JAY & THE AMERICANS – Capture the Moment – (United Artists) – 1970

Jay and the Americans - Capture the Moment

Do you associate 1970 with vocal groups?

Free, The Guess Who, The Move, Deep Purple, Santana, The Beach Boys, Blood, Sweat & Tears, Led Zeppelin, Canned Heat, The Beatles, Chicago, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, The Who, Eric Burdon & War, The Band, Creedence Clearwater Revival were all over the charts, as was a renewed Elvis Presley and a Neil Diamond who had just started topping the charts.

And they dominate our memory.

Rock ‘n’ roll, roots rock and hard rock they are, but The Partridge Family, The Cuff Links, The Hollies, The Archies, Simon & Garfunkel and other sorts of pop were all over the charts also.

And, so were vocal groups.

They may not have been as dominant as they once were but they were there in the charts … groups like The Grass Roots, The 5th Dimension, the Bee Gees, Bread, and emerging trend setters, The Jackson 5.

But, all of those groups had given more space to instrumentation, to augment the vocals.

With Jay and The Americans the vocal harmonies were still front and centre and in this way they were, perhaps, old hat.

Worse still the instrumentation wasn’t contemporary funky like the Jackson 5 or contemporary rustic like The Grass Roots or Bread.

That probably lumped them with the bands of the past.

On the charts they had still had had a recent impact (though two years is a long time in the pop world). A cover of the Drifters hit from 1960, “This Magic Moment", went to #6 in 1968 (and helped propel the album, “Sands Of Time" to #51US) and another cover of a hit, The Ronnettes "Walking in the Rain" from 1964, went to #19 Billboard, #14 Cashbox in 1969 (the associated album "Wax Museum Vol 1" didn’t chart).

It’s great having hits but the fact these covers of hit songs from an earlier era probably, in the public’s mind, fixed Jay and The Americans to that era, even though they were all in their mid to late 20s.

And, that in itself may be okay as long as the records are selling.

And, their singles were, but the albums had slowed and by 1970 the album was becoming the dominant “grown up” format for popular music.

I suspect that Jay and the Americans knew this and so embarked on an album of originals which were largely co-written, and co-produced by them (if they stuck with the rock 'n' roll and waited a year or so they  could have cleaned up with the rock revival that became a trend)

These kids from Queens and Brooklyn, though, were cagy enough to bring in ring-ins to work for their JATA Enterprises production company (which they formed in 1969).

This collaborative and business approach to music had kept them around for ten years, not bad for a pop vocal group.

They had learnt well from their mentors, producers and writers, Leiber & Stoller who had discovered them in the late 50s.

“Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller,” says Sandy, “had a crew of artists, they wrote the songs, and they produced the records. Their names were like God to us … They were in New York in the Brill Building https://maltshopcruise.com/news/a-word-with-sandy-yaguda-of-jay-and-the-americans

The band was, at this stage originals (from 1960), Sandy Deane (real name Yaguda), Howard Kane (real name Kirchembaum), Kenny Vance (real name Rosenberg) and from 1962 on, Marty Sanders (real name Kupersmith) and Jay Black (real name David Blatt).

There are only four of them depicted on the opened up gatefold …. I'm not sure why? I think Howard Kane is missing but can't say for sure.

This is ambitious. They had written some tunes but they normally relied on staff writers or new writer material.  Likewise, though not adverse to production here they did a lot of hard work:

Produced by Yaguda, Vance & Sanders

Capture the Moment

Tricia (Tell Your Daddy)

Thoughts That I've Taken to Bed

Produced by Sandy Yaguda & Bobby Bloom

Sleepy 

She'll Be Young Forever 

Produced by Thomas Jefferson Kaye & Sandy Yaguda

I'll Be Leaving Her Tomorrow 

Pedestal

Learnin' How to Fly

(I'd kill) For The Love of a Lady 

Produced by Thomas Jefferson Kaye

Is There a World without You

Produced by Sandy Yaguda

He Loves the Feeling   

Produced by Henry Jerome

No, I Don't Know Her   

Strings & Horns are by Walter Becker and Donald Fagen (of later Steely Dan fame) who played backup bass guitar and electric organ in their touring band ( from 1970 – 1971).

The ring-in / staff writers included:

  • Thomas Jefferson Kaye who was a record producer, singer-songwriter and musician who worked with many acts before releasing some solo material in the 70s (check this blog for detail on him). He also conducted and arraned their 1969 "Sands of Time" album;
  • Peter Anders (who was born Peter Andreoli) wrote hits for Phil Spector and recorded with doo wop and pop groups The Videls and The Trade Wind;
  • Bobby Bloom who had been a member of the doo wop group the Imaginations (and co-wrote "Mony Mony" for Tommy James and the Shondells, "Sunshine" for The Archies) and later had a #1 wit Montego Bay (1970);
  • Jeff Barry, a legendary songwriter from the 60s who wrote for Phil Spector and all sorts of people;
  • Richard Reicheg, another NYC songwriter (and actor) who was well known in music circles. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Reicheg

I don’t have anything on B. Wagman or J Piper though there is guitarist Rob Wagman who was in NYC around the same time and who is friends with Jay Black, and J. Piper may be a pseudonym for Marty Sanders.

