Tales From The Cup (the Coffeehouse Archives)

Michael Cleary Band

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funky jazzy rock with a bluesy latin twist, buttered with a little worldbeat zydeco soul.

The Michael Cleary band is a Hartford institution. They are celebrating their 18th year of making original blues/rock music with a twist and have been called Hartford's answer to the Allman Brothers. The MCB is a perennial favorite in the Hartford Advocate's reader's poll and previous winners in the "best rock" category in the Grand Band Slam. They have played with Tower of Power, Little Feat, Average White Band, Joan Osbourne, Peter Wolf, NRBQ and countless other regional and national acts. Their latest release, "Tales from the Cup," is a "best of" compilation from their days on the Coffeehouse record label and was released in August 2004.

1994-1996 was a memorable time for us. MCB had been voted best rock band in the Hartford Advocate reader's poll and we were riding high creatively and commercially. The band and producer Mike Arafeh were striving to make the best recordings that we could and this collection is a representation of our efforts. We've included some live studio recordings, remastered favorites and some multitrack mixes that have remained unreleased until now. While most of these songs remain part of our live set and some only come out for the occasional "dust off", pouring thru the archives reveals their genesis. Some memorable moments include the 30 person choir on "Fails", playing guitar everywhere from the kitchen to the bathroom, singing naked on "Peace Finally Comes" and of course, the coffee. I feel so blessed working with such talented people on both sides of the glass; the Corvo Bros., Paul "Pops" Bozzi, keyboardists extraordinaire Vince, Scooter, and Tony "Abu", Caudles and Mike Arafeh. We hope you get as much enjoyment listening to this collection as we did putting it together.



The following is a review from The Hartford Advocate, 3/25/04:

Rites of Spring: The Michael Cleary Band after 13 years is Hartford´s answer to the Allman Brothers.

The first weekend of spring brought with it some very un-spring-like weather such as snow and ice, but it also brought a couple of really good shows to warm the heart of any lover of local, original music. On Saturday, at the Arch Street Tavern I caught a heartfelt and very well received set by the long-running Michael Cleary Band. The Michael Cleary Band is a Hartford institution. For 13 years the band has been churning out their highly addictive blend of blues-based rock to appreciative audiences in the area. They do an excellent job of merging different styles of music into the standard blues rock template. So, while the songs have a bluesy rock base, there are also traces of funk, jazz, country, soul and Latin in the mix, making the band sound at times like Hartford's own version of the Allman Brothers.

Each member of the band is talented in his own right, but Cleary definitely deserves some notice for his ace guitar playing. A master of his instrument, he effortlessly shoots out bluesy, emotive solos especially on the occasions when the band gets down and jams. But he's also a solid rhythm player, able to lay down a nice solid groove, when duty calls.

Cleary calls his band a "labor of love" and one can hear this love in the music they play. Even more so, you can feel the love the fans show for this veteran band as they danced the night away to the music.

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