DAVID CASSIDY – Dreams are Nuthin’ More then Wishes – (Bell) – 1973

DAVID CASSIDY - Dreams are Nuthin' More then Wishes

David Cassidy was on a roll in 1973.

He was the teen idol. It is hard to explain how popular he was but think of the lunacy about One Direction or Justin Bieber at there most popular and Cassidy was bigger.

The Partridge Family TV show was still rating high on US TV (though they didn't make the Top 30 in 1973) and there albums were selling well (for those not in the know he was one of The Partridge Family, a musical family, on TV and the lead vocalist on record … see my other comments for biographical detail on Cassidy)

The Partridge Family had released eight albums between their first in 1970 and last in 1973. In the US, where they were more popular, one album had gone to #1, three others were Top 10, and another was Top 40. In the UK they had managed one Top 20 and one Top 40.

As a solo act he found more fame in the UK. His first solo album "Cherish" (1972) had gone to US #15 and UK #2 and his second "Rock Me Baby" (1972) went to US #41 whilst in the UK it was #2, Germany #9.

I'm not sure why. Perhaps the Partridge Family wasn't aired on UK TV till later which may explain why there wasn't any momentum behind The Partridge Family albums  but there was over the later released solo albums.

Either way this was David's third album.

And, this was the first real David Cassidy recording as he started exploring himself as a vocalist and moving away from the Partridge Family sound.

Cassidy has written and co-written songs but his real forte is as an interpreter of songs.

Cassidy, here, doesn't sound like the Cassidy from the Partridge Albums of the same year (Crossword Puzzle and Bulletin Board) and he is willing to take chances and bare intimate emotions through the music. This is his first singer-songwriter album despite the fact he didn't write most of the tunes.

He wrote only two songs here and admits on the album's liner notes that one of them was primarily someone's else's song. But, if you know this blog you will know that I don't care if someone writes their songs or not as long as they can interpret a song and make it their own or at least give it a different life.

And Cassidy could do that.

His great talent was singing. He may not be technically perfect but he is good enough and he is smart enough to look for the meaning in a song and interpret them through his experiences.  Yes, yes it sounds like a wank but it's true. All great interpreters from Sinatra to Presley do it  … though I'm not putting Cassidy in with Sinatra or Elvis.

And, importantly, he is smart. There is a lot going on in the music which, he as a big star, could have nixed. Given that, I assume he knew what he was looking for, and he wasn't happy with just a bunch of covers .. and he was just 23 years old.

And for someone you expected big production and up-tempo songs from this is restrained and (more) low key. There is very little electric guitar but lots of piano, congas and vibes. The album is dominated by Michael Omartian's piano though stellar musicians surround him: Ron Tutt, Milt Holland, Emory Gordy, Al Casey, Larry Knetchel, James Burton, John Guerin, Kim Carnes, Michael McDonald, Victor Feldman and many more.  

Tracks (best in italics)

      Side One

  • Intro – (Michael H. McDonald) – It seems this is the same Michael McDonald that sang backup on several Steely Dan albums in the mid-'70s, joined The Doobie Brothers in 1977 and went solo in 1982. This is as the title suggests an "intro" and sets the mood.
  • Daydream – (John Sebastian) – A #2US, #2 UK for the Lovin Spoonful in 1966. A great version of a great song
  • Sing Me – (Tony Romeo) – Romeo was a regular songwriter fro both The Partridge Family and Cassidy. Cassidy says on the liner notes that this is the most personal song ever written for him and it has a quasi gospel feel.
  • Bali Ha'i – (Oscar Hammerstein II, Richard Rodgers) – a show tune from the 1949 Rodgers and Hammerstein musical South Pacific. The songs has been done a lot but the big hits were all from 1949. Perry Como (#5US), Bing Crosby (#12US), Peggy Lee (#13US) and Frank Sinatra (#18). Haunting and well sung. A beautiful song and one you could see early 70s Beach Boys doing. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bali_Ha%27i#cite_note-1
  • Mae – (Gary Montgomery) – Montgomery was a songwriter who had been in the late 60s group Colours. Smouldering, gentle sexuality
  • Fever – (Eddie Cooley, John Davenport) – Little Willie John's song from 1956 (#24 US, #1 R&N US) though Peggy Lee's version from 1958 (#8 US, #5UK) (with reworked lyrics by Lee herself) is, perhaps, more famous. Elvis Presley released a near identical version to Lee's for his 1960 album, "Elvis is Back". There have been many other versions. Cassidy refers to Peggy Lee's version in the liner notes. Respectable. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fever_(Little_Willie_John_song)
  • Summer Days – (Tony Romeo) – a remake of a Partridge Family song and a hoot.

      Side Two

  • The Puppy Song – (Harry Nillson) – A Harry Nilsson song that appeared on his album "Harry" (1969). Nilsson's version is typically quirky. This is less so but only just. The title of the album comes from this song. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Puppy_Song
  • Daydreamer – (Terry Dempsey) – An original. Pure pop and very straight but incredibly catchy.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daydreamer_(David_Cassidy_song)
  • Some Old Woman- (Shel Silverstein, Bob Gibson) – written by folkie Gibson and country writer (and Dr Hook regular writer) Silverstein this song was originally released on Gibson's 1964 album' "Where I'm Bound". Well sung by Cassidy in an old timey way, err, updated.
  • Can't Go Home Again – (Dave Ellingson, David Cassidy, Kim Carnes) – a mid-tempo ballad that is laid back but quite dark.
  • Preyin' on My Mind – (Dave Ellingson, David Cassidy, Kim Carnes) – another catchy one.
  • Hold on Me – (Michael H. McDonald) – a fitting close. Quite personal and perhaps a comment on fame.

And …

Perfect for parties … I'm keeping it.

Chart Action

US

Singles

Album

England

Singles

1973 Daydreamer #1

Album

1973 #1

also:

1973: "Daydreamer" – Germany #27, Australia #10

Sounds

Daydream

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

Bali Ha'i

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

Mae

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dhx07_mPiz8

The Puppy Song

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ey0YqqAbC6A

Daydreamer

Live

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

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AIs4lvrvCJI

mp3 attached

Some Old Woman

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

Can't Go Home Again

mp3 attached

Others

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

with Glen Campbell (and Little Richard, Jerry Reed and Dom DeLuise !)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0QciIPZra2k

Review

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dreams_Are_Nuthin%27_More_Than_Wishes

http://nobilliards.blogspot.com.au/2011/09/david-cassidy-dreams-are-nuthin-more.html

Bio

http://www.allmusic.com/artist/david-cassidy-p5925

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

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

Website

http://www.davidcassidy.com/

http://davidcassidyfansite.com/HomePage.html

http://daydreamingdavid.blogspot.com.au/

http://www.cmongethappy.com/home.htm

Trivia

  • The cover insert painting is Bruno Piglhein's 1925 painting "Pals".

 

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

MELANIE – Sunset And Other Beginnings – (Neighborhood) – 1975

Melanie - Sunset and Other Beginnings

Ahhh, more Melanie.

This album gets panned a lot.

Not that I pay too much notice of what others say because every halfwit has an opinion. Err, yes I do have enough insight to see I'm knocking myself but do you pay any attention to what I say? …  (rhetorical question).

The thing I like about Melanie, apart from her voice, is that she is quite versatile and adventurous musically. And that is at odds with the usual descriptions of her in the all the usual music mags, books and forums.

