New Albums From Roy Orbison, The Byrds, Jefferson Airplane et al

Some interesting LP’s — a new and an old Orbison, powerful Move, brilliant Byrds, but a let-down from Jefferson Airplane, and an unexpected goodie by Ricky Nelson

ROY ORBISON: Cry Softly Lonely One — ‘She’; ‘Communication Breakdown’; ‘Cry Softly Lonely One’; ‘Girl Like Mine’; ‘It Takes One To Know One’; ‘Just Let Me Make Believe’; ‘Here Comes The Rain Baby’; ‘That’s A No No’; ‘Memories’; ‘Only Alive’; ‘Just One Time’ (London SHU 8357)
A VERY country-tinged LP from Roy. As his ‘Communication Breakdown’, (a single in the States) had not been hitherto issued here, I presumed it wasn’t much good. On the contrary — it is very commercial, moving and appealing. His voice tackles this collection of mostly gentle songs well, but it is a pity that several “teen” songs are included, seemingly from the chewing-gum blue-jeans era. His more adult items are better — try ‘It Takes One To Know One’, or his bouncy rendition of Don Gibson’s ‘Just One Time’. ****

ROY ORBISON: Early Orbison — ‘The Great Pretender’; ‘Cry’; ‘I Can’t Stop Loving You’; ‘I’ll Say It’s My Fault’; ‘She Wears My Ring’; ‘Love Hurts’; ‘Bye Bye Love’; ‘Blue Avenue’; ‘Raindrops’; ‘Come Back To Me (My Love)’; ‘Summer Song’; ‘Pretty One’ (Monument SMO 5013)
REVIEWING THIS directly after the latest MGM Orbison LP showed up several things. Firstly, the very professional quality of both records. The title is somewhat misleading — ‘Early’ Orbison is really would have been the ‘Oobie Doobie’ Sun sides. I didn’t like the shrill strings on this LP which is composed of back-water tracks from old Orbison LP’s. His voice is almost unchanged, perhaps a little more definite here, but not as mellow as it is now. I can’t see this selling too well, unless it is through the very attractive cover. ***

THE MOVE: Move — ‘Yellow Rainbow’; ‘Kilroy Was Here’; ‘Here We Go Round The Lemon Tree’; ‘Weekend’; ‘Walk Upon The Water’; ‘Flowers In The Rain’; ‘Hey Grandma’; ‘Useless Information’; ‘Zing Went The Strings Of My Heart’; ‘The Girl Outside’; ‘Fire Brigade’; ‘Mist On A Monday Morning’; ‘Cherry Blossom Clinic’ (Regal Zonophone LRZ 1002)
THE MOVE’S unerring combination of ultra-commercial material combined with enough insidious production of psychedelia makes this LP a strong chart-topping contender. Already reviewed in depth in RM, I can only add that it is a good commercial LP. Credits to producer Denny Cordell and songwriter Roy Wood. ****

THE HOBBITS: Down To Middle Earth (MCA MUP 301)
THIS AMERICAN psychedelic group have this LP in the U.S. charts. It’s a well produced item, enough interesting sounds and potted philosophy. What a difference LSD has made to American music! ***

THE PLASTIC PENNY: Two Sides Of A Penny — ‘Everything I Am’; ‘Wake Me Up’; ‘Never My Love’; ‘Genevieve’; ‘No Pleasure Without Pain My Love’; ‘So Much Older Now’; ‘Mrs. Grundy’; ‘Take Me Back’; ‘I Want You’; ‘It’s A Good Thing’; ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’ (Page One POL 005)
FOR A FIRST LP by a one-hit group, this is surprisingly acceptable. One side is ballads, the other beat (as you probably guessed). The ballad side is far better and lead singer Brian treats them with a certain poignancy and plaintive appeal that could ensure the success of the group. But I could take or leave the beat side — especially their empty rendition of ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’. ***

