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)
- 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.
- 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.
Perfect for parties … I'm keeping it.
1973 Daydreamer #1
1973: "Daydreamer" – Germany #27, Australia #10
The Puppy Song
Some Old Woman
Can't Go Home Again
with Glen Campbell (and Little Richard, Jerry Reed and Dom DeLuise !)
- The cover insert painting is Bruno Piglhein's 1925 painting "Pals".