PETER ROWAN – Peter Rowan – (Flying Fish) – 1978

Peter Rowan - Peter Rowan

Peter Rowan isn't a household name but he is well known to rock obscure-ists and .ore importantly to enthusiasts of American bluegrass.

And he has been playing guitar, yodelling, singing and song writing for a long time.

Wikipedia: Rowan was born in Boston, Massachusetts (1942). From an early age, he had an interest in music and eventually learned to play the guitar. At the age of twelve, he heard Elvis Presley for the first time and later, in junior high school, he formed a rockabilly band, the Cupids. Influenced by the blues musician Eric Von Schmidt, Rowan traded his electric guitar for an acoustic and began to play the blues. He was also influenced by the folk sound of Joan Baez. In college, he discovered bluegrass after hearing The Country Gentlemen and The Stanley Brothers. He soon discovered the music of Bill Monroe, and with some help from banjo player Bill Keith, he was invited to Nashville to audition for Monroe. Accompanied by Keith, Rowan went to Nashville and was hired in March 1965 as guitarist and lead vocalist of Monroe's Bluegrass Boys. His recording debut as a "bluegrass boy" took place on October 14, 1966 and he recorded a total of fourteen songs with Monroe before his tenure ended in the spring of 1967.

Rowan teamed up with David Grisman in 1967 forming the band Earth Opera which frequently opened for The Doors. In 1969, Rowan joined Seatrain, along with Richard Greene. In 1973, Rowan, together with Greene, Grisman, Bill Keith, and Clarence White formed the bluegrass band Muleskinner. The band released one album. The same year, (1973), Rowan and Grisman formed Old and in the Way with Greene, Jerry Garcia, and John Kahn. Greene was later replaced by Vassar Clements.[8] Old and In the Way disbanded in 1974 and Rowan joined a rock band led by his brothers. Three years later, in 1977, he left his brother's rock band. For a time, he was touring with Richard Greene in Japan and playing clubs with fiddler Tex Logan. He also formed the Green Grass Gringos.

But, how does a kid from Boston become part of the vanguard of bluegrass musicians. Well, in those days it was easier I expect. The music was more accessible, the migrations after the second world war send everyone and the folk boom in the US opened the doors to all types of roots music to urban audiences. The music was everywhere and you dint have to look hard to find it.

Rowan's blog explains a little more,  "Born in Wayland, Massachusetts to a musical family, Rowan learned to play guitar from his uncle. He spent his teenage years absorbing the sights and sounds of the Hillbilly Ranch, a legendary Country music nightclub in Boston frequented by old-time acts like The Lilly Brothers and Tex Logan".

So from an early age Rowan was perfectly placed to hear the sonic boom of post war American music. The pre-war music of bluegrass, country, blues, and trad pop were all alive and well the post war would electrify everything and bring in rhythm and blues, rock n roll and many other forms of music. For a kid who was into music there was no shortage of influences.

And influenced he was. Rowan took it all in and incorporated it into the styles he liked, "Even more engaging, anyways, it’s the possibility to trace the first steps of the career of Peter Rowan, excellent guitarist and mandolin player from Boston, Massachusetts, with Texas and Mexico in the heart and a whole roots dictionary in his fingers. If you have a quick look at the most sparkling among the traditional bands that have been hitting the stage from the 1960s onward, it’s likely that Rowan (who joined Bill Monroe's Bluegrass Boys in 1965 at the age of 23) is one of the protagonists.

 From the psychedelic folk and bluegrass of the unfortunately forgotten Earth Opera of David Grisman (The Great American Eagle Tragedy is a must-have masterpiece reissued 10 years ago by Wounded Bird) to the jazzy smoked country-rock of Seatrain, from the purely hard bluegrass of Muleskinner to the freaky western of the New Riders Of the Purple Sage, ending with the Bay Area super-group Old & In The Way (starring Jerry Garcia, Vassar Clements, Grisman etc…), Rowan is always there". http://nodepression.com/article/review-peter-rowan-free-mexican-airforce-classic-tracks-flying-fish-albums-roots

Rowan would always fall back on the bluegrass he loved as a kid but would incorporate new sounds … which by definition placed him amongst musicians of the "progressive bluegrass" movement.

Wikipedia: " Progressive bluegrass is one of two major subgenres of bluegrass music. It is also known as newgrass, a term attributed to New Grass Revival member Ebo Walker. Musicians and bands John Hartford, New Grass Revival, J.D. Crowe and the New South, The Dillards, Boone Creek, Country Gazette, and the Seldom Scene pioneered innovations in the genre. Some groups began using electric instruments and importing songs from other genres, particularly rock & roll. Progressive bluegrass became popular in the late 1960s and 1970s, but it can be traced back to the banjo and contrabass duets that Earl Scruggs played even in the earliest days of the Foggy Mountain Boys. The four key distinguishing elements of progressive bluegrass are (1) instrumentation, frequently including electric guitars, drums, piano, and more, (2) songs imported or styles imitated from other musical genres like jazz, rock and others, (3) non-traditional chord progressions, (4) lengthy "jam band"-style improvisation. However, not all these elements are always present in progressive bluegrass".

This album is Rowan's solo debut and in some ways he takes a step back … but not into straight bluegrass. He could have gone any number of ways but here he has contemporary country rock sounds but with a overlay of music past … a little straight country, some yodelling, a bit of Tex Mex, bluegrass.

This isn't the sound of some urban hipster jumping onto a musical trend (or some English hack digging through Americana looking for an identity*) . Rowan's entire musical career had been moving to this point. And, importantly, Rowan who clearly knows his music wasn't just happy to sit here, he was always introducing things, fine tuning. He had already incorporated rock into his bluegrass (or bluegrass into his rock) but he would introduce south-of-the-border Tex Mex  and American roots into this album and would go on to  incorporate flamenco, reggae (the most dreaded of all musical styles to me, especially when done by whites), and other styles.  He never breaks from bluegrass but he adds external influences, because he is, errr progressive.

Smaller, stupid, or insincere artists will have radical shifts in their music. Their music is not organic and not an extension of what they like. Their bottom line in money or fame or both perhaps fanned by self delusion (think the incredibly irrelevant and insincere "Mumford and Sons"). This music will be, ultimately, worthless … no matter how many people buy it and love it. Rowan, on the other hand, may not make a bundle, but continues to be true to himself (no matter how corny that sounds).

Rowan's writing is clear and crisp, He doesn't sound grizzled or backwoods and nor needs to be as the music is pastoral, beautifully evocative and, not surprisingly, played beautifully. He, also, doesn't sound regional. There are no strong accents and this gives the music, perhaps, an accessibility that it otherwise wouldn't have for those who don't want to try a little harder. These are not criticisms but observations. The song writing is strong and the music comes like a cool breeze blowing pas you as you sit on a hill watching the world go by …

All tracks composed by Peter Rowan; except where indicated

Tracks (best in italics)

  • Outlaw Love – a beautiful start and not unlike something off one of the country Byrd albums.
  • Break My Heart Again – I'm a sucker for accordion, Mexican sounds and a yodel here and there.  This could be singer songwriter with a country Mexican bent.
  • Woman in Love  – a pleasing love song.
  • When I Was A Cowboy – (Leadbelly) – This is Leadbelly's (yes, that one) version of the old cowboy song "The Old Chisholm Trail" which was recorded by him (whilst in prison) in 1933.It's a beautiful intermingling of country and blues styles. Rowan adds his own touched and the song is disarming.
  • Land of the Navajo  – Originally doe with his group Muleskinner this is an indictment of the treatment of native Americans. Beautiful and quite sad.
  • The Free Mexican Airforce –  Where's my tequila? The accordion, the Spanish guitar and the party atmosphere always work on me. Excellent … nice Tex Mex with sly, subversive lyrics.
  • Panama Red  – The song was originally done by the country-rock band The New Riders of the Purple Sage (1973) who Rowan was writing for. He later performed it with his band Old and in the Way (recorded 1973 but released 1975), before doing it here. Panama red is a high potency cannabis … which explains the joyous exaltations in the song, perhaps. It is very catchy …the song that is.
  • Midnite Moonlite  – Nice fiddling and a pretty love song
  • The Gyspy King's Farewell – Another great song like the Byrds with accordion …supplied by the great Flaco Jimenez.

And …

A winner … I'm keeping it.

