Sunday, 24 August 2014

"The Emitt Rhodes Recordings (1969-1973)" by EMITT RHODES (2009 Hip-O Select 2CD Remasters) - A Review by Mark Barry...

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"...I Was Dying Inside...I Was Hoping You'd Come Along..."

In truth there was a time when you couldn't give away Emitt Rhodes albums here in the UK - but something of a rediscovery of his music has taken place in the last two decades that has brought his LPs out of the bargain bins and into the eBay lists.

Hailing from Hawthorne (a suburb in Los Angeles) - Rhodes first came to prominence with the US sixties group THE MERRY-GO-ROUND who made one self-titled album for A&M Records in 1967.A&M issued a wad of singles to promote the new signing - but neither they nor the album bothered the charts (these releases are quite sought after now). Rhodes then went solo and that’s where this long-overdue 2CD career overhaul comes storming in. Here are the Mirrors and American Dreams…

Released initially in the USA in May 2009 as a 2CD set (belatedly released in the UK January 2010) – "The Emitt Rhodes Recordings (1969-1973)" by EMITT RHODES on Hip-O Select B0012926-02 (Barcode 602527042732) is a worldwide limited edition of 5000 that contains 4 full albums and one rare non-album 7" single. It breaks down as follows:

Disc 1 (66:13 minutes):
1. Mother Earth
2. Pardon Me
3. Textile Factory
4. Someone Died
5. Come Ride, Come Ride
6. Let’s All Sing
7. Holly Park
8. Saturday Night
9. You’re A Very Lovely Woman
10. Mary Will You Take My Hand
11. The Man He Was
12. In The Days Of The Old
13. ‘Til The Day After
Tracks 1 to 13 are the album "The American Dream" recorded in 1969 but released after his debut album (14 to 25 below) in April 1971 in the USA on A&M SP-4254 and May 1971 in the UK on A&M AMLS 64254

14. With My Face On The Door
15. Somebody Made For Me
16. She’s Such A Beauty
17. Long Time No See
18. Lullabye
19. Fresh As A Daisy
20. Live Till You Die
21. Promises I’ve Made
22. You Take The Dark Out Of The Night
23. You Should Be Ashamed
24. Ever Find Yourself Running
25. You Must Have
Tracks 14 to 25 are the album "Emitt Rhodes" first issued December 1970 in the USA on ABC/Dunhill DS 50089 and February 1971 on Probe Records SPBA 6256 in the UK

Disc 2 (70:06 minutes):
1. Birthday Lady
2. Better Side Of Life
3. My Love Is Strong
4. Side We Seldom Show
5. Mirror
6. Really Wanted You
7. Medley: Bubble Gum The Blues/I’m A Cruiser
8. Love Will Stone You
9. Golden Child Of God
10. Take You Far Away
Tracks 1 to 10 are the album "Mirror" issued on ABC/Dunhill DSX 50111 in the USA in November 1971 and December 1971 n the UK on Probe Records SPBA 6262

11. Warm Self Sacrifice
12. See No Evil
13. Drawn To You
14. Blue Horizon
15. Shoot The Moon
16. Only Lovers Decide
17. Trust Once More
18. Nights Are Lonely
19. Bad Man
20. In Desperate Need
21. Those That Die
22. Farewell To Paradise
Tracks 11 to 22 are the album "Farewell To Paradise" issued September 1972 on Probe Records SPBA 6266 in the UK and on ABC/Dunhill DSX 50122 in the USA.

Track 23 is "Tame The Lion", a non-album A-side. In the UK it was on Probe Records PRO 565 and in the USA on A&M 4315, both issued in 1972. "Golden Child Of God" - an album track off "Mirror" - is its B-side in both countries.

The 3-way fold out card digipak houses a 16-page booklet with an appreciation of the man and his music by SCOTT SCHNIDER. There's also a pictorial album-by-album breakdown with relevant production and instrument credits. It's remastered by PETE DOELL at Universal Mastering and sounds fantastic - and given that most of these tracks are self-recorded by Rhodes himself - it's amazing how good they sound. Equally impressive is his musicianship on every track - so proficient, so talented. 

Vocally Rhodes is a cross between Nilsson on "Nilsson Schmilsson", Todd Rundgren on "Something/Anything?" and Ron Mael of Sparks on "Kimono My House". But there is also the Beach Boys and Dennis Wilson vibe too. With all these cool influences bounding around, his songs and their arrangements have aroused a lot of interest in those who like their Seventies tunes melodic and layered. His first album is probably his most popular and fans will be glad to see it represented here in its entirety. Also - and impressively - most of the songs on here are entirely written, played, arranged and produced by Emitt Rhodes (how every Prince).

Another nice touch is that the 1st issue of "The American Dream" album had the track "Saturday Night" on it - which was replaced with "You're A Very Lovely Woman" when it was reissued later in a different sleeve - Hip-O has included both tracks so you can sequence either version. And while I like his debut - for me his song writing improved immeasurably on "Mirror". I especially love "Better Side Of Life" and "Really Wanted You" (lyrics above) - very Dennis Wilson - and in a really good way.

To sum up - and as other reviewers have pointed out - this is a superb reissue and luckily for us it's been given a January 2010 UK release for just under twelve quid (rare for Hip-O sets). It's not all fab of course - but when he was good - he was sit-up-and-take-notice good. Recommended...

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