you like jangly guitars and memorable melodies? Then you’ll definitely dig the music of The Sprague Brothers. Frank and Chris Sprague really are brothers and are equally adept singing or picking out very catchy instrumental numbers. And you’ll hear that on their latest CD EP – 4 New Smashing Songs!

 

“Batmobile” conjures up images of the mid 1960’s TV show and has Frank’s killer guitar tone front and center all the way. There are neat-o sound effects and even a gong in this one. “Dragula” has an almost spy type of vibe – definitely spooky but at the same time – like a rollicking ride down the quarter mile drag strip. “Golden Sahara” takes the energy level down and you’ll hear the boy’s trademark vocal harmonies. There’s acoustic guitar, harp and other lush sounds in this one. “Return of the Munsters” is another catchy and cool instrumental number that will take you right back to the 1960’s. In fact, I can see Herman and Lilly cruising around in the Munster Koach and rocking out to this one.

 

4 New Smashing Songs! is the latest in a long line of great CD’s that have made The Sprague Brothers “Frettin’ Fingers” Favorite Artists. Rock on boys!"

Jim Hilmar, December 20th 2008

Host of Frettin' Fingers - "The Guitar Music Show"

Heard every Saturday afternoon from 1:00 ~ 3:00 PM Pacific Time

KSER Radio - 90.7 FM

www.kser.org

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"the best Jerry Lee Lewis song the Killer never wrote,“Rock’n’Roll.”               Dan Forte, Vintage Guitar Mag, April 2006

"The Sprague Brothers are
reminiscent of the Beatles or
the Everly Brothers, but
with a sound that is very
much their own".

Bob Boilen , NPR

"The Spragues avoid the trap of pale tribute and instead crackle with raw authenticity". Michael Becker, North Shore News

"This one ranks as one of my favorite albums of the last couple of years. The playing, singing and songwriting are all beyond amazing. Shades of Buddy Holly".   Mark E. Gallo, American Roots

 

"If Sinatra’s ‘Rat Pack’ had been into Early Elvis, The Sprague Brothers would have been the house band.”

--The Washington Post

"Oozing with talent, the close-harmony vocals & twangy guitars make the Sprague Brothers sound like a modern day Everly Brothers. But there's plenty more in here too - traces of Surf, hints of very early Beatles, and a healthy dose of Rockabilly too".

Raucous Records

"The Spragues really are a brothers act, and they have the rich vocal harmonies to prove it. Their band puts plenty of Rockabilly and surf Rock muscle into their sweet sound". Nick D.  Real Player.com

"I'm turned off by the whole "fakeabilly" scene, but ya'll prove to me that the real deal is still out there. " Randy Fuller, The Bobby Fuller Four

"Frank Sprague's skills as producer are evident in the Spragues recordings." Sabrina Kaleta, New Times

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The SB's in Japan

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Randy Fuller and Frank on stage

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At CBS rehearsal, Frank ponders what millions of viewers will think of the SB's

"The Savage Sprague Brothers" CD
“The  disc is dripping with Buddy Holly influences……flawless performance with innovative lyric movement and classic  harmonies.” My Texas Music.com August 2004

Click here to buy the new CD!

AMG Review of "The Song" by Mark Deming, March 2007
The Sprague Brothers play rockabilly and Merseybeat-influenced roots rock with such a sure touch that at their best, it's hard to tell their stuff from actual vintage material, which is less a product of worrying every sonic detail into the ground than capturing the heart and soul of the music on tape. After a spell on Hightone, the Sprague Brothers are once again recording for their own Wichita Falls label, and 2006's The Song shows these proud sons of the Lone Star State are still finding plenty of inspiration in their hometown's musical past. Guitarist and songwriter Frank Lee Sprague is the star of this show, picking up a storm and writing tunes that mine classic themes with a fresh feel and honest enthusiasm, while his brother Christopher Sprague lays down the big beat without making a fuss and lends some really splendid harmonies to this set. One can hear clear echoes of Buddy Holly ("Right Time 4 Love", the Searchers ("Money Makes The Man" and the Everly Brothers ("There's Always A Price To Pay") in these songs among others, but the craft and the love of the music is strong enough that the Sprague Brothers sound like kindred spirits of these masters rather than just another band trying to walk in their footsteps. The Song tends to sound like a collection of singles rather than a real-deal album — the diversity of textures sometimes prevents this from cohering as well as one might wish — but those phantom singles are records well worth hearing, and anyone with a passion for old school rock ‘n' roll will get a big smile from this disc.