Chart Action

Nothing no where

Sounds

http://recordlective.com/Peter_Rowan/Peter_Rowan/2aa06cd0-2823-3267-90f1-b957bb9d1bba/

Land of the Navajo

Live

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zoc3-pTttdM

The Free Mexican Airforce

Mp3 attached

Midnite Moonlite

Live

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OLnDWc8APGg

Others

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5p0AryAE6Bw

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OWyaRmi0O7g

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d_mMYzIm-gs

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tKh8XjgoQfc

Seatrain

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ayz1bwRLNW4

Muleskinner

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KSZ6hs_Q1mc

Review

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_Rowan_(album)

Bio

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_Rowan

http://www.allmusic.com/artist/peter-rowan-mn0000322339/biography

http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1G2-3430400054.html

http://grapewrath.blogspot.com.au/2010/05/peter-rowan.html

Website

http://www.peter-rowan.com/

Trivia

  • The album is produce by Peter Rowan and dedicated to his father Paul Donovan Rowan and the blue yodeler Jimmie Rodgers
  • Credits: Accordion – Flaco Jimenez (tracks: A2, A4), Acoustic Bass – Buell Neidlinger (tracks: A1, A3, A5, B3), Roger Mason (2) (tracks:  A4, B2), Todd Phillips (tracks: A2, B1, B4), Autoharp – Mike Seeger (tracks: B4), Bajo Sexto – Jesse Ponce (tracks: A2, B1, B4), Banjo – Lamar Greer* (tracks: A4, B2), Fiddle – Richard Greene (tracks: A1, A3, A5, B3), Tex Logan (tracks: A4, B2), Guitar, Vocals, Mandola – Peter Rowan, Harmony Vocals – Alice Gerrard (tracks: B4), Estrella Berosini (tracks: A2, B4), Laura Eastman (tracks: B4), Mandolin – Barry Mitterhoff (tracks: A4, B2), Pedal Steel Guitar – Jimmy Fuller (tracks: A2), Slide Guitar – Paul Lenart (tracks: B4)

 * I refer to the rather sad (Bragg) recent "argument" with Pokey LaFarge on Americana … http://themusic.com.au/news/all/2014/03/11/billy-bragg-and-pokey-lafarge-did-not-get-along-at-womadelaide/

Posted in Alt Country, Country, Country Rock | Tagged | Leave a comment

CHER – Stars – (Warner Brothers) – 1975

Cher - Stars

There is something about Cher.

Something beyond her current image.

Regular readers of this blog may find it amusing that I like Cher, but I do.

Certainly I don like her more recent stuff ("recent" being defined as anything after the 1970s) but I do like and  love a lot of her music.

I can here sniggering out there but in all honesty, all the people I know who love 60s pop have room for Sonny and Cher and no sniggering goes on there.

So why can't I like Cher's 70s output?

It is corn, it is cheese, but above all it is pop … and I like pop.

You have to admire Cher.

She hasn't the greatest voice (it's not bad but it's not like …), she isn't the greatest interpreter of songs (like Helen Merrill), she isn't a formal musician (she doesn't play an instrument), and she doesn't write her own music.

And yet she has had a successful career.

Why?

Strength of personality and one of the most distinctive voices in pop, which she projects and promotes beautifully.

And, yes, she is intelligent.

Well, if that is the case, why doesn't she write her own songs?

She never needed to  … starting out she had the gifted Sonny Bono, when she went solo she was a big star and songwriters would throw songs at her and she could pick what she wanted. She could lay back, pick songs, sing them, have hits and enjoy life rather than suffering the anguish of the songwriting process.

It may not be as noble but if you have talent it doesn't matter.

If string a few words together with music is songwriting and songwriting is a sign of intelligence then all I can say there are about 100 Einstein's playing in Brisbane tonight.

No, no, intelligence isn't that. It's something else outside of music. Music may be a part of it but it's not music alone.

For critics to sit back and attack entertainers because they don't write songs as some sort of a reflection on intelligence is stupid.

Sure, you can attack them if they do covers and don't add, interpret or do anything with the song but a good talented entertainer will always do that.

Let's face it. If you like a song you are listening to and you didn't know the singer didn't write it then what's the difference? It's music not literature. Music, unlike literature is usually a collaborative process anyway unless the singer, writes, records, produces, plays all the instruments himself.

Cher knows her limitations and knows that she has to utilise what she has to bets advantage. And that is her voice, her force of personality, and her musicality. And that is smart. And, despite, some missteps and questionable records she has shown she has the smarts when it comes to music.

If you hum to it, tap your feet to it, dance to it it can't be all bad can it?

So what does a person do who doesn't write their own songs, isn't a "musician", isn't  a great interpreter of songs but is intelligent and has a desire to express themselves?

You pick songs you think mean something to you and then you have a legend like Jimmy Webb  produce, arrange and conduct your album.

And this album is the result.

This was Cher's first album without the influence of Sonny Bono and the first for the Warner Brothers Label. Cher was newly divorced at age 29, independent for the first time since she was 16 and famous. She, clearly, wanted to say something. Her step away from her past security and an uncertain future, especially in personal relationships, gives the album a slightly melancholy tone.

This becomes her singer-songwriter album even if she didn't write anything. She inhabits the songs and with Jimmy Webb's attention to detail makes this mix of bluesy rock, country rock and MOR one of her most personal statements.

Jimmy Webb can be credited for some the sweeping and gently epic big sounds here. He has made a career out of that and he knows how to get the epic without falling into bombast. This is slick, as you would expect from Cher, and she is not adverse to bombast (especially later in her career) but this is restrained. Big, but restrained. Comparatively speaking

The musicianship is first rate and there are no ragged edges but this was the mainstream 70s of the west coast.

A lot of  you out there still wont have time for this but then again you probably don't listen to Carly Simon, Janis Ian or Joni Mitchell.

Having said that, that doesn't mean the album will be successful or the audience will be in tune with you. 

And this is the case here. The album did not chart well.

Cher had a number of failures in the 70s, album wise(perhaps the 70s and its dominance of singer-songwriter music ), acted against her … she eventually moved more to a dance and disco thing where people don't care it you write your own music or not … and had greater success.

Yes, yes, I'm biased and I had a crush on Cher when I was a teen. Still do. Maybe I'm letting that cloud my judgement in relation to the person and the music but when I hear her sultry low voice she has the same effect on me as Marlene Dietrich … a sort of instant aural erection.

Refer to my other comments for more biographical background and sexual frustration relating to Cher.

Tracks (best in italics)

  • Love Enough – (Tim Moore) – from his self titled album (1975). A perfect example of 70s singer songwriter pop song.  I'm surprised it wasn't a hit for someone.
  • Bell Bottom Blues – (Eric Clapton) – the song first appeared on the Derek and The Dominos (of which Duane Allman was a member) album "Layla" (1970). I'm pretty ambivalent to Clapton but this song was a good one and Cher extracts all the drama from the plea for love. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bell_Bottom_Blues_(Derek_and_the_Dominos_song)
  • These Days – (Jackson Browne) – from Jackson Browne's "For Everyman" (1974) album though it was first recorded by Nico in 1967 and by Duane Allman's brother Gregg on his 1973 album "Laid Back". A good version, well sung.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/These_Days_(Jackson_Browne_song)
  • Mr. Soul – (Neil Young) – written by Neil Young when he was in Buffalo Springfield for the "Buffalo Springfield Again" (1967) album. The song is suitably groovy and dirty and of course catchy, as it is in it's original version. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mr._Soul
  • Just This One Time – (Jimmy Webb) – from his "Land's End" (1975) album…but first done on his "Reunion" album with Glen Campbell (1974). This is a typical Webb big ballad with the emphasis on "big". Dollops of gospel and soul allow Cher to go the full Diva and it's hard to dislike.
  • Geronimo's Cadillac – (Michael Martin Murphey) – This is, perhaps, Murphey's most famous song from Murphey's album "Geronimo's Cadillac" (1972). Cher taps into her (partial) Native American ancestry here as she had in the past ("Half Breed" etc). It's not authentic but the song is a good one and Cher does a good version. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geronimo%27s_Cadillac_(Michael_Martin_Murphey_song)
  • The Bigger They Come, The Harder They Fall – (Jimmy Cliff) – originally titled "The Harder They Come" and written by reggae artist Jimmy Cliff for his 1971 Soundtrack to the movie "The Harder They Come". According to the liner notes Van Dyke Parks arranged the steel drums on this album ..so I'm assuming they are referring to this song. This is, perhaps, a misfire. It is certainly bouncy. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Harder_They_Come_(song)
  • Love Hurts - (Boudleaux Bryant) – Boudleaux Bryant who, with his wife Felice, wrote "Bye Bye Love" and "Wake Up Little Susie," for the Everly Brothers. "Love Hurts" was an album track on "A Date with The Everly Brothers", but Roy Orbison had the first hit with it in 1961 (albeit in Australia #5, it was the flipside to his US #1 "Running Scared").  The song has since been covered many times was by Jim Capaldi (#95 US, #4UK 1975), Gram Parsons (1973), Nazareth (#8 US 1976, #15 UK 1977, #1 Canada 1976) and others. She would re-record later (for the "Love Hurts" album 1991) in a more hard-rock fashion closer to Nazareth's version while this is more slow and dreamy with Webb's influence all over it.
  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Love_Hurts
  • Rock and Roll Doctor – (Lowell George, Fred Martin) – recorded by Little Feat for their "Feats Don't Fail Me Now" (1974) – down south rock n roll from Cher. This would fit well on a Delaney & Bonnie or, errr Little Feat album.
  • Stars - (Janis Ian) –  written by Ian for her 1974 album also entitled "Stars". The song, about celebrity and its associated loneliness was relevant to Ian and clearly to Cher. The lyric would become especially resonant with the commercial failure of this album

And …

Another interesting twist in Cher's musical history. Knowing my friends I'm not sure I would be allowed to put it on at parties but I would play it at home myself. It's a undiscovered minor gem …. I'm keeping it.

