12 March 2016

Legacy Of A Rock 'n' Roll Witch Queen (Part Two)


Bree Spellman's Legacy:
New Archies Music in the 22nd Century
Yet Another Fan Art Fantasy by
DC Hampton Jacobs
Cartoon Images by Stuffed Animal

based on Archie Comics Characters

Gold and Platinum Singles by The New Archies
"Can't Break The Habit" (#5 Pop, released in 2039), "Eli's Comin'" (#11 Pop, released in 2040), "Humpty Dumpty"/"Don't Mention My Name" (#1 Pop, released in 2049), "I Just Wanna Keep It Together" (#1 Pop, released in 2057), "Jacksonville Station" (#14 Pop, released in 2041), "Lady Jane" (#5 Pop, released in 2039), "Mama Can't Buy You Love" (#17 Pop, released in 2039), "Promise Me Anything" (#10 Pop, released in 2052), "Rock-A-Polka" (#2 Pop, released in 2051), "Running In And Out" (#6 Pop, released in 2039), "Sausalito" (#2 Pop, released in 2041), "Shambala" (#7 Pop, released in 2040), "Tighter" (#9 Pop, released in 2039) "Where Do You Go?" (#3 Pop, released in 2048), "Wiggle On Out" (#12 Pop, released in 2047).


Part Two:
Garcy Briseño goes solo in the year 2042, and the original New Archies disband later that year.  The group's second phase launches in 2047, but sans Garcy: Lana Suzuki steps into her lead guitarist spot.  While fans quickly learn to love Susu, nobody can replace The Divine Ms. B!  Almost immediately, people start clamoring for a reunion.  It won't happen until fifteen years later, when La Briseño contributes four lead vocals to Memphis Streets, the band's farewell album.  Everybody knows about that collaboration, because the record was a huge hit; but only the most avid fans know about a second one which takes place later that same year.

"Bom dia!  This is Garcy.  Please join me and my dear friends, The New Archies, on a musical trip back in time: To Brasil in the fabulous 1960s!  I promise you, our spicy sambas and silky smooth bossa novas will make you dance in the streets."

The New Archies won't be very popular south of the border, but Garcy will become a major Latin-American star. She'll headline her own TV specials in México, Argentina and Brazil.  Typically, they're big budget extravaganzas spilling over with glittering guest stars, but her second Brazilian special will be an exception: For "Uma Celebração da Bossa Nova" the Pop diva shares a soundstage with no one but her ex-bandmates and a trio of folkloric dancers.  Unlike Garcy's other shows, which come and go without leaving much of an impression, this one will have enduring popularity.

RIO 2057

Some highlights of this hour-long tribute to bossa nova standards:  Sharmante (that's Donna Dante with hubby Ramsay Khalid Sharma) offering up a sexy, finger-popping version of "Summer Samba"; Mal Hypster swinging the merda out of "Desafinado"; Rikki Ninja working his Salsa Boricua magic on "María Ninguém"; and Chi and Ninja joining forces for a mad groovy duet on "Mais que Nada"!  During the dance sequences, Garcy and The New Archies perform extended instrumental versions of Burt Bacharach's "The Look Of Love" and the jazzy theme song.

La Briseño sings the remaining vocal selections: Toby Maxx solos memorably on her Dixieland-flavored revamp of "Meditation", and Lana Suzuki's superb acoustic guitar accompaniment on "How Insensitive!" rates a lengthy standing ovation!  Garcy's penultimate number is another crowd-pleaser: "The Girl From Ipanema."  She brings her own guitar mastery to bear on Tom Jobim's famous paean to female beauty.  Noting her nuanced phrasing, Lesbians in the studio audience smile and nod their approval!  For the show's finale, the diva appears in a tutti-frutti turban à la Carmen Miranda, and with a hearty cry of superlegal! she commences wiggling her hips.  Dancing along to "One Note Samba", Chi, Ninja, Susu, Toto, Dee Dee and Ram follow her out of the TV studio.  Seconds later, cameras capture them on the streets of Rio, staging an impromptu mini-carnival.  Hundreds of onlookers join the festivities!

Entirely sung in Portuguese, "A Celebration of Bossa Nova" will air on TV Brasilia numerous times during the summer, fall and winter of 2057.  Fans anticipate a soundtrack recording, but none appears!  Garcy's soundtracks don't sell anywhere near as well as her studio albums.  Executives at her Brazilian record label also balk at showcasing The New Archies: "They had some hits in North America, but who are they, really?  Not much sales potential there." 

Unfortunately, it takes La Briseño's death in the year 2093 to generate enough interest in a CD/DVD release.  Can't Get Over The Bossa Nova! includes all ten songs from the TV special as well as two bonus tracks: "Samba Fantástico" and "Deixa Isso Prá Lá".  Garcy will cut these frantic dance tunes with her ex-bandmates before they leave Rio; intended for release as a single in 2058, they get shelved, once again due to A & R misgivings about The New Archies' star power.

Ordinarily, a foreign-language compilation wouldn't cause much of a stir stateside.  However, saturation coverage of the superstar's passing will put Garcymania in overdrive: Her 30-year-old tropical tribute vaults into the Catalog Album Top Ten, along with a plethora of solo albums and hits packages.  The soundtrack will also top the Brazilian charts and trigger a bossa nova revival that lasts several years!


