Wednesday, 7 June 2017
Paul Williams was one of the biggest stars of the '70s, the kind of celebrity who was famous for being famous, as so many guest hosts of The Muppet Show were, and he authored such standards as "An Old Fashioned Love Song," "We've Only Just Begun," and "Rainy Days and Mondays." This would seem to be a substantial résumé, surely enough to warrant at least one comprehensive compilation of his solo recordings, but Williams has never had such a collection until Raven's 2006 set Songs for the Family of Man: A Collection 1969-1979.
Easily the best Williams collection yet assembled - largely because it's the only one of its nature - this chronicles the decade where Paul Williams was a large presence in pop, either as a songwriter or a musician himself, all through his own recordings. This means that it has versions of "An Old Fashioned Love Song," "We've Only Just Begun," and "Rainy Days" cut after the hit versions by Three Dog Night and the Carpenters, but that doesn't diminish the effect of this compilation, which begins with a cut from his time as the leader of the Holy Mackerel in 1969 and ends with a trio of tracks from his 1979 album A Little on the Windy Side. In context here, they help illuminate his considerable melodic skills, which are certainly soft and commercial, yet are some of the strongest commercial soft pop of the early '70s.
As the decade rolled on, Williams began to emphasize softness over pop, which makes some of the music toward the end of this collection a little too schmaltzy, but that only means that this traces the arc of his career accurately. Besides, it doesn't linger too long on the schmaltz: the bulk of this collection, the first 18 tracks, were cut before 1975, when he balanced his knack for soft, sweet pop with imaginative productions, such as the light, rolling "Out in the Country" or the fuzztoned guitars that drive "The Family of Man."
If this doesn't quite establish Paul Williams as a '70s maverick, it does something almost as good: it makes a case for his considerable talents as a commercial songsmith and record maker. Cut for cut, his 1970 solo debut Someday Man is a better record, but that lacks the big hits and is too sunbaked and post-hippie to be a true document of the '70s. This, in contrast, is, which makes Songs for the Family of Man the introductory overview that Paul Williams has long needed.(allmusic.com)
There is nothing more to say about this man except maybe this: The true king of pop in the seventies was Paul Williams.
Frank Flac p1 & Flac p2 & Flac p3 - mp3@320
Lesley Gore's fifth album (not counting her first greatest-hits collection) was her last fairly strong non-greatest-hits LP, and the last to feature a reasonable standard of material. Only the title cut was a significant hit, and not a huge one at that (stalling outside of the Top 30). As usual, there were a number of goodies for fans inclined to dig beyond the 45s of this very singles-oriented artist. "Before and After" was a nice Van McCoy ballad that had already been a big hit for Chad & Jeremy, and several numbers had a nice Phil Spector-like production with somewhat more pop-oriented material and vocals than Spector favored, like "What's a Girl Supposed to Do?," "I Cannot Hope for Anyone" (previously done in French by Françoise Hardy as "Je N'Attends Plus Personne"), and "Baby That's Me."
The Spector-esque touches on the final two songs are unsurprising given the production by frequent Spector associate Jack Nitzsche, who really pulled out all the son-of-Spector stops for "What Am I Gonna Do With You," which sounds like a Ronettes or Crystals track with Gore vocals. Everything else is outclassed by the deviously playful "You Didn't Look Around," which has catchy hooks and an assertively melodramatic vocal on par with Gore's best hits. Her vocal performance on that song and some others, too, indicated that she really was making some strides as a singer into more mature and full phrasing, though she faltered as always when she went into straight adult pop (on "The Things We Did Last Summer").
Frank Flac - mp3@320
Sixties Psychedelic Pop: The Appletree Theatre - Playback 1968 (2009 remastered, Rev-Ola) Flac & mp3
Appletree Theatre was the group name of brothers John and Terry Boylan, starting in 1968. They made one album, Playback, which attracted cult attention, after which John became a producer of, among other people, the Eagles, and Terry became a solo artist under the name Terence Boylan.
Playback is divided into three acts, an overture, and an epilogue, with the full-length songs linked by dialogue and snatches of music, sometimes given distorted sonic treatment. That's a style that became trendy during the Sgt. Pepper era, but really wasn't strictly necessary for a set such as this, which in the main consists of fairly conventional songs mixing folk-rock, pop/rock, light psychedelia, and orchestrated sunshine pop. The music is pleasant and fitfully unusual, with the Beach Boys-ish psych-lite of "Hightower Square" recalling the better moments of Sagittarius.