Chart Action

US

Singles

Album

1975 #153

England

Sounds

http://recordlective.com/Cher/Stars/058eb23b-5830-4ee6-9137-c73faded21c1/

Bell Bottom Blues

mp3 attached

Just This One Time

live

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i8XbgHd1nSs

Geronimo's Cadillac

live

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j4T9CSFA9ic

Others

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bS3O5zg290k

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gQlhH6tDBc8

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LT_y5qri00o

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xvnGiSpsMpE

Review

http://www.cherscholar.com/stars.htm

http://divaincarnate.blogspot.com.au/2013/01/cher-stars-1975.html

http://theseconddisc.com/2011/01/27/reissue-theory-cher-a-womans-story-the-warner-bros-years/

Bio

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cher

http://www.allmusic.com/artist/cher-mn0000107090/biography

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jimmy_Webb

Website

http://www.cher.com/

Trivia

  • "The Warner Bros. years found Cher experimenting with a variety of musical styles and producers for a handful of singles and four complete albums: Stars (1975), I’d Rather Believe in You (1976), Cherished (1977) and Two the Hard Way (1977). The lineup of talent who joined Cher at Warner Bros. is staggering: Phil Spector, Harry Nilsson, Jimmy Webb, Snuff Garrett, Steve Barri, then-husband Gregg Allman, and even Sonny Bono." http://theseconddisc.com/2011/01/27/reissue-theory-cher-a-womans-story-the-warner-bros-years/

          Cher - in pensive mood 1978                    Cher - Time Magazine 1975    

Posted in Pop Rock | Tagged | Leave a comment

TIM BUCKLEY – Look at the Fool – (DisCreet) – 1974

Tim Buckley - Look at the Fool

Tim Buckley seems to be one of those acts that floats in and out  cult favour from time. I think he is out at the moment but I could be wrong.

I've got a few Tim Buckley albums in the pile behind me but I've only ever listened to two, "Happy Sad" (1969) and "Greetings from L.A." (1972)

I bought "Happy Sad" in 1986  purely because it was on the Elektra label. I had no other knowledge of Tim Buckley.

That album proved to be hypnotic.

Tim Buckley is hard to pigeon hole musically because he is a adventurous vocal virtuoso. He  started out as a more traditional folk-rock artist, but then incorporated other styles into his songs, including blues, jazz, avant-garde, Latin and funk (on this album). Over each of his nine studio albums he showed some degree of musical divergence.

Wikipedia: "Timothy Charles "Tim" Buckley III (February 14, 1947 – June 29, 1975) was an American singer and musician. His music and style changed considerably through the years; his first album (1966) was mostly folk, but his subsequent albums incorporated jazz, psychedelia, funk, soul, avant-garde and an evolving "voice as instrument" sound. Though he did not find commercial success during his lifetime, Buckley is admired by later generations for his innovation as a musician and vocal ability. He died at the age of 28 from a heroin overdose, leaving behind his sons Taylor and Jeff, the latter of whom later went on to become a musician as well".

Look at the Fool is the ninth and last album by Tim Buckley before his death in 1975.

This album is polarising

The ultra sharp Richie Unterberger had this to say on allmusic "Tim Buckley's final album is a sad, burned-out affair, suffering from weak, poorly conceived material and washed-out soul-rock arrangements. Most troublingly, Buckley's voice — the one asset he could always count on — had itself begun to deteriorate. Here his vocals were distressingly thin, like torn socks that have gone through the laundry cycle one too many times".

And, Richie is a Tim Buckley fan!

Richie says in allmusic's biography of Buckley, "One of the great rock vocalists of the 1960s, Tim Buckley drew from folk, psychedelic rock, and progressive jazz to create a considerable body of adventurous work in his brief lifetime. His multi-octave range was capable of not just astonishing power, but great emotional expressiveness, swooping from sorrowful tenderness to anguished wailing. His restless quest for new territory worked against him commercially: By the time his fans had hooked into his latest album, he was onto something else entirely, both live and in the studio. In this sense he recalled artists such as Miles Davis and David Bowie, who were so eager to look forward and change that they confused and even angered listeners who wanted more stylistic consistency. However, his eclecticism has also ensured a durable fascination with his work that has engendered a growing posthumous cult for his music, often with listeners who were too young (or not around) to appreciate his music while he was active".

It is fair to say that most mainstream critics hate it.

Most Tim Buckley fans think it is an ambitious failure

There have been attempts to resurrect the album from is generally negative press. Hardcore Buckley fans refer o his experimentalism and the fact he had to go this way (eventually) and that this album is part of a progression and, perhaps, a misunderstood masterpiece.

At the time the album got mixed reviews but the passing of time and the  general negativity to white funk soul  – which is what this album is – haven't helped it.

I don't mind white funk as long as it is white funk and not white guys trying to beat the black guys at something they never can. White funk is therefore elements of black funk with a white sensibility attached … a quirkiness and the drawing in of external non-black musical influences.

Buckley does that here. There are elements of Latin, and psych with some typically quirky (read obscure and lyrical) lyrics.

Despite the fact that Buckley wrote the words and music none of that is greatly relevant on an album like this. This album and the genre of funk soul (generally) is about creating a vibe and usually a vibe you can dance to. The words don't matter as much because the music is what counts. So, Buckley is limited by the musical form he is trying to emulate. Sure he adds bits and pieces to this but he ultimately has to rely, not on his voice, not on his lyrics but on those familiar beats.

And that is the biggest problem. Buckley's greatest strength is his expressive voice and I'm not sure it works with this form of music. Recording techniques aside his voice seems to drop in and out from it's up front position and, perhaps, is a little lost in the music. Elvis Presley, a different but equally virtuosic vocalist tackled white funk soul when he did a session at Stax Studios in 1973* and I think suffered some of the same problems Buckley has here. The delivery is in the music and vocalists will suffer. Elvis also recorded more traditional type Elvis songs along with the white funk and they work a lot better. Buckley doesn't do that.

Having said that, Buckley (and to a lesser extent Elvis on his similar material) sings the hell out of some of these white funk songs and his technique and virtuosity creates some amazing performances. It's like his voice (which is tortured and pained and only occasionally happy) is fighting against the music rather than being a part of it as they should be, probably. Whether that is good or bad I don't know but it is striking and it hits you viscerally.

The very (amazing) black backing vocalists are a blessing and a curse. They make the album more commercial (and I think that is a bad thing here – it makes the music a little familiar) but they also help lift the music and perhaps create a bridge to connect Buckley's voice to the music.

I should mention that Buckley's "Greetings from L.A."(1972) also has some funk in it but Buckley isn't as single minded there.

Ultimately, despite what Richie Unterberger says (and I have regard for him) this album isn't a bad album. It perhaps, and I can't comment as I haven't heard all of his work, isn't as good as other Buckley albums but it it's much better (and much more ambitious) than a lot of white funk and white disco coming out at the time (think some of the bad mid to late 70s Rod Stewart albums) ….and a few of those tracks are, err amazing.

It is pointless to refer to the publics appreciation of the album …the public had very little interest in Tim Buckley especially by this stage

The cover artwork is not the best  … no one disagrees on that.

All tracks written by Tim Buckley unless noted.

Tracks (best in italics)

  • Look at the Fool  – this starts as a slow funk and then becomes quite dramatic and a touch bombastic (and there are a couple of silly sounding notes) but, ultimately, the song is strangely memorable as Buckley groans, sings and yelps his way across the song backed by angelic backing vocalists.
  • Bring It On Up  – a very black sounding song title and a full on funky sound
  • Helpless  – quite a groove with the backing vocalists in fine form
  • Freeway Blues – (Larry Beckett/Buckley) – Larry Beckett is a poet and songwriter. Buckley and Beckett started writing together in the mid-1960s, when both were members of Southern California group The Bohemians. Evocative and gritty funk
  • Tijuana Moon – (Larry Beckett/Buckley) – strange, really strange and very, very compelling. Like a Broadway show about funky bluesman lost in the Caribbean.
  • Ain't It Peculiar  – wow – great funk
  • Who Could Deny You  – Blood Sweat and Tears territory here but without the hooks in the horns.
  • Mexicali Voodoo – I don't know what's going on here. I don't think anyone was. Everyone is doing their on thing but it holds together.
  • Down in the Street  – a "socially relevant" lyric and some hard funk.
  • Wanda Lu  - totally different to the rest of the album and , perhaps, the best song on the album. That's not because it's different but rather because it's in a style of music I like. Garage, like Sam the Sham etc. Great fun.

And …

I like Buckley and the more I listen to this album the more it grows on me. Maybe it is a masterpiece? …. I'm keeping it.

Chart Action

Nothing no where

Sounds

http://recordlective.com/Tim_Buckley/Look_at_the_Fool/b67dfd25-8a35-3f14-b1e7-e9c1910590c9/

Ain't It Peculiar 

Mp3 attached

Wanda Lu

Mp3 attached

Others

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vMTEtDBHGY4

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LtU-9EMSYu0

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D3yGzp7tfmQ

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PwWcGSB8wWI

Review

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Look_at_the_Fool

http://www.progarchives.com/Review.asp?id=178509

http://www.allmusic.com/album/look-at-the-fool-mw0000199400

http://badcatrecords.com/BadCat/BUCKLEYtim.htm

http://freeingjohnsinclair.aadl.org/node/198124

http://guesswhatimlisteningto.blogspot.com.au/2010/10/final-albums.html

Bio

http://www.timbuckley.com/tim-buckley-chronicle-of-a-starsailor/

http://www.allmusic.com/artist/tim-buckley-mn0000595101/biography

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tim_buckley

http://timbuckley.net/bios/goldmine.shtml

http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/tim-buckley-dead-at-28-19750814

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p4CCuJblouo

Website

http://www.timbuckley.com/

http://www.timbuckley.net/tweener2.shtml

Trivia

  • The album is produced by Buckley's guitarist, Joe Falsia.
  • The backing vocalists are Venetta Fields, Clydie King, Sherlie Matthews and are legendary …            

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Venetta_Fields                        

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clydie_King

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sherlie_Matthews

  • Venetta Fields lives on the Gold Coast.