Musidisc 993471
Meditação/Mediation (Jobim, Mendonça) - Garcy Briseño, vocal
Desafinado (Jobim, Mendonça) - Mal Hypster, vocal
María Ninguém (Carlos Lyra) - Rikki Ninja, vocal
Mais que Nada (Jorge Ben) - Rikki Ninja + Mal Hypster, duet vocals
Can't Get Over The Bossa Nova (Gormé, Lawrence) - instrumental
Samba Fantástico (Autuori, Manzón, Toledo) - Garcy Briseño, vocal
Insensatez/How Insensitive! (Jobim, de Moraes) - Garcy Briseño, vocal
Samba do Verão/Summer Samba (Marcos + Paulo Valle)
- Sharmante, duet vocals
The Look Of Love (Bacharach, David) - instrumental
Garota de Ipanema/Girl From Ipanema (Jobim, de Moraes) - Garcy Briseño, vocal
Samba de Uma Nota Só/One Note Samba (Jobim, Mendonça) - Garcy Briseño, vocal
Deixa Isso Prá Lá (Menezes, Paz) - Garcy Briseño, vocal
Original Television Soundtrack
Can't Get Over The Bossa Nova!
with The New Archies
A Garcy Briseño Production
Directed by Dom du Plessix
Music Under the Direction of
Ramsay Khalid Sharma
Produced by Garcy Briseño, Xavier Knox
+ Florez Cardinelli
Chief Sound Engineer:
Cisco Torquemada
Recorded @ Studio Excelsior, Rio de Janeiro
*A New Archies Production
Vocal Arrangements by The Magic Circle
Arranged by Rikki Ninja + Toby Maxx
Conducted by Ramsay Khalid Sharma
Produced by Malachi Hipp, Lana SuzukiGarcy Briseño 
Sound Engineer:
Tondelayo Gordon
Recorded @ Toca do Bandido, Rio de Janeiro

There's arguably no better document of The New Archies' instrumental virtuosity than Can't Get Over The Bossa Nova! From a collector's point of view, though, ten unreleased soundtrack recordings in Portuguese can't compare to a whopping 25 unreleased studio recordings (mostly) in English!  A French release on marigold-tinted virgin vinyl, Sunshine Mind will be the most coveted of all New Archies releases.

Dropping in the year 2089, it contains over two dozen previously-unreleased selections recorded from 2048-57. Predictably, Donna Dante's rockers and Ninja's ballads get the most attention from catalog album reviewers; but Mal Hypster's vocals are uniformly superb, as evidenced by his work on the sparkling title track.  Ramsay Khalid Sharma's only lead vocal on a New Archies studio recording is also found here.

Hempisphere HMS-2-711320A
Side One
Ring Of Fire (Cash, Kilgore) - lead vocals by Rikki Ninja*
Recorded in early 2051, this is an outtake from The New Archies' aborted
Tom Jones album project.
Judy In Disguise (Bernard, Gourrier) - lead vocals by Rikki Ninja*
Recorded in mid-2052, this John Fred + The Playboys cover 
is taken from an aborted singles session.
You, Baby (Barri, Sloan) - lead vocals by Rikki Ninja
Recorded in late 2047, this is The New Archies’ very first recording
@ Toby Maxx’s home studio, The Mad Groovy Pad.
Never Gonna Find (A Love Like Mine) (Shayne, Somer) - lead vocals by Donna Dante
Recorded in mid-2048, "Never Gonna Find" will be the intended flipside to the
cancelled single “Sunshine Mind.”
Yesterday’s Gone (Kidd, Stuart) - lead vocals by Donna Dante**
Recorded in late 2049, this is a leftover demo recording from The New Archies'
aborted Brenda Lee album project.
Take Me Home, Country Roads (Danoff, Denver, Nivert) - lead vocals by Mal Hypster
Recorded in late 2047, this John Denver cover is the cancelled 
follow-up single to “Wiggle On Out.”

Side Two
Baby, Don’t Go! (Sonny Bono)
- trio vocals by Donna Dante, Mal Hypster + Rikki Ninja
Recorded in early 2049, this Sonny + Cher oldie is taken from an aborted singles session.
The Mountain’s High (Dick St. John)
- trio vocals by Donna Dante, Mal Hypster + Rikki Ninja
Recorded in early 2048 @ this Dick + Dee classic is cut the same session as
the failed New Archies single “The Sound Of Love”.
Pants On Fire (Jim Donna) - duet vocals by Mal Hypster + Rikki Ninja*
Recorded in mid-2052, this is taken from an aborted singles session.
It was originally released in 1965 by The Castaways as "Liar, Liar".
Get Him! (Toni Wine) - lead vocals by Donna Dante
Recorded in early 2049, this is an outtake from The New Archies'
“For Pete’s Sake” soundtrack sessions.  It's a 1960s Girl Group rarity that was 
originally cut by Little Eva.
When You’re Young And In Love (Van McCoy) - lead vocals by Mal Hypster
Recorded in early 2048, this much-recorded Van McCoy ballad is 
an outtake from the Pétulance album sessions.
A Lotta Love (Banks, Parker) - lead vocals by Donna Dante*
Recorded in mid-2057, this Northern Soul stomper will be intended for
a Donna Dante solo single with backing by her bandmates.

