Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Recent LP finds

By way of a change, here are three LPs by white American 60s acts that I've picked up for next to nothing in the last few days at car boots and markets. All of them are new to me and interesting in their own way. Well worth seeking out if you don't know them.
1. The 4 Seasons - The Genuine Imitation Life Gazette. Philips SBL 7880.
Released in 1968 on the Philips label this was unlike anything else that the 4 Seasons produced. Frankie Valli's famous falsetto went down an octave or so on this psychedelic flavoured album, which bears more resemblance to the Beach Boys' Pet Sounds than the Sherry/Walk Like A Man sound that we had grown to know and love. It's not entirely successful, and certainly didn't sell very well, but there are some stunning tracks, including American Crucifixion Resurrection, the incredbly sad Saturday's Father, the title track and Soul Of A Woman. All the tracks are written by Bob Gaudio and lyricist Jake Holmes and, although slightly pretentious at times, the album is interesting throughout and well worth a listen.
2. Creedence Clearwater Revival - Mardi Gras.  Fantasy FAN 9404.
This 1972 LP was the seventh and last by Creedence and the least effective. The band was on the verge of breaking up and the LP comprised three tracks written by John Fogerty and six by fellow band members Stu Cook and Doug Clifford which strayed towards country, plus a cover of Hello Mary Lou sung by Fogerty. I think the Fogerty tracks, especially Sweet Hitch-Hiker, are the stand outs, but overall the record falls short of the rest of Creedence's catalogue.
3. Tony Joe White - Tony Joe White, Warner Bros K 46068.
This 1971 album was Tony's first Warner LP and is well up to the standard of his Monument recordings. The 'Swamp Fox' is a master of understated blues with deep lyrics and mysterious undercurrents. Tracks such as They Caught The Devil And Put Him In Jail in Eudora Arkansas, Black Panther Swamps and Five Summers For Jimmy are atmospheric gems. I saw Tony at the Baton Rouge Blues Festival a couple of years back and I thought his voice was mesmerising. Wish he would visit the UK more often.


At 3:01 pm , Blogger Dave C said...

I would like to support your comments on The 4 Seasons album. I bought it in the mid-to-late 70s and was very impressed by the serious nature of the songs, which showed an unexpected side of the group. Judging by its reception, it probably deserves the description ‘cult classic’. A few years later I came across a second-hand copy of the American release, the sleeve of which was much more reflective of the music. A copy of the sleeve and some interesting comments can be found here


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