In case you missed last week's column, here's the short version. The album was released, on Atlantic Records, in early 1972, and it came with no band photo or musical credits other than that it was produced and arranged by Dave Palmer and Andy Solomon (neither of whom were known to me). A quick listen, however, made the album's conceptual genius immediately apparent -- what Palmer and Solomon were doing was taking then contemporary (late 60s, early 70s) pop and rock staples and reinterpreting them in, shall we say, other earlier styles. This was an incredibly radical and audacious thing to do in 1972, but more important the album worked equally well both as pastiche and affectionate homage, and the aural evocations of the earlier eras (from 40s jump blues to early rock to Del Shannon and the early 60s) were done with almost eerie authenticity.
Plus, the whole thing was often also very, very funny; my well worn original vinyl copy made a lot of people's jaws drop when I played it for them over the years (although I doubt that the thing ever sold enough to pay for the art director's fee for the cover design).
Anyway, and herewith, as promised, the first three tracks.
"Hey Jude" (the first of two versions on the LP, this one done as your basic street-corner doo-wop).
And then Sly and the Family Stone's "Dance to the Music" as nature intended. (That this was actually deemed releasable as a single is, perhaps, the cream of the jest).
And finally "Purple Haze" like you've never heard it before. Please do not operate heavy machinery after listening to this.
I presumed at the time that Palmer and Solomon were staff producers or engineers at Atlantic (the cover photo is the original Atlantic recording studio, back in the 50s) but I discovered otherwise in 2008, however, when the album was briefly reissued on CD (it is long out of print, alas) and the following clarification was posted over at Amazon.
"The album is only Andy Soloman ('ALL' vocals, and 'All' instruments) and Dave Palmer (Drums). Studio musicians appear on two cuts credited as the Charles Soloman Orchestra. Dave co-produced with Andy, and engineered|mixed as well. The album is mixed in mono, except for the splash cymbal ending on 'Groovin' which is stereo. It was born out of a send up demo Andy made with Dave on a sound-on-sound Sony TC-630 reel-to-reel recorder in 1969. While making The Amboy Dukes last original lineup album 'Marriage' for Polydor records, legendary producer|engineer Eddie Kramer heard the doo-wop version of 'Hey Jude' and totally flipped out. The Atlantic deal soon followed. Dave left the band to become an engineer at Electric Lady Studios with Eddie, and Andy eventually left Ted for a career in commercial music writing. That's the true back story...Dave Palmer is my cousin." -- Ron Christopher
Coming tomorrow: The duo's inimitable takes on songs by Creedence, The Rascals, and The Rolling Stones.