Side One
Cinnamon (Cymbal, Tobin) - lead vocals by Mal Hypster
Recorded in late 2047, Johnny Cymbal's biggest hit will be the intended flipside to 
“Take Me Home, Country Roads.”
Ne Me Conneries/We’re Not Old Enough (Cooper, Cossette, Pinter, Susser)
- lead vocals by Donna Dante
Belle du Jour/You Sent Me Silver Bells (Cossette, Pike, Randazzo)
- lead vocals by Rikki Ninja
Recorded in late 2048, this pair of translated oldies will be recorded for
and featured in a Belgian remake of the 1967 French film Belle du Jour.
Run For Your Life! (Lennon, McCartney) - lead vocals by Donna Dante
Recorded in early 2049, this Beatles cover is taken 
from an aborted singles session.
Arizona (Kenny Young) - lead vocals by Rikki Ninja
Recorded in late 2047, this is an outtake from 
The New Archies' Pétulance album sessions.
Carpet Man (Jimmy Webb)
- chorus by Go Go Manischevitz, Donna Dante, Mal Hypster + Rikki Ninja
Recorded in late 2049, this forgotten Fifth Dimension hit is an outtake 
from sessions backing Pop diva Go Go Manischevitz.
"Carpet Man" will be briefly considered for single release.
Happiness Is Just Around The Corner (Van McCoy) - lead vocals by Mal Hypster*
Another great Van McCoy gem, recorded in mid-2051 @ the same session as “Hey, Mama!”
It will be a candidate for the flipside of that single.

Side Two
Darling, Be Home Soon (John Sebastian) - lead vocals by Rikki Ninja
This Lovin' Spoonful fave is recorded in late 2047.  It will be featured in a director’s cut 
DVD version of the movie Sinkhole Valley.
Keep On Tryin’ (Van McCoy) - lead vocals by Ramsay Khalid Sharma*
Recorded in mid-2052, this Bobby Vee oldie is taken 
from an aborted singles session.
Let’s Dance On! (Boyce, Hart)
- trio vocals by Donna Dante, Mal Hypster + Rikki Ninja
Recorded in early 2049 for The New Archies' TV tribute to The Monkees,
this version of “Let’s Dance On” was shelved in favor of one
by guest stars Rock Paisley Blizzard.
Je Vous en Prie/Walk Away, Renée (Calilli, Lookofsky, Devereaux, Sansone)
- duet vocals by Mal Hypster + Rikki Ninja
This French translation of The Left Banke's signature song was recorded in Milan, Italy.
It hails from an aborted singles session that takes place late in the year 2048.***
Halos Medley:
Come Softly To Me (The Fleetwoods)/Do I? (Andrew, Kaye, Maheu)
- lead vocals by Donna Dante*
Recorded in mid-2057, this medley was intended for the flipside of
Donna Dante's aborted solo single “A Lotta Love.”  It's a mash-up of two rare 1960s singles recorded by The Angels under the name "The Halos".
Sunshine Mind (Paul Levinson) - lead vocals by Mal Hypster
This is a cancelled single, recorded in early 2048 as the intended follow-up to
“The Sound Of Love.”
Sunshine Mind
The New Archies
A Toto + Ninja Production
Music Supervision: 
Lyle Jason Blossom
Arranged by The New Archies
Conducted by Lana Suzuki
Produced by 
Rikki Ninja + Toby Maxx
Recorded @ The Mad Groovy Pad, Cambridge,
Centurion Studios, Toronto, Chapel of Rock, Santa Barbara
 and ASS (Archie Sound Studios), Mamaroneck
*Produced by Lana Suzuki
Recorded @ Vox Populi Studios, Tokyo
and Witch Queen Studios, Boston
**Produced by Nero the Dog
with Additional Production and Remix by 
Sonny Yin-Bao
Recorded @ Chapel of Rock, Santa Barbara
***Produced by Aqua Vulva
Recorded @ Grand Prix Studios, Milan
Mastering Engineer: 
Chikka Bhoumchik
Mastered @ Hemisphere Studios, Marseilles

After years of speculation, media behemoth Vox Sound + Image will buy up Blue Cat Records in 2090; this is the last label The New Archies will record for. Vox's acquisition of Salem Saberhagen's company prompts the release of a greatest hits package the following year. Collectors will quibble with the completeness of New Archies Hit Kit! It dares to omit Rikki Ninja-sung best-sellers like "Along Comes Mary", "Where Do You Go?" and his French-language chart-topper "La Mer Est Comme Toi" . . . not to mention the novelty smash "Rock-A-Polka"!  Also missing are fan faves like "Love Is All Around", "Don't Mention My Name" and "The Door Into Summer".


However, in its favor are the inclusions of "Amazing", featured for the first time on a New Archies compilation, and "Spend Some Time Lovin' Me," a heavily-bootlegged leftover track from the group's abandoned Bobby Sherman project. With Garcy Briseño's lead vocals holding forth on half the tracks, fans of the late "Latina Streisand" will find this album very satisfying indeed.  Ultimately, Hit Kit becomes the most widely-distributed New Archies compilation.  In fact, it will be their last catalog release for a quarter century!  The long drought ends in the year 2116, when South African Vox markets a vinyl box set reissue of every New Archies studio album.

