The Shades | Darker Side of Fun (Re-Mastered)

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Blues: Funky Blues Blues: New York Blues Moods: Mood: Fun
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Darker Side of Fun (Re-Mastered)

by The Shades

“New York's THE SHADES have a big sound...with incredibly soulful vocals by Nicole Hart and Julius Dilligard, Jr. This band really knows how to cook with a blazing musical bonfire." ~ Music Morsels
Genre: Blues: Funky Blues
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Footprints
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5:50 $0.99
2. When I Think About Love
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4:24 $0.99
3. Take it to the Limit
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11:24 $0.99
4. If I'm Wrong
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4:33 $0.99
5. You Can't See
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5:58 $0.99
6. (Stop Doing) The Devil's Work
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7:14 $0.99
7. Blackout
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7:35 $0.99
Available as MP3, MP3 320, and FLAC files.


Album Notes
Audio clips are edited highlights from DARKER SIDE OF FUN. For photos of the band & more information, please visit our website @ Enjoy!

"These spectacular vocalists and instrumentalists brings their considerable talents together to rock your world. Fronted by the dynamic Nicole Hart, they are Rhythm & Blues at its finest!" ~ BARRELHOUSE BLUES, USA Today's coveted "Hot Site" award for Blues on the Web. Livin'Blues Gold Award for Virtual Excellence on the Web. Http://

"Great show…the crowd’s favorite!" ~ Bob Putignano, WFDU FM RADIO, Keeping The Blues Alive award recipient, contributing writer for Goldmine Magazine, & Blues Music Association Communications Committee,

"Great keyboard work by Lance Ong & strong vocals from Julius Dilligard & Nicole Hart"~ BLUES REVUE

"With horns, back-up singers and multiple lead singers, the group is one hard workin', soulfunkin', blues jumpin' R&B review."~ RHYTHM & NEWS MAGAZINE

"Wrote the book on putting on a perfect show. They exemplified how the blues doesn't have to be just a simple twelve-bar phrase." ~ GOOD TIMES MAGAZINE, March 2005

Artist Information

Julius Dilligard Jr. ~ Lead Vocals
Nicole Hart ~ Lead Vocals
Lance Ong - Keyboards, BG Vocal
Tony Pagano - Guitar, BG Vocal
Mike Carbone - Saxes, Midi Wind Sax, BG Vocal
Tommy Sochor - Drums

GET SHADIFIED!** (see the definition of "shadification" further below...)** Diverse experience (interpret that as you will!) & musical backgrounds of each of THE SHADES merge into their mutual love of MODERN ELECTRIC BLUES** ~ Vocalists Julius Dilligard, Jr. (Crown Heights Affair) & Nicole Hart (Billy Joel) blend their magic chemistry to take you on a sonic road trip through the "Darker Side of Fun!" THE SHADES are currently touring the Notheast Festival circuit & can be heard on Radio Stations throughout the Northeast, Worldwide on Internet radio stations,& were recently nominated by United Jersey Blues Network to represent Heritage Blues in the Garden State & placed within the Top Ten Internationally for the new category, "BEST SELF-PRODUCED CD", at the 2005 International Blues Challenge sponsored by the Blues Foundation ( in Memphis, TN.

JULIUS DILLIGARD, JR. ~ Julius was formerly lead vocalist with the RCA recording group, "Crown Heights Affair" on the group's first single to go gold, "Dreamin' a Dream". Julius has also appeared at the Apollo Theatre with such acts as The Commodores, Stylistics, The Main Ingredient, Maxine Nightingale, & has performed w/George Duke at Westbury Music Fair.

NICOLE HART ~ Effortlessly integrating Blues, Jazz, Soul & Rock, Nicole's timeless, intoxicating voice is beautifully soul-sweet, powerful & gritty ~ classic, yet absolutely contemporary. She has sung back-up for Billy Joel & is featured on-camera in his "All About Soul" video from the River of Dreams CD, as well as on recordings for many other artists & television commercials.

LANCE ONG ~ Master B-3 organist, multi-keyboardist & Musical Director, his record credits include David Sanborn, an album by Andre Crouch, which won a Grammy Award, Eryka Badu, The Pointer Sisters, Grand Funk Railroad, Frankie Beverly & Maze, Johnny Halliday, Sylvie Vartan (French), Trini Lopez, & many others.

