ISLEY BROTHERS: That Lady (Parts 1/2) (Epic EPC 1704).
What freakiness is this? Amorphous pretty noises, phasing acid guitar, slinky sensuous singing . . . a lightly chattering beat, some chukka-wukka grittiness at times . . . but over all this rapidly rising US hit (and especially its instrumental B-side) is dominated by the mind-naggingly sustained acid guitar line, amidst which the Isleys’ vocal smoothness is at its sexiest. More of a sound than a song, it will hopefully not be too shapeless for British tastes, as it’s truly the PICK OF THE WEEK.
EAGLES: Tequila Sunrise (Asylum AYM 520).
From their “Desperado” concept album comes the Eagles’ latest laid-back gem, an oh-so-languid lazy lilter which features sleepy singing, gentle guitar, slithering steel, “Tumbling Tumbleweeds” touches, and a trace of influence from their feathered friends, the Byrds . . . . aaahhh-uurrr-umm, I think I’ll just lay me down and rest awhile, so sleepy, mmmmm, mmmm MMMUSIC PICK.
COMMANDER CODY & HIS LOST PLANET AIRMEN: Smoke! Smoke! Smoke! (That Cigarette); Rock That Boogie (Paramount PARA 3040).
The only reason why many people, the staff of “RM” included, are going to the Reading Festival next weekend is to see the stars of the show, Commander Cody and his real gone Airmen. Cody and the boys just love that oldtime Country music, the sort with balls, and spend their time making fun-filled bouncy recreations of it. For instance, this vintage mild lunacy, full of sprightly fiddle and skipping rhythm, was originally recorded (with a much deeper voice) by Tex Williams in, I do believe, the far-off ‘Forties. What’s more, the jolly flip is similar to the sort of pre-Rock ‘n Roll boogie which Tennessee Ernie Ford used to record, better than twenty years ago. If, wonder of wonders, you dig these, try Dan Hicks And His Hot Licks’ “Where’s The Money” next. MUSIC PICK.
PERRY COMO: For The Good Times; Sing (RCA 2402).
Ray “Crazy Arms” Price, veteran Country singer, had a huge US hit with this Kris Kristofferson slowie some time ago, and by rights should have a hit here too because his similarly crooned version was every bit as Easy Listening as Perry’s. In fact, as I’ve said before, given the exposure, Ray could become a British fave. Anyway, Perry Como’s chops are in good “And I Love You So” smoochy shape, and he gets breezy on the Carpenters flip. MoR PICK.
MAUREEN McGOVERN: The Morning After (Pye 7N 25603).
Reactivated since winning an Oscar by beating lots of real music as “Best Original Song From A Motion Picture”, and since winning the top spot in Billboard’s US Chart (after gaining as the notorious Kal Rudman was first to notice, heavy response from females aged 20 to 35), this depressing loser of a dirge is the Karen Carpenter sound-alike which Carol Lynley mimed in “The Poseidon Adventure”. No, no, no! If some chirruping chipmunk at the Beeb decides to push it, it must, I fear, be an MoR PICK.
BARRY WHITE: Bring Back My Yesterday (Pye 7N 25622).
Instead of Barry’s US follow-up, his album’s “I’ve Got So Much To Give” title track, we get another track, the equally lugubrious groaning slowie here. Oddly, it’s a bit like a sing-along session with Max Bygraves played at 16 rpm! On top you get an edited 3:24 version, while on the flip you get the whole 6:40, Hayes-ian rap and all.
JOHNNY MATHIS: I’m Coming Home; Stop, Look And Listen To Your Heart (CBS 1732).
For all his criticisms of the castrato Sweet Soul style (reported in “Keeping Up With Joneses” recently), Johnny Mathis here suffers from his inability to sound other than like Johnny Mathis on this Thom Bell-produced attempt at a new direction. It’s the patient triangle tinkler who deserves most praise on top, while Russell Thompkins Jr’s falsetto is sadly missing from the torpid treatment of the Stylistics’ sparkling flip. How long before Thom Bell has to produce Andy Williams?