Blue Cat 1495211
I Just Wanna Keep It Together (Paul Davis) featuring Mal Hypster*
Hey, Mama! (Paul Anka) featuring Mal Hypster + Rikki Ninja**
Sausalito (Graham Gouldman) featuring Garcy Briseño***
Wiggle On Out (Jack Scott) featuring Donna Dante
Amazing (Ciccone, Orbit) featuring Garcy Briseño***
Humpty Dumpty (Cohen, Rostelli) featuring Donna Dante****
Eli's Comin' (Laura Nyro) featuring Mal Hypster
Running In And Out (Brown, Gordy) featuring Garcy Briseño
Promise Me Anything (Hemric, Styner) featuring Rikki Ninja**
Tighter (James, King)
featuring Donna Dante, Mal Hypster + Garcy Briseño
Spend Some Time Lovin' Me (Atkins, Miller)
featuring Rikki Ninja**
Can't Break The Habit (Dozier, Holland) featuring Garcy Briseño
Mama Can't Buy You Love (Bell, James) featuring Mal Hypster
Family Of Man (Conrad, Williams)
featuring Donna Dante, Mal Hypster + Garcy Briseño
Lady Jane (James, King) featuring Garcy Briseño
New Archies Hit Kit
The New Archies
A Witch Queen Production
Music Supervision: 
Salem Saberhagen
Arranged by The New Archies
Produced by Bree Spellman
Conducted by Nero the Dog
*Produced by Bree Spellman
with Additional Production and Remix by 
Lana Suzuki
**Produced by Lana Suzuki
***Produced by Nero the Dog
****Produced by Rikki Ninja + Toby Maxx
Mastering Engineer:
Sonny Yin-Bao
Mastered @ Witch Queen Studios, Boston

What's most notable about Hit Kit are the remixes it contains. All but six of the selections were produced by Bree Spellman, and those half-dozen productions appear in brand new versions. Nobody will know anything about them. Their source, even the way they got programmed into the download is completely unknown.  Sonny Yin-Bao, mastering engineer for the compilation, will swear that he didn't do the new mixes and has no idea who did!

Salem Saberhagen, who programs and sequences the fifteen tracks, will plead ignorance as well. The six mystery masters prove very popular, though, so the discrepancy is never corrected: The revamped recordings of "Promise Me Anything", "Humpty Dumpty", "Amazing", "Hey, Mama!" and "Spend Some Time Lovin' Me" remain in the track lineup.


Rikki Ninja will share his suspicions about the remix source with Salem.  (Now restored to human form, Sabrina's former feline companion looks incredibly young at the apparent age of 89)! "Those mixes are identical to Bree's production style," he'll declare. "I know her signature sound better than anybody; I was leader of Bree's house band and I helped her create it. Salem, you know what a control freak she was in the studio . . ." "Look who's talking!" the erstwhile house cat interjects. "As if you weren't just as bossy, Miss Thang." "Oh, never mind about that," Ninja snaps. "Since she became a Witch Queen, Bree is more controlling than ever.  Do you think . . . ?"

But Salem won't say what he thinks! With a sassy wink and an inscrutable smile on his face, dude will simply sign off the vidphone call.  "¡Ay, coño!" Ninja exclaims.

What do YOU think?
Did Bree Spellman do one last New Archies production?

Shut the front door!
You never even heard of these characters before?
Get with the program, dude! Wiggle on out
and dig the complete saga of . . .

11 March 2016

Legacy Of A Rock 'n' Roll Witch Queen (Part One)

Bree Spellman's Legacy
New Archies Music in the 22nd Century
Yet Another Fan Art Fantasy by
DC Hampton Jacobs
Cartoon Images by Stuffed Animal

based on Archie Comics Characters

New Archies Album Discography:
The New Archies (Red-Bird Records, released in 2038); Tighter! (Red-Bird Records, released in 2039); Message To Martha (Red-Bird Records, released in 2039); Original Cast Album: Don't Touch My Guitar! (Federal Records, released in 2040); Family Of Man (Red-Bird Records, released in 2040); Bubblegum Blitz (Red-Bird Records, released in 2041); Double Scoop (Republic Records, released in 2047); Petulance (Republic Records, released in 2048); Original Television Soundtrack: For Pete's Sake (Republic Records, released in 2049); Light Of Day (Republic Records, released in 2050); kitschAnnette (Republic Records, released in 2051); Memphis Streets (Blue Cat Records, released in 2057); Jamz On The Hatch Shell (Blue Cat Records, released in 2058).  Except for the compilations Double Scoop and Light Of Day, these albums will be reissued in a South African box set in the year 2116.


Part One:
Unless an artist has success at the level of a Beatles, a Rolling Stones, a Madonna or an Elvis Presley, his catalog of recordings stays in print for a relatively short time. Such will be the case with The New Archies: Delia García Briseño (replaced in 2047 by Lana Suzuki), Donna Dante, Enrique Fonseca, Frank Fujiyama (replaced in 2057 by Ramsay Khalid Sharma), Malachi Hipp and Tobias Maxwell. By the final decade of the 21st century, all but Fonseca will be deceased and largely forgotten about. The New Archies won't be another Beatles, but they will be one of the major Pop/Rock acts of their day.