But, you can only pick that up (naturally enough) after listening to a lot of Melanie. The albums should not be listened to in isolation otherwise they seem to be just random aberrations. When they are listened to en masse you see a musical persona appearing beyond the hippie chick with a guitar.

Melanie is quite the musicologist. She can write a very good tune but she also loves a cover. Here, she tackles things she, no doubt, heard as a kid in the 50s, and as a teen in the 60s. And, these two eras she would come back to on other albums. I don't think she is haphazard in her choice of covers or even that they were suggested to her. It seems to me that she has an emotional connection with the songs and something  that comes from her youth.

Now, I suppose many singers do this (cover the songs they loved as kids) but Melanie, in a sliding career circa 1975, has to be quite determined to record Broadway standards and 60s girl group songs.

And that is admirable but more admirable is the fact that her versions are not faithful reconstructions of the earlier songs. They have the sprit but not the sound.  Some songs you don't even realise what they are until you are half way through them. If you are going to cover it, put a personal stamp on it. Melanie does.

Of course she has surrounded the covers with her own tunes and they are always interesting as Melanie tended to wear her heart on her sleeve and her songs reflected her life at the time.

Melanie and her husband and producer, Peter Schekeryk had, around the time of this album, relocated their family from New Jersey to Tennessee, and, apparently, she felt reinvigorated by her new surroundings.  Perhaps that is refected in the albums title.

In any event Melanie does not do a stylistic flip flop. The record may have been recorded in Nashville with country instruments and strings (at times) but it has a New York sensibility and a California feel.

And this is the beauty of Melanie. Within her parameters and her musical world she created interesting and personal music. But, poor sales, and an image of the perennial flower child means her music was overlooked by the mainstream, and then  dismissed as the years past (the hard core Melanie fans know otherwise) The joy, now, though, for budding music archaeologists is that there are many Melanie albums waiting to be discovered.

Sunset and Other Beginnings would be Melanie’s final album on Neighborhood Records, which she and Schekeryk started in 1971, and closed down in 1975..

All songs written by Melanie Safka, except where noted.

Tracks (best in italics)

      Side One

  • Perceive It – a perfect start and the type of song Melanie does in her sleep. But it works.
  • Almost Like Being in Love – (Lerner / Loewe) – from the 1947 Broadway musical (and 1954 film) "Brigadoon" this has been updated to a soft rock sound with jazzy asides. As bad as that sounds it works quite well. In 1978, pop country and folk singer Michael Johnson gave the song another makeover that seemingly owes a debt to Melanie’s interpretation (right down to the prominent saxophone) and earned a US #32 hit with it. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Almost_Like_Being_in_Love
  • Loving My Children – more Melanie in her normal style and obviously speaking about something on her mind.
  • You Can't Hurry Love – (Holland/Dozier/Holland) / Mama Said – (Dixon/Denson) – a nifty medley. The former is the #1 1966 song originally recorded by The Supremes. Melanie does a folk pop version and it works. You can't sing along to it like you can with the original but it is pleasant on the ears.  Mama Said  was a US #4 for The Shirelles in 1961. This is also given the "modern" treatment and the two songs are meshed pleasantly. Excellent. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/You_Can%27t_Hurry_Love https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mama_Said_(The_Shirelles_song)
  • People Are Just Getting Ready – a dramatic song.
  • Ol' Man River – (Hammerstein II / Kern) – whoa. She turns this on it's head. The drama and sweat is gone and instead we have a bouncing pop country folk tune. I like it. The original is from the 1927 Broadway musical  "Show Boat"  (and the 1929, 1936 and 1951 film versions, as well as the Show Boat sequence from film, "Till the Clouds Roll By" (1945)) and then subsequently done by everyone including Paul Robeson, Frank Sinatra, Sam Cooke, Sammy Davis, Jr., Al Jolson, Screaming Jay Hawkins, Cilla Black, Ray Charles, Cher, Jim Croce,  The Beach Boys, Chet Atkins and Jerry Reed. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ol%27_Man_River

      Side Two

  • Got My Mojo Working – (Foster) – a 50s R&B song written by Foster but popularised by Muddy Waters in 1957. Conway Twitty (1964), Manfred Mann (1964), The Paul Butterfield Blues Band (1965), The Electric Prunes (1967), Canned Heat (1969), Elvis Presley (1970), J. J. Cale (1972), B. B. King (1977) and others. This version is quite funky and in the country-ish guitar breaks (not the pace) it sounds a little like Elvis' version. Perhaps it's a weird song for a chick to sing. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Got_My_Mojo_Working
  • Where's the Band – hmmmm, not too bad.
  • Dream Seller – (Clements) – written by Rod Clements of British folk rock band Lindisfarne who recorded this in 1971 as " Meet Me on the Corner". This one work perfectly for Melanie.
  • What Do I Keep? – another good Melanie tune with a discussion on yesterdays, todays and tomorrows.
  • Sandman – the couplet "Go away from my window /  Go away from my door" has been used in other songs. It works here
  • The Sun and the Moon – old school Melanie and a great tune with heavy folkie overtones.
  • Afraid of the Dark  – a nice spare arrangement which sounds like something from a Stephen Sondheim written musical..

And …

More than meets the eye …  I'm keeping it.

Chart Action

Nothing.

Sounds

Perceive It

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wx5wM6QgZMs

Almost Like Being in Love

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

You Can't Hurry Love / Mama Said

mp3 attached

People Are Just Getting Ready

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OLWgku7pbbQ

What Do I Keep? –

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XMRzgdke1sg

Sandman

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

The Sun and the Moon

mp3 attached

Others

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hlp3wmE4bbI

Review

http://www.allmusic.com/album/sunset-other-beginnings-mw0000855759

https://dkandroughmix-forgottensongs.blogspot.com.au/2011/09/melanie-sunset-and-other-beginnings.html

http://theseconddisc.com/2015/11/04/brand-new-melanie-morello-label-reissues-four-of-melanies-rare-albums-on-cd/

Bio

http://www.allmusic.com/artist/melanie-mn0000409670

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

Website

http://www.melaniesafka.com/home.cfm

http://freespace.virgin.net/robert_ian.smith/Melanie.htm

http://www.melanie-music.org/

http://melaniemusicsociety.tripod.com/

http://melaniesafkarecordings.uk/home.htm

Trivia

Posted in Folk Rock, Singer Songwriter | Tagged | Leave a comment

JOHN HIATT – Riding With The King – (Geffen) – 1983

John Hiatt - Riding With The King

Who is John Hiatt?

It's a question that has been raised many times, sometimes unfairly, by others.

I have asked it, in a round about way, myself (see my other comment), but cut him slack because he deserves it.

Hiatt has critical status as a songwriter’s songwriter. Okay, that doesn't count for much but he has been playing guitar since he was 11, was a professional songwriter at 18, had his first hit ("Sure As I'm Sittin' Here" a #16 (US) for Three Dog Night) at 22, and has released 21 (mostly) critically acclaimed albums over 40 years. He has been covered by dozens of artists, including Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, Iggy Pop, Willie Nelson, Eric Clapton, The Searchers, Delbert McClinton, Willy DeVille, Ry Cooder, Linda Ronstadt, Bonnie Raitt, B.B. King, Joe Bonamassa, Joan Baez, Paula Abdul, Buddy Guy, the Desert Rose Band, Jimmy Buffett, Mandy Moore, Emmylou Harris, Rodney Crowell, Dave Edmunds, Nick Lowe, The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Rosanne Cash, Suzy Bogguss, Jewel, Aaron Neville, Jeff Healey, Keith Urban, Joe Cocker, Chaka Khan, Paulini and others.

