Wednesday, 4 May 2016

"Nicolette/In The Nick Of Time/Radioland" by NICOLETTE LARSON (2016 Beat Goes On 2CD Remasters) - A Review by Mark Barry...




"...In The Nick Of Time..."

All three of these 'yacht rock' Warner Brothers albums from Montana's NICOLETTE LARSON charted in the USA - her debut "Nicolette" in November 1978 (No. 15), "In The Nick Of Time" in November 1979 (No. 47) and "Radioland" in January 1981 (No. 62). All three also came loaded down with Ted Templeman production values and a huge/impressive array of guest musicians that reads like a virtual who's who of cool West Coast session types. Then there's exclusive songs by Glenn Frey of The Eagles and John David Souther coupled with smooth-as-a-baby's-posterior covers of good people like Allen Toussaint, Jesse Winchester, Little Feat, Holland-Dozier-Holland and Sam Cooke.

A typically classy release from England's Beat Goes On - you get her first three commercially available albums remastered in high def from original tapes onto two CDs by BGO's resident audio expert ANDREW THOMPSON, a chunky 24-page booklet with full album credits, photos and new liner notes from noted writer JOHN TOBLER - all wrapped with a pretty outer card slipcase. The Audio on this sucker is gorgeous - tracks like her cover of The Louvin Brothers Country hit "Angels Rejoiced" where she duets on vocals with Herb Pedersen (Mandolin from Albert Lee) is just beautiful to listen too. A top job done. Here are the details...

UK released April 2016 - "Nicolette/In The Nick Of Time/Radioland" by NICOLETTE LARSON on Beat Goes On BGOCD 1231 (Barcode 5017261212313) offers 3LPs remastered onto 2CDs and plays out as follows:

Disc 1 (38:14 minutes):
1. Lotta Love
2. Rhumba Girl
3. You Send Me
4. Can't Get Away From You
5. Mexican Divorce
6. Baby, Don't Do It [Side 2]
7. Give A Little
8. Angels Rejoiced
9. French Waltz
10. Come Early Mornin'
11. Last In Love
Tracks 1 to 11 are her debut album "Nicolette" - released November 1978 in the USA on Warner Brothers BSK 3243 and in the UK on Warner Brothers K 56569

Disc 2 (64:42 minutes):
1. Dancin' Jones
2. Just In The Nick Of Time
3. Let Me Go, Love
4. Rio De Janeiro Blue
5. Breaking Too Many Hearts
6. Back In My Arms [Side 2]
7. Fallen
8. Daddy
9. Isn't It Always Love
10. Trouble
Tracks 1 to 10 are her 2nd album "In The Nick Of Time" - released November 1979 in the USA on Warner Brothers HS 3370 and in the UK on Warner Brothers K 56750

11. Radioland
12. Ooo-Eee
13. How Can We Go On
14. When You Come Around
15. Tears, Tears and More Tears
16. Straight From The Heart
17. Been Gone Too Long
18. Fool For Love
19. Long Distance Love
Tracks 11 to 19 are her 3rd studio album "Radioland" - released January 1981 in the USA on Warner Brothers BSK 3502 and in the UK on Warner Brothers K 56878

As I said earlier - when you read through the luminaries on these albums - it's not surprising that American Radio liked Nicolette Larson and her famous musical friends. While she handled all lead vocals - you get guest singers like Michael McDonald, Linda Ronstadt and Rosemary Butler - Keyboardists Bill Payne of Little Feat, Michael Omartian and Mark Jordan - Guitarists Fred Tackett, Albert Lee, James Burton, Ronnie Montrose (of Montrose) and Patrick Simmons of The Doobie Brothers - Bass Players Klaus Voorman (of Beatles fame) and Tiran Porter of The Doobie Brothers - Percussionists and Drummers Victor Feldman, Keith Knudsen and Bobby LaKind - as well as stragglers like Herb Pedersen, Van Dyke Parks and arranger Jimmie Haskell. The debut opens with a surprisingly chipper Neil Young cover "Lotta Love". No surprise then that the US 45 of it on Warner Brothers WBS 8664 with "Angels Rejoiced" on the flipside made No. 8 on the Pop charts in late December 1978. With its Jimmie Haskell arranged strings, boppy keyboard beat and floating Saxophone - it was a big hit. 

Before that Warner Brothers tried the Jesse Winchester penned "Rhumba Girl" as her debut 7" single on Warner Brothers BBS 8795 (with "Lost In Love" on the B-side) that Larson gives a Doobie Brothers "Minute By Minute" funky shuffle - but it failed to ignite interest. The HD Audio on "Give A Little" is fabulous - penned by Bill and Fran Payne (Bill Payne of Little Feat) - it's a slick slice of West Coast 'lurve' - ably abetted by a trio of great backing vocalists - Linda Ronstadt, Nicolas Ashford and producer Ted Templeman. Her two Soul covers - Sam Cooke's "You Send Me" and Marvin Gaye's "Baby, Don't You Do It" (a H-D-H song) - break up the slightly schlocky pop songs. For better feel collectors will dig "Last In Love" - a Glenn Fry song penned with John David Souther that features only Larson singing, Billy Payne on Keyboards and the strings arranged by Jimmie Haskell (concertmaster Sid Sharp). A very Linda Ronstadt arrangement - Larson gives it some ache in her rendition. The remaster is beautiful too...

The 2nd LP produced another single that charted - "Let Me Go, Love" - her duet with Michael McDonald of The Doobie Brothers on Warner Brothers 49130 that rose to 35 in February 1980. Her own song (co-penned with Ted Templeman) "Just In The Nick Of Time" is a cool little rocker with great guitar from Little Feat's Paul Barrere and a wicked solo from Ronnie Montrose. Michael McDonald contributes his trademark funky keyboard backdrop to the upbeat "Back In My Arms" - a Holland-Dozier-Holland hit for The Supremes way back in 1965 - another potential hit with top sessionman Jim Horn giving it a great Saxophone solo. Van Dyke Parks counts in the 1-2-3-4 of "Trouble" and plays the Keyboards. Just her voice and his piano - she does a girly variant of Lowell George's "Sailin' Shoes" classic and it ends the album well.

By the time we get to studio set number 3 - the public and radio had moved up. Despite the presence of Patrick Simmons, Tiran Porter, Keith Knudsen of The Doobie Brothers and Billy Payne of Little Feat - the opening "Radioland" fails to really ignite - sounding tired and forced. Clover's John McFee and Little Feat's Paul Barrere combine on Guitars to lift "Ooo-Eee" - but stuff like "How Can We Go On" and "When You Come Around" sound weak and weedy. Much of the rest of the album feels the same with only the finisher - a cover of "Long Distance Love" lifts proceedings. But even then it's not a patch on the hurting 1975 Lowell George original on Little Feat's "The Last Record Album"...

To sum up - two good albums followed by one patchy effort. But with that superior presentation and the new 2016 glorious sound - fans will need this. Another reissue winner from BGO...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Now if only this record company would issue her 1982, 1988 & 1994 albums like this, we would have it made. Her two country albums are already in a twofer set.

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