The group will have three lead singers!  The most popular by far will be Briseño, who becomes famous under her nickname "Garcy".  Babe's specialty is power ballads, and her masterful interpretations of "Lady Jane" and "Running In And Out" are unforgettable.  The next most popular will be Donna Dante, briefly the leader of her own Punk Rock trio.  Dee Dee holds forth on up tempo numbers like "Wiggle On Out" and "Humpty Dumpty", the band's biggest hit.  Hipp will be the third lead.  Known to friends as "Chi", he brings to the group years of experience as a Nashville session singer.  A much-underrated stylist, Mal Hypster (his stage name) can handle songs ranging from hard rockers like "Eli's Comin'" to mid-tempo Soul grooves like "I Just Wanna Keep It Together".  Dude is also a skilled Latin percussionist.

Enrique Fonseca, whose stage name will be Rikki Ninja, replaces Garcy Briseño as primary lead vocalist in 2047.  Ninja is excellent on kick-ass dance numbers like "Sharp-Dressed Man" but also proves himself an able balladeer ("Where Do You Go?") and a credible Jazz stylist ("Promise Me Anything").  In the 2060s, Ramsay Khalid Sharma will become a superstar on the Asian continent, but during his short tenure in The New Archies, he sings duets with Donna Dante, his wife.  The superb musicianship of lead guitarist Suzuki ("Susu"), drummer Fujiyama ("Fuji") and sax man par excellence Maxwell ("Toby Maxx") will keep The New Archies on a Rock-solid foundation throughout their 20-year existence. 

With help from her animal friends Salem and Nero, Sabrina Spellman (the erstwhile Teenage Witch) will assemble the band in the year 2037.  The owner/operator of Witch Queen, one of the world's finest recording studios, Bree will go on to found the Riverdale Rock Festival.  Her protégés score big between 2039 and 2057 with a string of Platinum downloads! They also feature in a smash hit Broadway musical and cut a Tony Award-winning cast album.

Some of The New Archies' catalog gets reissued in the 2070s when a retro-music craze dubbed Archiemania holds sway; but by the dawn of the 22nd century, all of their studio albums will be out of print. Record collectors seeking their music find it in a handful of compilations; naturally, sales data will determine which ones remain available.  An online database search in the year 2099 yields the following New Archies catalog releases:

Vox Benelux BXLP-73490
Sound Your Funky Horn (Casey, Finch)*
Wiggle On Out (Jack Scott)**
Can’t Break The Habit! (Dozier, Holland)**
Caches ton Coeur/Eli’s Comin’ (Devereaux, Nyro)***
Que Reste-t-Il?/Where Do You Go? (Aber, Bono)*
Je Vous en Pris/Walk Away Renée (Calilli, Devereaux, Lookofsky, Sansone)****
La Nuit N’en Finit Plus/Needles And Pins (Bono, Nitzsche, Plante)**
Lady Jane (James, King)*
Jungle Boogie (Kool + The Gang)*****
Sharp-Dressed Man (ZZ Top)*
Sausalito (Graham Gouldman)***
Family Of Man (Conrad, Williams)****
Le Coeur qui Bat/Heart (Aber, Clark)**
Dans le Train de Nuit (Clark, Cour)**
Elle Est Finie/This Is Goodbye (Aber, Clark)*
Peut Jamais Dire au Revoir/Mama Can’t Buy You Love
(Bell, Devereaux, James, Wyncott)***
A Bruxelles!
Aux Concerts chez les Halles de SBK
The New Archies
*Chant Rikki Ninja
**Chant Donna Dante
***Chant Mal Hypster
****Chant en Duo Mal Hypster + Rikki Ninja
*****Chant trio Donna Dante, Mal Hypster + Rikki Ninja
Chef de Production:
Lyle Jason Blossom
Directeur Musical:
Lana Suzuki
Realizé par Nero the Dog
Ingénieur du Mastering:
Maîtrisé chez L'Audiobahn, Hambourg

An excellent 2048 live performance in Brussels, Belgium will be recorded for possible release. When no release is forthcoming, bootlegs will become widely available. A Bruxelles won't officially be released until the year 2073; that's when the European Vox Benelux label reissues The New Archies' Pétulance album in a box set.  The Vox box includes the live recording as a bonus CD/DVD.  The disc proves so popular, it gets a world-wide stand-alone release in the year 2081. Translated from the original French, here's an extended liner notes excerpt:

The announcer shouts: “Les voilà, mes amis! C’est Les Nouvelles Archies!!!” As an SRO audience roars its approval, the vast Halles de Schaerbeek goes completely black. Suddenly, there’s a spotlight on Mal Hypster, dancing behind his electronic drum kit as he revs up a wicked beat. Soon there are a pair of spotlights beneath him, illuminating the gyrating figures of Rikki Ninja and Toby Maxx. Toto leads a six-piece horn section while Ninja pours hot Miami salsa out of his keytar and snarls the lyrics to “Sound Your Funky Horn.” Less than a minute into the song, the Brussels crowd is on its feet and shaking its collective ass!

A low-down bass groove introduces the Rockabilly hit “Wiggle On Out". Wild cheers and wolf whistles fill Les Halles as a spotlight reveals Donna Dante, moaning her lead vocal. An earth-shattering guitar chord sounds as the final spotlight hits axemistress Lana Suzuki; seconds later, the entire stage is awash in multi-color lights. With her famous strawberry blonde mane streaming as she paces the stage, Dee Dee chases “Wiggle On Out” with a fiery version of “Can’t Break The Habit”. Garcy Briseño sang an unforgettable lead on the 2039 recording, but Dee Dee makes this Motown rarity her own! The audience goes apesh*t for her, but even greater pandemonium ensues when Mal Hypster’s lead voice duels with Susu's lead guitar on a dynamic rendition of “Caches Ton Coeur” (“Eli’s Comin’).

