Sunday, July 26, 2009

Singles for a Sunday

Cartoone - Knick Knack Man

Side A: Knick Knack Man
Side B: Mr. Poor Man

Atlantic Records, 1969

Abaco Dream - Life And Death In G&A

Side A: Life And Death In G&A
Side B: Cat Woman

A&M Records, 1970

Happy Sunday! I've got a bonus double shot of singles for you all on this fine Sunday afternoon...

First up is Cartoone. Cartoone were caught up in the late 60's London pop-folk craze...and they weren't very good. The bulk of their S/T debut was rather limp, notably only for the presence of Jimmy Page's playing. But if you're looking for some Zeppelin or even some Yardbirds riffage, best look elsewhere. Cartoone is content with being plush and soft rather than rough and tumble. The only track I'm going to bother with off this single is "Knick Knack Man", what with "Mr. Poor Man" being pretty unremarkable.

"Knick Knack Man" starts off with a pretty great whistled melody and soon you get the requisite harmonies of the genre. In all, the song has a general Beatles-esque feel to it. The harmonies, gentle strumming, and the lead vocal echo Cat Stevens' particular brand of folk which I reallllllly cant stand. But here it somehow works for me. Maybe the subtle soul influence in the singer's inflections or the melody or maybe I'm just playing the tough guy role and, deep down, I really like this pappy, fruity, pillow soft "rock". Let's hope its a fluke and not a trend.

Cartoone - Knick Knack Man

So, lets dispense with the soft, emasculating, twirling in the fields pop-rock and grab a hold of some funk. This is an interesting record, "Live and Death in G&A"'s songwriting credit is given to Sylvester Stewart and its generally held that this is Sly and The Family Stone trying out some more creatively risky material away from the prying eyes of record executives. This defines the coke fueled speed funk bass playing that Larry Graham is revered for. His pace pushes this track like a downhill locomotive. The bass groove is foretelling, almost note for note, of the Jimmy Castor Bunch funk classic "It's Just Begun". What a great great great song.

The B side is even more amazing to me. The songwriting credit goes to one Eric Siday, a composer of jingles and commercial music. He was also one of the earliest adopters of Moog Synthesizers and this song showcases them brilliantly. With a live drummer pumping out an almost no-wave/ESG/Gang of Four beat, "Cat Woman" sounds like something out of New York in the early 80's, with layers of odd vocals and gobs of funky Moog sounds. This record freaks my dog out.

Abaco Dream - Life and Death in G&A

Abaco Dream - Cat Woman

BONUS! Jimmy Castor Bunch - It's Just Begun

1 comment:

rosie said...

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