Sunday, July 4, 2010

Fraser & DeBolt — With Ian Guenther [1971]

I've spent the last week digesting this. It's true, every bit of good criticism this has gotten is worth it. A true gem of folk music right here, and one that somehow DIDN'T explode when it was released on Columbia at pretty much the EXACT right time and still didn't sell a damn bit. This is also one of the truly great crossovers of country and rock and like John Gabree's review (included in this file) is 'one of the best pop records I've ever heard'. The lyrics here are damn poetic. Listen to the way they croon together on "Waltze of the Tennis Players" between the punctual, emotive playing of Guenther. "My love for you/ is an over night sensation/ Your love for me is an overnight sensation, too". The words are deftly simple and in a couple places hit you hard enough to weep. The songwriting is some of the best of the 70s, period. They apply an alto sax and piano to great effect on "Them Dancehall Girls", the albums most heard of track, and the most well produced. Everything else seems like it was recorded with no overdubs, but I'm not sure; it might as well be. Listen for the mild, playful wordplay on "Warmth"; notice the great guitar play on things like "Stoney Day" and "All My Paradise" which opens the album with an intro so slow and angellic as to make things almost surreal. Not even mentioning that they tackle a Beatles song (not even a year after it'd be realeased, and even better than the original!), or that a few of the tracks are mere snippets, this is one of the truly great folk/rock gems of the 70s, with many a song that could be placed on your mixtape of greatest love songs of all time. Drop everything else you're listening to if you haven't heard this. I wish I had sooner.