But, despite that, and many good songs, the question "Who is John Hiatt?" is a valid one.

John Hiatt has had a long, schizophrenic career as, variously, a singer-songwriter, a new waver, an AOR dinosaur, a roots rocker, a country rocker, and an adult-contemporary singer.

And this album does not help. Prior to this album, and subsequently, Hiatt would change styles every couple of albums or so but here he changes styles during the course of the album and it seems to be intentional.

Side One was produced by Ron Nagel and Scott Mathews (both of the Durocs), with Hiatt singing and playing guitar and Mathews handling everything else whilst Side Two produced by Hiatt's friend, Nick Lowe (who played on it also) with a band assembled from Lowe's touring unit (which included Paul Carrack, ex-Rumour guitarist Martin Belmont, Bobby Irwin). Hiatt and Lowe would work often and even formed a band "Little Village" in the early 90s.

Hiatt is now 63 and he was 31 when this album was recorded and the album has many fine songs but suffers from the musical schizophrenia. Side One is (mainly) new wave spit and bile though surrounded in big 80s production (clearly a grab for commercial success … akin to the Cars or Huey Lewis). Side Two is more rootsy (even swampy) with a 50s retro vibe and more relaxed. The songs, generally, are sharp, cynical and filled with detail though ultimately there is something lacking and not just because of the schizophrenic sides. Hiatt's voice is passable but not spectacular and his emotions are occasionally restrained which is not a good thing because they sometimes feel like a "front" which is something you see in many English rockers where technique replaces emotion.

There have been many comparisons between Hiatt and Anglo rockers Graham Parker and, especially, Elvis Costello, which are apt. Hiatt's career at one time was not dissimilar to Costello's  and one could say, though people rarely do, "Who is Elvis Costello"?

This is an aside, but, Costello doesn't seem to be tainted with the same brush as Hiatt when it comes to his musical pond lily skipping. Maybe it's because he is English and the American Anglophiles always admire what they perceive to be an intellectual musician (yeh, whatever) testing his talents over a number of styles. And, when it comes to intellectual rock musicians (and this is an aside within an aside) they are, predominantly, English. It's as if they have adopted that stereotype whereas the Americans have been stereotyped as visceral. That is rubbish but I note that (mainly), on stage, the English are certainly (inertly) intellectual and the Americans are (spectacularly) visceral. I suspect though, that in Costello's genre skipping we can accept it because, deep down, we know he isn't American so  he can jump from one American musical idiom to another without local cynicism.

The answer to the question "Who is John Hiatt?" should be "Whoever he wants to be" and if that contains some of the reasons for his lack of major success then that is entirely a matter for him.

For us, there are enough joys, but we have to look a little harder.

Check out my other comment for biographical details.

Tracks (best in italics)

      Side One

  • I Don't Even Try – this one spits a little though the keyboards are too tinkly.
  • Death by Misadventure – (Hiatt, John Hadley) – co-written with Hadley a professional songwriter.
  • Girl on a String – not dissimilar to a Nick Lowe song (despite) the fact that he produces the other side. A good song only let down by the keyboards, again.
  • Lovers Will – a mid tempo ballad.
  • She Loves the Jerk – a folky rock number that again sounds like a Nick Lowe number and could have used Nick Lowe on backing.
  • Say It with Flowers – more spit with some great lyrics ("You believe nearly everything you hear/That kind of faith is gonna only bring tears") but the backing music is distinctly fisher price.

      Side Two

  • Riding with the King – The song came about when (side one) producer Scott Mathews recounted to Hiatt a strange and abstract dream he had of flying on an airplane with Elvis Presley, apparently. A mainstream swampy ("mainstream swampy" – sic) number which has a nice little groove going on it.
  • You May Already Be a Winner – another Lowe/Costello sounding number and a winner (sic).
  • Love Like Blood – more  faux swamp. Pleasant but unmemorable.
  • The Love that Harms – a jaunt which is a toe tapper.
  • Book Lovers – (Isabella Wood, Hiatt) – Wood was Hiatt's wife (she died in 1985 at age 30). Nice and quite bouncy.
  • Falling Up – a Bo Diddley beat rip off on this great retro rootsy hoot.

And …

Unsure, it is quite good (despite its faults) … I may keep it, I may not.

Chart Action

Nothing, nowhere

Sounds

Side One

I Don't Even Try

Live

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zDEr8d60Snw

Death by Misadventure

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4_DOBpsddII

Girl on a String

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

Lovers Will

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QUJgWrSNcH8

She Loves the Jerk

Video clip

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gLLmC4mH2i8

Live

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KYoKpCas0IY

Say It with Flowers

Live

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gszqsJTwLK0

Riding with the King

Live

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9u79B5TrG4Y

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aGt0uAC9FIE

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RI7fe90-1iw

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rD4HeC6UaLI

mp3 attached

You May Already Be a Winner

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

Love Like Blood

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VcQ4T8FpKWQ

The Love that Harms

mp3 attached

Book Lovers

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ArotWKR0nFg

Falling Up

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kYEXz4KDJxA

Others

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7UrueP3aM40

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=58hHVlZCfvM

Review

http://www.allmusic.com/album/riding-with-the-king-mw0000026429

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

http://www.robertchristgau.com/get_artist.php?name=John+Hiatt

Bio

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

http://www.allmusic.com/artist/john-hiatt-mn0000812046

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

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

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

Website

http://www.johnhiatt.com/

http://ronnaglemusic.com/site/music-videos/durocs-it-hurts-to-be-in-love/

http://www.scottmathews.com/

http://nicklowe.com/

Trivia

  • The title song was later covered (with reworked lyrics by Hiatt) by B.B. King and Eric Clapton on their album of the same name from 2000.
Posted in Roots Rock, Singer Songwriter | Tagged | Leave a comment

FELIX CAVALIERE – Felix Cavaliere – (Bearsville) – 1974

Felix Cavaliere - Felix Cavaliere

I've nattered on about Cavaliere solo and with his time in the Young Rascals on other posts so check them out for biographical detail and bits and pieces of errr,  whatever.

This, here, naturally enough, given the self title, is Cavaliere's first solo album after The Young Rascals (or the Rascals as they were then known) folded.

In some ways it is a calculated affair. Cavaliere doesn't stray far from the blue eyed rock and soul (and pop rock Latin, and lite jazz influences) that made him  a great vocalist with The Rascals. Likewise, on board is Todd Rundgren, 26 year old wizz kid producer to co-produce with Cavaliere, and surrounding them, amongst others, are Todd Rundgren himself on guitar and well known sessionists Elliot Randall and John Hall also on guitar, Gualberto Garcia Perez on flamenco guitar, Hank Devito on pedal steel guitar, Jack Scarangella and Kevin Ellman on drums and Cissy Houston on backing vocals.

But, calculated or not, this may not be a bad thing. Cavaliere is playing to his strengths. All the songs are written by him with Carman Moore who was the "musical consultant" (my italics) and sting arranger. Moore was (is) a classically trained Afro-American composer who clearly has an influence on the sound on this album. There are a lot of things going on, all sorts of instruments, horns, strings, synths and non-standard percussion.

It is of its time though and its time isn't bad but there is a touch of dull soft rock creeping in, and a slickness and pop sheen which is at odds with some of the "street" sentiments in the music (Rundgren's influence I suspect).

