Go figure, I keep finding interesting music worth keeping on your radar that got lost in the sauce for whatever reason. You might have seen my piece last week on this topic (if not, click here to catch up). Here are some “new” finds from recent crate digs.
Wally — I first saw this album years ago when the owner of an East Coast record store put it up on their wall as a joke at a ridiculous price (like $100) just to see if anyone would notice it or possibly be interested. I mean, seriously, a group named freakin’ Wally, co-produced by Rick Wakeman? Well, I finally came across a copy of Wally’s lone album on Atlantic (from 1974) and it’s actually a nice recording that has sort of space-rock leanings while keeping its vocal harmony and mainstream-rock sensibilities up front. The final track, “Your Own Way,” is like what might happen if Pink Floyd had Jerry Garcia sitting in on pedal steel while Jeff Tweedy of Wilco sang. Disjointed for sure, and the opening track “The Martyr” sounds like it’s about a witch being burnt. Oddly curious. I’m keeping this one.
Bob Neuwirth — Fans of Bob Dylan and John Cale will be familiar with this American singer/songwriter/producer, but I suspect most of you will have no clue who this guy is. And in fact, I myself was surprised to come across a promo LP of his first solo album, which boasts a cast of stellar support musicians, including Jeff “Skunk” Baxter, Don Everly, Cass Elliot, Chris Hillman, Booker T. Jones, Kris Kristofferson, Dusty Springfield (!), and many more. The first thing that gets me about listening to this album is that if I’d first heard this in 1974 I might not have liked its alternative flavor country rock stylings. However, listening to it for the first time in 2013, this sounds pretty much like a Wilco or Son Volt record. This is pretty cool. Worth checking out. I’m also going to revisit Bob’s album with John Cale (which I haven’t listened to in ages).
Randy Burns and the Sky Dog Band — Still On Our Feet is (I think) the second album by Randy Burns, whom I just discovered (and recently wrote about here). Happenstance being what it is, last Friday I came across a promo copy of Burns’ 1973 album on the Polydor label (which had probably by then acquired the Mercury Records catalog and all its contracts). Go figure. I’ve never heard of this artist before and all of a sudden I find two of his early albums back to back.
As on the first album, Still On Our Feet has a split personality of sorts, with more true country western flavor production, yet vocal delivery and production that is decidedly more akin to a pop recording from the likes of contemporaries such as Harry Chapin, Jim Croce, and Billy Joel. A track like “Mary Ann” sounds like another lost Billy Joel track circa 1974’s Streetlife Serenade, right down to a sax solo and congas. The album also has a retake of Burns’ lovely tune “Seventeen Years on the River,” which it places at the end of the album as a grand finale. That’s how they used to make records, folks. Nowadays, everyone puts the best tracks up front. Too bad, because it’d be nice if more people listened all the way through for full impact.
Anyway,those are a few more more fine lost albums you might want to check out in your crate digging adventures.
Stay tuned for more.
Until then, give Randy’s tune a spin from his Myspace page: