Thursday, 15 May 2014

" First / Never Let Her Go /Goodbye Girl / Falling In Love Again " by DAVID GATES (of BREAD) – A Review Of His First 4 SOLO Albums On Elektra Records Between 1973 and 1980 – Now Reissued in 2013 By Edsel Of the UK On A 2CD Remastered Set…

Here is a link to AMAZON UK to get this remastered 2CD set at the best price:

"…Always Been Simple…"
First / Never Let Her Go / Goodbye Girl / Falling In Love Again by DAVID GATES

As the principal songwriter and voice of BREAD – singer DAVID GATES won legions of fans with his beautifully melodic tunes. This cool-looking British 2CD reissue gives us his first four Solo albums for Elektra Records between 1973 and 1980 - and as you can imagine – it’s a mixed bag of the inspired and insipid. Here are the singer-songwriter details…

UK released September 2013 (October in the USA) – the 2CD Edsel EDSK 7034 (Barcode 740155703431) breaks down as follows…

Disc 1 (64:52 minutes):
Tracks 1 to 9 are his debut solo album "First" – released October 1973 in the USA on Elektra EKS-75066 and K 42150 in the UK
Tracks 10 to 19 are his 2nd album "Never Let Her Go" – released February 1975 on Elektra 7E-1028 in the USA and May 1975 on Elektra K 52012 in the UK

Disc 2 (52:33 minutes):
Tracks 1 to 6 are the album "Goodbye Girl" – released July 1978 on Elektra 6E-148 in the USA and K 52091 in the UK
Tracks 7 to 16 are the album "Falling In Love Again" – released June 1980 on Elektra 6E-251 in the USA and K 52206 in the UK

The generic card wraps that Edsel now uses on their reissues are lovely – classy looking too. The chunky 36-page booklet inside is jam-packed with details – album sleeves, 7” singles, Quad album labels, lyrics to the songs and informative liner notes by noted writer Alan Robinson. It’s beautifully done.

Sound – these albums were remastered by Rhino initially and Phil Kinrade at Alchemy has clearly used those versions because this is sonically brilliant stuff. The audio is amazing – well produced – not overdone – muscle and clarity on every track.

Musical proceedings open with a peach – "Sail Around The World" – and two things immediately hit you - the stunning sound quality and the prettiness of the melody (lyrics above). It was put out as a 7” in the UK in November 1973 (K 12126) but only charted in the USA (peaking at 50). Speaking of lost singles - the brilliant nine-minute epic of "Suite: Clouds, Rain" was edited down to the piano opening of "Clouds" (very Bread) and put out as a 7” in the UK in July 1973 with “Soap (I Use The)” as its B-side (K 12114). I mention this because its rare edited version is a no-show here - which is a bit of a missed opportunity. The debut album ends strongly with "Sight & Sound" (very Eagles) - while "Lorilee" gets a bit "Countdown To Ecstasy" Steely Dan slinky with Jim Horn on Alto Sax (tasty).

The second album picks up where the first left off (even with the two-year gap). "Never Let You Go" gets straight into "Baby I'm-A Want You" territory and it’s easy to see why it was chosen as the lead off single (the rocky "Watch Out" graced the flipside). The acoustic ballad "Part Time Love" was the second and last 45 from the LP (June 1975 in the UK on K 12157) – a lovely tune. “Strangers” ends the album well – but even at this stage – there’s a feeling of ordinariness about most of the record.

By the time we reach 1978’s “Goodbye Girl” and 1980’s sluggish “Falling in Love Again” – the muse seems to have abandoned him entirely. There are moments like the lightweight radio funk of “Took The Last Train” and the schmaltz of “Where Does The Loving Go” which is clearly trying to emulate the glory days of early Seventies Bread. But these albums have been dollar-bin fodder for years – and with reason.

So there you have it – a very mixed bag. But then there is that fabulous sound - and those melodic nuggets on the first two albums especially that make the purchase worthwhile.

David Gates could always pen a melody that would get to you...and that's what I like most about this excellent value-for-money Edsel double...

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