It all looked good on paper, and musically, The Rascals had been heading this way, but in hindsight Cavaliere would have been better returning to his rock and soul roots, stripping down and belting out. A cult was developing for rock and rollers which Cavaliere could easily have slipped into. I'm not sure if it would have helped his fortunes but it would have made his recorded works if he had recorded in that style more popular today (perhaps).

But, like The Rascals declining fortunes this album did nothing. Cavaliere was still a major player but marginalised by new trends that had come or by the lack of a hit.

Tracks (best in italics)

      Side One

  • A High Price to Pay – this is light and bouncy and the influence of Moore ic slear with wood winds and what not making this stand out a little moore (sic)  than it would otherwise
  • I Am a Gambler – a would be tough song which does quite work a "street" song but is quite pleasant as a pop song.
  • I've Got a Solution – Faux country corn, like a theme song to a B action film written by Jim Croce that is quite a lot of fun in a dumb way.
  • Everlasting Love – not the Robert Knight / U2 song.
  • Summer in El Barrio – A Latin flavour with a hint of the street. Springsteen was tapping into this a lot better with a direct approach whereas this has leaning to Santana. Still, it's very good.
  • Long Times Gone – a semi-dramatic piece with quasi rock Broadway overtones.

      Side Two

  • Future Train – A good sentiment and a touch of the O'Jays at their softest. It is very slick and the synth sounds very weird in these surrounds, kind of Fischer Price..
  • Mountain Man – a funky tune which depite the tile doesnt have any country overtones.
  • Funky Friday – quite errr, funky. And Cavaliere manages to sound quite black like some sort of Stevie Wonder.
  • It's Been a Long Time – a Latin influenced pop and soul tune which is a stand out. It's fluff but there is a lot going on which makes it enjoyable.
  • I am Free – a psychedelic freakout which has Rundgren written all over it. It doesn't fit in and it is totally over the top and at six plus minutes perhaps a little too long but at least it's not boring. In fact it grows on you.

And …

Very patchy but … I'm keeping it.

Chart Action

Nothing nowhere

Sounds

Full album

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_HOGgf5MTnU

Summer in El Barrio

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AJ44ME-ubxs

It's Been a Long Long Time

mp3 attached

I am Free

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gC4gTWqc8sI

Others

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fIDPD3rbIrI

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Bj9R_SOsco

Review

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Felix_Cavaliere_(album)

http://theseconddisc.com/2012/02/29/good-lovin-felix-cavaliere-teams-with-todd-rundgren-laura-nyro-leslie-west-dino-danelli-on-bearsville-reissue/

http://www.allmusic.com/album/felix-cavaliere-mw0000761887

Bio

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

http://www.allmusic.com/artist/felix-cavaliere-mn0000169201/biography

http://www.allmusic.com/artist/the-rascals-mn0000493122/biography

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

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

Website

http://www.felixcavalieremusic.com/

http://www.carmanmoore.com/

Trivia

  • Moore also worked on Cavaliere's next album, "Destiny" (1974).
  • Fabulous Rhinestones drummer Jack Scarangella who plays session here would join Cavalierie (and future Ace Frehley Kiss replacement) Vinnie Vincent's (aka Vinnie Cusano) in the band Treasure which release one self titled album in 1977.
Posted in Pop Rock, Rock & Pop, Soft Rock | Tagged | Leave a comment

EMITT RHODES – Farewell to Paradise – (Dunhill) – 1973

Emitt Rhodes - Farewell To Paradise

I have commented on Rhodes' other albums on this blog. There you will also find biographical detail on him.

He, like Nick Drake, has come to venerated after the fact. A cult hero for music hipsters to rally around. Unlike Drake, though, Rhodes lived to see the adulation (no matter how small) and even released a new album, "Rainbow Ends", earlier this year (2016).

Rhodes, when discussed in the press (an, errr here) will always have Paul McCartney mentioned somewhere in the discussion. It is clear that Rhodes was influenced by McCartney but to forever refer to him as some sort McCartney remora is unfair. Rhodes had progressed musically and was commencing, with this album, to break free of the McCartney descriptions. Apart from utilising other instruments he is aware of what is happening around him musically. His song writing has moved into singer songwriter territory (though not exclusively) and there are some funky tunes, jazzy touches and a bit of everything else to go along with the pop orchestrations.

That doesn't mean this album is better than his earlier ones, just that Rhodes was exploring other territory.

But, it ended here. This was to be his last album for 43 years. As the armchair critics love to point out, even the album's title, "Farewell to paradise" is sort of prophetic.

Rhodes had had enough of the music industry and his personal life was unravelling. He called it quits.

Whether he had that state of mind at the time of writing or recording this album I do not know but there are enough signposts here to suggest that he wasn't the happiest camper though he wasn't morose either. In fact there is more than a little optimism (albeit melancholic optimism) on this album which people seem to ignore, probably because it doesn't fit in well with their already preconceived review.

Then again, the US in 1973 wasn't all fun and games with it's increase in urban violence, urban degradation, hurricanes, airplane crashes, the Watergate scandal, increased militancy of the American Indian Movement who occupy Wounded Knee, and its ongoing Vietnam War, which will end shortly though not before  resumed bombing of Hanoi and Haiphong. Farewell to Paradise could be an observation on the external world not just the personal or internal one.

Oh, and "the whole album was written, arranged, produced, recorded, engineered and all instruments performed by Emitt Rhodes" at his home.

Of course, that wouldn't mean shit if the music wasn't good, but it is.

Now, if only Val Stöecklein would be rediscovered.

How do I start a (music) cult?

Tracks (best in italics)

      Side One

  • Warm Self Sacrifice – Rhodes may have been exploring music beyond McCartney but  here is doing a McCartney impersonation.
  • See No Evil – a gentle mid tempo ballad that sounds like what McCartney would have if he had moved into soft rock. OK, I' have to stop with the McCartney observations.
  • Drawn to You – a gentle funky workout and very engaging.
  • Blue Horizon – A beautiful faux country number with a touch of John Denver.
  • Shoot the Moon – very funky by Rhodes standards.
  • Only Lovers Decide – a beautiful ballad as good as anything else from the era.

      Side Two

  • Trust Once More – another ballad and another winner.
  • Nights Are Lonely – a rock track. It doesn't "rock out" but it does have a rock groove. Quite unusual for Rhodes.
  • Bad Man – this one is all over the place, part McCartney (I tried not to use him), part Nilsson, part 70s era Tim Buckley.
  • In Desperate Need – another funky workout which is entertaining.
  • Those That Die –  (from Tame the Lion) – a short rumination on war.
  • Farewell to Paradise – Here Rhodes is moving in on Jimmy Buffett Florida keys territory. The song is gentle and quite relaxing, though never as laid back as anything Buffet would do.

And …

Not as good as his first two albums but there are tracks of individual brilliance and it is still better than a lot of other music from 1973. … I'm keeping it.

Chart Action

Nothing nowhere.

Sounds

Warm Self Sacrifice 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F-mLR8SqV_Q

See No Evil 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i9dg6yiWZac

Blue Horizon 

mp3 attached

In Desperate Need

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TBMeZ7P5_0M

Farewell to Paradise 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TORBKHsPQU8

Others

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b7vn_TTrJM4

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vwklFEv0Z68

Review

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

http://www.allmusic.com/album/farewell-to-paradise-mw0000539046

http://secretvault.blogspot.com.au/2007/10/emitt-rhodes-farewell-to-paradise-this.html

Bio

http://www.allmusic.com/artist/emitt-rhodes-p20157/biography

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

http://www.uncut.co.uk/reviews/album/emitt-rhodes-rainbow-ends

Website

http://www.emittrhodesmusic.net/

Trivia

  • Pop wunderkind Curt Boettcher was the mixdown engineer
Posted in Baroque Pop, Singer Songwriter | Tagged | Leave a comment

(PAUL REVERE & THE) RAIDERS – Country Wine – (Columbia) – 1972

Raiders - Country Wine

This is the last album of the original Paul Revere and the Raiders despite just being called "Raiders", a name they had used over their preceding two albums, Collage (1970) and Indian Reservation (1971). Importantly, both Paul Revere (the keyboardist) and Mark Lindsay (the vocalist) are still here with several long time Raiders members.

