Thursday, 30 June 2016

"Tim Rose/Through Rose Colored Glasses" by TIM ROSE (1997 Beat Goes On '2LPs on 1CD' Remaster) - A Review by Mark Barry...





"...You Done Me Wrong..."

Tim Rose's November 1967 self-titled debut album "Tim Rose" did bugger all business chart-wise - but cast a huge shadow then and ever since.

Propelled by his gritty strangulated 'I gargle gravel for breakfast' vocals - (he sounds like the love child of John Kay from Steppenwolf and David Clayton-Thomas from Blood, Sweat & Tears) - the pre-LP 7" single "Hey Joe (You Shot Your Woman Down)" from June 1966 clocked up covers by Love, The Byrds and of course most famously by Jimi Hendrix - the song practically launching his career. "Morning Dew" (written by Canadian Folk singer Bonnie Dobson) from February 1967 would be covered by artists as diverse as Lee Hazelwood and England's Nazareth - but again was made famous by Jeff Beck's supergroup for the "Truth" LP which featured the then relatively unknown Rod Stewart on Vocals.

More shadows came from the single released the same month as the album - November 1967 for "Come Away, Melinda" - an Anti-Vietnam War anthem written by Fred Hellerman of The Weavers with Francis Minkoff. In a very Phil Spector-sounding production - Rose caresses the song at first - but a minute or so into it and he starts to let rip with the rage of a generation done wrong (it was a rendition that tapped into the national zeitgeist). In fact Rose and his music is like this - slightly angry - slightly macho - engaged yet still cool and aloof - like a man with a grudge against the world and its two-timing daughter. 

Hell even Australia's Nick Cave has name-checked him as an influence and covered the 'Hey Joe' sounding murder song "Long Time Man" on his 1986 LP with The Bad Seeds "Your Funeral...My Trial" And yet despite all this peripheral activity and chart action for other people (as well as positive reviews) - "Tim Rose" steadfastly refused to ignite as a seller. Which brings us to this rather cool 'twofer' CD reissue. Here are the 'shot my woman down' details...

UK released November 1997 - "Tim Rose/Through Rose Colored Glasses" by TIM ROSE on Beat Goes On BGOCD 378 (Barcode 5017261203786) offers 2LPs Remastered onto 1CD and plays out as follows (72:48 minutes):

1. I Got A Loneliness
2. I'm Gonna Be Strong
3. I Gotta Do Things My Way
4. Fare Thee Well
5. Eat, Drink And Be Merry (For Tomorrow You'll Cry)
6. Hey Joe (You Shot Your Woman Down) [Side 2]
7. Morning Dew
8. Where Was I?
9. You're Slipping Away From Me
10. Long Time Man
11. Come Away, Melinda
12. King Lonely The Blue
Tracks 1 to 12 are his debut LP "Tim Rose" - released November 1967 in the USA on Columbia CL 2777 (Mono) and Columbia CS 9577 (Stereo) and February 1968 in the UK on CBS Records S BPG 63168 (Mono) and CBS Records S BPG 63168 (Stereo) - the STEREO Mix is used for this CD. Produced by DAVID RUBINSON - it failed to chart in either country.

13. The Days Back When
14. Roanoke
15. Hello Sunshine
16. When I Was A Young Man
17. What'cha Gonna Do
18. Maman
19. Let There Be Love [Side 2]
20. Baby Do You Turn Me On?
21. Apple Truck Swamper
22. Angela
23. You'd Laugh
24. You Ain't My Girl No More
Tracks 13 to 24 are his 2nd studio album "Through Rose Colored Glasses" - released July 1969 in the USA on Columbia CS 9772 (Stereo) and in the UK on CBS Records S CBS 63636. Produced by JACK TRACY - it didn't chart in either country.

There's no card slipcase and the 8-page inlay has informative liner notes from noted writer JOHN TOBLER and Musician Credits for the "Tim Rose" LP but none for the follow-up (it came with no credits and no one seems to know who played on what?). There are no mastering/transfer credits - but the Audio is amazing – clear as bell and very powerful. Always a bit of a Phil Spector-ish belter - songs on the "Tim Rose" LP swoop up with huge brass and string flourishes then mellow down into Spanish Acoustic guitar plucks - and back again. This BGO CD sounds brill – a really clean and well-transferred set of albums. Engineered by Sy Mitchell and Jerry Hochman - the seconds sound even better (although the music leaves summit to be desired).

The 12-track debut features the 10-sides of five 45s Rose put out prior to the album - so much of the material was known to Radio. Six are Tim Rose originals - "I Got A Loneliness", "Fare Thee Well", "You're Slipping Away From Me" and "Long Time Man" with "I Gotta Do Things My Way" a co-write between Rose and the Bassist Richard Hussan. Written by the songwriting duo Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil - the cover "I'm Gonna Be Strong" was a hit for Gene Pitney in 1965 while "Morning Dew" is by Bonnie Dobson (despite Rose' duo songwriting credit which would cause legal consternation for decades to follow). The legendary Doc Pomus co-wrote "King Lonely The Blue" with Bobby Andriani and it was issued by the Bitter End Singers in August 1965 on Emerald 72469 (called The Emeralds in the UK) - while "Eat, Drink And Be Merry..." is written by Celia and Sandra Ferguson and made a Country hit by Porter Wagoner. I don't know who 'N. Martin' is – the writer of  "Where Was I?" - but it's a gorgeous song and the audio on it is fabulous.

The 2nd album comes in for serious stick and after the eclectic and creative high of the debut - it's easy to hear why. Although most are Rose originals and songs like "Roanoke" is very Blood, Sweat & Tears circa the 2nd album - his cover of "Maman" is a big mistake. Penned by Edward Thomas and Martin Charnin in 1967 - it's a spoken poem said by the character 'The Young Soldier' in the musical "Mata Hari". Rose has rattling drums like a death march behind his strained vocals but instead of sounding contemporary or hip - it's sounds dated and preachy even. His cover of The Bee Gees "Let There Be Love" just doesn't suit him while convenience rhymes in lyrics like "...Angela called me last night...she wanted me to hold her tight...we made love for hours...then went walking in the flowers..." are just plum awful. Better is his quirky and even commercial cover of "You'd Laugh" - a song put out by French crooner Gilbert Becaud in 1965 called "Je T'aime (You'd Laugh)". It’s about a man pinning to touch a woman he worships but he’s terrified of her response – and Rose milks its angst as he rasps out the pain –very 60ts but also very cool. Along with "When I Was A Young Man" and the decidedly Tom Waits odd/violent "Apple Truck Swamper" (written by William Henderson) - they just about salvage the album from total reviewer savagery.

Very much a disc of two halves - a genius and exciting debut album "Tim Rose" - followed by a strange damp squid two years later - "Through Rose Colored Glasses". Yet despite the let down of LP Number Two – there's that amazing and influential debut which in 2016 still sounds so 'out there' still.

I've always thought Tim Rose to be impossibly special and just a little acid-dingbat in the cranial area. But I like my heroes that way – nuts - but in a good way...

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