Salient. Victoria University Student Newspaper. Volume 37, Number 5. 3rd April 1974
Daltrey: Roger Daltrey. Track Records 2406 107.
Roger Daltrey is vocalist with The Who', a group in the rock elite. So why has he recorded a solo album?
Why? Because he's found a buncha nice songs and he wants to record them outside the environment of a group, whose material is dominated by songs written by Peter Townshend.
All but two of the tracks on this LP are the work of Dave Courtney and Leo Sayer (who is making a name for himself as a solo performer in Britain). They are uncomplicated melodies, with basic lyrics. Daltrey wrote none of the song nor did he produce the album: this is an unpretentious LP. Daltrey is primarily a vocalist, and apart from some competent acoustic guitar, he knows it.
But by what criteria should this album be judged? Daltrey as Daltrey, or Daltrey as a member of The Who? As a debut album it has potential: Daltrey deserved the chance. But then there are many who deserve the chance and never even get close to a recording studio. The name Daltrey would have contributed to this album getting high in the British charts.
But compared to the work, recent or otherwise, of The Who this album does not make it Daltrey's voice, so suited to accompanying Townshend's jarring guitar on the great numbers that have punctuated The Who's inconsistent, if long, career ('Magic Bus, 'My Generation', 'Pinball Wizard'), here, is weak in the context of these more mildly arranged songs. That is generalising though because Daltrey proves me wrong on three tracks on Side Two: 'It's a Hard Life', 'Giving it All Away', (the best track and cheaper as a single) and 'Reasons'. However, these aren't sufficient to carry the remainder of the album.
Daltrey's got the money to gamble on this sort of experiment (it was recorded at his own studio, in Sussex). From all reports, it was financially a success. With a few exceptions, it is musically bland, commercial and uninspired.
Dory Previn Live at Carnegie Hall: (April 18, 1973, 8pm).
I didn't like this album after listening to all of the four sides, what Billboard Magazine called her 'songs of neurotic grief' and 'comically despairing outlook' but I did like Dory Previn. She's a very funny lady who, like Randy Newman and President Nixon, write positively about the tragic and pathetic.
The songs on this album are a selection from her four studio releases: "Mythical Kings and lguanas", "Reflections in a Mud Puddle", "Mary C. Brown and the Hollywood Sign", and "On My Way to Where" are all to do with modern society, the phobias, idiocies and prejudices of everyday life. In "Mary C. Brown" an unsuccessful actress leaps to fame (short-lived) and "The Veterans Big Parade" is really about our own RSA. One track, "Mythical Kings" is quietly fantastic and is easily the album's best song. Significantly perhaps, it's the only song on the album to deal imaginatively with human experience, and is not mere social comment.
Angel Flight the backing group, are nicely unobtrusive behind Ms Previn's voice and guitar. The audience is just wonderful and as a live album it's a real gem.
I didn't like it much though because the songs all sound the same. I'Il bet you science kids would dig "Moon-rock"; it's about how a moonrock feels about being taken away to earth, and it's easily the worst song on the album. Easily.
Welcome: Santana. CBS 474145.
Reviewed by Ken George.
A very smooth album indeed. In fact, probably the first one that they have produced for a while that can be just plain old listened to. No blow your bass speaker out heavy metal thump, no dazzlingly brilliant extended solos where you are supposed to sit and admire the virtuosity of it all, no wonderfully intricate pieces of inspired musical composition, no avant garde free form adventures, in fact almost none of the things which have become musically fashionable but tend to be a bit boring after the first couple of listens.
Still unmistakeably Santana, they have gone in this album further into jazz and latin-american types of music than on any earlier album. They have augmented their basic line-up, (presumably for the recording only), with a number of new sounds. The band itself is exactly the same as the one that toured New Zealand, including the negro jazz vocalist Leon Thomas, but with two female vocalists, Wendy Haas and Flora Purim, the latter sounding very much like Cleo Laine plus a wind and string section, among other things.
A nice full sound, with everybody playing all the time. As for the composing, almost everybody in the band contributed. Mahavishnu John McLaughlin, also plays on the album.
All in all a very tight crew, extremely competent, and memorable for its polish and professionalism. This album could well appeal to a much wider audience than any of their earlier ones, especially jazz fans. Some of the pieces are so smooth it's almost cabaret, and if you ever wondered what Sergio Mendes and Brasil 66 would sound like with an electric guitarist, here's the answer.
For Everyman: Jackson Browne. Asylum Recording.
Browne has been around for a long time, having his songs recorded by artists as disparate as the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band and Tom Rush as far back as 1968. His own delayed appearance on record in 1971 saved him from the unfortunate effects that over exposure had on other solo artists with similar inclinations like Cat Stevens and James Taylor.
Browne has said that his voice is naturally plain bad. Judging by the vocals on "Everyman" he has been practising hard and has found out what works and what doesn't.
At first his songs appear pretty run of the mill, but subtle variations of timing and melody slipped in here and there work miracles of transformation: his music has the same unique qualities that you find in the Stones—it sounds so easy to do, but just let anyone else try to improve on them!
Listen, for example to his version of the tune that first cropped up on the Eagles' LP "Take it Easy", or the bittersweet, melancholic "I Thought I was a Child"; and the record's rocker is "Red Neck Friend".
Also, a word about the excellent musicianship of everybody involved on this album. Among the better-known names are Sneaky Pete, as brilliant as ever, Jim Keltner, Joni Mitchell, and, singing harmonies, Glenn Frey. And, unlike so many of the records of 1973, issued with a flood of hype and forgotten after a dozen playings, this one is for keeps. Many LPs are a lot flashier than this one, but damn few are any better.