THE BYRDS: The Notorious Byrd Brothers — ‘Artificial Energy’; ‘Goin’ Back’; ‘Natural Harmony’; ‘Draft Morning’; ‘Wasn’t Born To Follow You’; ‘Get To You’; ‘Change Is Now’; ‘Old John Robertson’; ‘Tribal Gathering’; ‘Dolphins Smile’; ‘Space Odyssey’ (CBS 63169)
HARD THOUGH it was for the Byrds to follow-up their near-perfect Younger Than Yesterday album — they’ve done it with this fantastic disc. Like most progressive LP’s it runs through as a whole unit rather than a collection of tracks, and for the first time they use strings and brass — and beautifully too. In stereo this is even better — tracks range from the drug warning item ‘Artificial Energy’, the lovely ‘Goin’ Back’ and the poignant ‘Draft Morning’, one of the best anti-war songs for a long time. Anyone who buys this LP gets their money’s worth. Just listen to the guitar break in ‘Change Is Now’ in stereo! *****

THE AMERICAN BREED: Bend Me, Shape Me — ‘Green Light’; ‘Don’t It Make You Cry’; ‘Mind-Rocker’; ‘Bird’; ‘Something You’ve Got’; ‘Don’t Make Me Leave You’; ‘Bend Me Shape Me’; ‘Before And After’; ‘Sometime In The Morning’; ‘I’ve Been Trying’; ‘No Easy Way Down’ (Dot LPD 502)
THE ORIGINAL ‘Bend Me, Shape Me’ group have a good selection of styles — from the frantic ‘Green Light’ through to their gentle interpretation of the Impressions ‘I’ve “Been Trying’, they show this is a well performed and produced LP. Perhaps there isn’t too much originality in style, but that’s their only fault. It is hard to criticise this LP in any other direction, and some English groups should listen to certain songs here too. ***

THE JEFFERSON AIRPLANE: After Bathing At Baxters — Streetmasse — ‘The Ballad Of You, Me And Pooneil’; ‘A Small Package Of Value Will Come To You (Shortly)’; ‘Young Girl Sunday Blues’; The War Is Over — ‘Martha’; ‘Wilde Tyme (H)’; Hymn To An Older Generation — ‘The Last Wall Of The Castle’, ‘Rejoyce’; How Suite It Is — ‘Watch Her Ride’; ‘Spare Chaynge’; Schizoforest Love Suite — ‘Two Heads’; ‘Won’t You Try’; ‘Saturday Afternoon’ (RCA Victor RD 7926)
UNFORTUNATELY the music doesn’t match the titles — thus the whole LP comes across as pretentious. There is nothing as exciting as ‘Somebody To Love’ or as good as ‘White Rabbit’ here. I’ve heard this is good in stereo, but I couldn’t get the stereo version to review. Really, for died-in-the-wool heads who have to collect EVERYTHING, but compared with current LPs by the Byrds, Country Joe — not much at all. ***

RICK NELSON: Another Side Of Rick — ‘Dream Weaver’; ‘Marshmallow Skies’; ‘Don’t Blame It On Your Wife’; ‘Reason To Believe’; ‘Suzanne On A Sunday Morning’; ‘Baby Close Its Eyes’; ‘Barefoot Boy’; ‘Don’t Make Promises’; ‘Promenade In Green’; ‘Georgia On’ My Mind’; ‘Daydream’; ‘I Wonder If Louise Is Home’ (MCA MUP 302)
RICK HASN’T meant very much for several years now here. But with names like Koppelman-Rubin, Jack Nitzsche, Don Peake given production credits, one is tempted to listen very carefully. And I found some interesting items here — apart from the many Timmy Hardin tracks, all of which are carefully, but unadventurously recorded. ‘Don’t Blame It On Your Wife’ is the best thing Rick has recorded for some time, and I never thought Rick could put as much into ‘Georgia’ as he does. An interesting LP. ****

© Peter Jones, Norman JoplingRecord Mirror, 6 April 1968

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