At the time despite the success of the single "Indian Reservation" (#1, 1971 US) their fortunes were dwindling, or so the usually told narrative goes.

Sure there hits weren't as frequent as they had been but they were hardly washed up and this certainly wasn't meant to be their last album as there were subsequent singles and songs recorded for a follow up album (that never came) before the band called it quits in 1976.

The Raiders always had their ear to the ground when it came to trends in music and perhaps have been criticised a little for that, though no one seems to complain about The Rolling Stones doing it (R&B, psych country, country gospel, R&B, rock n roll and even disco) or The Beatles (country, Americana, and big pop).

So this album is very 1972 with country influences, gospel influences, rock n roll, and big soulful adult pop – all popular musical styles of the day

The Raiders were certainly open to and incorporated these influences but those influences had all been explored before and are part of their musical make-up. Country soul and gospel had been referenced before especially in "Goin’ To Memphis" (1967), adult pop In their last preceding three or so albums (and on Mark Lindsay's solo albums of the time), rock n roll from their earliest days.

The trouble is, at least to the greater public, the albums come out a little schizophrenic, incorporating all the influences across songs rather looking for one dominant style to effect the whole album. You can point to the Stones country rock album, R&B album psych album, disco-ish album but with the Raiders it's not that clear cut as each album  (especially, and mainly, their later ones) has songs that bounce from genre to genre.

The album comes across almost as a collection of singles and there is nothing wrong with that apart from the fact that their (former) audience had now grown up and become more album oriented.

Clearly this was a conscious decision on the part of the Raiders (and something they had always done to varying degrees) but, with hindsight, it perhaps would have been better to focus.

These all sound like negatives and they are but only to the extent of why (perhaps) The Raiders later albums are not as well known as they should be.

Whether this album is a deliberately varied approach, or simply directionless doesn't matter because, musically, there is gold scattered across the album.

The back cover of the album shows the band comprising Mark Lindsay (lead vocals), Paul Revere (keyboards), Keith Allison (bass and guitar, who had replaced Phil Volk), Freddy Weller (guitar, who had replaced Jim Valley) and Mike "Smitty" Smith (drums, who had already been a member in the 1960s, left and then returned and replaced Joe Correro Jr. in 1970).

The band play well … no one could ever say the Raiders can't play. And that is impressive given the different styles present on this album.

I note it's another one of those albums where they put all the fast songs on one side (side one here) and the slow ones on the other side.

All the songs are written by the band or (seem to be) written for the band by professional songwriters. Lindsay produced.

Tracks (best in italics)

      Side One

  • Country Wine – (E. Villareal, W. Watkins) – written for the band. Big up-tempo pop with a country flavour, like a more mainstream Delaney & Bonnie. Perfect for television talk show guest spots. It is undeniably catchy though.
  • Powder Blue Mercedes Queen – (Mark Lindsay) – Bad Company, free and Mountain are channelled here for this heavier rocker in the "Mississippi Queen" style.
  • Hungry For Some Lovin' – (Robert Siller) – This is a good soulful number in "Aint No Mountain High Enough" style.
  • Baby Make Up Your Mind – (John P'Andrea, John Porter) – big soulful pop with some funky asides
  • Take A Stand – (Mark Lindsay, Keith Allison) – thematically very much of it's time, "everybody's got to take a stand". This has a great groove going with nods to War.

      Side Two

  • Where Are Your Children – (Leslie Ward Chandler) – Big, straight adult and family pop with a touch of Las Vegas. Lindsay loved this stuff (as his solo albums suggest) and he can sure sing it. This is mush but irresistible.
  • Ballad Of The Unloved – (P. Weiss, S. English) – pure big pop … and quite mushy as the title would suggest, but quite good.
  • American Family – (Alan Earle O'Pay) – more big pop with a depressing and, perhaps, a non commercial theme though there is optimism in there … "The American Family is dying, the American marriage is through,  though that doesn't mean it's true". I don't know if there is a misprint and the writer is meant to be Alan O'Day but in any event it sounds very much something written by Jimmy Curtiss. Very catchy though.
  • Golden Girls Sometimes – (M. Lindsay, K. Allison) – country folk pop and quite beguiling.
  • Farewell To A Golden Girl – (Mark Lindsay) – a gentle instrumental (with a spoken bridge) that closes nicely though it sounds like something from the late 1960s.

And …

A solid album by a band I love … I'm keeping it.

Chart Action

US

Singles

1972  Powder Blue Mercedes Queen  The Billboard Hot 100  #54 

1972  Country Wine  The Billboard Hot 100  #51 

Album

England

nothing

Sounds

Country Wine

Live

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V0hTT_TJwQg&list=PL72FA488638464D5E

mp3

Powder Blue Mercedes Queen

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uvk9FPhQDLE

Hungry For Some Lovin'

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TMv9aoXuDsc

Baby Make Up Your Mind

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

Take A Stand  

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Bej6h7REGw

Where Are Your Children

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fRq2KhB8ueI

American Family

mp3

Golden Girls Sometimes

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wv-3wPwrpa4

Others

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xmv6lPfnocs

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ioufyn6j3cU

Review

http://www.allmusic.com/album/country-wine-plus-mw0001879169

http://rockasteria.blogspot.com.au/2014/05/raiders-country-wineplus-1971-74-us.html

Bio

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_Revere_%26_the_Raiders

http://www.musoscribe.com/features/paul_revere_and_the_raiders.shtml

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

http://www.allmusic.com/artist/freddy-weller-p21369/biography

Website

http://www.paulrevereandtheraiders.com/

http://www.marklindsay.com/

Trivia

 

RIP: Alan Vega

 

Posted in Adult Pop, Country Soul | Tagged | Leave a comment

HORALD GRIFFITHS – Good Ol’ Boy – (Atlantic) – 1972

Horald Griffiths - Good Ol' Boy

Not "Harold" but "Horald".

I spent some time googling before I noticed my error.

The correct "Horald" did not provide that much more information, in fact he is often listed as “Harold”

I even picked myself up and went and consulted my music library. Horald Griffiths does not appear anywhere.

This is unusual as he was signed to a major label, but stranger things have happened.

His history prior to the album is murky …

All I have, and then it took some time is that he provided music and lyrics and appeared in Doug Dyer's off Broadway play "Blood" in 1971.

"Blood" was an anti-war piece about a Vietnam veteran's homecoming done as an updated version of the Greek trilogy "The Oresteia" by Aeschylus. It seems to be yet another spin off and attempt at gaining the audience of "Hair".

The label saw something in him and were taking a chance.

It failed.

This was his only album.

It seems, though, that subsequent to this he gigged. He played, and may have been a regular, at Caffè Lena, the small bohemian coffeehouse run by Lena Spencer  in Saratoga Springs, upstate New York, from 1960 until her death in 1989. (apparently it was the oldest continuously running coffeehouse in the country … and is still going).

