Arrogance


Band members                             Related acts

  line up 1 (1969)

- Don Dixon -- vocals, bass, percussion, guitar

- Jimmy Glasgow -- drums, percussion

- Mike Greer -- keyboards

- Robert Kirkland -- vocals, guitar, percussion

 

   line up 2 (-73)

 - Don Dixon -- vocals, bass, percussion, guitar

- Robert Kirkland -- vocals, guitar, percussion

NEW - Ogie Shaw -- drums, percussion

NEW - Marty Stout -- keyboards 

 

   line up 3 (1973-74)

 - Don Dixon -- vocals, bass, percussion, guitar

NEW - Steve Herbert -- drums, percussion (replaced Ogie Shaw)

- Robert Kirkland -- vocals, guitar, percussion

- Marty Stout -- keyboards 

 

  line up 4 (1974-76)

NEW - Scott Davidson -- drums, percussion (replaced 

  Steve Herbert)

- Don Dixon -- vocals, bass, percussion, guitar

- Robert Kirkland -- vocals, guitar, percussion

- Marty Stout -- keyboards 

 

  line up 2 (1976-83)

NEW - Scott Abernethy -- lead guitar, vocals 

- Scott Davidson -- drums, percussion

- Don Dixon -- vocals, bass, percussion, guitar

- Robert Kirkland -- vocals, guitar, percussion

- Marty Stout -- keyboards 

 

  supporting musicians (1976)

- Ann Barak -- violin

- Don Brooks -- harmonica

- Charles Libove -- violin

- Kermit Moore - cello

- Larry Packer -- fiddle

- John Pintavalle -- violin

- Matthew Raimondo -- violin

- Eric Weissberg -- banjo

 

 

 

 

- 5'11"

- Scott Abernathy (solo efforts)

- Steve Ball Band (Scott Davidson)

- Rod Dash (Scott Abernethy)

- Scott Davidson (solo efforts)

- Don Dixon (solo efforts)

- Glass Moon (Scott Abernethy)

- Kick the Future (Robert Kirkland an Scott Davidson)

- Robert Kirkland (solo efforts)

 

 

 


 

Genre: pop

Rating: 3 stars ***

Title:  Prolepsis

Company: Sugarbush

Catalog: SBS 112
Year:
 1976

Country/State: North Carolina

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: --

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 2307

Price: $40.00

 

 

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"Prolepsis" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) 

 

 

 

  1. "Six Wings" (Kirkland) – 3:20
  2. "Bad Girl" (Dixon) – 2:42
  3. "Barely Alive" (Kirkland) – 2:23
  4. "Sun Sweet" (Dixon) - 8:50
  5. "North End of Town" (Kirkland) – 3:17

Side Two

  1. "We Live To Play" (Dixon) - :26
  2. "Slaughtered Elves" (Kirkland) - 2:29
  3. "Can't I Buy A Song" (Dixon) - 2:39
  4. "Sunday Feeling" (Kirkland) - 4:14
  5. "People Aren't Free" (Dixon) - 4:09
  6. "Cost Of Money" (Stout) - 4:18
  7. "My Final Song" (Dixon) - 6:24

A close friend who really liked their first album a lot, finds this one absolutely awful. I don't share his opinion, possibly liking this a little consistently more. Though still featuring strong country influences, I detect a slight shift more to a rural/rock sound overall. Still, plenty of piano to the fore, with some nice vocal harmony. Grades - 5 B's, 4 B-'s, a C+, and a C-.


The sound became more upbeat when percussionist Ogie Shaw was replaced by drummer Steve Herbert and the result was  Arrogance’s second self-labeled LP, Prolepsis, coming out in 1975. The band’s wry wit and perspective shows in the record’s title, meaning preparation for anticipated things to come, and the music reflected a new level of talent and professionalism, not only in the songs, which were an amalgamation of rock, country and folk, but in the outstanding arrangements and production values of the recording. Late in 1974, before the release of Prolepsis, Steve Herbert left the band and was replaced by Steve Ball Band drummer, Scott Davison.

