Two years ago I found myself announcing an imminent album release from the Valerga Brothers when they were inducted to the Hall Of Fame Class of 2019. I had been privy to an advance copy so I was confident that the CD would have been well received. Covid delayed that album and forced into isolation, the brothers made good use of the extra time available and started to add songs to it with a view to making it a double album. Recordings went on until finally they had over thirty songs in the bag. That’s nearly a triple album’s worth! This is where we are two years later as Henry Valerga meets with me offering a bunch of new CD information handouts and the beaming smile of a man who has just done his musical best.
“The ‘Soundtrack of my teenS’ by The Valerga Bothers is our ‘opus magnum.’ A snapshot of our early years in pictures and biography, packaged with the soundtrack of the 60’s and 70’s music which shaped our teens. This bumper musical offering includes great covers of big hits from legendary artists and we have also brought in local artists to the party in the hope that Calpe House, a charity really close to my heart, will benefit greatly from the entire proceeds of this thirty two track album.”
The album which has been financed by Kamlesh Krishna Khubchand, consists of a beautiful front cover painting of brothers Henry and Denis by artist Leslie Gaduzo. Stephen Perera has done the graphic design and produced the twelve page libretto which includes many photos from the era in montage using vintage cameras and layout. Henry has thoroughly researched the songs and added written quotes as sleeve liners. The local artists collaborating are Chris Montegriffo on harmonica, guitarist Paul Patrick Cano, Trevor Guilliano of ‘After Hours’ (recording assistance), singers Corrine Cooper and Seila Pavon, tenor Nathan Payas and soprano Claire Hawkins, veteran Rocker Giles Ramirez and veteran Rock guitarist Harry Chichon. The Gibraltar National Youth Choir conducted by Christian Santos, with spoken words by Krisna Gulraj and Michael Cortes, were recorded with Brian Torres and Nicky Gonzalez assisting. That represents a wide cross section of local talent who have rallied round to embellish the project with their contributions.
“As we speak (early November) it’s not yet guaranteed that the release will be in time for Christmas but we are still hopeful. All the music is done and mastered and it’s just the packaging and printing which still have to be tweaked. The songs we have chosen are legendary classics, evergreens from The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Animals, The Kinks, Simon and Garfunkel, Procol Harum, The Righteous Brothers, Leonard Cohen, Bob Dylan, Donovan, The Everly Brothers and many more.”
“Our versions of their songs are backed by rich instrumentation and versatile vocal arrangements which we and the other contributing artists have poured their hearts into. I think that we have achieved a recording milestone in the way that our covers of these classics have turned out. It’s the biggest project that we have ever attempted and we are immensely proud of everyone with the results that we have achieved.”
Henry gave me a sample CD of twenty songs from which I have selected a few to mention as a trailer and ‘The Boxer’ immediately stands out as does ‘You’ve lost that loving feeling’ both great productions. ‘Grocer Jack’ features the GNY Choir on it and has all the tenderness of the original. Henry’s vocal in Donovan’s ‘Catch the wind’ gives you goose pimples and ‘Universal Soldier’ is a truly epic production. Denis Valerga sings ‘Blackberry Way’ and he has orchestrated a ‘Penny Lane’ type of trumpet solo at the end which is a masterpiece. ‘Ruby Tuesday’ is given a sensitive treatment which evokes all the magic of the early Rolling Stones at their acoustic best and Don Maclean’s ‘Vincent’ is also a truly standout track which captures the beauty and fragility of the original. I can’t wait to hear the rest of the songs.
Having heard the sample CD I can vouch that you will be in for a feast of classics which will make you feel proud of the local talent on display in these collaborations. They really do stand out as special musical treats and I can see many copies of this bumper album package from the Valerga Brothers, which includes a 19 track CD, a 32 track USB and a 12 page comprehensive libretto, selling really well in support of Calpe House. The ‘Soundtrack of my teenS’ will gladden many hearts with the nostalgia and the musical journey of two brothers who have captured our hearts and still endure with their music.