So much music comes with preconceived notice.

This doesn’t.

Well, apart from the sleeve, the rustic New York come country Americana sleeve sucked me in.

This is of its time. Country folk (Americana) though with a lot of quirk. The genre hadn’t been established clearly yet so there was a lot of experimentation, or fumbling in the dark, going on. And this is endearing. There is folk, folk-psych, rustic country, rockabilly, singer songwriter.

It is not dissimilar to Bob Dylan (naturally enough) and Arlo Guthrie with more rock n roll references and Griffiths has a good expressive voice on both the straight forward and personal songs.

The playing is superb with Griffiths on acoustic guitar, David Spinozza (session guitarist who had just come of working on Paul McCartney's Ram album during 1971), Bill Salter (Pete Seeger, Miriam Makeba, Harry Belafonte), Ron Carter (jazz bassist and former member of Miles Davis Quintet), Ray Lucas (backed Aretha Franklin, Otis Redding, The Supremes), Ralph McDonald (songwriter and sessionman who has backed Harry Belafonte, David Bowie and others). Producer Joel Dorn was an American jazz and R&B music producer who worked at Atlantic exclusively in the early 70s which explains while all the session men with the exception of Spinozza, are Afro-American jazz men.

 All songs are by Griffiths unless noted otherwise.

Tracks (best in italics)

      Side One

  • Broken-Down Horse Thief – a great start and very Dylan and not surprisingly Arlo Guthrie in fact it predates similar Arlo a little.
  • White Flag – some great playing going on here which sounds quite simple. The song is quite subservient, a flag to wave on the fourth of July with no stars or bars, it's just "plain old white".
  • Frozen Corn – singer songwriter rumination which is quite stark.
  • I Found Out Where They Chased Them Indians To – another winner with some sharp observations.
  • Give Back The Song – a weird one which sounds like it is a sung soliloquy from some sort of Broadway show
  • Final Score After Two Overtimes – (Patrick Fox) – a fight between "black" and "white"  is another catchy tune with more Arlo influences.

      Side Two

  • Watching Pigeons Chasing Shadows On The Ground – like a cross between Tom Lehrer and John Sebastian. Quite enjoyable, very enjoyable.
  • One Way Street – nice
  • Kansas City Star – (Roger Miller) – Roger Miller's humorous song fits in well with Griffiths who is similar. The song is short though.
  • Love Buzz – very catchy
  • Prisoner Of War – a dramatic, dark turn.
  • Another Dream – a solemn ballad with psych overtones you would expect to hear in 1968.
  • Gravity Of The Times – (Patrick Fox & Horald Elman Griffiths) –  dramatic and so so.
  • Carter Cat Blues – and for something totally different a rockabilly type song which is very catchy and a lot of fun but absolutely different to the rest of the album.

And …

A incredibly overlooked release (from a major label) … not perfect but really, really good … I'm keeping it.

Chart Action

Nothing, nowhere.

Sounds

Broken-Down Horse Thief

mp3 attached

Prisoner Of War  

mp3 attached

Others

Review

Bio

Website

Trivia

  • Griffiths may have been from Utah originally. There is another Horald Elman Griffiths who passed away in 2007 and who was born in 1921 which would fit the age of a father. The obituary makes specific reference to a Horald Elman Jr who has already passed. Is this the one in the same I have no idea. http://archiver.rootsweb.ancestry.com/th/read/OBITUARIES/2008-06/1212479802
  • US records indicate there was a Horald Griffiths born 10 February 1947 (in Nevada perhaps) who died May 1977.
  • Session men: Vocals, Guitar – Horald Griffiths / Drums – Ray Lucas  / Electric Bass – Ron Carter, Bill Salter / Guitar – David Spinozza / Percussion – Ralph McDonald.

 

Posted in Americana, Folk, Singer Songwriter | Tagged | 2 Comments

DR HOOK – A Little Bit More – (Capitol) – 1976

Dr Hook - A Little Bit More

Can you ever have enough Dr Hook?

Don't answer that.

Check my other comments for bio and detail. I have commented on earlier albums than this and later ones but this album is pivotal in some ways as it really broke them in the UK. They had some single chart success earlier but this album went Top 10 and also placed two singles in the Top 10.

And, it was not surprising. Since signing with Capitol on the 1975s "Bankrupt" album Dr Hook had lost their full name "Doctor Hook and the Medicine Show" and had moved further into ballads and soft rock. Any traces of country humour, beer and pot party songs or quirky observations were subdued to make Dr Hook as sweet as possible despite all the hair, moustaches and beards.

Apparently this album was originally intended to be a solo album by co-singer Dennis Loccoriere, but ended up being a Dr Hook album. Loccoriere sang lead on most tracks, but Ray Sawyer (the eye patched one) didn't miss out either. Most of the tracks were written by their regular writer Shel Silverstein also. So, apart from the gloss Dr Hook fans may not have noticed a big difference in the band's sound even though founding guitarist George Cummins had left in 1975.

I lean to the earlier Dr Hook but  for fans of soft rock or softer country rock this album is perfect.

Produced and directed by Ron Haffkine apart from "What About You" which was produced by Ron Haffkine & Waylon Jennings.

Tracks (best in italics)

      Side One

  • More Like The Movies – (S. Silverstein) – as sickly sweet as a bloke can get which is a result of the production as the lyrics and melody are pure country lament. Having said that, when ithits it's emotional high it is quite catchy.
  • A Little Bit More – (B. Gosh) –  It was written and originally performed by Bobby Gosh and released on his 1973 album "Sitting in the Quiet". This, again, is sickly sweet but you can see why it was a hit. A couple of wines and you will be singing along. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Little_Bit_More
  • The Radio – (D. Locorriere, S. Silverstein) –  hmmm
  • Up On The Mountain – (J. Comanor, S. Silverstein) –  old school Dr Hook doing their country funk
  • If Not You – (D. Locorriere) –  whoa, very, very sticky

      Side Two

  • Jungle To The Zoo – (S. Silverstein) –  okay. A statement the music industry? Marriage? Life? Or, all of the preceding? Dr Hooks country funk at work again..
  • Bad Eye Bill – (H. Smith) –  this seems to have been written for Dr Hook.
  • What About You – (J. Anglin, J. Wright) –  Johnnie Wright (1914–2011) and Jack Anglin (1916–1963) were American country duo Johnnie & Jack. They released this track as a single in 1949 but it was compiled into the album "Hits By Johnnie & Jack" in 1959. Mushy here but a traditional country lament.
  • I Need The High – (D. Locorriere, R. Sawyer) –  a love song – the double meaning would, no doubt, have amused Dr Hook.
  • A Couple More Years – (D. Locorriere, S. Silverstein) –  whoa, very sweet

And …

Too sweet … tape a few and sell.

