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Salient. Victoria University Student Newspaper. Volume 36, Number 6. 4th April 1973


page 13


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Loggins and Messina : Loggins and Messina SBP 474 049

Take one generous helping of Buffalo Springfield two years before they even saw the inside of a recording studio, add another equally generous portion of the Byrds rehearsing around the time of their Sweetheart of the Rodeo — Dr Byrds and Mr Hyde era and you have the new Loggins Messina effort. Simple isn't it. Your mama don't dance and your poppa don't rock'n 'roll, goes the single lifted from this album. At the time of writing it's slotted at 13 on the NZBC Popometer, which is where it deserves to be. As a description of the album, however, it's perfect. Frankly, it's the worst record I have had the misfortune to hear this year.

A lengthy period of time has elapsed since Lillian an Roxon wrote that Buffalo Springfield could have been the group. It was an even longer time before that that the group actually broke up. Why then, I wonder, do the offshoots persist in trying to put a post-Springfield scene back together when the five of them couldn't handle the potential in the criginal group.

The brains behind the Springfield were Steve Stills, who managed to recapture a few sparks of former glory with Manassas, and Neil Young, who learnt that attempted re-creation was nowhere two albums ago. Together, you might recall, they contributed disproportionately to Deja Vu — but even the best on that came nowhere near Expecting to fly or their door opener, Broken Arrow. Where does all this leave fellow Springfield conspirator, Jim Messina? Charging blindly into a dead end, dragging with him Kenny Loggins and all the other accoutrements of bland-plastic hip-country muzak. That's where.

Despite its proximity to Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass, Angry Eyes is by far the best track on the album — the others aren't worth mentioning. The self-conscious lyric ("you wanna believe that I am not the fame as you / now, I can't conceive, oh no, of what it is you are trying to give / with those angry eyes / well, I bet you wish you could cut me down with those angry eyes") lurches drunkenly over a backing reminiscent of the Stones' Can't you hear me knocking"? It's a straight steal, but at least it's a relief from the tedium of the other cuts.

If anybody at Phonogram knew what they were supposed to be doing, we would have seen the New Riders of the Purple Sage's third album a long time before this release. As it is they're not going to make much head way on an album market with this collection of instantly forgettable phoney cowboy nonsense angled at the top 10. At this point in the review, a certain female poked her head around the door, and said "That's n-i-c-e. Is it the Partridge Family"?

Full House — J. Geils Band. Atlantic

The J. Geils Band are one of the most popular 'live' American bands. This album was recorded before the legendary Detroit audience and it features songs from their last two studio albums. J. Geils play South Side Chicago Blues — the standard 12-bar Otis Rush and John Lee Hooker stuff. But unlike the limp imitations of the usual white Blues' bands, they play a more frenzied rock and roll blues that must be admired for its sustained energy level if for nothing else. The trouble with this music is that it has all been played before. Practically every song on this record could have been played by Mitch Ryder or MC5 (before the same audience), or Ten Years After, literally (en year ago. The record is saved by Hard Drivin' Man where they make some use of Seth Justman who used to play piano on Jerry Lee Lewis 45's! His piano on this track is excellent and they really seem to play some exciting rock and roll. However apart from this number and a few good harmonica solos from Maine Dick(!) the album is largely disappointing. Peter Wolf the singer must take some kind of prize for his bawled inanity: "Take out your false-teeth, I wanna suck on your gums!" Perhaps it would have been different if I'd been there that night.

Hudson — RCA (Playboy Label)

"Well I know you're wondering what I'm leading to/well I wrote this song for you". And of course everybody's wondering what Hugh Hefner's doing, dragging groups and single artists, usually second-rate and always virtually unknown, from obscurity into semi-obscurity using the impetus and status of the monolithic Hefner empire.

This album is probably the best yet released on the Playboy Label, but the difference is only comparative. Very much a studio album, it comes close to being coy and pretentious. Hudson have managed to create a series of album tracks all too slightly pretty and shallow though perfectly produced. It amazed me how they managed to sound like so many different groups (Beatles, Graham Nash, Herman's Hermits) and hence how little unity existed throughout the album.

Disconcertingly they manage also to create a very antagonistic response in me when I listen to the album — perhaps because of arrogance exemplified in a comment printed on the cover: "There are few people we care about enough to call our friends".

Left to their own resources Hudson could develop a good sound of their own, if they stop using proven formulae. This album remains little more than nice, easy listening music.

Slow to 20 — Jim Post (Festival)

Jim Post grew up in Colorado in a small town, learned how to boogie, drink, applejack and play pretty keen guitar. After dropping out of High School through a fast-developing social conscience he joined the mainstream of earnest young folkies playing usually for free in coffee bars, booze bars and madhouses. "But the truth remains that no-one wants to know", and so Jim Post unlike most of these frustrated pickers strummed his way into a recording studio and started singing strange little ballads like Mr Acres who lived with his daughter and their son and when the daughter was lured away by a handsome hunter poor Mr Acres lived alt alone in his mountain shack; filling out the gaps meanwhile with subtley disguised protests and comments on society and people, and doing it cleverly enough not to antagonise. [Sounds like another gutless hippie wanker — Ed.] His album called Colorado Exile, was something of a neglected masterpiece. Disillusioned by the lack of interest he had created, Post started writing songs like Sing.

"I've been making music ever since I was a / young child I'd go back to the forest, stand up / on a stump sing to the 20,000 trees. And I'm / gonna go on singing, 'cos it makes life so easy / I sing because I'm happy, sing because I'm free".

And that basically is what this new album is all about; he has unloaded the burden of protest, the obligation to tell people things they don't want to know, or prefer to ignore, or know and are trying to help. He has realized that the message he was trying to sell people at $5.75 a time was no different to the message every other folkie thinks is so unique. So where is he now? This is best expressed in a couple of lines from a track called Homemade Music:

"Goin 'back home to make some home-made / music again with my family and friends".

Altogether the album sounds like a slightly heavier James Taylor, with the same introspective songs and good but not outstanding music.

Drawing of a clown with ice cream

Don McLean — Don McLean : United Artists

Well, if it isn't Mr American Pie himself, with a whole new LP bursting with self-penned, honest-to-God songs all about such things as Bronco Bill, Narcisissma, and On the Amazon (a double entendre maybe — nudge, nudge, nods' as good as a wink to a - - - -).

That familiar, ever-present voice that we have grown to know and love; so sweet, to saccharine and oozing so much sincerity. It's the sort of svnthctic shit that's wowing the Greggs Coffee set down at Wellington's newlyacquired bastion of the 'arts', The Settlement.

The backing, yet again, is the most exciting part of the record, especially the slide guitar work (no credits provided). But one musn't judge our Don too harshly now. A friend of mine assures me it's all 'right for the heart'. That's all we need.