Friday, August 26, 2011

"Everybody in the world has Frampton Comes Alive. If you lived in the suburbs you were issued it. It came in the mail with samples of Tide."

So the other week our pal Sal Nunziato, over at Burning Wood, was pondering the idea that maybe, just perhaps, the mostly disreputable Peter Frampton -- mega over-exposure victim of the 70s due to the (largely indefensible, I think) multi-platinum Frampton Comes Alive double LP -- might possibly deserve some critical re-evaluation.

Well, I don't know if I'd go quite that far, but I must admit that "All Night Long," from Frampton's second (1973) solo album (at a time when he was actually considered tres hip in what was then the hard-rock underground) has always struck me as an estimable piece of power pop. And that guitar riff on the choruses is way cool.




Apparently it appealed to Roger McGuinn as well, because he covered it -- tepidly -- on his 1977 Thunderbyrd album, the depressing near MOR followup to the wonderful Cardiff Rose.



In any case, it's still a good song. Like I said, though -- I'm not really sure if I'm ready to give Frampton a pass for his 70s heyday yet.

And yes, I'm still in DivShare Hell on my computer at home -- I did this on a certain shady dame's Mac in Brooklyn -- which is why there's no Listomania this week.

20 comments:

Faze said...

It's o-o-o-kay. But compare it to some other songs released in 1973, like Badfinger's "Apple of My Eye", Raspberries "Tonight" (and "Ecstasy", which features a super-powered version of the guitar riff in the chorus the Frampton song), the last great Kinks song, "Sweet Lady Genivive", "Jets" by Paul McCartney, "Ring Ring" by Abba - oh yeah, and Bruce's "Rosalita". It was actually a pretty good year for power pop, doncha think?

steve simels said...

Yes, I do, although I'm not sure I'd agree that "Sweet Lady Genivive" is the last great Kinks record. There are lots of songs of theirs I love as late the 90s.

Sal Nunziato said...

"Scattered" from "Phobia" is as good as anything Ray as ever written, IMHO.

Sal Nunziato said...

But let's not make this about The Kinks. ;)

Gummo said...

In either 73 or 74 Frampton played a room in our student union that held a few hundred people.

A year later he was playing the Memorial Auditorium, Buffalo's equivalent of Madison Square Garden.

A bunch of us went, not knowing if we'd get the guitar player or the pop star.

J. Geils warmed up with a solid blues'n'boogie set.

Then Frampton came out, shirt open to the navel, bedecked with gold chains. After a couple of tepid songs, we all moved up to the rear seats of the Aud and basically ignored the rest of the show.

Gummo said...

And re: later Kinks --

Never heard Livin' on a Thin Line until it was used on The Sopranos.

The song Blew. Me. Away.

Anonymous said...

Let's go back to raving about Cardiff Rose, which is a seadog's delight. Hoist the jolly roger!

Michael said...

Hate Frampton's voice (stopped it the second he started singing), take some gloss off McGuinn's version and that's a really good song.

Phillydog said...

Some years ago, a radio dj asked listeners to call in to answer this question: "Frampton Comes Alive" sold 19 bazillion copies & everyone had at least one in the house. Can you name ANY of the band members besides Peter Frampton? It took a LONG time before someone called in with a correct answer.

steve simels said...

I remember seeing the drummer a year or two later playing with a crappy club band at Kenny's Castaways. I felt kind of bad for him.

Forget his name; John Siomos maybe? I'll have to look him up...

pete said...

I, too, much prefer McGuinn's version. Frampton always struck me as a nice guy but, as a performer, more or less personality-free. And who's playing the guitar fills under McGuinn's voice? Really good.

dave™© said...

Frampton, pre-"Comes Alive," was a pretty big hit in my high school. Not sure why - it's not like a little farming town in the San Joaquin Valley was "cutting edge" or something. I think it probably had to do with FM airplay, specifically being within listening range of the great KSAN. Esp. remember listening to "I Wanna Go to the Sun" and "Something's Happening" while hanging out at one of my best friend's house after school.

We also listened to "Lamb Lies Down on Broadway" a lot, which is REALLY weird!

steve simels said...

Guitarist on the McGuinn version is Rick Vito. Solid pro, played with Fleetwood Mac, Jackson Browne etal.

Not my fave guy, in any case....

pete said...

There's fairly recent footage of Rick Vito playing and singing with Mick Fleetwood's post-Mac blues outfit. It's fairly obvious that he's been given the Peter Green role, but he holds it down creditably.

Elvet Velvis said...

I was in a band that opened for Frampton back in pre-superstardom 1974. We got into a conversation about Steve Marriott, but ended up with him talking about how he was really into Kenny Burrell. He had (and I'm sure still has) very credible jazz chops on guitar. You just never know.

Anonymous said...

Bob Mayo!! Bob Mayo on the keyboards!! Pete shouts during "Do You Feel Like I Do" which despite a lot of weedlie-deedlie wanking has some very artful guitar lines.

I think Rick Vito plays that awesome F. Mac solo on "Wherever You Follow" of some such title. Great stuff.

befuggled said...

I always liked the Dinosaur Jr version of Show Me The Way. Very nice (if overdubbed) guitar solo. Frampton? Apparently I'm just slightly too young to know what the fuss was about.

Anonymous said...

"Frampton Comes Alive" band members: Stan Sheldon, bass. I met him when he was pursuing a Master's degree in Latin American Studies; his thesis was on Afro-Latin music, as I recall. At the time he was performing in the Kansas City area, in a Latin American dance band. I think he is out on the road now with Frampton's current tour.

Hebridean Monty said...

Who cares...he made loads of money...probably got loads of pussy...didn't have to work in a factory shovelling shit and kissing ass in case he lost his job...what a stupid cunt he was...he sure as shit made the wrong decision...stick your rock'n'roll integrity up your stupid assholes,'punk rock' losers...

buzzbabyjesus said...

Frampton was in Humble Pie for a couple albums. What else is there to know?