 

*You can hear those Elvis tracks indispersed over the "Raised on Rock" (1973), "Good Times" (1974), and "Promised Land" (1975) albums or collected on the 3 CD set – Elvis at Stax (2013)

Posted in Singer Songwriter, Soul, Funk & Disco | Tagged | Leave a comment

TRINI LOPEZ – Trini – (Reprise) – 1966

Trini Lopez - Trini

I have a few Trini Lopez album entries on this blog. Check them out for biographical details of the vastly underrated Trini Lopez.

In 1962 Trini hit it big doing occasional originals and many covers all transformed to fit his sound, to which I have said before:

"Trini's go-go guitar sound which was part rock n roll, part pop, and all California… His audience wanted to dance to songs they knew but with a beat that didn't require them to change their dance moves".

For a Mexican-American (a "Spanish-Americano" on the albums back sleeve) from Dallas, Trini had done good.

And, in 1966 there was no reason to change.

The 60s were a fertile and inventive time for music with dominant styles changing every couple of years (sometimes every year). Middle America however, then as now, once comfortable didn't budge as easily.

Trini's hip new sound (and he was at the front of the good time go go beat) was, by now, firmly entrenched in middle America's musical psyche.

With bankable sales, then, he wasn't about to change.

And, more power to him …listening to this music some 50 years later you can still hear the excitement in the voice of the poor kid who has done well.

The back sleeve under a banner of "The Excitement of Trini"  refers succinctly and sharply on his rags to riches career and to his electrifying live show. And these two factor sum up Trini. This is the kid who escaped Dallas Saturday nights "throwing rocks at tractors" (according to the sleeve) for the fame and fortune of being a pop star.

Pop can be disposable and maybe this album is but in Trini I can hear the music of someone who has escaped his background and sings  and plays guitar knowing that unless he gives100% he may return to a lifetime of Dallas Saturday nights where "Spanish-Americanos" are excluded from the fun.

Don Costa, arranged and produced the album and he, having worked with Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett  etc brings a more rounded trad pop sound. The guitar keeps the rhythm but the beat is punctuated by horns which are everywhere.

Costa has to make sure that the "older crowd" are hooked also.

Costa, also, probably, influences the song selection. There are the usual pop hits of the day ("Yesterday", Baby the Rain Must Fall" ) but there is also the MOR standards ,both recent standards and new songs destined to become future MOR standards ("Fly Me to the Moon", "The Shadow of Your Smile", "One of those Songs" etc).

The sound isn't Trini doing go-go music fro the 20 somethings or even the 30 somethings but rather go-go for the over 40s …and by that I mean over 40s in 1966.

Tracks (best in italics)

  • Fly Me To The Moon – (Bart Howard) – I love this song in all it's incarnations but I'm particularly fond of Bobby Darin's 1963 version or Sinatra's 1964 version. . Here Trini has given it beat and changed it's meaning. The ethereal romantic quality of the song is no longer there but the rhythm and lyric still make it catchy. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fly_Me_to_the_Moon
  • I Will Wait For You – (Legrand – Gimbel) – from the film "The Umbrellas of Cherbourg" (1964) which was a popular French film that had art house come popular success in the United States. The song was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Song at the 38th Academy Awards held in 1966. Again, this has been done by everyone including Sinatra and Darin, again. Trini does well on the this ballad. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/I_Will_Wait_for_You
  • Baby, The Rain Must Fall – (Bernstein-Sheldon) – from the great Robert Mulligan film starring Steve McQueen, Don Murray and Lee Remick, "Baby the Rain Must Fall" (1965), Glenn Yarbrough provided the vocal for the song in the film and it went to #12 on the Charts in the US (1965). Trini's version is suitably energetic and the song is a good one. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baby_the_Rain_Must_Fall_(song)
  • If You Were Me – (Marcellno – Greenbach) – I don't know much about this song's pedigree but drummer Jack Greenbach, wrote this with Jerry Marcellino, who later wrote and produced records for Michael Jackson and the Jackson Five. There is some nice guitar in the break.
  • Call Me – (Tony Hatch) – English pop singer Petula Clark recorded this in early 1965. Trini's fellow American Latin Chris Montez released a cover in late 1965 which peaked on the Easy Listening chart at #2 and on the Hot 100 at #22 in the US in early 1966. There have been many other versions.  Trini's version is suitably brezzy. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Call_Me_(Petula_Clark_song)
  • I'm Gonna Be A Wheel Someday  – (Bartholomew-Hayes) – a rock n roll standard written by Fats Domino and Bartholomew and Hayes. The song was first recorded by Bobby Mitchell & The Toppers (1957) but subsequently recorded by Fats and everyone else. This doesnt fit in with the other songs on the album and was, I would think, a song Trini would have been playing in the late 50s around Texas.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/I%27m_Gonna_Be_a_Wheel_Someday
  • I'm Comin' Home, Cindy  (Lopez – Zeller) – I don't know much about Phil Zeller (though, clearly, he's not the metal musician that comes up when you google.). He seems to have been a songwriter who worked with Sinatra. He did quit a few co-writes with Trini over a number of albums.  The song seems to be a variation on the traditional country folk "Cindy Cindy" songs. In melody it's a throwback to rock n roll (which seems to be the style Lopez most often writes in) with horns added over the top. Not entirely successful but not bad either.
  • The Shadow Of Your Smile – (Mandel – Webster) from the film "The Sandpiper" (1965). The song won the Grammy Award for Song of the Year and the Academy Award for Best Original Song. In 2004 the song finished at #77 in AFI's "100 Years…100 Songs" poll of the top tunes from American cinema. Again, it was recorded by everyone and, yet again, I'm most familiar with the Bobby Darin (1965) and Frank Sinatra versions (1966). http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Shadow_of_Your_Smile
  • Trini's Tune – (Lopez – Kusik) – Larry Kusick was another 60s songwriter and Trini has teamed up with him on this novelty tune. Trini extols the virtues of Trini's music! This is naff but it's catchy in a totally MOR prime time TV special way.
  • The 32nd Of May  – (Ahlert – Snyder ) – June Ahlert and Eddie Snyder were more MOR trad pop writers in the 60s and that's what this song is.
  • Yesterday – (Lennon McCartney) – is this the most covered Lennon – McCartney tune? The Beatles had a #1 with it in 1965. Everyone has done it. I'm partial to the Elvis cover (1969) but this version is quite good in a bompy, slick way, though the song itself is pure tin pan alley. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yesterday_(Beatles_song)
  • One Of Those Songs Holt – (Calvi – Holt) –  One of those songs aka "Le bal de Madame de Mortemouille" was a song by French composer Gerard Calvi (English lyric by Will Holt). It dates back to 1958 and perhaps a show or film score Calvi was working on. I don't know who did the first English version but Jimmy Durante recorded it in 1966 as did Brenda Lee and Max Bygraves (in England). This is music hall which doesnt work with trini's style.

And …

Pass me a fruit cocktail with an extra big umbrella and get me my slippers … I'm keeping it.

Chart Action

US

Singles

1966  I'm Comin' Home, Cindy  Adult Contemporary #2 

1966  I'm Comin' Home, Cindy  The Billboard Hot 100  #39 

Album

1966 #54

England

Singles

1966  I'm Comin' Home, Cindy Cindy  #28 

Album

Sounds

Full album

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mj2UhPs62o4

Baby, The Rain Must Fall

Mp3 attached

Others

Trini live in the 60s

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z33hxOWjDLA

Live in 2014

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xbGHoRNPRP0

Review

Bio

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trini_Lopez

http://www.markguerrero.com/14.php

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Don_Costa

Website

http://www.trinilopez.com/

Trivia

Posted in Pop Rock | Tagged | 1 Comment

GLADYS KNIGHT & THE PIPS – Imagination – (Buddah) – 1973

GLADYS KNIGHT & THE PIPS - Imagination

When talking about  Gladys Knight & The Pips "Neither One of Us" (1973) album which immediately preceded this I said, "Gladys Knight and the Pips came through the Motown factory in the 60s with a few top 20 pop hits including "I Heard it through the Grapevine", "Every Beat of My Heart") and transitioned into the 70s easily where they had most of their hits. They really were on fire 1971 – 75, though they had to leave Motown (after this album) to prove their worth (they went to Buddah records)".

This is that album.

This was a big commercial hit and showed (in part) that soul could adapt itself to 70s musical genres rather than just extending it itself as a "dance music".

Check out my other comment for biographical detail on Gladys Knight & The Pips.

This was their 10th album or so and their first on the Buddah label. A lot of this sounds MOR – singer songwriter soft rock filtered through a soul colander.

And that's not a surprise

The album is mainly produced by Tony Camillo or Kenny Kerner and Richie Wise.

Tony Camillo (tracks: 1, 5, 6, 8), Kenny Kerner and Richie Wise (tracks: 2, 3, 4, 7) and Gladys Knight & The Pips (track 9).

All songs are co-produced, apparently, by Gladys Knight & The Pips.

Camillo had worked in soul for a long time. He worked on many pop, rock, soul and disco recordings in the 1960s and 1970s, including recordings by Dionne Warwick, Eric Carmen, The Stylistics, Millie Jackson, Chambers Brothers, Peaches & Herb,  The 5th Dimension ,Grand Funk Railroad, Stevie Wonder, Martha Reeves, The Supremes, Parliament, and Tommy James.