CHICAGO: Feelin’ Stronger Every Day; Jenny (CBS 1653).
Going great guns in the US is Chi Town’s new herky-jerky disjointed slow-then-fast brasser, but the side that gets played most at my house is the flip. A pretty slowie, it’s made so nice by the Boz Scaggs-style guitar which permeates the perpetually rattling rhythm behind the husky vocal.
DORIS DUKE: Business Deal (Mainstream MSS 302).
Jane Fonda could learn a thing or two about her “Klute” role from Doris Duke’s new tale of feminine woe: you see, she went with this guy purely as a business deal, one of many, when . . . . zap! POW! He did it to her so good that she loved the way he made her feel. Uhh! Gasps and screams lead into the chunky slow Soul backing, through which Doris wails and emotes with all the involvement of a true pro. Which reminds me, Sylvia has now recorded her own version of “Je T’Aime . . . . Moi Non Plus”, with Puerto Rican Soul singer, Ralfi Pagan. TCB, and save some for me! R & B PICK.
JOHN PRINE: Spanish Pipedream; Illegal Smile (Atlantic K 10350).
The “Don’t call me last year’s Loudon Wainwright” guy is here well represented by some jolly foot-tapping Folk-Rock and by his most famous song on the fip, a nasal little ditty about the innocent pleasure he gets from smoking the dreaded weed.
DON DOWNING: Lonely Days, Lonely Nights; I’m So Proud Of You (People PEO 102).
The second single from Britain’s new R&B label is from America’s new Roadshow label, and from the US R&B Charts. Both ancient and modern in sound, it’s a phased slow starting medium light thumper with electric sitar Motown-style behind expressively interjecting Don and the dominating girlie group . . . . which means that it’s likely to appeal to Detroit Emeralds fans and more, so that if B&C can get it through it should hit the Charts. There’s some real Soul singing from Don on the flip too, to, make it at least a double-sided R&B PICK.
SHIRLEY & LEE: Let The Good Times Roll; That’s What I Wanna Do (UA UP 35578).
As self-styled King of the Nostalgicats, I must say that the “Let The Good Times Roll” movie is a must for all ‘Fifties FREAX: it features such an excitingly executed mixture of old b&w ’50s pix and modern colour film that you won’t begrudge the many anachronisms in the live music. This, the theme song, is not live – it’s the classic 1956 New Orleans hit, and, if enough people see the film and UA can get this into the shops (or, better yet, the cinemas), it might sell a few copies to other than Jamaican expatriates – who will be lapping it up for its Ska-inspiring flip, which all tyro Rock chroniclers should hear. Perennially popular amongst older Jamaicans, Shirley especially is still an influence on female Jamaican singers, while the whole flip is practically pure Ska. MUSIC PICK.
JIMMY INTERVAL: I Can See You; Everyday (London HLU 10425).
The whole concept of this Pop oddity seems to belong about ten years ago: its closest modern parallel (and not so modern at that) is the work of Lou Christie. Of undoubted interest to Early ‘Sixties Pure Pop fans, it’s also got a completely different and equally interesting flip, which is musically rather good – and again incredibly dated. If you are really into the past, do check these out.
LITTLE RICHARD JARVIS AND THE GOOD HOME COOKIN’: Heritage Part 1; You Can’t Get There From Here (Capitol CL 15759).
Strangeness personified! Reminiscent of Exuma, if of anything, this phoney gibberish war chant is less good than it is odd . . . and Gary Paxton, of “Monster Mash’s” Garpax fame, seems to have been behind it. Where, for instance, is Part 2? The flip is one of those Homer Banks/Spencer Davis “de de de de, bong” things, with other overlaid rhythms and spastic yelling. 1973 Punk Rock?