Denny Lile is one of countless tragic figures in modern American music. He recorded his debut album “Hear the Bang” in 1972 at the age of 21 … yet the record never saw the light of day. Lile, a supremely gifted singer/songwriter, was also an alcoholic and the disease claimed his life in 1995. He was just 44 years old. His story — and music — might be lost forever were it not for the efforts of Big Legal Mess Records and Jer Nile, Denny’s nephew.
“Hear the Bang: The Life & Music of Denny Lile” is a revelation. The CD/DVD set features Lile’s “Hear the Bang” album, a flat-out masterpiece, and a documentary by Jer Lile that chronicles his uncle’s tragic story.
“If I could have dinner with anybody, he’d be at the top of my list,” Jer Lile says. “I’d want to find out why … why couldn’t you kick it? You had people that loved you, talent and all these opportunities to succeed. It seemed like every time he made a step forward, he took two steps back.
I can’t believe it took more than 40 years for the songs on “Hear the Bang” to see the light of day. The 16-track, 45-minute platter is a winner from beginning to end, with nary a misfire to be found. The title track launches the set in fine fashion, and Lile also scores with “Looks Like the Feelin’s Slowly Dying,” “Once More With Feelin’,” “Will You Hate Me When I’m Gone,” “If I Had My Way It’d Rain,” “Sugar Daddy,” “Meet Me By the River” and “Things Don’t Stay the Same.” I can’t recommend this one highly enough, folks. (Jeffrey Sisk)