Chart Action

US

Singles

1976 A Little Bit More #11

1976 A Little Bit More #15 US Adult Contemporary

1976 A Couple More Years #51 Country

1976 If Not You #55

1976 If Not You #26 Country

1976 If Not You #21 US Adult Contemporary

Album

US

1976 A Little Bit More #62

1976 A Little Bit More #18 US Country

England

Singles

1976 A Little Bit More #2

1976 If Not You #5

Album

1976 A Little Bit More #5

Others

Singles

1976 A Little Bit More #10 Australia

1976 A Little Bit More #4 Canada

1976 If Not You #69 Australia

1976 If Not You #56 Canada

Album

Canada 1976 A Little Bit More #69

Denmark 1976 A Little Bit More #1

Sounds

More Like The Movies

Live

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O7yHEGXe78I

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H2Fzojx-N-w

A Little Bit More

Clip

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BGGW046f4RE

live

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uF0_947VPNA

The Radio

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VawhN720d98

Up On The Mountain

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ALlXh-CM5hE

If Not You

Live

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KnIeUgWoo1c

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

Jungle To The Zoo

mp3 attached

Bad Eye Bill

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7bEi5iadlcU

What About You

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

I Need The High

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s6LhLJQo_CY

A Couple More Years

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

Others

Early

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2HBnmysdbqE

Later

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=frLA5FJfPY0

Review

http://www.allmusic.com/album/a-little-bit-more-mw0000467372

Bio

http://www.allmusic.com/artist/dr-hook-mn0000806645

http://www.allmusic.com/artist/dr-hook-the-medicine-show-mn0000205575

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

http://www.robertchristgau.com/xg/music/drhook-78.php

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

Website

https://myspace.com/drhooksmedicineshow/music/songs

https://www.facebook.com/Dr-Hook-and-the-Medicine-Show-55588104361/timeline?ref=page_internal

http://www.raysawyer.com/

http://www.dennislocorriere.com/

http://www.sylviasmother.com/

Trivia

 

Dr Hook - A Little Bit More - back

 

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

CATCH – Catch – (Dot) – 1969

Catch - Catch

Now this is obscure.

I bought this because it was a US pressing and $1. I was expecting jazz rock. I'm not sure why, maybe it's their dress.

What is known and none of this is certain is that the band were California based.

That's it.

Okay, a little more, this album and two singles were released in 1969 on the Dot label. Singers / guitarists Mike Collins and Roger White were credited with writing all of the original material.

That's it.

Well, apart from some after facts.

The band disbanded after this album though (at least) Collins and White joined / formed a band called Feather with John Townshend (later of the Sanford Townshend Band))

who released an album  in 1970, "Friends By Feather" (Columbia) which followed up on a couple of singles released on smaller labels. Collins and White, again, wrote most of the songs.

Both albums, were produced by J.R. Shanklin.(who worked with Nilsson in the mid 60s)

Collings and White subsequently became part of the Loggins and Messina recording and touring band (that fact is very loose). Roger White toured with Gene Clark in the  mid-70s (that is established).

That's it.

The music is of it's time but I like the time and highly influenced by what was happening around them. There is nothing wrong with that. Some bands have been cult favourites with the same philosophy.

There is nothing particularly individual here but it is hard to dislike this album as there are quite a few good songs amongst the musical schizophrenia. The overall sound is rustic country but there are nods to hippie music, Baroque pop, old school garage, soft psych, and just plain pop.

It may be musically ambitious but it could also be described as giving the people what they want by giving them as many familiar sounds as possible. I'm probably wrong but I suspect the members don't have roots in any of the American traditional musical idioms tackled.

But that's no a bad thing because every song the band tackles is convincing though they lack that one song to make them cult favourites. The name also, "Catch" at the time may have been a good idea but on the digital highway trying to find a band called "Catch" with a self titled album of the same name is not easy. The more famous "America" I imagine suffer the same problem.

All songs written by band member Mike Collins and Roger White unless noted.

Tracks best in italics)

            Side One

  • Amber – very nice. A bit like Crosby Stills and Nash or The Byrds with deeper (voiced) harmonies. Very nice and a couple of years ahead of it's time.
  • Come Near Me  – country rock with a light jovial bounce and few authentic country roots but nice nevertheless with a catchy melody.
  • Storm  – country rock over tones overlaid on (horn) pop with a little bit of fuzz guitar not dissimilar to what Paul Revere and The Raiders were doing around this time.
  • City Ditty – a trip to back to ye olde world music with the ragtime circus atmosphere popular at the time. Hints of Lovin Spoonful and Sopwith Camel.
  • The Dandelion And The Butterfly  – more horn and sting big pop and a Left Banke feel.
  • Live  – shades of Country Joe and the Fish tough with big horns..

      Side Two

  • I'm On The Road To Memphis –  covered by Buddy Alan and Don Rich on their "We're Real Good Friends" album (Capitol, 1971). Buddy Alan was Buck Owens son and Don Rich was Bucks lead guitarist. Country rock sounds like The Beau Brummels or Paul Revere and the Raiders on their country rock excursions.
  • Something Golden –  hmmm, plain pop
  • Crash And Burn  – fuzz guitar mayhem and a little out of place with the other songs but a standout track.
  • Nine Roses  – the obligatory long song. Eight minutes. Moody and not too bad.
  • Just A Closer Walk With Thee – (trad arranged Collins, White) – a traditional gospel song done by everyone. Dating to the 30s the original was made by the Selah Jubilee Singers in 1941  but is associated with Sister Rosetta Tharpe, who recorded her own version on 2 December 1941.  Red Foley's 1950 recording was one of the first religious hits in Country music. This one has a New Orleans feel. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Just_a_Closer_Walk_with_Thee

And …

Quriky, and interesting … I'm keeping it.

Chart Action

Nothing.

Sounds

Amber

mp3 attached

I'm On The Road To Memphis 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vdFK7651Fek

Crash And Burn 

mp3 attached

Others

Feather

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ysmiIVhj5FU

Review

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

http://expo67-cavestones.blogspot.com.au/2008/03/catch-crash-and-burn.html

Bio

Feather

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

Website

Trivia

  • Arranged By – Catch, Dave Blumberg (who had ' has worked at Motown with Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, The Supremes and others as well as with The Fifth Dimension, Trini Lopez and many others (tracks: A4), Ken Kotwitz (tracks: A3, B2, B4)
  • In South Africa the album was called "Groovy" and had a different sleeve.  https://www.discogs.com/Catch-Groovy/release/7890263
  • A band called Catch they released a privately pressed album in 1972, "Caught Live at the Golden Hawk". That Catch seem to be a different band out of Des Moines and have a female singer.

 

Catch - Catch - back sleeve

 

RIP: The great, legendary Scotty Moore.

Posted in Country Rock, Psychedelic, Rock & Pop | Tagged | Leave a comment

JIM KWESKIN – Relax Your Mind – (Vanguard) – 1966

Jim Kweskin - Relax Your Mind

Jim Kweskin & The Jug Band had released two or three albums by the time Jim decided to put out this solo release.

Though it's not really "solo" just Jim and some of his band in a less raucous mood. The album was recorded live in the studio (with two tracks, "I Got Mine" and "Buffalo Skinners" recorded live at Club 47 in Cambridge. Massachusetts) by a truncated version of the Jug Band (Jim Kweskin on vocals and guitar, Mel Lyman on harmonica, and Fritz Richmond on washtub bass).

I suspect there were traditional tunes that Jim wanted to tackle that didn't fit the full band sound

Again, the band sound loose but aren't. They practiced a lot to sound this relaxed and loose. And you have to. For the music to come out naturally there can't be worries about the musicianship.

This album covers the pre-rock American songbook …  there is ragtime, country, blues, a cowboy song, gospel, Tin Pan Alley and even a Zulu folk song.

All done in Jim's jug band style, though low key and quiet.

Jim once said, "What jug band music is: if you had to boil it down to one thing, it’s really jazz played on folk music instruments. That was the difference between the jug band and the other “folk” music that was going on at the time" (http://thebuskersblog.typepad.com/the_buskers_blog/2015/09/jim-kweskin-on-the-jim-kweskin-jug-band.html)

And that applies here though instead of the full jazz band this is the jug band equivalent of a trio playing cool jazz..

