Frank’s Faves on Fridays

November 19, 2010

I do believe, Frank, that this batch is the first time where I’ve recognised every artist in the list. (I haven’t recognised all the songs, though.)

Phil Seymour – “I Found A Love” (1981)

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This reminds me so much of Ted Mulry. For example:

(A non-Frank suggestion)
Ted Mulry Gang – “My Temperature’s High” (1974)

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I enjoyed Phil Seymour’s song a lot. And I think I’ll call Phil Seymour “America’s Ted Mulry” from now on. By the way, I can’t really think of anything in particular to say about “I Found A Love” because there’s nothing out of the ordinary to report – there are no weird vocal harmonies, no wrong notes, no out-of-place instruments etc etc. It’s just a well-written, well-performed power pop song.

Lou Christie – “I’m Gonna Make You Mine” (1969)

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Before I played this song, I saw the name of the artist and was looking forward to hearing that wonderful, deep voice that Lou Christie’s renowned for, singing a song that I was familiar with. But when the singing began, I realised that I was thinking of Lou Rawls. Oops. As soon as I realised that I had the wrong Lou in my brain (now, there’s a Science-Fiction thriller title for you: The Wrong Lou In My Brain), I apologised to both Lou’s and got on with listening to the song. However, I committed yet another musical faux pas: when Lou (Christie) started singing I realised that I wasn’t listening to the song I thought I was going to listen to – I thought I was going to listen to “I’m Gonna Make You Love Me“. So, now I had to apologise to Diana Ross and The Supremes and The Temptations as well. Now that I was finally concentrating on “I’m Gonna Make You Mine” by Lou Christie, I enjoyed it. To me, it sounds like a Bubblegum song before Bubblegum came along – I’d call it pre-Bubblegum. I liked the background vocals. I just found out that “I’m Gonna Make You Mine” was released in 1969 which surprised me a little. Given the production (Las Vegas-ish), vocal style (both main and background), and country of origin (the land of Americans, where they love big shiny Las Vegas-ish pop songs), I would have picked this for about 1964 – not 1969, the era of hippies and Woodstock, the time when electric sitars and thumb cymbals ruled the airwaves.

[I have a feeling that my sentences are getting way too long and fractured. Please let me know if my sentences become unintelligible.]

Where was I? Oh, yeah: Lou Christie (not Rawls) singing “I’m Gonna Make You Mine” (Not “Love Me”). I like this song. And the more I play it, the more I like it.

Fotomaker – “Where Have You Been All My Life” (1978)

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Oh, dear. I’m afraid that this is definitely not the song for me to make any sort of (welcome) comment on. To spare your feelings, I’d love to be able to skip making any kind of comment. However, as you are possibly a glutton for punishment, here are a few of the things I found “grrr”-worthy:

1. The slightly country, slightly ballady feel of the song which reeks of “tenderness”. Ugh.
2. The seemingly-endless string of lyrical clichés. Ugh. (I actually cringed whilst listening to most of those lyrics.)
3. The synthesized ‘brass section’ (appearing every two bars in the verse, starting at 1:03 – it sounds like a synthesizer playing two notes that were set to “trumpet”). Ugh.
4. The refrain (at 1:49) leading up to the guitar solo that (to me) doesn’t seem to quite fit in with the rest of the song. (I also thought it was the best part of the song – and not because it was the shortest part.)
5. That piano fill at 2:06. Talk about cliché. Ugh.

The only thing I will say in this song’s favour is that some of the melody and chords that were used in the verse reminded me of ABBA’s “Super Trouper”. The great news is that I was reminded of ABBA. The not-so-great news is that when I think of ABBA, most other artists come off a distinct second-best. But back to the Fotomaker song: there is one other thing I can think of that could be considered as praise – I thought the guitar tone in the solo was OK. But why put strings in the song from the guitar solo onwards, when they could have been used throughout the song, taking my mind off of those horrendous lyrics? I’ve listened to the song three times now, and it did not improve each time. Quite the opposite: every time I heard the song, the things that annoyed me managed to annoy me even more.

Emitt Rhodes – “Really Wanted You” (1971)

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Now this is much more like it. When it started, straight after the Fotomaker track – and almost as an antidote to the Fotomaker track – I was groovin’ to it in a major way. The beat, the melodies, the riffs, the instrumentation, the playing… it’s all good. Yep. Not much to complain about here. (Well, nothing I can think of.) By the way, you supplied a mono version of the track. I’ve replaced it with the stereo one which allows you to really appreciate Emitt’s acoustic guitar playing (in the left channel) as well everything else he played on the track (which was, incidentally, everything else).

Bonus instrumental:

Booker T. & The MG’s – “Time Is Tight” (1969)

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Fabulous. And it’s just occurred to me that nothing I can say is going to add to the enjoyment of a Booker T. & The MG’s track – any Booker T. & The MG’s track. My advice for anyone about to listen to “Time Is Tight”: just sit back, relax, and let Booker T. and the gang do their thang. Oh yeah.

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