Posts Tagged: "Lost Classic"

LOST CLASSIC: Todd Rundgren & Utopia, Deface the Music (Bearsville 1980)

Dave Clarke - - Music & Food
The London Yodeller

After the debacle of the Buggs’ Beatles story is this loving tribute to the Beatles put out by power pop superstar and gifted producer, Todd CLARKE lost classic deface the musicRundgren, and his prog rock outfit Utopia. The 13 songs on this album pay homage to the fab four, capturing the sounds of all the phases of their musical career. Rundgren had already shown an incredible talent for mimicry on his previous album Faithful which included one whole side of exact copies of tunes by The Yardbirds, Beach Boys and The Beatles. What makes this album special is that instead of parody (done so well by The Rutles two years earlier) is that the Utopia tunes capture the spirit of the Beatles tunes without being outright imitations.

The opener I Just Want to Touch You has the feel of She Loves You and I Want to Hold Your Hand but also captures the general Merseybeat sound as well. Todd does a pretty good Paul McCartney vocal and on the tracks Alone, Life Goes On and All Smiles this is put to good use on songs that sound-check McCartney-sung tunes like Eleanor Rigby, Fool on the Hill  and Michelle. Nice little musical touches prevail like the variation on Day Tripper’s opening riff on That’s Not Right, or Hoi Poloi, which combines the satire of George Harrison’s Piggies and then throws in a little Penny Lane horn riff, for good measure. The album concludes with the Beatles psychedelic phase with the track Everybody Else Is Wrong, which forgoes the lyrical psychedelic imagery but still may remind you of I’m the Walrus.

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LOST CLASSIC: Elvis Presley, From Elvis in Memphis (RCA 1969)

Dave Clarke - - Music & Food
The London Yodeller

Dave Clarke Lost ClassicAfter a series of mostly dismal soundtrack records, Elvis’ career was jump-started by his famous comeback TV special. A revitalized Elvis rushed into the studio for a new non-soundtrack album that turned out to be one of the highlights of his long career. Instead of recording at his usual RCA studios, it was decided to record at the American Sound Studios in his hometown of Memphis under the direction of producer Chips Moman and using the studio’s house band, known as “The Memphis Boys” including such name-recognizable musicians as Dan Penn, Tommy Cogbill and Bobby Emmons.

The album almost didn’t happen as Colonel Tom’s practice of demanding half of the publishing didn’t sit well with Moman and he was ready to walk away from the whole thing. But Elvis really wanted this to happen so management acquiesced. The album is a fantastic example of the countrypolitan sound made popular by Glen Campbell and Lee Hazlewood.

The album starts with the killer track, Wearin’ That Loved On Look, that received even more attention when covered by the Sadies on their Tremendous Efforts album. Elvis wails on this one and follows it up with the first of the cover songs on the album, a version of Jerry Butler’s Only the Strong Survive, that almost rivals the original. Other covers include Johnny Tillotson’s It Keeps On a Hurtin’, which receives the honky-tonk treatment and Hank Snow’s nugget, I’m Movin’ On, that Elvis rockabillies up. He puts in a fine cover of Gentle on my Mind but Glen Campbell’s version still rules. Continue Reading

LOST CLASSIC: Travis Wammack, Not for Sale (Capricorn Records 1975)

Dave Clarke - - Music & Food
The London Yodeller

Dave Clarke Lost ClassicTravis Wammack was a bit of a guitar prodigy, recording his first single at the age of 12 and having the instrumental hit Scratchy, at the age of 17. He was one of the Fame Studios session guitarists and Little Richard’s bandleader from 1984-1995. He put out this wonderful solo effort in 1975 aided by his Fame studio cohorts and produced by studio honcho Rick Hall. It’s a very cool selection of Southern rock and soul that spawned two minor hits, a version of the many times covered tune, Easy Evil, and the rocking Love Being Your Fool. The rest of the album includes some tasty covers including Clyde McPhatter’s soul classic, A Lover’s Question, I Forgot to Remember to Forget, made famous by Elvis, and one the best tracks on the album, a remake of the Fortunes You Got Your Troubles. Surprisingly the focus on the album is on his voice, which has a great raspy soul edge, though he does manage to showcase his guitar playing on the frantic rocker, Looking for a Fox. The other two outstanding tracks are CookinOn the Front Burner, a Southern rock classic very much in the mould of Lynyrd Skynyrd, and another cover of the great Delbert McClinton tune, Love Rustler. Happy to report that Mr. Wammack is still alive and well and still performing.

LOST CLASSIC: Washrag, Bang (TMI 1973)

Dave Clarke - - Music & Food
The London Yodeller

CLARKE Lost Classic WashragNo one would blame you for passing by an album by a band with the attractive name, Washrag, but that would be a pretty big mistake since this one-off album is a fantastic collection of instrumentals, featuring the guitar work of the amazing Steve Cropper, under the rather obvious name of Captain Guitar. The album was a happy mistake. The players, Cropper, David Mayo and ace engineer Ron Capone, also known as the Gang, started jamming while waiting to do their next studio session. They liked how it sounded, composed a few originals and then covered a few of their soul favourites, and - voila - one cool funky album.
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LOST CLASSIC: The Sidewinders, Flatfoot Hustlin’ (Great Eastern Recording Company 1977)

Dave Clarke - - Music & Food
The London Yodeller

DAVE CLARKE sidewindersWhen you think of Canadian music, funk is not the first genre that comes to mind, but Halifax’s Sidewinders, 1977 album Flatfoot Hustlin is considered one of the finest of obscure funk releases. The seven-piece band had been together for ten years before heading into the studio and all that experience comes across in the grooves. I Like to Dance opens the album with a funky guitar riff augmented by a chorus of horns, and I thought it was going to be an instrumental, but found it was a calculated move by the band to get funk vibe going before the vocals kicked in. They slow things down for the soulful ballad Time for Lovin revealing several fine vocalists in the band with harmonies that reminded me of another great Canadian soul band Motherlode. Next up A Voyage with a great bass groove from Hank Anderson, and a nod to the disco sound of the day that fades out to return as the closer on the second side. Typical of the time is I Like Your Stuff which opens with a low spoken part, a la Barry White and then the band gets down with great vocal interplay from several of the band members.

