4 dusty gems from the 1970s

I don’t know about you, but one of the most rewarding ways of spending a few idle moments is a good old fussock around YouTube looking for musical gems.

Here’s a few that I’ve bookmarked recently…

10cc…they were always a bit too clever-clever for me, but I seem to have become a real fan of late. ‘Rubber Bullets’ is a great song – witty lyrics, an interesting chord structure and great ensemble playing. This is a live version with a nice jam at the end…note the changed lyrics…

 

Another fantastic 1970s band were Be Bop Deluxe, with the sublime guitar playing of Bill Nelson.  I used to play this tune in a band called ‘Spud and the Fabs’ – and sing it too…

 

The early to mid 1970s were great musically – it was still OK to be able to play your instrument well, as the Edgar Winter Group show in this 10 minute version of ‘Frankenstein’. It was OK to look as if you were actually enjoying yourself, too…

 

I’ve always had a soft spot for Mott, with Ian Hunter’s flawed yet consummate ability to live and breathe rock and the way that the band were so shambolic yet never quite fell apart.  Incidentally, Mrs Shark went to school with two of the band – Buffin and Overend Watts…and yes, he really does sing ‘cock in hole queen’, the rude little monkey…

 

Andrew Gold RIP

A few minutes’ casual surfing earlier this morning revealed that Andrew Gold died a couple of days ago.

I suspect that many people’s reaction to this would be “Andrew who?”, but if I mention a few songs that are associated with him – either as writer or performer or even both – then it might jog a few memories:

  • Lonely Boy
  • Never Let Her Slip Away
  • Building a Bridge to Your Heart (by Wax – a duo of Gold and Graham Gouldman, ex-10cc)
  • Thank You For Being a Friend (the Golden Girls Theme)

In fact, Andrew Gold was a hugely talented guy – as a composer, singer, guitarist, multi-instrumentalist and producer.

It was his guitar playing and arranging which made Linda Ronstadt’s ‘Heart Like a Wheel’ album one of my favourites, and this track a real stand out:

Gold is the bearded guy playing the cherry Les Paul.

He was all over that album…

Then there’s his songwriting – ‘Lonely Boy’ had great lyrics and a superb melody which combined to make, looking back, what I’d call early ‘powerpop’:

However, that’s not to trivialise what was a profound piece of lyric writing, albeit disguised within a very jaunty framework.

How about ‘Never Let Her Slip Away’?

OK, maybe a bit schmaltzy, but it’s still a well-crafted song and makes something like Chris de Burgh’s ‘Lady in Red’ sound like the 12th rate piece of maudlin shit that it truly is.

And here’s ‘Building a Bridge To Your Heart’ by Wax:

OK, maybe a bit 80s, but it was the 80s, dammit, and amongst some of the pop fluff, Wax stood out as quality pop. In fact, Gold almost became a member of 10cc at one time.

Here’s a nugget of quality Gold which reminds me a tad of Steely Dan, with some nice guitar – although I’m not sure it’s Gold himself. I suspect it is:

And here’s the ‘Golden Girls’ theme:

Not that everything Gold did was high profile, commercial pop…

In 1996, he released a strange album under a pseudonym – “Greetings from Planet Love” by The Fraternal Order Of The All – which parodied 1960s psychedlia in much the same way as XTC did with their Dukes of Stratosphere project. One of the tracks on the albums is a superb Byrds pastiche with amazing McGuinn type Rick 12.

If you have Spotify, please give ‘Space and Time’ a listen. I can hear at least 4 Byrds classics referenced in it and it may be the best song the Byrds never recorded.

So, a very talented guy, indeed, and more of a loss to music than I realised until I started renewing my acquaintance with him.

Indeed, I’ve been aware of Gold since 1974 with Linda Ronstadt’s ‘Heart Like a Wheel’, but as is often the case, when somebody like him dies, you don’t realise how talented he was until it’s too late,

Fortunately, it’s not too late to enjoy his legacy.