By now Arrogance was amassing a substantial following of dedicated fans and headlining at regional clubs like Town Hall, The Pier and The Cat’s Cradle even though they insisted on playing original music ... unheard of by audiences in those days and unfathomable to club owners, but Arrogance was good enough to make it work. As one fan said, "They could knock you down, not with volume but with sheer intelligence and taste and, really, a sense of history."

Arrogance released their own album in 1973 instead of taking off for a record-industry center like New York, and that record, Give Us a Break, served as their calling card as they continued to build a following among the Mid-Atlantic states. Logically enough, they decided to record a second album and cut Prolepsis in the spring of 1974. Of course, it was also true that the national record industry hadn't come looking for them, either, and their recognition of this was apparent in the record's title. Give Us a Break, of course, had had two possible meanings, one of which was the desire for the opportunity that would give Arrogance success; Prolepsis is a word referring to something that is anachronistic or not in its proper time, usually because it anticipates what is going to happen. On the basis of these songs, Arrogance could be thought of a throwback in the sense that their music still recalled the country-rock of Buffalo Springfield and Poco, to the extent that, for example, "North End of Town" was a square-dance hoedown. But they were also, say "presumptuous" rather than "arrogant," enough to think that they were leading the way to a new musical synthesis. Or maybe they were just being smart alecks. Certainly, they retained a peculiarly Southern sense of humor and wry self-mocking on such songs as Robert Kirkland's "Slaughtered Elves." They were also becoming more accomplished musicians, their five years of playing together paying off in tight arrangements and good ensemble work on such songs as "Can't I Buy a Song." Certainly, there was plenty of evidence here that one of those national record labels could do worse than to take a chance on this North Carolina quartet.

 

 


Genre: pop

Rating: 3 stars ***

Title:  Rumors

Company: Vanguard

Catalog: VSD 79369
Year:
 1976

Country/State: North Carolina

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: --

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 868

Price: $25.00

 

Arrogance's third album found the band poised for the big time.   Signed by Vanguard, they were given a recording budget; time in Vanguard's New York City studios, and assigned an arranger and a real producer in the form of John Anthony (about to make Peter Frampton a mega-star).  Released in 1976, in spite of the increased resources, "Rumors" wasn't a major change in musical direction (or maybe I should say directions).  Working separately, Dixon and Kirkland were again responsible for the material which again covered a wide swath of territory including stabs at conventional bluegrass country ('Two Good Legs'), country-rock ('Open Windows'), pop ('Why Do You Love Me'), and Southern rock (the Wet Willie-styled 'Final Nickel').  If you were keeping notes, Dixon's material tended towards the good-natured quirky side, while Kirkland seemed more comfortable playing it straight.  Regardless, taken on a song-by-song basis the results were quite impressive.  Dixon and Kirkland were both accomplished singers and after seven years playing clubs, these guys were one tight entity, capable of handling a wide variety of material without breaking a sweat.  They always reminded me of a North Carolina version of NRBQ - a track like 'Lady Luck and Luxury' underscores the comparison.   And that musical diversity was simultaneously a creative strength and a marketplace weakness.   Ultimately it was the marketplace that made the difference.  With the prime music buying demographic having the attention span of a gnat, a band that was smart, challenging, diverse, and entertaining simply didn't have a chance.  Dixon himself seemed concerned about the band's demographic audience - checkout the funny, but insightful 'Doubt It'.   