No surprises there.

Kenny Kerner and Richie Wise do surprise though. Former members of early 70s hard rock band "Dust" they produced 4 tracks. They went on to produce Kiss.

Apart  from an emphasis on beat in a couple of songs their hard rock tendencies aren't up front. I'm not sure why they were chosen to produce. Camillo on the other hand  leans towards a smoother pop sound whether he is recording rock, hard rock or soul.

The most noticeable stylistic trend is the singer songwriter sounds. Gladys Knight & The Pips do five songs by Jim Weatherly (they had done one, "Neither One of Us", on the album of the same name and that went to #2 in the charts(1973)). Weatherly, white, was born in 1943 in Pontotoc, Mississippi and played quarterback at the University of Mississippi (and was an All-American) before choosing song writing over a football career.

He had that rugged sensitivity that was popular in the 70s … think Mac Davis, Danny O'Keefe etc.

This is white music though Gladys Knight & The Pips manage to give it some soul and funk … Gladys Knight could sing anything I suspect.

It is still, perhaps, a little too slick for my ears. Don't get me wrong, I love pure pop , but this hybrid adds sugar to something which should a little raggedy around the edges. Black American music in the 70s was about sounding Black with a capital "B"… street talk, Afro-American slang, funk, jive and a general immediacy were as important as the sounds and dance-ability of the music.

This has taken the schmaltz of confessional singer songwriter songs and adds a little black sugar.

Gladys Knight & The Pips were, I suspect, bold in going in tackling more white sounds.

But it worked – a handful of hit singles and a hit album means "money talks".

Tracks (best in italics)

  • Midnight Train To Georgia – (Jim Weatherly) –  Slick, very slick but catchy in a very, err slick way. Originally written as "Midnight Plane to Houston" it's a song about the power of love. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Midnight_Train_to_Georgia
  • I've Got To Use My Imagination - (Barry Goldberg, Gerry Goffin) –  First release by Barry Goldberg October 1973 apparently.  This has a great thumping disco beat which must have packed the dance floors. Infectious.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/I%27ve_Got_to_Use_My_Imagination
  • Storms Of Troubled Times – (Jim Weatherly) –  from Weatherly's self title album (1973).  Lots of emotion….but engagingly (over) dramatic.
  • Best Thing That Ever Happened To Me – (Jim Weatherly) – a country hit for Ray Price in 1973 (#1). More emotion. Some of the country can be heard coming through  – black country soul MOR http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/You%27re_the_Best_Thing_That_Ever_Happened_to_Me
  • Once In A Lifetime Thing – (Jim Weatherly) –  slick and dramatic.
  • Where Peaceful Waters Flow – (Jim Weatherly) –  from Weatherly's "A Gentler Time" (1973) LP. Very singer songwriter through the black diva filter.
  • I Can See Clearly Now – (Johnny Nash) –  Johnny Nash' magnificent #1 from 1972. It has been covered many times since ..my favourite is by Harry Dean Stanton (live). This song is totally re-imagined with the Pips sing lead. It isn't a great version. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/I_Can_See_Clearly_Now
  • Perfect Love – (Paul Williams) –  from Paul Williams "Just An Old Fashioned Love Song" (1971) LP. Strings and horns and schmaltz. The Pips are up front with Gladys on this though I suspect it would have been better if it were Pip-less.
  • Window Raisin' Granny – (B. Knight, E. Patten, G. Knight, W. Guest) – Lead vocal by a Pip, this is great and moves (with it's social observations) into O'Jays territory. Perhaps this is the best track on the album and, interestingly, the only one produced by the band.The only trac

And …

The soul, groove and funk is in the vocals – the arrangements are pure MOR . It still it works,  though only sporadically on my ears … tape a few and sell.

Chart Action

US

Singles

1973  Where Peaceful Waters Flow  The Billboard Hot 100  #28 

1973  Midnight Train To Georgia  The Billboard Hot 100  #1 

1974  I've Got To Use My Imagination  The Billboard Hot 100  #4

1974  Best Thing That Ever Happened To Me  The Billboard Hot 100  #3

Album

1973 #9

England

Singles

1973  Midnight Train To Georgia  #10

1974  Best Thing That Ever Happened To Me  #7

Album

Sounds

http://recordlective.com/Gladys_Knight_&_The_Pips/Imagination/297a4a0b-3904-3565-9767-2e7591516f82/

Midnight Train To Georgia

Live

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zh_Sz-8zlAY

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=suu2x5AOJTk

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tSXLOQPozOc

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v78-ftcqpNw

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ynQAtLD4utU

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=avGw0kPaw2s

I've Got To Use My Imagination

Live

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6zoCpNHDgpA

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i4_GA2iagAw  

Window Raisin' Granny

Mp3 attached

Others

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WWvwP72FuVg

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uSw7vulUfME

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eNtNlnN4O-s

Review

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Imagination_(Gladys_Knight_%26_the_Pips_album)

http://www.allmusic.com/album/imagination-mw0000654780

http://www.bbc.co.uk/music/reviews/mb28

http://soultrain.com/2013/11/04/classic-soul-album-spotlight-gladys-knight-the-pips-imagination/

http://www.funkmysoul.gr/gladys-knight-the-pips-1973-imagination/

Bio

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gladys_Knight_%26_the_Pips

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jim_Weatherly

Website

http://gladysknight.com/home2.html/

Trivia

Posted in Soul, Funk & Disco | Tagged | Leave a comment

ALAN PRICE – Lucky Day – (Jet) – 1979

Alan Price - Lucky Day

I like my English music to sound …errr English.

Accepting (as any reasonable person must) that rock music is an essentially organic American medium to, then,  transplant that music to England I need those bands to try a little harder.

Aping American acts won't cut it.

Sure I have time for the musicality and sheer audaciousness of The Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, The Animals and others who are trying to beat the Americans at their own game Their lyrics are full of bayous and Mississippi deltas, their rock swaggers and struts with the gin and juke joints of the south and industrial north but I can accept their artifice because they never for once pretended to have invented anything and give credit where credit is due.

There is the lineage of English bands (Munford and Sons being the most recent) which pretend to be English but really just play American native music dressed up and repackaged in English clothes. They have style consultants to make the music "hip" and old English snobbery to give them credibility. Their repackage is sold successfully to the world, even to the Americans who lap it up. American insecurity whether it be in literature, film and music  still exists amongst a percentage of Americans. "We must turn our heads to England for credibility in the arts …. yes but it's like the emperor's new clothes after the emperor has stepped on a dog turd".

There are other bands that wave the English flag but really only recycle American riffs for the local English domestic market. Most of the so called "Britpop" bands fall into that category. Most of the English markets lap them up because they are domestic, can be seen live and probably live around the corner from you. They rarely hit the big time outside of England. And, they are largely dull unless you are member of the English diaspora or a unreconstructed Anglophile.

There are still others who are in it for a buck who don't have a obvious or even subconscious philosophy. Whatever works that's what they produce and sell.

Then there are the English bands I like most. Those that use rock music as a way of exploring their Englishness. They have no trouble adopting American music and usually acknowledge the same. But, their music explores English themes and attitudes from within a American pop cultural world.

The 20th century, like it or not, was the American century.

Many good bands / acts  fill the gaps between those categories but the ones I like the most are these obstinately English ones who draw from all types of music without stealing … ones that are English without a chip on the shoulder, who don't give a fuck and have an acute understanding of pop cultural history. The Kinks, Robyn Hitchcock, David Essex, David Bowie come to mind.

Alan Price fits into that group also.

Price hinted as much talking about blues from the United States, "We had a missionary zeal for this music, I think we identified with it, because it (Tyneside) is a strong area politically, you know, working class. There was a strong trade union ethic up there, and we felt that blues music, the poor black music, represented the same things as the whites had. And we didn't really have contact with our own folk music, whereas the American black music was born of people in the cotton fields, but then heavy industry as well, when you moved up north to Chicago, and we identified with both the sound and the primitive side of it."

http://www.saga.co.uk/lifestyle/people/celebrities/alan-price.aspx

See my other Alan Price entry for biographical detail but by way of shorthand lets say, Alan Price was born in the north of England, in 1942, played organ in The Animals, left and formed the Alan Price Set, and then put out a series of solo albums, that are variously autobiographical, adventurous, commercial, or weird but always very English.

On top of that he is very smart.

This album is quite commercial. Price has tackled most of the popular styles of the day and a few styles from "yesterday". Price likes his older music but knows he needs to sell records as well. Not every song is a winner but Price's smarts makes the songs a lot better than they would be other hands.

His strengths are in his inventiveness and in his autobiographical writing and that applies to this album. The best songs are the very personal or those drawn from the narrative of his own life. When he's just trying to write a generic pop song, thinking about melody, pop hooks and instrumentation, he doesn't succeed as well .. though there are some individual charming retro type pop songs.

The other problem is the slick production and reliance on synths … it hasn't dated well.

All tracks by Price unless notes. Price produced the album though the sound production is by Bones Howe (was it recorded in America?)

The album was released in England in 1978 with a different track order and sleeve and under the non-international commercial title of "England My England".

Despite the song of the same the album has influences from all corners of the globe.