The harmonica of Mel Lyman is amazing whilst Fritz Richmond keeps the beat on the washtub bass. But, central to it all is Jim Kweskin with his acoustic guitar and vocals tha are both of another time and keenly contemporary.

The material may have been old but the melodies, emotions and narratives within the songs do resonate now, as they would have in 1966.

His audience was marginal then and now it may be still be , though with the internet it may be larger, but a song (or recording) should have a life beyond when it was written or recorded. We (the masses) look and "old" paintings, don't we? We read classic" novels, don't we? We (sometimes) even watch films form the "golden years of cinema", don't we? They why not listen to old music? Double old here … a singer in 1965 singing old music. I hear people saying, I listen to Led Zeppelin or I listen to Queen but that is more of a case of listening to music that was around when you were young that you still listen to now. The time has come to dig deep and go for something that was around before you were born.

Good music is good music regardless of its age and it is "new" if you haven't heard it before even if it was recorded fifty years ago.

Jim Kweskin (born July 18, 1940, Stamford, Connecticut) played solo in coffee houses throughout the early folk boom before forming The Jug Band. The group broke up in the late 60s and Kweskin pursued a solo career in music, but also ran a day job / career as a construction contractor in the Los Angeles area.

"I got a day job," he said. "I no longer wanted to play music because I had to, because when I did, it stopped being fun". (http://www.pressdemocrat.com/news/2230752-181/the-buzz-about-jim-kweskin?ref=related)

He continues to play today in small club and venues in the US …

All the songs are "traditionals" unless noted.

Tracks (best in italics)

            Side One

  • Sister Kate's Night Out – A medley composed of "I Wish I Could Shimmy Like My Sister Kate" (A. J. Piron), "Heebie Jeebies" (Boyd Atkins) and "Fifteen Cents" (Frankie Jaxon). "I Wish I Could Shimmy Like My Sister Kate" was recorded by The Original Memphis Five (1922), The Cotton Pickers (1923) and others. It seems to be adapted from a 1917 Louis Armstrong composition, ‘Take Your Feet Off Katie’s Head’. "Heebie Jeebies" was recorded by Louis Armstrong (1926) , "15 Cents" was recorded by Frankie Jaxon (1933). The songs are seamless. A great way to start the album
  • Hannah – Kweskin says he learnt the song from an old 78 rpm record by Chris Bouchillion (1926). A blues with great harmonica by Mel Lyman.
  • Bye and Bye – is an old Baptist gospel tune, written in 1906 by Charles Albert Tindley. There were gospel versions by the Nazarene Church Choir (1928) , The Golden Gate Quartet (1941), The Blind Boys of Alabama (1950), The Soul Stirrers (1950) and many others. Country versions include Frank & James McCravy (1927) ,The Kentucky Mountain Choristers (1929) and others. Louis Armstrong also recorded it in 1939. Kweskin is in fine voice though quite 60s. A joy. Bound to make you feel good.
  • The Cuckoo – is a traditional English ballad by Margaret Casson (published 1790). Recorded by Kelly Harrell (1926) Clarence Ashley (1929) and others. It was picked up by the folk boom and recorded by The New Lost City Ramblers (1962), The Holy Modal Rounders (1964) and many other folk performers. Quite solemn. I can see why this appealed to certain parts of the folk boom.
  • I Ain't Never Been Satisfied – (with Marilyn Kweskin, lead vocal) is and "original" with new words and music by Jim and Marilyn Kweskin, and is based on children's ring games. Simple and effective
  • Eight More Miles to Louisville – is a "new" song recorded by Grandpa Jones in 1957. A beautifully upbeat way to finish the side.

      Side Two

  • I Got Mine – Kweskin refers a version recorded by Pink Anderson in 1950 but the song is based on an old vaudeville from 1902 (by John Queen & Charlie Cartwell), called ‘I Got Mine (The Coon Song)’ which was recorded by Arthur Collins & Joe Natus. Country versions were recorded by Fiddlin’ John Carson (1924), Gid Tanner & his Skillet Lickers (1926) and others. African-American versions were recorded by Big Boy George Owens (1926 as ‘The Coon Crap Game’], Frank Stokes (1928), Robert (Barbecue Bob) & Charlie Hicks (1930 as ’Darktown Gamblin – Part 1 (The Crap Game)). Recorded live and lively with Kweskin quite growly
  • Buffalo Skinners – is traditional and genuine cowboy song from the 1800s, published by John Lomax in the 1910 collection Cowboy Songs, recorded for the Library of Congress in 1935 by Pete Harris. Woody Guthrie (a favourite of Kweskin) recorded it at least a couple times, with altered words; once with Cisco Houston and Sonny Terry (1944) and solo (1945). It, also, was picked dup by the folk boom and recorded by Jack Elliott & Derroll Adams (1957) Pete Seeger (1956), Cisco Houston (1962), Eric Von Schmidt (1963) and others. The second of the live songs. A haunting and beautiful song.
  • Make Me a Pallet on Your Floor – is based on W.C. Handy's "Atlanta Blues" which in turn comes from an old folksong. It was recorded by Ethel Waters (1926), Jelly Roll Morton (1938), Sidney Bechet (1940), Jimmy Yancey (1944),  Guthrie [1940s, released 1964), Cisco Houston (1958), The Weavers (1959), The Journeymen (1961), and Mississippi John Hurt (1966). A hoot … great lyrics.
  • Guabi Guabi – (with Fritz Richmond, 2nd voice) is a Zulu folksong from the Nde-Ele tribe. It was recorded by George Sibanda, from Southern Rhodesia (Zimbabwe) in 1952 but made famous by Jack Elliott in 1964. Cute and quite catchy.
  • My Creole Belle – Kweskin say he learned this song from Mississippi John Hurt who recorded it in 1963. It is based on the 1902 song ‘Creole Belles’, written by George Sidney and J. Bodewald Lampe, recorded by Sousa’s Band and others. More great harmonica work in this New Orleans old time blues.
  • Relax Your Mind – Kweskin says he learned the song from Leadbelly who recorded it in1948. Very Leadbelly … there is a sense of doom over everything. I love the sentiment though.

And …

Wonderful … takes me back to, errr, to the first time I found old-timey and ragtime records in op shops in the 80s. I'm keeping it.

Chart Action

Ha, none

Sounds

Three Songs – A Look at the Ragtime Era (Sister Kate's Night Out) …

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WURhd6c2Ros

Hannah

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1iaw6mRo9sA

Bye and Bye

mp3 attached

The Cuckoo

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

I Ain't Never Been Satisfied

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7W68vhJc3hs

Eight More Miles to Louisville

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g2esk-Dxv-4

I Got Mine

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TybS_uUWIe4

Buffalo Skinners

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-PHzDmNQ75Y

Make Me a Pallet on Your Floor

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CkQ_L82X-rM

Guabi Guabi

Live recently

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lUeuj41dXF4

My Creole Belle

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=on1F1FLD8nI

Relax Your Mind

Live recently

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=963_5AiDk94

mp3 attached

Others

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i77to0wT91M

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lnFG7ssfeoU

Review

http://www.allmusic.com/album/relax-your-mind-mw0000320197

Bio

http://www.allmusic.com/artist/jim-kweskin-mn0000345596/biography

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

Website

http://jimkweskin.com/  

https://www.facebook.com/JimKweskinMusic/

Trivia

Posted in Americana, Folk | Tagged | 2 Comments