MIKE CARBONE ~ (Tenor Sax, Alto Sax, Soprano Sax, Midi Sax, Flute, BG Vocals): Mike's heart & soul penetrates each note he plays, fusing classical training, old school Jazz, Blues & Funk to bring a visceral interpretation to the music of THE SHADES. Mike holds a Masters Degree in Music from William Paterson University.

TONY PAGANO ~ (Guitars, BG vocals): Born in Brooklyn, New York, Tony began playing guitar at age 11 & was performing in clubs by age 14 using his brothers' ID. Like many other guitarists, Tony is most influenced by Eric Clapton, Buddy Guy, Jimi Hendrix, Joe Pass & Wes Montgomery. He brings this depth of eclecticism to the Modern Electric Blues of THE SHADES.

TOMMY SOCHOR - As a self-taught musician, his musical range is eclectic. He played and recorded with progressive rock group Thunder Zone, featuring bassist extraordinaire Percy Jones (of Phil Collins' jazz/rock group Brand X) and Bronx guitarist Alan Tynes. During his tenure with THE SHADES, Tommy's thundering, "bad boy" beat is the backbone of THE SHADES' sound.

**THE SHADES are often asked to define our sound. The definition below gives a very accurate explanation of "SHADIFICATION": According to The Blues Foundation in Memphis, Tennessee, the keeper of the official Blues flame, "Modern Electric Blues is an eclectic mixture, a sub genre embracing both the old, the new and something that falls between the two...It also is a genre that pays homage to those vintage styles of playing while simultaneously recasting them in contemporary fashion. It can also be - by turns - the most forward looking of all blues styles, embracing rock beats and pyrotechnics and enlivening the form with funk rhythms and chord progressions that expand beyond the standard three that that usually comprises most blues forms."


to write a review

John Mueller, President Emeritus, United Jersey Blues Network

"...a crowd-pleasing set of excellent tracks from one of bands."
Darker Side of Fun - THE SHADES:

Long-time fans of this extraordinary high-powered rhythm and blues band will not be disappointed in THE SHADES’ debut release. With the vocal dynamics of Nicole Hart and Julius Dilligard Jr. to lead them, this multi-talented band knocks out one exciting song after another. They are not content to sit idle for long, tearing into rock, blues, and R&B with plenty of passion. THE SHADES live have always brought crowds to their feet, creating some of the best party atmospheres around.

Darker Side of Fun is a crowd-pleasing set of excellent tracks from one of the area’s best bands. Definitely - By All means - Go Buy It!

© John Muller, President Emeritus, United Jersey Blues Network

Roger-Z, New York Jazz & Blues Society

"Two passionate, skilled singers fronting a band of seasoned professionals."
Concert review by Roger-Z (8/21/04): Sometimes things just work out. Take Thursday. On this muggy and slightly overcast day, I opt to leave the car at home and walk all my errands. Turning the corner onto Main Street in White Plains, I hear the sound of a kick drum. Call it the sound of serendipity. Where Main Street hits Mamaroneck Avenue, a huge Heinekin banner unfurls and a bunch of people mill about. I cross my fingers. At the beginning of the summer, I swore I would remember to see THE SHADES on August 19 at the White Plains noontime Heinekin concert series at Renaissance Center. Could this be the day? Two seconds later, a city official introduces THE SHADES. Thank God I left Kam Sen Foods without ordering sushi!

What perfect weather for an outdoor show -- mid 70s and overcast. I grab a seat and reminisce about the first time I experienced THE SHADES. In the mid '90s, they played at Mexicali Blues Cafe in Teaneck, NJ -- a club literally across the street from my apartment. At that time, they called themselves "Ruby and Toots and THE SHADES." Their conceptual blues astonished me -- two "divas" fronting a band where each song flowered into a one-act play complete with costume changes and dialogue.