 

 

 

 

LP back cover left to right: Dixon - Kirkland - Davidson - Stout

 

 

 

 

 

"Rumors" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) We Live to Play (instrumental)   (Don Dixon) - 0:25    rating: ** star

To be honest, 'We Live to Play' wasn't much more than a song fragment, showcasing some churchy Marty Stout keyboards.  There simply wasn't enough hear to really comment on.
2.) Sunday Feeling   (Robert Kirkland) - 3:56
  rating: **** stars

One of the band's prettiest ballads, 'Sunday Feeling' had a beautiful, mid-tempo mournful melody, coupled with some tasteful strings.  Kirkland seldom sounded as good.  
3.) Final Nickel    (Don Dixon) - 3:04
  rating: *** stars

'Final Nickel' was a wonderful slice of Southern-tinged rock with a bouncy melody, goofy lyrics (kissing dogs, q-tips, etc.).  We're talking he Wet Willie-style of Southern rock, rather than Lanyard Skinnier-styled hard rock.  Well, let me qualify that - two thirds of the song was great with a bouncy, memorable melody and nice harmony vocals.  Unfortunately the acapella segment was simply irritating.  It was released as a single:

 

 

 

 

- 1976's 'Final Nickel' b/w 'Final Nickel' (Vanguard catalog number VSD 35196)

 

 

 

 

 


4.) Two Good Legs   (Robert Kirkland) - 3:27
    rating: ** star

Straightforward country track showcasing banjo player Eric Weissberg.  Simply didn't do anything for me.   
5.) Dying To Know   (Robert Kirkland) - 4:17
  rating: *** stars

Another pretty ballad with plenty of commercial potential, 'Dying To Know' found the band shifting into conventional country-rock mode.  Showcasing the band's lovely harmony vocals, Stout's economic keyboards, and a beautiful acoustic guitar solo, this one sounded a bit like something Rick Roberts and Firefall might have recorded.  
6.) Open Window   (Robert Kirkland) - 3:48
  rating: **** stars

'Open Window' offered up more county-rock, this time with the emphasis on rock.  One of the album's stronger melodies; the combination of nifty Kirkland-Dixon harmonies, and some killer electric guitar, this one would easily have slotted into top-40 radio along side The Eagles, Fleetwood Mac, and the rest of the gang.  Vanguard tapped it as a single, but did little to promote it.   

 

 

 

 

- 1976's 'Open Window' b/w 'Lady Luck and Luxury' (Vanguard catalog number VSD 35193)   

 

 

 

(side 2)
1.)
Why Do You Love Me   (Don Dixon) - 2:57   rating: *** stars

Good-timey top-40-ish pop that would have been a blast to hear in a small club.  More harmonica and cowbell please.   
2.) Lady Luck and Luxury   (Don Dixon) - 4:08
  rating: **** stars

Propelled by Stout's keyboards, 'Lady Luck and Luxury was a quirky, old-timey song that somehow managed to be one of the standout performances.  Not sure if it had something to do with the nice acoustic guitars, the tuba, or the lyric which included "can't pee over the side" ...   
3.) Pitchin' Woo   (Robert Kirkland) - 2:33
  rating: *** stars

Driving Poco-styled country-rock that was pleasant, but again didn't do all that much for me.  
4.) I Doubt It   (Don Dixon) - 3:37
  rating: **** stars

Dixon's bouncy 'Doubt It; was simply one of the funniest and most poignant commentaries ever recorded on the record business.   Great melody and how could you not smile at a song that name checked The Amboy Dukes and Aztec Two Step ?   "Nobody wants you if you're not the same.  Nobody listens if they have to strain ... "
5.) It's Sad (But You Can't Really Hear Me at All)   (Don Dixon) - 3:34
  rating: **** stars

'It's Sad (But You Can't Really Hear Me at All) ' closed the album with a gorgeous Crosby, Stills, and Nash-styled acoustic ballad.

 

 

Sadly, Vanguard seemed clueless when it came to promoting the band, the single, or the parent album (perhaps not a major surprise looking at the folk-oriented roster).  It was their only release for the label.

 

For hardcore fans, Dixon reissued the album in CD format on his own Dixon Archival label in 2000 (along with all the other Arrogance albums).   The reissue included a pair of bonus tracks - earlier, demo versions of 'Open Window' and 'Final Nickel'.

 

 

The band have a wonderful website at:  http://www.arrogancerocks.com/bios.htm

 

 


 

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