CARPENTERS: (They Long To Be) Close To You (A & M AMS 800).
Think of all Bacharach & David’s old songs prior to and including “What The World Needs Now”, mix in a hook that reminds me, at least, of Jack Keller & Gerry Goffin’s “Run To Her” (on Little Eva’s LP, oldies freaks), then imagine the result sung by Dionne Warwick, Jackie de Shannon and Carole King all rolled into one, beautifully backed (the girlie group . . . wah!) and recorded with as much of a 1964 sound as possible – and all the nostalgicats among you will have a pretty good mental picture of this, B & D’s latest affectionate look backwards. In fact produced by Jack Daugherty, the lovely retrospective slowie is earning plenty of coin Stateside for newcomers Karen and Richard Carpenter (sister and brother, she sings and he arranges). What luck, getting this as their first single! Can’t stop playing it, Oh yes – it might just manage to scrape into the upper reaches of our chart, too!
THREE DOG NIGHT: Mama Told Me (Not To Come) (Stateside SS 8052).
Number One in America, a complex Randy Newman song, much more subtle than the boys’ past work (good though that was), and a must to be heard for yourselves. Great words and music. For hip dancers initially. Give it time.
ANTHONY QUINN: I Love You And You Love Me (Capitol CL 15649).
Lee Marvin, Mark II (recordwise, that is)? In a resonant, artificially enhanced deep voice, the fiery Latin (moviewise) repeats the song’s simple lines after the Harold Spina Singers have Ray Conniffed them, to a Spina-penned tune that sounds kinda like “Spanish Eyes”. (Spina produced, too.) It’s a hit with me, and I’ll certainly be playing it at dances – great slushy romantic programming material for those tender moments!
ANDY WILLIAMS: It’s So Easy (CBS S 5113).
TERRIBLE! No, I’m sorry, I mean terribly good, and much more danceable than “Can’t Help Falling In Love”. (Regular readers may understand all this!) OK, PJ?!
THE DELFONICS: Trying To Make A Fool Of Me; Baby I Love You (Bell BLL 1116).
If you’re not a Soul Group Freak, too bad: if you are, then you will be getting this anyway. Two lovely slowies.
CODY BLACK: Ain’t No Love Like Your Love; Stop Trying To Do What You See Your Neighbour Do (Capitol).
Two nicely understated sides in an unhackneyed dated “Soul” style. Whoever this is, he and the band have chosen their influences with taste – old Joe Tex, Solomon Burke, Sam Cooke, Hank Ballard, James Brown, etc (although they don’t in fact copy any one of these). Nothing to get wildly excited about, but quietly satisfying.
THE TEMPLETON TWINS With Teddy Turner’s Bunsen Burners: Hey Jude; Macarthur Park (Liberty LBF 15379). (Ugly new label logo, incidentally.)
Two well known modern hits done absolutely straight in a faithful recreation of the late ’20s/early ’30s sound – a good novelty, though obviously not to everyone’s taste.
THE DOORS: Road House Blues (Elektra 2101008).
Obvious Blues format, very well done, with lots of beat and raucous Morrison hollering, from the “Hotel” LP.
B. J. THOMAS: I Just Can’t Help Believing; Send My Picture To Scranton, Pa. (Wand WN 5).
An “easy listening” jog-trot Mann/Weil ballad, good but not outstanding. Bacharach & David flip (Pa. being short for Pennsylvania, not Dad!).
SPENCER WIGGINS: I’m A Poor Man’s Son; That’s How Much I Love You (Pama PM 794).
From the same stable as James Carr, and sounding it, Spencer (not Percy) does a fairly undistinguished perky Soul side. The excellent “That’s How Strong My Love Is” – like flip was on “Bell’s Cellar Of Soul, Vol. 3”, and is worth having in one form or other.
THE ILLUSION: Let’s Make Each Other Happy (Paramount PARA 3007).
Third single, third new approach for Jeff Barry’s group – this time fast, heavy, good effects and just a bit too glib to be truly “underground”. Hear it, though.
THE VOGUES: Hey, That’s No Way To Say Goodbye (Reprise).
The smooth-singing Vogues’ brand new US single is a melding of “Donna”, “Since I Fell For You”, “I Miss You So”, “So This is Love”, and “Goodnight My Love”, in best oldies-but-goodies style. This is not it.