These dreary days, the more basic the production, the better. Because - more real, right? More authentic. More artistic, more true to the artist's intentions. Yes, more cheap, too. More easy. More quick. Not that the woke lo-fi æsthetic (oh, jeez, it physically hurts to type that out) is influenced by those baser issues, of course. Nor that the resources behind the pop albums of the sixties, the session players, the experienced producers and engineers, the dedicated studios and big-label budgets simply aren't there any more. No. Rigorous artistic integrity can only be exercised from a bedroom or a back porch, and this is a morally superior context than corporate professionalism.
Today's bulk delivery is an overdose of pop overproduction from four (count 'em!) solo artists determined to grab every musician and production tweak available to them while they had the opportunity.
Fratboy favorite Gary Lewis (And The Playboys) hit '67 running with Listen, recorded while he was on leave from active service in Vietnam (no bone spurs for Gary). Hard to fault on any level, it features a knowingly hip selection of songwriters; Bonner & Gordon, the Boylan Brothers, John Sebastian, and Tim Hardin. And yes, that's the kitchen sink you hear in the surround-sound arrangements by Jack Nitzsche.
From the same miraculous year, teenybopper heartthrob Tommy Roe out-dizzied himself with Phantasy, an all-time ABC whimsydelia classic. Paisley Dreams and Mystic Magic in a Plastic World. This is the mono vinyl, yet, like you should care.
Mickey Newbury looks ill at ease in the only store-bought hippie shirt in Nashville, as well he might, but turns in an extraordinary first album, at once representative of the prevailing trends and kicking against them, like the cover. From '68.
A year later, 98.6 hitmaker Keith is probably wearing the same shirt in New York, but on him it looks good. The Adventures Of Keith is a concept album, the concept being let's make a concept album.
I'll be taking a break from my punishing House O'Foam© schedule over the next three weeks or so. If the warden lets me, I'll drop by to weed out the spam (and see if any of the four or five guys are still around). So don't forget to scarf everything up during my absinthe, because re-ups are a pain in th' ass! Be seeing you ...