Monday, 24 March 2014

“Some People Can Do What They Like” (1976) and “Double Fun” (1978) by ROBERT PALMER - A Review Of His 3rd and 4th Solo Albums – Now Reissued And Remastered By Edsel Of The UK In 2013.

ROBERT PALMER 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:


"…Takes Every Kinda People…" 

After stints with THE ALAN BOWN in the Sixties, DADA in 1970 and three albums with VINEGAR JOE (featuring Elkie Brooks) between 1972 and 1973 – ROBERT PALMER was finally ready to go Solo. I’ve already reviewed his 1974 debut "Sneakin' Sally Through The Alley" and its sexy 1976 follow up "Pressure Drop". This 2CD reissue on Demon's Edsel label celebrates the next stage – his 3rd and 4th solo albums.

UK released 26 August 2013 - Edsel EDSK 7038 (Barcode 740155703837) breaks down as follows:

Disc 1 (38:41 minutes)
Tracks 1 to 10 are his 3rd Solo LP “Some People Can Do What They Like” – UK released October 1976 on Island ILPS 9420

Disc 2 (35:01 minutes):
Tracks 1 to 9 are his 4th Solo LP “Double Fun” – UK released March 1978 on Island ILPS 9476

The outer card wrap is generic to all these Edsel reissues and certainly gives the whole thing a classy feel. Fans will also know that outside of the “Gold” anthology on Universal – Palmer’s Island catalogue has been languishing without remasters for decades. Although it doesn’t say who remastered these album at Universal – the sound quality is great – a huge improvement over the dull Eighties discs we’d had for years. One reviewer is ranting on about MP3 files but I don't hear anything of the sort - and if these are sourced from Universal's remasters for "Gold" then they are vast improvements on what we had before. The 28-page booklet is substantial – pictures of the albums and rare singles, studio shots, colour publicity stuff, lyrics to both albums, affectionate and knowledgeable liner notes by CHRIS JONES – it’s a bang-up job done.  

Having relocated to the Bahamas and with his 2nd album “Pressure Drop” only just released to the shops in April of 1976 – Palmer was already under pressure to produce another album immediately. Hence only two songs on “Some People…” are originals – the other 8 are hastily worked out covers. But cobbled out of nothing – the album is brilliant - and perhaps one of the great lost Funk-Rock nuggets of the mid Seventies.

It opens with a Bill Payne original (of Little Feat) “One Last Look” and not surprisingly Palmer makes a return to the mighty Feat on Lowell George’s fab “Spanish Moon”. Two absolute belters however come in the shape of drummers – his pal Alan Powell (the backbeat behind Vinegar Joe) co-writes the brilliantly funky “Gotta Get A Grip On You (Part II)” while legendary Kansas sticks man James Gadson (Bill Withers, Marvin Gaye, The Jungle Brothers and later with Beck and Paul McCartney) gives us the stunning “What Can You Bring Me”. An old Harry Belafonte Calypso hit “Man Smart, Woman Smarter” was funked up and lifted as a single on Island WIP 6345 but it made few inroads. The album ends on a high note though with his own fabulously groovy “Some People Can Do What They Like” featuring Old Grey Whistle Test Theme type harmonica wailing from Greg Carroll. The album scraped the Top 100 in the USA. Commercially things fared better next time around…

I recall first hearing the stunning groove of “Every Kinda People” – a song penned by Andy Fraser of Free (lyrics above). I bought the single immediately and played it to distraction (there is a ‘Remix’ of it on the 1999 Universal CD compilation that is not included here – would have made a good bonus track). With a two year layoff Palmer contributed 7 originals to the superbly crafted 10-track “Double Fun” album – the other two covers being “You Really Got Me” by The Kinks and “Night People” - a new contribution from his old New Orleans pal and genius songwriter Allen Toussaint.

The boppin’ “Best Of Both Worlds” sees Reggae seeping into his funky style – the same with “Love Can Run Faster” only featuring more piano. Again Richie Hayward, Bill Payne and Paul Barrere of Little Feat are all over the tracks on Drums, Keyboards and Guitars respectively. Things take a string-plucked change with the lovely “You Overwhelm Me” – a great Palmer melody.  And it ends well with the “Bad Case Of Loving You (Doctor Doctor)” funk-rock of “You’re Going To Get What’s Coming” which is just great.

I’ve always thought Robert Palmer was a class act – not just as singer – but also as a vessel for other people’s songs. On this reissue you get a whole lot of both. Bluntly there’s a hunk of quality Seventies Funk-Rock-Soul-Reggae on offer here for not a lot of your hard earned.

Get this fabulous double-CD in your life and you’ll find yourself sneakin’ those other titles into your shopping basket too.

I miss him…

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