A really good album of psychedelic pop.
Frank Flac p1 & Flac p2 - mp3@320
This is the best Australian release of the year so far, shading Asteroid B612's opus "Readin' Between the Lines" and streets ahead of any other contenders. Put simply, this is heartfelt, honest-to-goodness, Rock Action with lashings of pop smarts. The Monarchs may only have been around a few years and have put in less miles than some of the above-mentioned bands (a reflection of the number of rock venues around in the 00's more than anything else) but "Make Yer Own Fun" is a well-rounded, fully-realised effort. And, for the most part, a lot of fun.
There's more than a shade of the Gurus here (a couple of songs actually having been rejected by that band - a mark of the strength of material produced by that band's main man, Dave Faulkner, rather than a negative). Like the Gurus, these Monarchs know the value of a good hook and catchy chorus - no more evident on a cut like "Nobody's Perfect" - and like the Gurus, The Monarchs are a musical sponge, unashamedly grabbing bits from all over the place. There are lashes of dodgy Oz pub rock, Detroit grime, acid psych and '70s metal poking through the mix. No mere pack rats, the Monarchs manage to make the spare parts their own.
Still on the spare parts analogy, what's a real rock album without a song about cars? "69 Monaro" fits the bill: Taut guitars and a chick chorus that's a perfect homage to the premier Down Under muscle car. This is a tune that reaks of burning rubber and black GT stripes. I look forward to hearing it constantly blaring out of the speakers of a thousand hoon-mobiles at traffic lights this summer (instead of that fucking stupid "doof doof" music).
"Loud" is just that. The band's first single, "2001", is here in all its word salad glory and, as good as a taste that was, it's by no means the strongest cut. That could well be the bombastic "Amen, Brother", with its infectious chorus. Or "Give It Up For the Band", the smartest dumb song I've heard in many a month. "I'm On Drugs" is nasty rock, done like the Hellacopters might wish they could.
The Greg Hitchcock-Brad Shepherd Guitar Show might be the main attraction (and they cook up a storm) but there are some clever lyrical moments, too, throughout to keep you thinking ("Satan's in my pocket/And he's shouting you a drink" in "For One Night" springs to mind). Murray Shepherd on drums and Andy Kelly on bass are no slouches either (love a mix with lots of bottom end).
Diverse as this album is, it all hangs together well. A nod for that must go to producer Cameron McCaughley who's managed to bring a warmth and live feel to this album. The odd studio effect (phased outro on "Yer Moving On", crowd ruckus on "For One Night") adds to the package, rather than distracts.
The diversity is no more evident than on "Stalker Waltz", which marks the halfway point. It's a bizarre ditty, ostensibly about the sex life of a TV weatherman who must remain nameless. Also out of the rock fast lane is the closing "Unimaginable", a deeply-personal song that cuts to the quick and leaves a lump in the throat. All looped noises and treated vocals, it wouldn't be out of place on a "White Album"-period Beatles release.
You can keep your Scandi pretenders - these vets are the REAL rock Monarchs. Can the kids handle Real Rock these days? I want it to be the case - let's hope the label does too and puts some real push behind this, 'cos it's too good to sink without a trace in the black hole of some Sanity/HMV chainstore. This is truly the soundtrack for an Australian summer. (i94bar-dev-info)
Powerful Garage Power Pop without any chance to escape!
Catchy melodies and drivin' guitars makes this a lot of fun.
Frank mp3@320 Flac p1 & Flac p2
Hello Folks, today i will start with two powerful PowerPop/Garage bands. The first one is an artist i posted some days ago here on the blog, Kevin K.
Today it's a little special because i had a few days ago a chat conversation with Mark R. a band member of the New York City backing band of the wonderful Kevin K. In this talk i asked him about his favourite tracks by Kevin K. He told me and so later i did a sampler of the favourite tracks by a band member of Kevin K. I do this as a mark of my esteem for the music of Kevin K and hope you will like it, too. If you like the music of Kevin K please buy the music here here and a lot other places in the net. (Frank)
Play loud for maximum fun!