Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
As good as Stealers Wheel
Joseph T. McFarland | Natick, MA USANatick, MA United States | 12/18/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"There are a number of musicians, bands etc. who get known for particular songs or albums which are massively popular, and then ever after it's hard to get past the "hit" when you hear their name. Fleetwood Mac, Bee Gees, Al Stewart all got associated with slick seventies sound. However, they all had earlier stuff that sounds quite different from the "hits". Another example of this phenomenon is Gerry Rafferty. As far as slick seventies go, "Baker Street" and "Right Down the Line" are good for what they are, but this album is where people should go if they want to hear what he could do with a song without the studio slickness.
It has a bunch of great short pop songs that stand up nicely with Stealers Wheel and show that he was more than just a radio friendly musician with a catchy saxophone line. There are traces of country, folk (if you like this check out the second "Open the Door" by the Humblebums, his sixties folk/pop band before this album), and of course classic British pop.
This album is the link between Humblebums and Stealers Wheel, filled with McCartney style songwriting and great pop arrangements. The thirteen songs are all different, catchy and well-constructed. As if to emphasize this point the last song is really two put together (like "A Day in the Life" or XTC's "Wheel and the Maypole" on Wasp Star). Although listed as two songs, track 13 and 14 meld together seamlessly. It starts out as a quiet number that alternates with a vaudeville section reminiscent of "Your Mother Should Know" or "Something Happened To Me Yesterday" from Between the Buttons, before transforming again into a short solo piano piece. If you like the slick seventies sound, then you are better off with the later stuff I guess. But if you like "Benediction" by Stealers Wheel, or any of their Beatles-style material for that matter, this is a record worth checking out. The only odd thing about the CD is that they replaced the beautifully simple "Mary Skeffington" from the album with a slightly more orchestrated version for the CD that adds autoharp and accordion. It's not really better or worse, but worth noting if the simpler version happens to be your favorite Gerry Rafferty song. This album belongs right next to the three Stealers Wheel albums for anyone who likes tuneful pop with traces of folk or British-style country. Once you get into this album, you won't even miss "Baker Street." Plus, everyone who has walked within twenty feet of a radio has heard that one a zillion times already anyway.
After this you can investigate Jeff Lynne's first band the Idle Race and discover another example of an artist whose early stuff is neglected in favor of slick seventies production."
You won't want your money back!
Brett Simpson | Auckland, New Zealand | 05/04/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Rafferty's first solo album, while featuring a stripped back sound compared to his better-known recordings, is positively overproduced compared to his then recent work with Billy Connolly in the Humblebums.
Opening with the instruction to "Do it on the microphone, thank you Gerald" presumably from producer Hugh Murphy, who would still be producing Rafferty albums two decades later, the album kicks off with the rollicking "New Street Blues", with both vocal and arrangement playing against the lyrics - but don't worry, true Rafferty melancholy is to be found in abundance, particularly on "One Drink Down" and "Don't Count Me Out".
Also of note is "Sign on the Dotted Line" co-written with future Stealers Wheel partner Joe Egan, and highly indicative of the music industry-based songs that would dominate "Ferguslie Park" it is too.
These are just a few of the highlights, but as with most Rafferty albums, virtually every track qualifies for that description. Perhaps not the title cut, though, which has the potential to irritate, but doesn't really outstay it's welcome, clocking in at under two minutes - something of a rarity for a Rafferty tune!
Without a doubt this album is worth every cent you'll pay for it."