Wednesday, 12 February 2014

“Where’s There’s A Will There’s A Way – The ABC-Dunhill Recordings” by BOBBY WHITLOCK. A Review Of The 2013 Light In The Attic CD Reissue Which Remasters His First Two Vinyl Albums “Bobby Whitlock” (1972) and “Raw Velvet” (1973).

This review is part of my Series "SOUNDS GOOD: Exceptional CD Remasters 1970s Rock And Pop" Download Book available to buy on Amazon to either your PC or Mac (it will download the Kindle software to read the book for free to your toolbar). Click on the link below to go my Author's Page for this and other related publications:


"…You're The Only One…"

These two albums used to fill out the racks of used record stores and just sit there. And even though the self-titled debut contained heavy hitters - like George Harrison, Eric Clapton, Klaus Voormann (of "Revolver" fame), Delaney & Bonnie Bramlett, Chris Wood of Traffic, Rick Vito (Bonnie Raitt's band, Bob Seger's band and Fleetwood Mac) and even The Edwin Hawkins Singers  - both were largely ignored by the buying public. Now at last top US reissue label Light In The Attic (using their Future Days Recordings imprint) has given them a newfound respect with a world-class CD reissue.

Released June 2013 - "Where’s There’s A Will There’s A Way: The ABC-Dunhill Recordings" by BOBBY WHITLOCK on Light In The Attic/Future Days Recordings FDR 602 (Barcode 82626853060226) offers 2LPs Remastered onto 1CD and breaks down as follows (70:29 minutes):

1. Where There’s A Will
2. Song For Paula
3. A Game Called Life
4. Country Life
5. A Day Without Jesus
6. Back In My Life Again
7. The Scenery Has Slowly Changed
8. I’d Rather Live The Straight Life
9. The Dreams Of A Hobo
10. Back Home In England
Tracks 1 to 10 is his debut album "Bobby Whitlock" issued March 1972 in the USA on ABC-Dunhill DSX 50121 and on CBS Records S 65109 in the UK.

11. Tell The Truth
12. Bustin’ My Ass
13. Write You A Letter
14. Ease Your Pain
15. If You Ever
16. Hello L.A., Bye Bye Birmingham
17. You Came Along
18. Think About It
19. Satisfied
20. Dearest I Wonder
21. Start All Over
Tracks 11 to 21 is his 2nd album "Raw Velvet" issued November 1972 in the USA on ABC-Dunhill DSX-50131 and in the UK in early 1973 on CBS Records S

Produced by Andy Johns and Bobby Whitlock - the debut was recorded in London's Olympic Studios and featured an impressive array of British based Rock musicians. George Harrison and Eric Clapton (guitars) join Bobby Keys on Saxophone (practically an honorary member of The Rolling Stones), Klaus Voormann on Bass with Jim Price on Trumpet and Trombone and Jim Gordon on Drums. That amazing line-up grace three - "Where There's A Will", "A Day Without Jesus" and "Back In My Life Again" while Clapton also plays beautiful solo guitar on the lovely ballad "The Scenery Has Slowly Changed".  In fact the softer songs are far better than the rather frantic rushed tunes that are just trying too hard and getting nowhere. Chris Wood of Traffic adds flute to the lovely acoustic "A Game Called Life" - for me a nugget on this rather patchy album (lyrics from it title this review).

The second album ups the amps on Side 1 in an attempt to capture the 'rawk' market. 
It opens with "Tell The Truth" - a co-write with Eric Clapton. The countrified cover of Hoyt Axton's "Ease Your Pain" and the almost gospel-rock of "Bustin' My Ass" feature The Edwin Hawkins Singers to great effect. "Hello L.A. Bye Bye Birmingham" features a co-write with Mac Davis and mean slide guitar from Clapton. Things mellow out with Side 2 where he often only employs acoustic guitars, a piano and the Los Angeles Symphony on strings. "You Came Along" is undeniably lovely and Rick Vito's lead playing on "Satisfied" is superb. It ends sounding like "Sun King" from The Beatles "Abbey Road" album with "Start All Over" - all swirling and prettily ethereal.

The remaster is properly great - incredible clarity and presence - even when the raucous ensemble threatens to engulf everything. And the exceptional 48-page booklet entitled "The Bobby Whitlock Story" is done with complete co-operation from the singer himself - photos from his private archives, publicity material, repros of the album labels, detailed track-by-track annotation including his own reminiscences on each song. A lot of work and passion went into this and it shows...

To sum up - neither album is undiscovered genius by any stretch of the imagination - but there's plenty of here worthy of reappraisal. And like Rodriguez, Jim Sullivan, Michael Chapman and The City (featuring Carole King) - once again Light In The Attic has given a voice to an artist who deserved better and should be re-heard.

Check this one out...

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