what Frank is listening to #224 – MARK LINDSAY – You've Got a Friend – (Columbia) – 1971
I approached this album with some trepidation.
Paul Revere and the Raiders had been going more MOR towards the end of their career and that move reflected largely Lindsay's taste and solo career. Don't get me wrong there is some good adult MOR from the early 70s …Elvis, Neil Diamond, Bill Medley and others. But they mixed it up a little.
Mark Lindsay, the good looking, good natured, punk like lead singer of Paul Revere and the Raiders saw the writing on the wall. The Raiders had been going since 1960, and 1971, would see the release of their last proper studio album.
MOR was popular at the time and perhaps this sound was an inevitable progression for Lindsay. Even the Raiders proper had their fair share of MOR moments. And after all they, and Lindsay, were a working band. So you had to keep up with what was going on.
So the MOR direction probably seemed like a good bet at the time.
Lindsay had released 2 solo albums in that vein in 1970 and this one in 1971 (see what Frank is listening to #71 – MARK LINDSAY – Silver Bird) would be his last album for 19 years (there was a single in 1977).
Such are the short term fortunes of the music business: despite a couple of top 40 solo hits, and with the Raiders, one #1 (oddly in their final year, 1971) and four top 10s and another six in the US top 20 his career was effectively over. He was 29.
Clearly, to become a successful dinosaur you have to come from England.
With hindsight we can ask whether Lindsay should have pursued another musical course?
Perhaps is the only answer.
But, what about this album?
Well the trepidation I refer to above is not helped by the fact that the album is covers heavy. His last two albums also were but this one seems to be a compilation of hits of the day. Even Elvis at his laziest dug a little deeper into his preferred musical songbook.
The album was produced by Lindsay and it is relatively low key and unfussy. There is a quiet country vibe running through the whole album and there is a certain amount of introspection in the readings of the songs.
The big problem though is the song selection.
Tracks (best in italics)
- You're Got a Friend – King - the Carole King song from her "Tapestry" album. Sickly sweet when King did it, but she was a chick ….
- Been Too Long on the Road – Gates- the David Gates and Bread song. An up-tempo number with nice tempo changes.
- Help Me Make It Through the Night – Kristofferson - Kristofferson's song, recorded by everyone. A perfunctory reading.
- Pretty, Pretty – Allen, Hackady - the Peter Allen song – he didn't release till 1974. Catchy but err sickly sweet.
- Need a Little Time – Villareal, Watkins- an original? A big power ballad.
- It's Too Late – King, Stern - another Carole King from "Tapestry" – Good when done by King.
- Never Can Say Goodbye- Davis- The Jackson 5 song from 1971. A bit over the top -moving into Tom Jones territory.
- If You Could Read My Mind – Lightfoot - Gordon Lightfoot's folk hit from 1970. A great song and a good reading.
- The Old Man at the Fair – Webb - the Jimmy Webb song though Glen Yarbrough also did a version in 1971. A superior Webb composition with a slight carnival feel (look at the title of the song…derrr). Evocative Webb lyrics.
- All I Really See Is You – Lindsay - a MOR ballad written by Lindsay and not bad at that …
Very patchy but I'll keep it.
Been Too Long on the Road
If You Could Read My Mind
The Old Man at the Fair
All I Really See Is You
what Frank is listening to #71 – MARK LINDSAY – Silver Bird – (CBS) – 1970