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Emitt Rhodes, Emitt Rhodes, 1970
Multi-instrumentalist Emitt Rhodes seems to have been lost in the annals of rock history. The four albums that he produced in the early 70's are the only reminder of his work, Rhodes retired from the music business quite soon after 1973's 'Fairwell to Paradise' after the pressure of producing albums got to him.
The main reason behind this pressure was Rhodes really was a 'one man band'. Taking his cue from Paul McCartney's first solo release, Rhodes recorded his debut album in much the same way- playing all the instruments himself. ABC/Dunhill Records released his first album which was made in his parent's garage in a recording studio he constructed himself. Originally recorded on four track, he later re-recorded the vocals after transferring his work onto an eight track machine.
In every bit a 'garage' record, Rhodes wrote every single song on the album. Billboard later called 'Emitt Rhodes' one of the best records of the decade.
A few years ago I listened to the great soundtrack to The Royal Tenenbaums by Wes Anderson. Anderson always uses a wide variety of interesting and diverse acts for his soundtracks, but seems to like British Invasion acts like The Kinks, The Stones and The Beatles.
Emitt Rhodes appeared on that album with a song from his debut album 'Lulabye'. Being a huge Beatles and Badfinger fan I was interested to hear this album due to Rhodes being dubbed the 'one man Beatles.' Power Pop is a genre that Badfinger carried the tradition on throughout the 70's, as did Big Star and then more recently Jellyfish in the 90's. Rhodes manages to capture that sound effectively through faithful recreation of instrumentation as well as top notch musicianship and songwrtiting.
The melodies and songwriting are absolutely superb. The album gets off to a cracking start with "With My Face on the Floor" with the rest of the first half of the album sounding quintessentially British - in some cases almost like a sing-along down an East End boozer. 'She's Such a Beauty' is evidence of this - a song that even has the occasional kazoo as a percussion instrument.
My favourite track on the album is 'Fresh As A Daisy' which a brilliant piece of Beatle-esque pop. In fact there isn't a bad track on the album at all. My only concern about recommending the album to others is - if you've got The Beatles and Badfinger - do you really need Emitt Rhodes? While I understand that imitation is the highest form of flattery - Rhodes certainly has a lot to offer here that is original and different without just being a second rate pastiche.
The actual sound recording needs a lot of work doing to it and someone needs to do a serious job of beefing up the mix. I really hope a decent remastered edition comes out of this record as I could see it becoming one of my favourite albums with a few more listens.
Highly regarded, but not forgotten.
1. "With My Face On The Floor" 3:06
2. "Somebody Made For Me" 2:23
3. "She's Such A Beauty" 2:21
4. "Long Time No See" 3:14
5. "Lullabye" 1:05
6. "Fresh As A Daisy" 2:46
7. "Live Till You Die" 2:44
8. "Promises I've Made" 3:21
9. "You Take The Dark Out Of The Night" 2:54
10. "You Should Be Ashamed" 2:38
11. "Ever Find Yourself Running" 2:34
12. "You Must Have" 2:04
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 With My Face On The Floor
2 SOmebody Made For Me
3 She's Such A Beauty
4 Long Time No See
6 Fresh As A Daisy
7 Live Till You Die
8 Promises I've Made
9 You Take The Dark Out Of The Night
10 You Should Be Ashamed
11 Ever Find Yourself Running
12 You Must Have