Ned Doheny is a virtual unknown outside of certain circles – and hopefully this release with change that. Musically think Boz Scaggs circa "Lowdown", Steely Dan doing "FM (No Static At All)" or Robbie Dupree giving it his best Michael McDonald songwriting impression on "Steal Away" – and you get the picture. The radio-friendly tunes and arrangements are very West Coast Funky-Rock-Soul and its easy to hear why tracks like "Get It Up For Love" and "To Prove My Love" have been gracing slick Seventies compilations for years now. In fact, 2009 saw the release of these albums on CD – but in Japan only – and even they have gathered cult status and price tags stretching into three figures. So this reissue on one of Cherry Red’s subsidiary labels (SuperBird) will be welcome new to fans that never thought they’d see this stuff reissued at a reasonable price…
Released in the UK on 25 July 2011, SuperBird SBIRD 0048 CD breaks down as follows (72:21 minutes):
1. Get It Up For Love
2. If You Should Fall
3. Each Time You Pray
4. When Love Hangs In The Balance
5. A Love Of Your Own
6. I've Got Your Number
7. On The Swing Shift
8. Sing To Me
10. To Prove My Love
11. Think Like A Lover
12. Labor Of Love
13. Thinking With My Heart
14. Guess Who's Looking For Love Again
15. The Devil In You
16. Funky Love
17. If You Only Knew
18. Sweet Friction
Tracks 1 to 9 are the album “Hard Candy” issued in 1976 in the USA on Columbia PC 34529
Tracks 10 to 18 are the album “Prone” issued in 1979 in Japan on CBS/Sony 25AP 1359
The list of contributing musicians on each album reads like a virtual who’s who of the hip Rock scene in the mid Seventies – Linda Ronstadt, J.D. Souther, Don Henley and Glen Frey (on Vocals), David Foster, Graig Doerge and David Garland (on Keyboards), Tom Scott, Jim Horn, Chuck Findley and the Tower Of Power Horns (on Brass), Dennis Parker (on Bass), Gary Mallaber, John Guerin and Jeff Porcaro (on Drums), Victor Feldman and Steve Forman (on Percussion) with String and Horn Arrangements by Jimmie Haskell (on “Prone”). The remaster has been done by ROGER LOMAS at Ro-Lo Studios and the sound is superb – clear and warm. The 12-page booklet has album credits and a brief history of the man and his albums by MALCOLM DOME – it’s neatly done.
The opening track “Get It Up For Love” is genius – a fantastically catchy tune that regularly has customers coming to the counter asking after it when I place it on a “70’s Fest” compilation.
Hamish Stuart (of the Average White Band) co-wrote and sang on the lovely “A Love Of Your Own”. If the title seems familiar it’s because it was a hit for the AWB in their own right (Stuart and Doheny also went on to wrote “Whatcha Gonna Do For Me” – a big hit for Chaka Khan). Bonnie Raitt sings backing vocals with Rosemary Butler on the very popular “To Prove My Love”, Steve Perry adds vocals to the funky “Sweet Friction” - while both of the albums benefited from the high production values of Steve Cropper from Booker T. & The MG’s (he also played and sang on many tracks).
I wish I could say it’s all as good as “Get It Up For Love” but as you can imagine it falls into the schlocky lurve song too many times – still – “Each Time You Play” and “Guess Who’s Looking For Love” are excellent and remind me of the melodious Stephen Bishop at his best.
Doheny went on to make sporadic albums in the Eighties and Nineties, but his cult reputation falls on these two rare and pricey albums – and it’s nice to finally seem them get a domestic issue at a reasonable price. A very clever reissue indeed.
Recommended like a Babylon Sister shaking it...