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Thursday, 24 July 2008
“Careless” by STEPHEN BISHOP (2005 Hip-O Select CD Reissue in Mini LP Hard Card Repro Artwork with Foldout Insert & Inner Bag - Non-Numbered Limited Edition of 5000) - A Review by Mark Barry...
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"…Warm Sunny Day…"
San Diego songwriter STEPHEN BISHOP had gotten Art Garfunkel to include
"Looking For The Right One" and "The Same Old Tears On A New
Background" on his "Breakaway" album for Columbia Records in
1975. Actually knowing such heavy hitters like Garfunkel meant that when it
came to making his own debut album - Bishop was able to call on a large number
of rock alumni to session on it. And coupled with its great songs
-"Careless" wooed the FM radio audience of 1976 and 1977 completely.
It proved to be a huge hit with the album eventually climbing the US charts to
number 11 and it's been beloved by fans ever since.
Bishop wrote all the songs in '75 and '76, recorded it in the ABC &
A&M Studios in California that summer with the album finally released on vinyl
and cassette in December 1976 on ABC Records ABCD-954 in the USA and ABCL 5201
in the UK. It was produced by HENRY LEW and STEPHEN BISHOP and spawned two
radio smashes in the USA with "Save It For A Rainy Day" (ABC 12232)
and "On And On" (ABC 12260).
On CD, there's been budget issues of some of its tracks here in the UK
on MCA/Half Moon and in the US on the excellent Rhino "Best Of"
remaster in 1988, but this is the first proper sonic doing of the entire album
and the result I'm happy to say is just beautiful - breathtaking clarity that
fans will absolutely delight in - for years to come. There were some big names
involved so here's a breakdown of who contributed to what:
1: On And On - features Andrew Gold on Electric Guitars with Victor
Feldman on Percussion & Vibes
2. Never Letting Go - features Lee Ritenour on Guitar, Craig Doerge on
Piano with Chaka Khan of Rufus on backing Vocals
3: Careless - features backing vocals by Art Garfunkel
4: Sinking In An Ocean Of Tears - features Jay Graydon on Guitar, Eric
Clapton on Electric Slide Guitar with a Sax Solo by Ray Pizzi
5: Madge - features Strings Arranged & Conducted by Lee Holdridge
6: Every Minute - features Jay Graydon on Acoustic Guitar, Andrew Gold
on Electric Guitar, Victor Feldman on Organ, Max Bennett on Bass with Art
Garfunkel on Backing Vocals
7: Little Italy - features Larry Carlton on Acoustic Guitar, Max Bennett
on Bass, Victor Feldman on Percussion & Vibes, Tommy Tedesco on Mandolin
with Chaka Khan on Duet Vocals
8: One More Night - features Piano by Barlow Jarvis with the Strings
Arranged by Lee Holdridge
9: Guitar Interlude
10: Save It For A Rainy Day - features Electric Guitar Solo by Eric
Clapton with Backing Vocals from Chaka Khan
11: Rock And Roll Slave - features Art Garfunkel on Backing Vocals
12: The Same Old Tears On A New Background - recorded live with Acoustic
This Hip-O Select CD of "Careless" by STEPHEN BISHOP on Hip-O Select B0004157-02 (Barcode 602498800652) is a US-Only
Limited Edition of 5000 issued on 4 February 2005 in a hard card album repro
sleeve (non-numbered). They also reproduced the inner bag of lyrics &
photos that came with the original US LP (wasn't any with the UK copies) and a
see-through sepia-printed inner sleeve giving re-issue details. The card sleeve
has the words LIMITED EDITION boxed in gold on the rear and the detail even
stretches to a pasted-on page on the rear sleeve like US albums of the time.
The CD itself also reflects the original label design - all nice touches. It's
a shame though that there is no history to the album, no proper liner note
contributed by the man himself, not even an original release date of the LP or
singles or photos from the sessions - still, that all pales against the real
deal - the stunning sound.
BRENDAN MORRIS did the Master Tape Research and GAVIN LURSSEN the
Mastering - and a sensational result it is too. Lurssen's superb mastering work
is also featured on THE CRUSADERS "Gold" 2CD set and Joe Walsh’s
“Barnstorm” (also Hip-O Select releases via Universal - see my separate
The mastering is 'so' subtle and 'so' sweet - it's like a Mobile
Fidelity CD - you feel care was taken with it and the result is a genuine
thrill. "Little Italy" - probably one of 'the' great under-rated
masterpieces of the mid Seventies - is a perfect example. As you can see from
the track list above, the song is loaded down with top session people, but this
remaster lets you hear them. All of their contributions suddenly come to life
here. As the song opens, Max Bennett's bass jumps out of the speakers, funky
and clean (he played on Joni Mitchell's "Court & Spark" "The
Hissing Of Summer Lawns" and "Hejira"). His bass is accompanied
by the acoustic guitars of Bish and Larry Carlton - very nice - these are
followed by the lovely mandolin playing of Tommy Tedesco - then Chaka's
fantastically complimentary vocal contribution - it's all a wow! And if that
isn't enough, then the beautiful Bacharach horn and woodwind arrangements by
Ian Freebairn-Smith float in. It's absolutely gorgeous – I never tire of this
After all that showiness, we get the lovely melody of "One More
Night" where Barlow Jarvis plays such pretty piano work. The 46 second
long "Guitar Interlude" sounds like it was recorded in the 1990s on
some highly polished James Taylor CD. And then the gem that never gets noticed
- the truly lovely "Rock And Roll Slave" (lyrics from it title this
review) where Art Garfunkel's vocal work really comes into its own. (Apparently
Cheryl Ladd did a cover of it once - but we won't talk about that just now)
"Madge" is beautiful too. I would concede that some might find it
overly romantic and schlocky in places - but get past that - and you're in for
a treat. The last track is Bish on his own with an Acoustic guitar recorded
live in Little Hollywood - it's a bit hissy - but the melody is warm and
The Hip-O Select label isn't cheap, but like Ace, Bear Family, Rhino and
Raven - their issues are the best. For lovers of the album, this a no-brainer -
it's a must have purchase. If you're new to the record, tempted and you want a
taster, this 2005 version is available on iTunes - try "Rock And Roll
Slave" as a download and you'll see what I mean - lovely song, beautifully
This reissue of "Careless" is a superlative job done - and recommended
PS: I've bought his 2nd album on ABC Records called "Bish"
from 1978 (just as good as the first) and it's also a Hip-O Select card repro too - see separate review...
*** REMEMBER TO USE BARCODE
602498800652 IN THE SEARCH BAR OF AMAZON TO LOCATE THE RIGHT ISSUE FOR THE
RIGHT VERSION ***