Tracks (best in italics)

  • This Is Your Lucky Day (The Girl Won't Get Under)  – (Billy Day / Mike Lesley) – wtf? I know Price had a commercial poppy side to him but this is white disco!
  • Groovy Times   – This is pure soft rock with a gentle, escape from the rat race and live on a beach vibe going for it. It is malarkey but it works (especially with a pina colada).  It is vaguely reminiscent in feel and mood to Michael Nesmith's "Rio" from 1977
  • Baby Of Mine - Price is walking into Paul McCartney territory. Very pleasant with a slight faux gospel feel.   
  • Those Tender Lips – doo wop!  
  • Mama Don't Go Home – a slight calypso steel band feel. If Harry Belafonte had discovered synths he may have released a track like this. It doesn't work here and it wouldn't work for Harry.
  • I Love You Too – big pop which sounds like its from an early 70s soundtrack (minus the production) trying to copy Brill building 60s pop. I like this, it's quite catchy.  
  • Citizens Of The World Unite – a interesting (and still relevant) lyric that comes of as Ray Davies meet the eccentricity of Mick Ronson.  Ed Keupper seems to have lifted part of this the melody for his song "Also Sprach The King Of Euro Disco" (1986) I think.
  • Help From You – more McCartney-isms…and it goes on too long.
  • Pity The Poor Boy – another song that sounds like soundtrack filler.  
  • England My England – for a song about England the song starts out with a French feel, or perhaps a Russian feel if they were doing a chanson song. Snippets of England as known by Price I'm not sure what it's about but it's great.

And …

Not great but there are a handful of great tunes and Price, still, remains a undervalued talent…. I'm keeping it.

Chart Action

US

nothing

England

Singles

1979 Baby of Mine #32

Album

Sounds

This Is Your Lucky Day (The Girl Won't Get Under)   

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nZ5YKPi_AQg

Groovy Times 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GeCwIRBFx8I

Baby Of Mine   

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aKCo6tHIHEM

Those Tender Lips 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hXcSbeevjNo

Mama Don't Go Home  

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yGN632wU_-c

I Love You Too  

mp3 attached

Citizens Of The World Unite 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DymKY6GrWSw

Help From You   

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iKKgc8M4sHg

Pity The Poor Boy  

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pFsrU-HRNUI

England My England

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F0OE9Cqbo9k

Others

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WQ4ZGGt-1rs#t=27

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CSiTtAuBL8g

Review

Bio

http://www.allmusic.com/artist/alan-price-mn0000931804/biography

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alan_Price

http://alanprice-.tumblr.com/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bones_Howe

Website

http://alanprice.absoluteelsewhere.net/index.html

http://www.alanpricefansforum.org.uk/

Trivia

  • "One of Price's early American heroes was Jerry Lee Lewis, and, to his joy, he was lucky enough to meet and work with him on a show: "We did a Granada TV special with him, and I remember we were in a side rehearsal room, myself and group that I was with at the time. I was playing piano and showing them what I could do, when Jerry Lee Lewis walked in, with a big cigar. He sort of pushed me off the piano stool, sat down, and played the most marvellous boogie-woogie. He had never been given the credit for his piano playing, his left hand was absolutely stupendous – fantastic independence, could do great boogie, and could actually make the piano talk. He put his cigar on the end, you could feel it almost burning the grand piano, then he played a few and turned to me and said 'that's how you do it'." http://www.saga.co.uk/lifestyle/people/celebrities/alan-price.aspx

Alan Price - Lucky Day - England

Posted in Rock & Pop, Singer Songwriter | Tagged | Leave a comment

DAVID ESSEX – The Whisper – (Mercury) – 1983

David Essex - The Whisper

I've always liked David Essex and his albums from the1970s…and I know that some of you regular readers are to shy (wimps) to get on this blog and say the same but let's sing out the joys of David Essex.

Having said that, this is from 1983 and I fear the worst.

1983 was a shoulder year. The big, bombastic, overproduced sound which typified a lot of 80s mainstream was about to hit.

Essex (see my other comments on him for biographical details etc) was always a quirky performer who had some good pop hooks in him but mainstream 80s sound could kill anyone.

He was a big, big English star (with some overseas presence) in the mid 70s but by the early 1980s his commercial popularity was diminishing. His two previous albums "Hot Love" (1980) and "Bop the Future" (1981)  weren’t big hits.

He needed something.

"A Winter’s Tale" was written by Mike Batt and Tim Rice in 1982  in response, apparently,  to a request from Essex. It was released as a single in December 1982 and peaked at #2 on the UK charts. "Tahiti" a song from  the West End musical "Mutiny!", that Essex was starring in, was then released and went to #8 in England (1983). This set the stage for another album … this one.

Essex decided to collaborate further with Mike Batt. He recorded some of Batt's songs and Batt sang some backing vocals, played some guitar and co produced this album.

The two charting songs were added to various versions of the album in an obvious attempt to increase the sell-ability of the album.

It didn't work, the album didn't do well.

Oddly, on this Australian version neither of the hit songs is included on the album. Then again "A Winter's Tale" only got to #33 in Australia…. and the album didn't chart.

Essex's career, always a mishmash of music, film and entertainment went more mainstream but that doesn't mean he didn't put out some good music … even in the 80s.

He was never out of step with what was happening around him but he was quirky enough to distinguish himself from contemporaries.

Luckily, this album doesn't envelop itself in 80s production. It is "big" in parts, and it is slick and there is brass and saxes but then again this was always in Essex's music. He was initially successful during the "glam" era after all.  There are nods to new wave sounds, rap, synth arrangements and even a little cheesy Caribbean funk but they are, generally, in the back ground.  The best of his music though was in the commitment to form and the determined quirkiness. Here we have Essex trying some new things, but there are obvious traces of his former sound running throughout.

Accordingly the album comes out as neither contemporary nor retro.

It comes out as a David Essex album …instantly identifiable, slightly out of touch and engaging

All sings written by Davis Essex unless indicated otherwise.

Tracks (best in italics)

  • The Whisper   – strange …and the tile song. Very much a song from Essex in the 70s though with a bigger clearer sound.
  • You're In My Heart  – a gentle ballad which in other hands would have been pure mush. Here it's just mush but quirky mush, and catchy. Perhaps there is a nod to Yazoo in the melody.
  • Down Again  – More Essex from the 70s and with a little influence of his former regular producer, Jeff Wayne. There is a nice guitar solo in the bridge which is probably Chris Spedding.
  • Fishing For The Moon – (Mike Batt) – sweet and semi orchestral in sound. Quite typical of Batt who wrote Art Garfunkel's "Bright Eyes". It's pleasant but not distinctive.
  • Ears Of The City – (Mike Batt) – this sounds, lyrically, a little like 80s Bowie. It's naff but pleasant.
  • Love, Oh Love –    quite strange. This reminds me of some of the more eccentric P.J. Proby recordings from the 80s. Essex sings in a different pitch to normal (as he does on a couple of songs on this album). This is strangely endearing.
  • Moonlight Dancing –   wtf …Essex raps. The song is clearly a cash in on the success of Blondie's "Rapture" mix of pop and hip hop.
  • Love Is A Stranger   –  Essex is trying to be new wave here … it's awful
  • Ernesto – you've got to admire any song about Che Guevara. This could have come from a stage show but with the gentle Caribbean rhythms and straight faced lyric this is quite eccentric, but I like it.
  • Two Runaways   – more New Wave … something like The Psychedelic Furs or David Bowie slumming it. Again this is naff but this is catchy and I think the "naffness" comes from the fact that you don't expect Essex to be singing it. If someone else was doing it you'd think it was a pretty good song.

And …

Patchy but not as bad as some critics would have you believe. Essex is surprising as always …. I'm keeping it.

Chart Action

US

nothing

England

Singles

1983 You're In My Heart  #59

1984 Fishing For The Moon         #76

Album

1983 #67

Sounds

http://recordlective.com/David_Essex/The_Whisper/da5ff463-5e2f-3f70-846b-5f2583e520d2/

Down Again   

mp3 attached

Ernesto

mp3 attached

Others

A Winter's Tale

Videoclip

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fUK8aiRq_Iw

live

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AYzhz0VZ_R8

Tahiti

Videoclip

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V3VZJ0ZTESc

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9G2lqY3Nuk0

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fR3hhc_Nfg8

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jdTg9n0_Rsc

Review

http://www.allmusic.com/album/the-whisper-mw0000850333

Bio

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Essex

http://www.allmusic.com/artist/david-essex-mn0000645474

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mike_Batt

Website

http://www.davidessex.com/

Trivia

  • Personnel: David Essex : vocals / Chris Spedding : guitars / Martin Bliss : guitars / Rod Demicks : bass / Pete May : drums / Ray Cooper : percussion / Mike Batt : keyboards / Pete Giles : keyboards / Produced by : Mike Batt and David Essex
Posted in Punk and New Wave, Rock & Pop | Tagged | 2 Comments

ALBERT HAMMOND – Your World and My World – (Columbia) – 1981

Albert Hammond - Your World And My World

I do have soft spot for Albert Hammond.

I'm not sure how that sits with the other stuff I like but every music collection should have  a couple of acts that stand out stylistically from the rest.

I have more than a couple and Albert Hammond is one of those.

Check out my other blog entries for biographical detail and what not on Hammond.

Hammond is a strange cat in music. He has been phenomenally successful and has some critical credibility despite putting out some very MOR records and writing all sorts of mush songs for people like Diana Ross, Whitney Houston, Tina Turner, Starship.

