I do like Albert Hammond. Check out the other blog entries for biographical details and ruminations.
I've said this before, and I've even used this before but I like it.
When I commented on his 1977 album, "When I Need You" on this 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".
This album is from 1982 and as I'm about to drop the needle I'm hoping that the 80s mainstream sound, which ruined so many records, isn't prevalent here.
This screams early 80s mainstream. There are funky rhythms, screechy guitars, muted vocals, chorused backing vocals all surrounded in a nice full sound.
This is mainly wretched music.
The record was recorded in Los Angeles with slick sessionmen and the sound is very adult themed rock as you would expect from 1982.
Hammond was always, or seems to be, a generous song writer and here all the tracks bar two are co-writes.
Jennings is a professional songwriter from the US (who worked with Steve Winwood a lot). Lauren Wood is a singer-songwriter from the US. Osborne is a English songwriter who entered the music business at age 15 in the 60s and is most notable fro working with Elton John.
Hammond, from what I have heard, doesn't need a co-writer so any act is him just being generous.
Or maybe he had writer's block?
Either way I think the co-writers have hindered more than helped him. Some of the tunes are just wrong for him.
Hammond doesn't sound like himself a lot. He sounds like any number of other 30 something singers of the time. Robert Palmer, Peter Gabriel, Steve Winwood, Elton John, Joe Cocker, Phil Collins, Donald Fagen, Chris de Burgh , Peter Cetera, Leo Sayer, Kenny Loggins, Neil Diamond … all popular at the time.
And, all ranging from patchy to total rubbish.
Albert Hammond what have you done?
Gibraltarian Hammond hadn't hit the US charts since 1974 (even less in the UK).
I think this was an attempt to re-enter the American market.
The albums title, the inoffensive colourful sleeve for grown ups, the Los Angeles recording, the co-writes with writers popular at the time, the clean soulless production.
But, it failed and I'm happy it did.
Hammond needed a kick for this. It's too calculated.
He is so much better than this.
Tracks (best in italics)
- The Light At The End Of The Line – (Hammond – Will Jennings) – quite good lyrically with a good melody but that production and synth … urrgh.
- Sweet Defector – (Hammond – Lauren Wood) – total rubbish and the guitar by Richie Zito is awful. (by that I mean the sound … he is a good guitar player)
- Rendezvous – (Bruce Springsteen) – The song was originally recorded during Springsteen's "Darkness On The Edge Of Town" sessions in 1977 but it wasn't released, as a live version until 1998 and then as a studio version in 2010. The song was donated to The Greg Kihn Band for their album "With The Naked Eye" (1979). It was also recorded by Gary U.S. Bonds for the Springsteen produced album, "On The Line" (1982). The song is very Springsteen (not surprisingly) though this version has no balls and sounds a little out of place.
- Shoot 'Em Up, Shoot 'Em Down – (Hammond – Gary Osborne) – You could hear Elton John doing this circa 1980. Rubbish.
- Hero On Parade – (Elton John – Gary Osborne) – Originally the song was called "Sweetheart on Parade. Elton John never released it, but his demo of the song is available. The song in its original version is written for a woman to sing. It may have been intended for Kiki Dee, but she never recorded it. Not surprisingly this is very Elton John but it's not too bad.
- Oh, What A Time – (Hammond – Will Jennings) – there is some channelling of John Lennon here … and it works. A great song.
- Before You Change The World – (Hammond – Gary Osborne) – so so.
- The Right Time – (Hammond – Gary Osborne) – more Elton John (or Billy Joel) but Hammond sings it well let down by the guitar again.
- Doe Was The Loving Kind – (Hammond – Will Jennings) – a catchy tune and very much in the Albert Hammond style. Excellent.
- Somewhere In America – (Hammond – Will Jennings) – very similar to Supertramp. Lyrically, thematically and by sound. Catchy.
Patchy and probably the worst Hammond album I have heard but there are some great tunes so for the sake of completeness (yet again) … I'm keeping it.
Nothing no where
The Light At The End Of The Line
Shoot 'Em Up, Shoot 'Em Down
Hero On Parade
Oh, What A Time
Before You Change The World
The Right Time
Doe Was The Loving Kind
Somewhere In America
- Produced by Brooks Arthur and Albert Hammond.