Ninja quiets the crowd with a cat’s cradle of reverberating synthesizer riffs. Then he enthralls them singing “Que Reste-t-Il” (“Where Do You Go?”), his first ballad performance of the evening. This seques into “Je Vous en Pris” (“Walk Away, Renée”), a gorgeous mid-tempo number The New Archies have prepared just for their French-speaking fans. By the time Chi and Ninja complete their soaring duet, dozens of girls in the front rows are swooning noisily!

It’s the boys’ turn to swoon when Donna Dante lays her soulful rendition of “La Nuit N’En Finit Plus” (“Needles And Pins”) on them; Toto and Ninja keep the ladies’ attention by slowly swiveling their hips to the rhythm. A standing ovation greets “Lady Jane”, The New Archies’ first hit ballad, originally sung by Garcy Briseño; taking over for her, the charismatic Rikki Ninja acquits himself admirably on this stately Tommy James composition. Vintage Archie cartoon music videos fill the overhead monitors as the band breaks for intermission . . .

For the second half of their show, the Fantastic Five return to the stage of les Halles dressed in preppy 1980s-style polo shirts and sassy micro-kilts. Chi, Toto and Ninja let it be known that their kilts are worn “in the traditional manner”, prompting ticket holders in the front rows to crane their necks:  More than a few steal a glimpse at bouncing male bon-bons! Saxmaster Toby Maxx and a quartet of kilted brass players bears down on a blistering instrumental performance of “Jungle Boogie”. While the horns vamp, the entire group chants maniacally; from his post down in the orchestra pit, soundman Nero the Dog growls the distinctive bass vocals!

Abruptly, the blazing strains of “Sharp-Dressed Man” fill the auditorium, allowing Ninja to unleash his papichulo duro persona. The audience proceeds to lose control! Those not already on their feet screaming leap from their seats when Lana Suzuki strums the opening chords of “Sausalito”. This was a massive Belgian hit upon its release back in 2042; Mal Hypster’s swinging lead vocal has everybody waving their hands in the air! Hundreds of upraised arms are clasping hands by the end of “Family Of Man”, a sublime performance featuring tag-team leads by Dee Dee, Ninja and Chi.

Ninja’s Santana-styled organ sizzles, but Susu's amazing guitar work again takes center stage when she plays the extended intro to “Le Coeur Qui Bat” (“Heart”). Dee Dee proceeds to tear the top off this Petula Clark song while an agitated Toto and Ninja all but Krunk-dance their micro-kilts off! Kilts ultimately remain intact but all the band members’ shirts come off for another Donna Dante-led stomper: “Dans Le Train De Nuit.” Lustful spectators salivate at the sight of their muscular bare chests (and ripe breasts!) gleaming with sweat. Over half the crowd has gone topless before the number concludes!

For the evening’s penultimate thrill, Rikki Ninja sings and dances to “Elle Est Finie”, a spaghetti-western-style rocker that inspires some of his choicest neo-Hip-Hop moves. At the show’s finale, Mal Hypster touches off a massive case of Disco fever! Dude spreads the epidemic with help from a giant mirror ball spinning overhead and a surefooted French translation of the group’s first hit, “Mama Can’t Buy You Love”. Amid deafening shrieks, thunderous applause, and reams of confetti filling the air, The New Archies close out their historic Brussels concert.

Nero the Dog, recording the event for possible release as a live album, manned the mixing board only with great difficulty! The reason: Belgian girls seated in the front rows peered into the orchestra pit and spied him there.  Leaping down by the dozen, the adoring females commenced to hug and kiss the wonder poodle ardently! Puppy loved it!

Nero the Dog is an important figure in the history of both The Archies and The New Archies!  He got involved with the former group near the end of its stellar recording career, briefly enjoyed Pop stardom his damn self, and then began doing A & R work.  Puppy was there when Sabrina auditioned The New Archies, and he helped her produce their first six albums!  In 2049, the musically-gifted canine will supervise demos for the band's critically-acclaimed Sweet Nothin's album, released in 2072.  A year later, Nero will die tragically while defending Donna Dante from a killer (for details, read Part Four of the Cartoons + Castanets graphic novel "Mama Can't Buy You Love")! To a greater or lesser extent, most New Archies releases have the beloved poodle's paw prints on them.

Bree Spellman Sessions is no exception. First released in 2078, this box set will stay in print for over two decades; but that astonishing run has nothing to do with Nero's involvement.  Enduring interest in its enigmatic producer (who vanishes off the face of the Earth in the year 2052) is mostly responsible for the steady flow of debit card transactions. Other sales factors include a wealth of early vocal performances by superstar Garcy Briseño, action film star Donna Dante, and Mal Hypster (famous as a TV talk show host in his later years). Distinguished stage and film actor Frank Fujiyama also appears on most of the track selections. Celebrity cachet + bitchin' music = maximum longevity on the Catalog Album charts for this five-record extravaganza!

