Friday, July 24, 2015

Jon Pousette-Dart--- Talk

I remember Pousette-Dart. I remember the Pousette-Dart Band, in fact, and the reaction their first album received on the West Coast, mainly as the band which opened for Peter Frampton on the Frampton Comes Alive tour--- when was that? 1976? They were also known for their mime-themed album jacket, universally panned by mime-haters worldwide, which at the time stopped more than one of my friends from even considering either album or band--- not a death knell in itself, but one wonders how universal was the attitude. And to open for Frampton, who just months before was virtually unknown in the States in spite of, how many, four solo albums? Whose followers from his days with Humble Pie deserted him en masse because of what they considered his descent into pap hell? Who, months before the live album was even released, became a god to millions who would not touch his previous four studio albums while begging with tears in their eyes for the new one? God knows what it must have been like going onstage before thousands of such people, but it had to be daunting.

Truth be told, I liked that first album in spite of the cover (yes, I too am a mime-hater) but the West Coast did not. In spite of a modicum of airplay, usually coinciding with said tour, they made a very small splash in the ponds of Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Seattle, though they would do much better with the second album, thanks to airplay for Amnesia and County Line, the band's only real charters on radio. Still, they were East Coast, and in those days there was that schism.

I had not thought about them in years--- in fact, until this new album, Talk, dropped in my hands. Immediately, that first album jacket passed before my eyes and with slight shudder, I put it reluctantly into the CD player only to find that I liked this album. Liked it a lot, in fact. There is a very seventies feel to it, in fact--- a leaning toward the soulful. Jon Pousette-Dart still has a voice and uses it to full effect, helped along by an outstanding group of session men and three wonderful female vocalists with whom to duel--- Bekka Bramlett, Rhonda Vincent, and Jonnell Mosser--- voices which fit his like a glove.

All of the references I have found relating to Pousette-Dart mention soft rock and I guess that fits this album too, but there is more here than that. There is that soulfulness I mentioned and a slew of solid songs, many co-written by songwriters of stature. There is a feel which flows beginning to end which ties the songs together. And there is a sound--- a very pleasant sound--- thanks partially to Bil VornDick, a producer I know from his work on The Dixie Bee-Liners exceptional Ripe and Susanville albums (each was among the top picks the year of release). What did I say above? That I liked it? I do.

Pousette-Dart revisits the aforementioned Amnesia and County Line on this album and I have to admit that it is good hearing them again. Dinosaurs like myself might remember hearing them on the radio back when radio mattered. I miss those days. If this world of music was not in such chaos, this album would have a good chance. It may have, anyway. It is good enough, that's for sure. And it deserves a chance.

(Frank Gutch Jr. writes and has written for numerous magazines and websites, presently including this blog, his own website and the prestigious Don't Believe A Word I Say site put together by musician and music pundit Bob Segarini, out of Toronto. He specializes in the Indies, having fought hand-to-hand combat with major record labels for decades (talk about zombies). He believes music should be the core of the music business, though business it mostly be, and denies the accepted reality in the stead of the artistic one. Seldom does he receive pay for articles and/or reviews and believes that there is no place for negatives in a world in which one cannot keep up with the positives. He is, in a sense, a lost soul in a sea of music, drowning, but drowning gratefully.)

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