20 Dec 2011

Emitt Rhodes - American Dream - Obscure Classics ( Review )

Great albums you may have missed

Emitt Rhodes - American Dream ( Recorded 1969 )

Could this be the best contractual obligation album ever?
When the Merry-Go-Round imploded in 1969 after recording only one album, Rhodes took it upon himself to fulfill their contract with A&M Records, and knocked out these recordings with the help of various session men, and the Merry-Go-Round's drummer.
A&M declined to release these recordings at the time, and duly released Rhodes from his contract.
A year later Rhodes released his critically acclaimed self titled solo album on Dunhill Records, treading the same path as his major influence Paul McCartney, by entirely self recording at home ( in a self built studio in his parent's garage ).The album quickly found fans wherever it was heard, and A&M sensing a cash cow released the 1969 recordings as American Dream.
Let's look at the highlights. Apologies for the many Beatles comparisons - they are unavoidable. What makes Emitt's output so special however is how well it stacks up compared to his more well known inspirations.
The album starts strongly with Mother Earth, a big lavish production with full on Beatles harmonies.
Pardon Me is a slower piano ballad with the sort of slightly mawkish lyrics that McCartney specializes in , toeing the line between ridiculous and endearing.
Textile Factory is next, and not a big favourite with fans, but a lot of fun if taken in the right spirit. It's got a country lilt to it, and reminds me of the sort of material Ringo contributed to the Beatles records.
Someone Died is a lovely acoustic number that wouldn't sound out of place on the White Album.
Holly Park and Mary Will You Take My Hand work in McCartney's musichall and calypso influences, before things get a little more dramatic with the wonderfully Eleanor Rigbyish The Man He Was.

I couldn't find any sound samples for this on youtube or soundcloud so you'll have to take my word on how good this is folks. I daresay that if you were to run a files search on filestube.com you may find a match. After which you'll want to go out and buy it anyway.

The original album is out of print but it's included in full on both of the following sets, either or both of which should adorn your shelves post haste:

Click through to buy them from Amazon.co.uk - I'd start with the Emitt Rhodes Recordings- all four of his solo albums on a double CD set for just over ten pounds. A total bargain.

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