Vox BXLP-7882-5
Side One
Spooky (Buie, Cobb, Middlebrooks, Shapiro) - Mal Hypster
Previously Unreleased:
Gloria (Bigazzi, Tozzi, Veitch) - Garcy Briseño
Previously Unreleased:
Imagination (Boddicker, Hey, Ramone, Sembello) - Garcy Briseño
Previously Unreleased:
Sound Your Funky Horn (Casey, Finch) featuring Mal Hypster
Don’t You Want My Lovin’? (Gamble, Huff) featuring Donna Dante
Heart And Soul (Byrne, Howell) featuring Donna Dante

Side Two
VIP (Bond, Johnson, Perry) featuring Garcy Briseño
Down By The Lazy River (The Osmonds) featuring Mal Hypster
Yeah, Man! (Sam Cooke) featuring Donna Dante
Oh, How Happy (Edwin Starr) featuring Garcy Briseño*
That’s The Boy (Mann, Weil) featuring Mal Hypster

Bree Spellman was the keyboard player for The Bettys, but she hated touring with a passion!  What she loved was working in the studio, and when Betty Cooper disbanded her group, Sabrina moved behind the scenes.  Movie soundtracks became her specialty; she arranged and/or produced music for dozens of box office smashes.  But long before she started working on films, Bree decided to open up her own studio.  

She purchased the property that became Witch Queen Recording Studios in the year 2012; the building was a ramshackle Boston mansion that she renovated.   Sabrina started cutting demos there in 2015, but she just wasn't satisfied with the design.  Bree had a specific vision for her studio, and she was determined to make it real.  She decided to demolish the mansion and have an entirely new structure built.  Her demo facility re-launched in 2018, but the full complex didn't open for business until 2024.  I came on board in 2033.  My mother, Alexandra Cabot-Mayberry, is one of Bree's oldest friends; she helped me get the job.

Witch Queen, like any commercial recording studio, books time 24/7, but Sabrina always preferred recording in the dead of night.  I don't remember any New Archies session that started before the stroke of twelve!  Bree felt she was at her best then.  That isn't unusual: Most musicians like to record after dark.

It was different, though, whenever she produced a date: We'd hear strange noises, like chains rattling or wolves howling; some people even claimed to see vampires and werewolves creeping around!  Would you believe Witch Queen got a reputation for being haunted?  But ironically, that made the studio more popular than ever.

Side One
Sooner Or Later (Bottler, Paris, MacNamara, Zekley) featuring Mal Hypster*
Temptation Eyes (Price, Walsh) featuring Rikki Ninja*
Come On And Say It! (Entner, Grill, Provisor) featuring Donna Dante*
Baby, Hold On! (Price, Walsh) featuring Donna Dante*
Mama Can’t Buy You Love (Bell, James) featuring Mal Hypster
Things I Should Have Said (Barri, Sloan) featuring Mal Hypster

Side Two
Cochinadas/The Bubble Broke (Bloodworth, Brown, Crewe, Fonseca)
featuring Rikki Ninja*
¡Ay! Cariño Mío/It’s Gotta Be You (Barkan, Fonseca, Ogermann)
featuring Mal Hypster*
Tighter (James, King)
featuring Donna Dante, Mal Hypster + Garcy Briseño
Alternate Take:
Nothing To Hide (James, King) featuring Garcy Briseño
Love Song (James, King) featuring Mal Hypster*
Forty Days, Forty Nights (James, King)
featuring Donna Dante, Mal Hypster + Garcy Briseño

It may surprise you to know that Bree Spellman didn't pick The New Archies' singers for their lead vocal ability.  She chose them based on how they sounded singing background!  As great as Garcy Briseño and Mal Hypster were on solo voice, what impressed Sabrina most was the blend of their voices.

When Donna Dante bagged the third lead vocalist spot, many people were surprised: At that time, Dee Dee wasn't such an outstanding singer, certainly not on the level of Garcy or Chi.  But Bree felt her voice would be a perfect complement to theirs, and how right she was!  The three of them blended so wonderfully, everybody wanted their sound.   Dee Dee, Chi and Garcy sang background on at least a dozen Pop hits before The New Archies had any hits of their own; within the music industry, they became known as The Magic Circle. 

Side One
Lady Jane (James, King) featuring Garcy Briseño*
Light Of Day (James, King)
featuring Donna Dante, Mal Hypster + Garcy Briseño*
Ball And Chain (James, King) featuring Donna Dante
Previously Unreleased:
Right Back Where We Started From (Edwards, Tubbs)
featuring Donna Dante
Alternate Take:
If We Both Hold On (Barry, Wine)
featuring Donna Dante

Side Two
Can’t Break The Habit (Dozier, Holland) featuring Garcy Briseño*
One Time In A Million (Greenwich, Rashkow) featuring Mal Hypster
Alternate Take:
Sweet Darlin’ (Richard Morris) featuring Donna Dante
Nowhere To Run (Dozier, Holland) featuring Donna Dante*
I’ll Have To Let Him Go (Mickey Stevenson) featuring Donna Dante

To see Garcy Briseño and Donna Dante argue, sometimes you'd think they despised each other.  I assure you, that wasn't the case!  There was a deep mutual respect between them.  But those women were very competitive, no doubt about it: Dee Dee always wanted to sing Garcy's leads, and vice-versa.  Nobody could out-sing Garcy, though.  She was amazingly versatile, had Perfect Pitch, and could dazzle you doing any type of song.   None of us were surprised at the level of success she achieved after leaving The New Archies.

