Sunday, December 1, 2019

Late Rick

First there was his rock n' roll period, then brief flings with Bakersfield country and pop-psych, then a decent run of more or less successful country rock albums from '70 to '74, peaking with the hit Garden Party, then a brief hiatus.

Could have been his personal life, or diminishing returns, but Intakes in '77 tried a different image in the hopes of a comeback, but it never happened. The album stiffed, and the follow-up, already recorded, was shelved. This version has the outtakes, plus also.


The Memphis Sessions have (has?) over the years limped out in various forms, but this is, I hope, the "compleat" version. A return to his rockabilly roots (the album was going to be called Rockabilly Renaissance), it was recorded by a shit-hot band in a funky little Memphis studio, and it's as great as you'd expect. Hard to say if it would have been the shot in the arm his career needed in '78, but I doubt it.




But the music stayed real. He always had a quietly genius band behind him, and his taste in songs never failed. The Al Kooper-produced Return To Vienna was never, as far as I know, officially released, but its slightly harder rock band edge is nicely judged. Its non-release, after the aborted Rockabilly Renaissance, must have come as a crushing blow. A split with his label, Epic, was inevitable.

He was struggling with the musical changes of the time, as were all veteran performers, but he never quite got the image right. The skinny ties, gold bomber jackets, and coiffed hair were hopelessly dated and un-hip. But he found a home at Capitol for what was to be the last album issued in his lifetime.


See what I mean? In 1981, this was never going to fly. His Ricky fanbase remained loyal, but heartland rock fans, the Bruce Springsteen and Bob Seeger audience he needed to win over, were never going to be seen dead grabbing this from the racks. Dude needed a beard and a plaid shirt. And a smile wouldn't have hurt.

Their loss, Rick's loss, our loss. There's not a track on any of these albums that's not, in the man's quiet way, beautiful. We can ignore the crossover market forces so important at the time, we can forget about the wardrobe wreckage. The thing is, you only have to cue up the first track of any of these albums to get hooked. They play themselves. So many artists and albums I click out of a few songs in, but these ... I want to hear them all the way through. Often ignored or sidelined, they're as good as anything he cut. Late Rick is great Rick.


27 comments:

  1. "No comments:" ? ? ?

    Not even a "Lay Trick" reference ? ? ?

    - B.B.

    (The Layman)(Not the Lawman)

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  2. There's a lot of labor involved in uploading these hot biscuits onto the sixteen-wheeler of the internet. I got a bunch of illegals at the gates waiting for the go-ahead. Unless I get some kind of signal from the four or five guys, they're hiking back to Cultural Corridor.

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  3. Poor smoked out Ricky..............bring it on!!!

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  4. Well, this was an education. Great stuff. And a handsome dude. Which probably lead to his being underrated. Who knew about these albums? Other than Farquhar.
    PS. All titles are singular, even if a plural is in the title.

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  5. Please...can you upload these? Pretty please with sugar on top!!!

    MsSusanM

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    1. Gee - I ain't sure for certain if MsSusanM really is a genuwine dame bein' one of th' four or five guys or a guy in a frock and falsies. But either way is jake wit' me. I'm broadminded dat way I guess. At least if it's a guy he can use a map to drive ya home, amiright? Huh? Hoo hah?

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  6. Late or Early, yes, please, me 3. Do your trick, Farkster, & give us some RICK!

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  7. The guys at the gate did their stuff, I paid off ICE, and here it is. And remember, what plays in Vegas, stays in Vegas.

    Where's the goddam link fercrissakes?

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  8. Farq!! These are good, Nay...great. Thank you Mr. Throckmorton.
    P.S. I had a pipe once.

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  9. I'm embarrassed to even be downloading these horrible looking albums -- I hope nobody's watching! Your always selling me stuff I didn't know I needed; thanks?!?

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    1. errr I mean you're as in you're sharing you're music is very generous and your sure a swell guy!!

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    2. Just don't look at the covers while you're playing the albums. Return To Vienna should have been big. A no-bucks spared production, fine songs, and a shiny rock edge that sits it comfortably next to your Little Feat and Steely Dan albums. Imagine how everyone felt when it got shelved. What a business.

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  10. Many thanks .... i didn't even know a couple of these existed ....

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  11. Thank you very much, the only one of these I have is Playing To Win. It's great to have the rest of these.

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  12. Thank you, great stuff!

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  13. Hmmm. Color me disappointed. Saw the name Ric, and my mind immediately went elsewhere.
    https://images.app.goo.gl/JoP2U9YxnUP7kFPs6

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    1. In a synchronous anomaly that batters at the very doors of reason, I recently re-watched Casablanca. It's one of those movies that have been replaced in cultural consciousness by clips and quotes (sometimes wrong), making it seem more familiar than it is. It's a great movie, as great as its rep and greater than the sum of its quotes.

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  14. Thanks for the Rick Nelson. Greatly appreciated.

    MsSusanM
    Genuine Dame

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    1. Gee! We gots a real tomato on th' premises! I'm telling th' other three or four guys to watch their fuggin' langwage in future. An' to call th' spittoon a cuspidor, an' improve their accuracy. May I say, MsSusanM, that your presence lends a much-needed tone of pulchritudinosity to the proceedings?

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  15. Played the grooves of "Playing to Win" when it came out -- loved the rockin' remake of "Believe What You Say" but also dug his version of "Back to School Days" a lot. Other good tracks there too: "The Loser Babe Is You" is a favorite.

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    1. His version of Ry Cooder's "Tattler" - here sensibly titled "Do The Best You Can" is interesting, too.

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  16. The next Rick post will feature his heyday Stone Canyon albums, which I'm assuming everyone has awready, but hey. His early rock 'n roll I can appreciate, but never play. Only Elvis can get me back that far.

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  17. Never Uh-Soom, lest ye make an "A$$" out of "U" and "ME" . . .

    - B.(ring on the Lil' Ricky "heyday" Holiday hullapalooza!)

    (Lemme guess... It's his sole venture in to "Spiritual" shtuff... eg, His '50s Imperial "Gospel" EP...???)

    Oh, and . . . GRASSY-ASS for the Late R.N. elpees!

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  18. O.K., chief!

    Good one . . . . !

    Jeez Louise . . . . . Am I goin' CUCKOO or what?!

    I am thinking of the WRONG flick!!!

    Nurse Ratched vs. Nurse Diesel . . .

    Now THERE'S a no-holds-barred cage match that'd be in the Not To Be Missed Sattyday Nite Smackdown viewing queue!

    Two words:

    "Juicy Fruit" ! ! !

    (NO, not the '57 Rudy Greene ditty!)

    - B.(ack to you, Randall!!!)(Wasn't that McMurphy's first name....???)

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