When I commented on his 1977 album, "When  I Need You" on htis blog I said: "This album is straight MOR (middle of the road) and a lot of the cringe worthy elements of male MOR are here. Dramatic lyrics, words laden with meaning, overwrought arrangements and a distinct lack of humour. But, there is something worthwhile going on here…… sincerity and sensitivity. Hammond is like a more sensitive Tom Jones who seduces his listener rather than beats  them into submission. The other point of comparison and probably a better one would be 70s era Neil Diamond though without Neil's occasional lapses into pretension".

And this album from 1981 has travelled further down that path.

Hammond's strengths are his smarts in song writing. His viewpoint is clear and he is sensitive enough to see and then write about both sides of the love coin (perhaps that's why so many female vocalists have used his material).

Hammond has no problems in co-writing tunes with all sorts of song writers or musicians.  AS lot of musicians over the years gave written with him i don't know but I suspect he has the knack in coaxing people to work with him and then bringing out the best in them,.

Here he writes with:

  • Tom Snow, an American, who was a member of the band "Country" in the early 70s but is generally a songwriter. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tom_Snow;
  • Harold Payne is a songwriter who has also released music with his band "Gravity";
  • Eric Kaz, an American singer songwriter who has written much MOR for many people https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eric_Kaz;
  • Steve Kipner, an American born Australian who was in "Steve and the Board" in Australia and "Tin Tin" in England amongst other bands and who went on to write "Physical" for Olivia Newton-John in 1981 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steve_Kipner
  • Wendy Waldman, a American singer songwriter (who had a reasonable career) and who started off in the late 60s with Bryndle http://www.wendywaldman.com/

One of  Hammond's underappreciated strengths (mainly because people always talk about his song writing) is his voice. It is forceful without being aggressively male (at least not on the pop stuff) and it is clear and expressive.

You can call this MOR music or AOR or straight soft rock. But, if more of those genres were like this they may not have gotten the bad names they did (well, the bad names around this household).

The music world may have been imploding in 1981 but Hammond wasn't about to let his well crafted pop fall by the roadside.

My friends may scratch their heads, or more likely their butts, but I could definitely see myself putting this music on at a dinner party or BBQ. It is nice on the ears, quirky enough to be interesting (in parts), and catchy enough to be sing-a-long-able.   

And late at night when the party dies down you could definitely dim the lights and do some lighter waving to the music.

Recorded in Los Angeles the album is played on by a whose who of AOR west coast musicians. Jim Ed Norman, another hit making west-coast conductor and producer ( and member of early 70s outfit " Uncle Jim's Music ") produced this.

Tracks (best in italics)

  • Your World And My World - (Albert Hammond ) – excellent AOR Hammond…

            From my window I watch you go

            He's waiting for you in the street below

            His arms wide open while mine are cold and so empty

            'Cause your world and my world they're drifted apart

            in yours the sun is shining

            in mine it's raining

            knocking on the lonely one

  • Memories – (Albert Hammond, Tom Snow) – One step removed from a disco pop ballad …all strings and quite mawkish, but catchy
  • When I'm Gone – (Albert Hammond, Harold Payne) – A little bit of the Elton John here, though with guitar replacing piano.
  • Anyone With Eyes – (Albert Hammond, Tom Snow) – with it's emotional and vocal highs and lows this is a song in the classic Hammond mould.
  • World Of Love – (Albert Hammond, Tom Snow) – a beautiful little song. Quite haunting thought it would have been even better in a lower key.
  • I Want You Back Here With Me – (Albert Hammond, Eric Kaz) – pure soft rock pop …it makes the Partridge family sound like the Stooges.
  • Experience – (Albert Hammond, Steve Kipner) – Hmmm …70s era gently screeching electric guitars punctuation the emotions. Not for me.
  • Take Me Sailing – (Albert Hammond, Wendy Waldman) – a getting away from it al song.
  • By The Night – (Albert Hammond, Tom Snow) – a touch of The Hollies go 70s funky. That can never be a bad thing. There might be a little 10CC in there also.
  • I'm A Camera – (Albert Hammond, Steve Kipner) – Songs with references to cameras always seem to be, naturally enough, voyeuristic, and this is no exception. It's novel enough to be interesting.

And …

Middle of the Road, Adult Oriented Soft Rock…. this is patchy but Hammond nails a few songs. For the sake of completeness … I'm keeping it.

Chart Action

Nothing no where (well, not in the English speaking world)

Sounds

http://recordlective.com/Albert_Hammond/Your_World_And_My_World/a4f8a15d-4716-4648-b9fa-e32f8ec0fca4/

When I'm Gone

mp3 attached

By The Night

mp3 attached

Others

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-pyC7WnvLT4

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cwdb8RaiItI

Review

http://ricksamimi-music.blogspot.com.au/2009/12/classic-overlooked-albums-review-albert.html

Bio

http://www.allmusic.com/artist/albert-hammond-mn0000933781/biography

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Albert_Hammond

http://www.theguardian.com/music/2005/may/02/popandrock

Website

http://www.alberthammond.net/

Trivia

  • Backing Vocals – Howard Kaylan and Mark Volman (of The Turtles) as well as Jennifer Warnes, Nicolette Larson, Wendy Waldman and others.
Posted in Singer Songwriter, Soft Rock | Tagged | Leave a comment

BUCK OWENS – The Kansas City Song – (Capitol) – 1970

Buck Owens - The Kansas City Song

Regular readers of this blog will know I have a fondness for Buck Owens.

His material from the 1960s is what he is remembered for. That and his pioneering (along with Merle Haggard) of what became known as the Bakersfield sound.

Wikipedia: " The Bakersfield sound was a genre of country music developed in the mid- to late 1950s in and around Bakersfield, California. Bakersfield country was a reaction against the slickly produced, string orchestra-laden Nashville sound, which was becoming popular in the late 1950s. Buck Owens and the Buckaroos, Tommy Collins, and Merle Haggard and the Strangers, are the most successful artists of the original Bakersfield sound era"

The by-product beauty of the Bakersfield sound was that it ended up influencing many rock musicians especially those on the west coast and perhaps contributing the evolution of Country Rock.

Buck, especially in the 1969 – 1973 period covered non-country songs, and, with his own material took chances in instrumentation and lyrical content. "Bridge Over Troubled Water" (1971)  and "In The Palm of Your Hand" (1973) are two of his best albums I have heard from this period and excellent albums by anyone's standards.

Around this time Buck had the knack of making anything sound good. That's not to say that everything he did was great, though. There are a few duds but generally all his material is listenable. And, he can be forgiven for missteps because, along with many country artists, he was quite prolific.

This was his 20th studio album in 10 years.

And, this album is a mixed bag.

The back sleeve of the album declares "Bakersfield's Good Will Ambassador with his tribute home parts, foreign places and people in love …"

And that pretty much sums up the album. Apparently, Buck toured northern Europe during the sessions for this album, or perhaps just before, which explains the Dutch and Scandinavian themed songs. There are very few negative vibes on this album, no social commentary and no heartbreak (even when things don't always go right for people in love) … this is very un-country!

OK, I am trying to be humorous but a country album needs it's fair share of heartbreak …it is white mans blues.

"The Kansas City Song " and (It's a Long Way to) London Town were both rerecorded for this album of songs about places, "I Wouldn’t Live in New York City" (1971).

All songs written by Buck apart from the title song and "I’d Love To Be Your Man" which he co-wrote with red Simpson (who is in his backing band the Buckaroos).

Tracks (best in italics)

  • The Kansas City Song – Chintzy keyboards open the song but otherwise this is solid Buck and another country song about separated love.
  • Bring Back My Peace Of Mind  –  a beautiful Buck ballad
  • (It's A Long Way To) Londontown  –  a gently humorous song
  • I'd Love To Be Your Man –  This song is quite Nashville for a Bakersfield boy – lots of pedal steel and strings.
  • You Can't Make Nothing Out Of That But Love  –  bouncy and slick
  • Amsterdam  –  a ode to Amsterdam and a good one at that. I wonder what would Jacques Brel would think? (cryptic)

                        I left my home and I left my friends said I'll be back but I don't know when

                        Set my sail to the restless wind so long old Amsterdam

                        I picked plums up in Yakimo and I picked pearles down in Arkansas

                        Even learned how to say you all but I still miss Amsterdam

                        Amsterdam old Amsterdam

                        I did my thing in Tokyo tried my luck in Kokomo

                        Searched for bill in Buffalo but I still miss Amsterdam

  • Black Texas Dirt  -  one of the few "downbeat" songs. Dramatic, with a spoken bridge. The narrator defiantly stands up (and leaves) to the harshness of  his this birthplace but can't escape it.

                  From way before sunup to way up to sundown

                  Papa walked behind that ol' mule

                  Until the day that they laid him away

                  He lived by the golden rule.

                  Black Texas dirt you're full of hurt

                  And you won't grow nothing but weeds

                  You took my mama and papa, it's true

                  But you ain't a gonna get me.

      and then:         

                  Black Texas dirt you're full of hurt

                  And you won't grow nothing but weeds

                  You took my mama and papa, it's true

                  And now you're a gonna take me…

  • Scandinavian Polka  -  an instrumental, and despite Buck's tour of Scandinavia a reminder that many working country bands had to play  music for ethnic minority audiences
  • The Wind Blows Every Day In Oklahoma  –  a good song and a melancholy song about love.
  • Full Time Daddy – Buck goes ragtime! The sounds of the 20s were revived in the late 60s and early 70s (think New Vaudeville Band) and Buck had his ear to the ground. It is odd though.