Side One
Running In And Out (Brown, Gordy) featuring Garcy Briseño
I Gotta Let You Go (Norman Whitfield) featuring Donna Dante
Eli’s Comin’ (Laura Nyro) featuring Mal Hypster
Never Been To Spain (Hoyt Axton) featuring Donna Dante
Shambala (Daniel Moore) featuring Garcy Briseño*
Easy To Be Hard (McDermot, Rado, Ragni) featuring Mal Hypster

Side Two
Mama Told Me Not To Come! (Randy Newman) featuring Mal Hypster
One Man Band (Fox, Kaye, Tyme)
featuring Donna Dante, Mal Hypster + Garcy Briseño
Family Of Man (Conrad, Williams)
featuring Donna Dante, Mal Hypster + Garcy Briseño*
Black And White (Arkin, Robinson) featuring Garcy Briseño
Previously Unreleased:
Doin’ The Jerk (Scott Walker) featuring Mal Hypster
Previously Unreleased:
You’re All Around Me (Duncan, Walker) featuring Mal Hypster

Truth be told, I was most impressed with Mal Hypster.  He first stood in Garcy's shadow and then Dee Dee's, but he had more studio experience than both of them combined. He'd been singing background sessions with his family since he was a child.  While Garcy, Dee Dee and Ninja all did their share of vocal arrangements, it was Chi who wrote most of them.  He was most responsible for creating that great "Magic Circle" sound.  

Such an under-rated talent . . . I never get tired of hearing his version of "Eli's Comin'".  I'll never forget that 2040 recording session, either.  Chi's first take was jaw-droppingly fantastic; both Bree and I thought he couldn't possibly do it any better.  But he convinced us to do a second take and proved us wrong!  That's the take you hear on the hit single.  Would you believe dude wanted to try it a third time? 

Side One
Previously Unreleased:
Get Together (Chet Powers)
featuring Donna Dante, Mal Hypster + Garcy Briseño
Previously Unreleased:
Neil Sedaka Medley:
(Greenfield, Sedaka)/(Grossman, Sedaka)
featuring Mal Hypster
Previously Unreleased:
The Only One For You (Carter, Harvey, Valentine)
featuring Donna Dante
Previously Unreleased:
Everything’s Wrong! (Alfred, Farrell)
featuring Rikki Ninja
SOS! Heart In Distress (Cordell, Trimachi) - Donna Dante

Side Two
Wiggle On Out (Jack Scott) featuring Donna Dante
The Time In-Between (Aber, Brown, Jones) featuring Mal Hypster
Treat Her Like A Lady (Eddie Cornelius) featuring Rikki Ninja
All Right Now! (Fraser, Rodgers) featuring Mal Hypster
I Just Wanna Keep It Together (Paul Davis) featuring Mal Hypster*

Witch Queen Studios had a house band called Taxi, and Bree hired Rikki Ninja to play keyboards; he was still a teenager then.  Dude was so incredibly talented, within a year he was the bandleader!  It probably wouldn't have worked out any other way, because Ninja was (and is) hella bossy!  He insisted on getting his way, but Sabrina usually didn't mind; his musical instincts were almost always on-target.

When Ninja decided to audition for The New Archies, there was no question that he'd make the cut.  Right from the start, though, dude wanted to be a lead singer!  He would badger Bree constantly for leads, and in the early days, he considered himself a Rhythm + Blues artist.  Ninja never wanted to sing ballads, although he excelled with them later on.

When Garcy left, he finally got his chance in the spotlight.  Sabrina and I looked forward to producing some great tracks for that husky voice of his, but we didn't end up doing much together.  Ninja and Bree had some serious creative differences in 2041, and that's when Nero the Dog took over as producer.  A year later, the band broke up for the first time.  Sabrina convinced The New Archies to regroup in 2047, but she wasn't interested in producing them again; Ninja and Toby Maxx supervised their new material.  

I wasn't involved with those later sessions at all, and frankly, I didn't like most of what I heard:  "Humpty Dumpty"?"  "Rock-A-Polka"?  Seriously?  That's nothing but disposable Pop.  "Lady Jane", "Can't Break The Habit","Eli's Comin'", "Mama Can't Buy You Love" . . . those kinds of records have staying power.  That's high-quality music.  Maybe I'm prejudiced, but I really do think The New Archies did their best work with Bree. 
Bree Spellman Sessions
The New Archies
A Witch Queen Production
Music Supervision:
Salem Saberhagen
Arranged by The New Archies
Produced by Bree Spellman
Conducted by Nero the Dog
*Additional Production and Remix by
Lana Suzuki
Mastering Engineer:
Sonny Yin-Bao
Mastered @ Witch Queen West, Salt Lake City

As the 21st century slips into the past, the world believes Bree Spellman dead. By the year 2099, she won't have been seen in public for nearly 50 years; but of course, Sabrina is very much alive. Only her closest friends and family members know where she is: In the Sorcerer's Realm, serving out her decades-long term as Witch Queen of the Universal Coven! When that term expires, Bree will return to this dimension, at whatever point along Earth's timeline she chooses (Witch Queens can do incredible sh*t like that).  If she pursues a career in the music industry again, who knows but that she might put together another superstar group?

"Legacy Of A Rock 'n' Roll Witch Queen"
concludes with Part Two.