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LOST CLASSIC: Ashton, Gardner and Dyke, Resurrection Shuffle (Capitol 1971)

Dave Clarke - - Music & Food
The London Yodeller

DAVE CLARKE ashton gardner dyke lost classicTony Ashton and Roy Dyke were both members of the Liverpool band, The Remo Four who backed George Harrison on his Wonderwall project. They joined up with Kim Gardner, former member of the Creation and the Birds, releasing their initial self-titled release in 1969. But it was their second album, named after their only hit, Resurrection Shuffle here in North America, and entitled The Worst of Ashton, Gardner and Dyke in the U.K. that is our subject today.

The title tune, a glorious infectious “how to” dance number, (“wave your hands in the air / make a peace sign like you just don’t care”) featuring a killer horn section and Kim Gardner’s gruff vocals, really stands out the first time through but the rest of the album continues to deliver a wonderfully sloppy funky gospel fest, much in the vein of Joe Cocker’s early work. Other highlights include the funky soul of Let It Roll with special guest Stan Webb from Chicken Shack on guitar and an awesome trumpet solo from Jim Horn. I’m Your Spiritual Breadman is noteworthy for the pairing of guitarists in disguise Sir Cedric Clayton and George O’Hara Smith – yes it’s chums Eric Clapton and George Harrison sitting in. The appreciative threesome thank Eric and George with a lovely little ballad about their shared missus, Sweet Patti O’Hara Smith. Mister Freako, a bluesy ballad features another mystery guitarist, Romulus Woodworth, but drop a few letters and it turns out to be Gardner’s old bandmate from the Birds, Ron Wood. More gospel tinged tunes are Paper Head Paper Mind and the Dylanesque goodie, Hymn to Everyone.

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LOST CLASSIC: Jimmie Mack and the Jumpers, Jimmie Mack (RCA)

Dave Clarke - - Music & Food
The London Yodeller

DAVE CLARKE lostclassicjimmymackHe started as the vocalist for the Earl Slick Band, but he soon launched a solo career that saw two earlier releases, Jimmie Mack, in 1978 and On the Corner in 1979, but it’s this, his final album that deserves the lost classic title. It features Mack’s raspy vocals, amazingly hook-laden rock songs and a sound that straddles the hard rocking 70′s and the new wave power pop of the 80′s. The first side features an onslaught of great tunes from the driving It’s Gonna Hurt, the spooky ballad I Need You and the glam rocker Hold Me Tight. The side finishes with another catchy rocker. Little Bit of Lovin’ and if you’re in the mood for a Journey-like ballad you’ve got Just To Be In Love Again.
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LOST CLASSIC: Ellen McIlwaine, The Real Ellen McIlwaine (Kotai, 1975)

Dave Clarke - - Music & Food
The London Yodeller

DAVE CLARKE lostclassicellenmcilwaineA fine slide guitarist, with a strong voice and unique style, she had played the New York folk circuit, sharing the stage with one of her major influences, Jimi Hendrix in his early performing stage, as well as leading the psychedelic blues band Fear Itself and recording several solo albums before releasing this unique classic.

Ellen was known for her eccentric but interesting interpretations of other’s work and this album is no exception with her take on Stevie Wonder’s Higher Ground (the Red Hot Chilli Pepper’s version owes more to her version than the original), Jack Bruce’s He the Richmond, and Tracy Nelson’s Down So Low.  She also picks on some blues and R&B classics like John Lee Hooker’s Crawling Kingsnake, a tune she covered with her band
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LOST CLASSIC: Marc Wirtz, Balloon (Capitol Records)

Dave Clarke - - Music & Food
The London Yodeller

DAVE CLARKE marcwirtzballoonlostclassicInvolved in the music industry since the mid 1960′s, working at Abbey Road studios with Geoff Emerick and producing Steve Howe’s early band Tomorrow, and Kippington Lodge (which featured a very young Nick Lowe) as well as being the man behind the legendary, uncompleted Teenage Opera project, Marc Wirtz’ debut solo work, Balloon is a wonderful example of psych pop.  Backed by the cream of British session musicians including Chris Spedding and Albert Lee on guitars, drummers Clem Cattini and Terry Cox and B.J. Cole on steel guitar, the album features heavily orchestrated layers of sound, reminiscent of Sgt. Pepper’s-era Beatles on tracks like Long Way From Home and Smile-era Beach Boys, on the song Mellow Man.  
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LOST CLASSIC: Michel Pagliaro, Pagliaro, Much Records (1971)

Dave Clarke - - Music & Food
The London Yodeller

DAVE CLARKE pagliaroOne of my top ten Power Pop records came from right here in Canada, in the person of Quebecois rocker Michel Pagliaro. From his time as a member of the French Canadian 60′s beat group, Les Chanceliers, through his early sung-entirely-in-French solo career, his popularity was confined to La Belle Province. This, his fourth release was his first all-in-English effort and for it he pulled out all the stops with three fantastic singles, the folk rock Rainshowers which reminds me of The Band, the big AM radio hit Some Sing Some Dance, and the power pop classic Lovin’ You Ain’t Easy, two minutes and forty-two seconds of hook laden pleasure. It opens with a cool guitar riff, then adds a distinctive walking bass line, with a killer chorus and harmonies reminiscent of both the Beach Boys and the Raspberries.
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