Rock doo-wop was back in the charts by way of nostalgia in the early to mid-70s but Jay and the Americans, despite having roots in that and a style that incorporated 60s pop opera and blue eyed soul decided to go serious and do an album of meaningful songs.

The album was their last chance.

The single “Capture the Moment" made the lower end of the charts but the album sank.

It's a pity as the music is lush and very (1970) contemporary. There are touches of psych pop and uber produced folk pop. The production is pristine (there are many layers) and (naturally enough) accentuates the voices.

One single would follow, "There Goes My Baby" in 1971 and the group would split in 1973.

See my other comments for biographical detail.

Tracks (best in italics)

              Side One

  • Capture the Moment – (R. Reicheg / Kenny Vance  / Marty Joe Kupersmith) – lush with a hint of "Mr Bojangles".
  • Tricia (Tell Your Daddy) – (Jeff Barry / Marty Joe Kupersmith) – quite an emotive song as you would expect from a time that gave us "My Boy", "Don't Cry Daddy" etc. Very good though.
  • Sleepy – (Marty Joe Kupersmith / Bobby Bloom) – very, very slick.
  • I'll Be Leaving Her Tomorrow – (Thomas Jefferson Kaye / B. Wagman) – shades of the baroque pop that had been popular a year or so earlier. Very good.
  • Pedestal – (Thomas Jefferson Kaye / Marty Joe Kupersmith) – so so
  • Is There a World Without You – (Thomas Jefferson Kaye / B. Wagman / J.A. Black / Sandy Yaguda) – soaring vocals backed by horns.

Side Two

  • Learning How to Fly – (Thomas Jefferson Kaye / Kenny Vance / J. Piper / Sandy Yaguda) – covered by NYC sunshine pop group in , “The Changing Scene” in 1971 and by co-author Kaye on his 1973 solo album. Very catchy and very slick.
  • He Loves the Feeling – (Peter Andreoli / Marty Joe Kupersmith) – Songwriter Peter Andreoli wrote the title song, “Harem Holiday”  to Elvis’ film “Harum Scarum in 1965. Quite interesting with layer over layer of sound.
  • (I'd Kill) For the Love of a Lady – (J.A. Black / Thomas Jefferson Kaye  / Sandy Yaguda) – some country guitar pickin' but otherwise a pure urban song. A bit naff.
  • No, I Don't Know Her – (J.A. Black / Mark D. Sanders) – fluffy and bouncy.
  • She'll Be Young Forever – (Bobby Bloom / Marty Joe Kupersmith) – a wonderful song about an old lost love. It is suitably emotional and other worldly.
  • Thoughts That I've Taken to Bed – (Marty Joe Kupersmith / Peter Andreoli) –  not a "sexy" song but a song about the innocence in youthful daydreaming. Very mushy and then it takes a dark turn (with a Vietnam war reference) which is still mush, just darker mush. But it is oddly compelling.

And …

Different to other Jay and the Americans albums (that I've heard) and not as consistently good as their best, but it is strangely haunting … I'm keeping it.

Chart Action

US

Singles

1970 "Capture the Moment" #57 Billboard, #45 Cashbox

Album

England

nothing

Sounds

Capture The Moment   

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XR35W_FlhBQ

Tricia (Tell Your Daddy)   

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j082AZV9VYI

Sleepy   

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S4fgtQDkinU

I'll Be Leaving Her Tomorrow   

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rW9KtDL8D50

Pedestal   

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1brQsxndtI0

Is There A World Without You 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UiL8st5tT9M

Learnin' How To Fly  

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gqMmMX3gVQY

He Loves The Feeling   

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZeaRSuNXM9k

(I'd Kill) For The Love Of A Lady   

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=12PMluhwMsU

No, I Don't Know Her   

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CFjypV6HrIE

She'll Be Young Forever 

mp3 attached

Thoughts That I've Taken To Bed

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CbFl6fP1_5M

Others

From the film “Wild Wild Winter (1966)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2KfCD24ksR8

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qOnNLc7ugoE

Review

Bio

http://www.waybackattack.com/jayandtheamericans.html

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

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

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

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

http://www.vintagevinylnews.com/2016/03/passings-peter-anders-of-trade-winds.html

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

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

Website

http://www.jayandtheamericans.net/

Trivia

  • Marty Joe Kupersmith (Marty Sanders) from JATA eventually put out a solo album in 1996, " It'll Come To You " which was co-produced by Thomas Jefferson Kaye, he co-wrote "Bad Reputation" with Joan Jett.
  • There is a lot going on the sleeve and the shadows and eyes over he half a body is a bit spooky.

 

Jay and the Americans - Capture the Moment - gatefold          Jay and the Americans - Capture the Moment - gatefold - inside

About Franko

Hi, I'm just a person with a love of music, a lot of records and some spare time. My opinions are comments not reviews and are mine so don't be offended if I have slighted your favourite artist. I have listened to a lot of music and I don't pretend to be impartial. You can contact me on franklycollectible@gmail.com though I would rather you left a comment. I also sell music at http://www.franklycollectible.com Cheers
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