And …

Not the best but good enough …. I'm keeping it.

Chart Action

US

Singles

1970  The Kansas City Song  Country Singles  #2

Album

1970 #10 Country, #196 Pop

England

Sounds

The Kansas City Song

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5uusbIe8-nE

Amsterdam

Live

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qWQKvOP9ZHA

Black Texas Dirt

Mp3 attached

Scandinavian Polka

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4bhTohz3-X0

The Wind Blows Every Day In Oklahoma

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yydBhmQJ2rY  

Full Time Daddy

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kbw3Yfjnuzw

Others

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uDmDwvZSlPw

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ixttp2yibX8

Review

http://ultimatetwang.com/blog/classic-album-review-buck-owens-the-kansas-city-song/

Bio

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buck_Owens

http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=11:jiftxql5ldde~T1

Bakersfield Sound:

http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=77:2675

Website

http://www.buckowens.com/

Trivia

  • "We were sharecroppers – we were a little bit of everything. We farmed and tried to make something" – Buck Owens
Posted in Country | Tagged | Leave a comment

THE TURTLES – Happy Together – (White Whale) – 1967

Turtles - Happy Together

I spoke about The Turtles a few years back when this blog was still just an email list.

I said then, by way of background,  "The Turtles were one of the California bands that emerged in the wake of The Byrds success (in fact they were originally called The Tyrtles .. get it?)"

I have more time now, am more emotionally stable and can type quicker.

Notwithstanding the need for some sort of empirical rigor in commenting on music these three things are important.

Wikipedia background: "The band, originally a surf-rock group called the Crossfires, was formed in 1965 in Westchester, Los Angeles, by high school friends Howard Kaylan, Mark Volman, Al Nichol, Chuck Portz, Don Murray, and Jim Tucker. With the help of KRLA and KFWB DJ and club owner Reb Foster (b. James Dennis Bruton 1936), the Crossfires signed to the newly formed White Whale Records and adhering to the prevailing musical trend, re-branded themselves as a folk rock group under the name the Tyrtles, the intentional misspelling inspired by the Byrds and the Beatles. However, the trendy spelling did not survive long … As with the Byrds, the Turtles achieved breakthrough success with a Bob Dylan cover. "It Ain't Me Babe" reached the Billboard Top Ten in the late summer of 1965, and was the title track to the band’s first album".

Allmusic sum up their legacy as, "Though many remember only their 1967 hit, "Happy Together," the Turtles were one of the more enjoyable American pop groups of the '60s, moving from folk-rock inspired by the Byrds to a sparkling fusion of Zombies-inspired chamber pop and straight-ahead, good-time pop reminiscent of the Lovin' Spoonful, the whole infused with beautiful vocal harmonies courtesy of dual frontmen Howard Kaylan and Mark Volman. Though they hit number one in 1967 with the infectious "Happy Together," the Turtles scored only three more Top Ten hits and broke up by the end of the '60s".

Influences are important in figuring out a band. No one creates music in a vacuum. With the Turtles they wore their influences on their sleeve but they added to that some great vocals some sharp song writing (and song choices), and a lot of pop smarts.

They took the gentle and smooth harmonies of The Byrds and added the sunshine and pop opera of the Beach Boys, the good time sounds of The Lovin' Spoonful and the quirkiness and observation of the post R&B Kinks.

How can you go wrong with that?

You can't and the Turtles moved with the times but were never slavish in their influences. They starting out as a sort of as a more mainstream folk rock version of The Byrds and then moved to a bigger and fuller sound … the pop and folk never left them but they added horns, and big sounds to the create a quirky pop sensibility.

By 1967 they were almost a avant-garde cabaret folk rock band.

That may sound like a sledge but it's not … I would like to think that they themselves would have liked that definition.

The band had a few hits outside of the US but, for whatever reason, they never reached the international consciousness like The Beach Boys, Creedence, The Doors, The Lovin Spoonful or any number of other American acts

Perhaps that's because they were never revived at a later stage.

Perhaps it's because  the music tastemakers never fully appreciated them …the central Turtles, Howard Kaylan and Mark Volman, sang a little too well and, despite being able to write a good tunes, were just as happy singing someone else's music. To be taken seriously you have to sing your own material, no matter how dire your voice is.

Failing that you have to at least look the part and Kaylan and Volman hardly looked like pop stars.

The good thing is though that the hardcore fans of the day and their musician peers loved them enough to keep them working and to keep them "known" if not "well known".

Many other bands have slipped through the cracks whilst the Turtles still have a profile (helped by their subsequent reunions in the 80s and their all star package tours (organised by them) in the 21st Century

This album is perhaps their transitional one where they move from folk rock into other areas. There is a bit of this and a bit of that but it is all good and shows the band had wide tastes and were not content to just throw out any old album.

This is west coast sunshine pop par excellance.

Produced by the ever reliable Bones Howe.

Tracks (best in italics)

  • Makin' My Mind Up -(Jack Dalton, Gary Montgomery) – this sounds like it could be from a hip 60s Hollywood romantic comedy starring Tony Curtis. Writers Dalton and Montgomery later formed Colours. Not the famous 80s band from Brisbane (or rather Ipswich) but a much underrated band out of LA in the late 60s.
  • Guide for the Married Man -(John Williams, Leslie Bricusse) – this is the title song to a hip 60s Hollywood romantic comedy! Though it starred Walter Matthau. A hilarious film and the song does well by it.
  • Think I'll Run Away -(Howard Kaylan, Mark Volman) – Written by the central Turtles this is sublime ..coming across like a west coast "Left Banke".
  • The Walking Song -(Kaylan, Al Nichol) – written by Kaylan with the bands guitarist this isn't too bad but sounds quite English …there is a European oom-ph-pah feel to it.  It works as a nice piece of wimsy.
  • Me About You -(Garry Bonner, Alan Gordon) – Garry Bonner and Alan Gordon were of the East Coast band the Magicians who also write tunes for others on the side. This song is magnificent. Perfectly sung and quite haunting.
  • Happy Together -(Bonner, Gordon) – Another Bonner/Gordon song. One of the greatest songs of the 60s.
  • She'd Rather Be with Me -(Bonner, Gordon) – More Bonner/Gordon song. Another great tune. These guys can write and the Turtles can sing.
  • Too Young to Be One -(Eric Eisner) – written for them with echoes of Lovin Spoonful. A good song though not as good as that preceding it.
  • Person Without a Care -(Nichol) – written for them this has echoes of The Kinks in themes
  • Like the Seasons – (Warren Zevon) – Before Zevon became famous in the 70s he was in a musical duo called lyme & cybelle (no capitalization) who were on White Whale label. He wrote this and "Outside Chance" (a single from 1966) for label mates the Turtles. A gentle folk song which is very "wounded heart" but quite fetching.
  • Rugs of Woods and Flowers -(Kaylan, Nichol) – The vocals are over the top but The Turtles could never keep a straight face. They love their satire and send up though they are more gentle than this. This seems to be a send up of the psychedelic bands of the day. As music it's so-so but it is quite funny and interestingly in mood it is not too dissimilar from some of Ray Davies satirical rock operas of the 70s…though both he and The Turtles knew they were doing satire.

And …

Side 1 is magnificent, Side 2 lags a little (but only just) This album is excellent …. I'm keeping it.

Chart Action

US

Singles

1967  She'd Rather Be With Me  The Billboard Hot 100  #3 

1967  Happy Together  The Billboard Hot 100  #1

Album

1967 #25 (their highest charting album)

England

Singles

1967  Happy Together  #12

1967  She'd Rather Be With #4

Album

1967 #18 (their only charting album)

Australia

Singles

1967 Guide for the Married Man #6

1970 Me About you #10 1970

Sounds

http://recordlective.com/The_Turtles/Happy_Together/2c778f87-4915-3489-b8b8-c94661e9025a/

Makin' My Mind Up

live later

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3l1pEG4drw8

Guide for the Married Man

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KtM8mF7viJg

Me About You

mp3 attached

Happy Together

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tvu3xiFmfDU

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mRCe5L1imxg

mp3 attached

She'd Rather Be with Me

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WkWDVBAwn_4

Like the Seasons

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eUzjT3kLIUs

Others

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xXCqDbCQVdw

Review

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Happy_Together_(The_Turtles_album)

http://blog.musoscribe.com/?p=4211

http://jeffreyanderson.blogspot.com.au/2008_09_01_archive.html

Bio

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Turtles

Website

http://theturtles.com/

Trivia

  • "Kaylan and Volman (accompanied by Pons) joined the Mothers of Invention as The Phlorescent Leech & Eddie, since the use of the Turtles name (and even their own names in billings) was prohibited by their contract with White Whale. Flo & Eddie, as they soon became known, recorded albums with the Mothers, appeared in Frank Zappa's film 200 Motels in 1971 and later released a series of records on their own". https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Turtles
  • "Kaylan and Volman sang backing vocals on several recordings by T. Rex, including their worldwide hit "Get it On (Bang A Gong)" and albums Electric Warrior and The Slider. When White Whale's master recordings were sold at auction in 1974, the duo won the Turtles' masters, making them the owners of their own recorded work. (The duo promptly licensed the tracks to Sire Records, who issued the compilation Happy Together Again.). https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Turtles

 

Posted in Folk Rock, Sunshine Pop and Baroque | Tagged | Leave a comment