A perfect mix 'n match of various musical styles
David Hugaert | Honolulu, HI United States | 12/02/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
""It Ain't Easy" is most likely the most veritable title in the Three Dog Night catalogue, as far as musical stylings go. The CD opens with a ballsy rocker titled "Woman", plus there are other finely laid-out rock arrangements as well. "Rock & Roll Widow" contains a beautifully textured mixture of Michael Allsup's lead guitar and Jimmy Greenspoon's rangey and dynamic keyboard playing - the perfect balance to the above track. The third and final rock composition, the Barry Mann/Cynthia Weil-penned "Good Time Living", has Chuck Negron, Danny Hutton & Cory Wells singing together in upstanding fashion, with a uniquely interwoven style of three part harmony which can't be found anywhere else on this planet. Hutton, Negron & Wells each contribute solo lead vocals on three tracks, with Negron contributing a teary-eyed vocal on the Randy Newman-penned "Cowboy", and with Hutton contributing an equally impressive vocal performance on the Elton John/Bernie Taupin written "Your Song". Although TDN's version of Elton's ballad entered the charts the same time as "The Master('s) Himself", Elton John's version quickly reached Top 20 status before the TDN version slowly made it up the far reaches of the Billboard charts in December 1970/January 1971. What makes TDN's version of "Your Song" unique in its own special way, is the bluesy instrumental passages that the band craftfully put in place of the last omitted verse - a Three Dog Night trademark found in other TDN album non-singles. Wells makes excellent use of his gruff, soulful vocals on the other Newman-penned single "Mama Told Me (Not To Come)" - TDN's first number one single. The title track emits several bluesy pulsations that are all over the place, as well. There's a special place in the guys' heart for 1950's music too, as is the heir apparent in "Good Feeling (1957)". There's a funny little story featured in the booklet of the double CD "Celebrate 1965-1975" collection, as Danny Hutton stated about this track: "We stuffed rags and paper into our mouths, ears and noses, trying to make the funniest noises we could." To this, Cory Wells stated: "That was the happiest moment I remember. I remember going home at 7:30 in the morning after we recorded it. I was up for days." After hearing "Good Feeling (1957)" the guys truly were enjoying themselves, as per Hutton and Wells' above comments, and it shows. "Out In The Country" showcases a mixture of folk & rock influences put to good measure. So, to sum it all up, "It Ain't Easy" makes for wholesome "easy listening" pleasure at that, which makes it essential for your all-important Three Dog Night collection. Although this title went out of print in the U.S. long ago, many of the selections found on "It Ain't Easy" are also located on the "Celebrate..." collection mentioned above. Who knows how much longer this import of "IAE" will be made available to the public. You would be most wise to pick up a copy soon, otherwise it'll be one "hard sell"! IN LOVING MEMORY: Joe (Schermie) Schermetzler (1946-2002). R.I.P. Thanks for many musical memories, Joe."