REVIEW
VINTAGE GUITAR APRIL 2006
The Sprague Brothers
Best Of The EssBee CDs, Volume I
El Toro/Wichita Falls
On the surface, Christopher and
Frank Lee Sprague seem like a rockabilly
revival band, but the program blasts off with
the surf-instro classic “Penetration,”
then shifts gears to a British Invasion-
inspired “Hippy Hippy Shake,”
before the more countrified covers and
originals seep in. Somehow, it all makes
sense – even a “Midnight Cowboy”-ish
arrangement of “You Only Live Twice”
(yes, the Nancy Sinatra hit from the
James Bond movie).
As the title implies, the 20 cuts are
culled from these vocalist/multi-instrumentalist
brothers’ self-released CDs.
Besides drums, Chris plays upright bass
and steel, while Frank Lee plays lead
guitar, mandolin, fiddle, piano, electric
and acoustic basses, and pens all of the
originals – which are uniformly impressive,
whether it’s the surf instrumental
“Green Arrow” or the Travis-picked “No
One Wants My Love” or the best Jerry
Lee Lewis song the Killer never wrote,
“Rock’n’Roll.”
Other cool touches include a Bill
Haley-styled take on Gene Krupa’s
“Drum Boogie” and the Skyliners’ ’50s
ballad “Since I Don’t Have You” done
in Santo & Johnny mode.
And as multidimensional as it is,
this only represents a few colors of the
Spragues’ spectrum; Frank Lee’s latest
solo efforts, Merseybeat, and the brandnew
Cavern, pay homage to the British
Invasion. – Dan Forte

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Fufkin.com Feb 2006
The Sprague Brothers -- Best Of The EssBee CD's Volume One (El Toro/Wichita Falls):
Frank Lee and Christopher Sprague exist both in the 21st Century and in the original rock and roll era between 1955 to about 1961. This disc compiles some highlights from their recordings dating back to 1999. Their brand of rock and roll tends a bit more to the country side of the equation, but they touch so many bases. Frank Lee, who recently put out a sublime solo disc of Merseybeat style material, pens old-fashioned songs that stand side-by-side with the covers scattered throughout the collection. There's a lovely Shadows-type instrumental, pure country (like a run through George Jones's "Tall Tall Trees"), Ricky Nelson-ish rockabilly ("Rock Rock"), some Everly-esque tuneage ("I'll Do It Every Time", an old Johnny Horton tune), a modern update on Jerry Lee ("Rock ‘n' Roll"), and a classic or two (like a swell version of "Hippy Hippy Shake"). I can't stress enough how good The Sprague Brothers are. If you like retro 50's/early ‘60s rock and roll, I can't imagine you not enjoying this.  Mike Bennett, Capsule Reviews, Feb 2006

“The Sprague Brothers recording carreer didn’t stop with the end of their contract with Hightone. They released a bunch of records on their own Essbee label. This compilation gathers the best of this now hard-to-find albums. As usual with the Sprague’s, you can expect fine songwriting and beautiful arrangements. Rock’n’roll is a term that everybody seems to use nowadays (no, Bonnie Tyler ain’t a rocker !), but this is the best word to describe their music. A mix of surf (Penetration, Green Arrow), early Beatles (“I’ll Be True” and its intro taken from Beatles’ “Devil In Her Heart” would make Sir Paul jealous), and the usual Everly/Holly/Fuller influenced stuff . You’ll find some rockabilly (Johnny Power’s “Rock Rock”) too, and “My Tender Heart” sees the bros go bluegrass. Frank and Chris play all the instruments, except on one tune where they are backed by Deke Dickerson and Shorty Poole, and the skills of each of them is simply amazing. Of course Chris is a good drummer (if you don’t believe me listen to “Drum Boogie” a Gene Krupa meets Bill Haley song) but he can play steel, upright bass, sing fine harmonies and on “Just Over A Girl” he gives us a great piece of eefing. Frank Lee Sprague is even more impressive as it seems that no instrument has secret for him : surf guitar, bluegrass mandolin, Jerry Lee Lewis boogie piano... You name it, he plays it. Add extensive liner notes and you’ll have another must-have, and as the title states Volume 1, we can expect a Volume 2 very soon.”
Fred Turgis, December 2005

Real Gone Rock'n'roll!

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