People change, and so do bands. First, Ruby left for medical reasons, and then Toots (aka Nikki Armstrong) departed for a solo career. Sometimes, though, personnel changes make a unit even stronger. Currently, two lead vocalists front the band. Julius Dilligard, Jr., best known for his stint in the RCA recording group, The Crown Heights Affair, joined THE SHADES as a backup singer but now impressively co-commands the front line with his soulful renditions of classic R&B hits. Nicole Hart passionately provides the female perspective. Her credits include singing backup for Billy Joel and appearing on-camera in his "All About Soul" video from the River of Dreams CD. Together, these two seasoned professionals meld their diverse backgrounds to create a breathtaking show.

Back to the present. The band steps on stage and immediately launches into the instrumental "Hot 'Lanta" by The Allman Brothers. Guitarist Tony Pagano and saxophonist Mikey Carbone immediately distinguish themselves with well-thought-out, dynamic solos. Out steps Dilligard to deliver an impassioned version of "Every Night of the Week." He plays the audience like a cat pawing a ball. With sweat pouring from his brow, he won't stop singing until he has looked directly into the eyes of every audience member.

But nothing could prepare me for what comes next. Nicole Hart runs on stage tastefully dressed in a black miniskirt, high heels and a white Danskin top. Wow! She possesses legs that seem to go on forever, a bust that would do Victoria Secret proud, and long blonde hair. I find myself averting my eyes for fear she can read my impure thoughts. Singing "Hurt So Bad," Ms. Hart unleashes a torrent of emotion. I would never want to get that woman mad at me. On the other hand, I can only imagine that energy channelled in a positive direction.

You get the picture. Two passionate, skilled singers fronting a band of seasoned professionals. It only gets better. Mr. Dilligard sings "Footprints," the current single from their 2004 album, "The Darker Side of Fun." This infectious dance song, written by band leader and keyboardist Lance Ong, gets the crowd up and moving. Ms. Hart lifts the crowd even higher with the Aretha classic, "Chain Of Fools." The set climaxes with a shockingly soulful arrangement of "Take It To The Limit" by the Eagles. This tune, also on their latest CD, morphs into a classic Teddy Pendergrass turn. The sax and guitar solos push the audience to an even higher level. Next up, James Brown's "Cold Sweat" continues the dance groove and features the hottest solo of the day. Slinging his keyboard over his shoulders like a guitar, Lance attacks it just like a guitar. His stinging vibrato drives the crowd into a frenzy. The set ends with the B.B. King favorite "Let The Good Times Roll." Propelled by the tight rhythm section of Tommy Sochor on drums and Vonnie Hudson on bass, the crowd joins in a giant sing along.

If you ever crave a night out dancing to classic R&B...You might just end up as exhausted and satisfied as the band after the show.

©2004 Roger-Z, NYBJS

Claude Camacho, Dagwood Radio Network

Skilled players and knock-out vocalists whose talent is evident
"Darker Side of Fun": Many years and a wide range of experience in music have culminated in this incredible debut album from The Shades. Based in the NY/NJ/CT area, their music is an eclectic blend of Rocking Blues and up-tempo R&B featuring experienced, skilled players and knock-out vocalists whose talent is evident in the tight performances and production on every track. They have received rave reviews...Isaac Hayes when they were requested to perform at his Birthday Bash (Isaac said they were "Slammin'!").

If that isn’t enough to tempt you to give them a listen, as individuals they have performed and or recorded with: The Commodores, Stylistics, Lenny Kravitz, Harry Bellefonte, Michael Bolton, The Pointer Sisters, David Sanborn, Anne Murray, Freda Payne, Helen Reddy, Grand Funk Railroad, Trini Lopez, The Drifters, The Marvellettes, and The Platters, just to name a few.

The CD’s title is strange at first, there seems nothing dark here, the music Rocks, it Rolls, it Swings, it Boogies, it Shakes. We were swept along by the incredible talent of not only the two Lead Vocalists, but all the musicians. It is only in listening closely that we hear in the lyrics the pain and The Darker Side of Fun. It is as if the music wants to say, ‘Tomorrow will come soon enough’ put on The Shades and crank it up. It’s Slammin’, it’s Jammin’, it’s time to party.

All the superlatives, name-dropping and classifications as Blues-Rock, R&B Band can’t really describe to you the sound. For that you have to hear them. Visit the website. Buy the CD. Support an independent artist that has earned it.

Dagwood Radio: 4 ½ Stars

© Dagwood Radio