Band members Related acts
up 1: (1976)
- Mark Abel -- bass, backing vocals
- Beds (Mayo James McAllister)
- Chesmann Square (Gary Hodgden (aka Gary West) and
Mayo James McAllister)
- Henry Flynt & Nova'Billy (Mayo James McAllister)
- Humming Bird (Gary Hodgden (aka Gary West) and
Mayo James McAllister)
- Shooting Star (Gary Hodgden
(aka Gary West))
- Scott Trusty
Rating: *** (3 stars)
Title: The Beckies
Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+
Comments: minor ring wear; top right cut corner; original lyric inner sleeve
Catalog ID: 4567
Songwriter/keyboardist Michael Brown established his credentials with such
luminaries as The
Left Banke, Montage and The Stories. Frustrated with
The Stories' musical direction and lack of widespread success, Brown quit
the band in 1973. Following a two year hiatus he reappeared with The
Beckies. The line-up was rounded out by singer
Scott Trusty and singer/drummer Gary Hodgden and guitarist
Mayo James McAllister. Trust and Hodgden had previously been members
of the Kansas City-based Chesmann Square and Hummingbird.
The album attracted favorable reviews from critics, but in an era of disco madness and punk aggression, tight commercial pop wasn't what the buying audience wanted to hear. The album and the single 'River Bayou' vanished without a trace and the band quickly followed.
"The Beckies" track listing:
1.) Right By My Side (Etude) (Michael Brown - Gary Hodgden) - 3:05 rating: *** stars
by the radio friendly power-pop 'Right By My Side (Etude)', about all I can
think is the band's glistening power-pop moves sounded out of place and out
of step with the audience's growing fascination with disco madness and punk
aggression. The only minor critique I can come up with is vocalist
Scotty Trust sounded a little strained and sharp on some of the high notes.
'River Bayou' was a pretty ballad, if a little precious for my tastes. With a mix of heavy orchestration and some McAllister power chords, it was one of the tunes that came the closest to mimicking something out of The Left Banke catalog. And that might explain why Sire tapped it as an instantly obscure single:
1976's "River Bayou' b/w 'Song Called Love' (Sire catalog number SAA
3.) Midnight and You (Michael Brown - Gary Hodgden) - 3:17 rating: **** stars
'Midnight and You' demonstrated the band could hammer out a tougher, more
rock oriented sound without forsaking their power pop roots. My pick
for the album's best performance and the song I would have tapped as a
up with a delicate mix of keyboards and flute, the mid-tempo ballad 'Fran'
is what I imagined The Left Banke having evolved into had they stayed
I find Hodgden to be the band's best singer. It may have something to
do with the fact he seemed to handle their more up-tempo numbers, including
the bouncy rocker 'Other Side of Town'. Would have been even better
without Ron Frangipane's heavy-handed orchestration.
album' oddest number, on this one Trusty's distant delivery has always
reminded me a little of Todd Rundgren goofing around, or perhaps Bryan Ferry
trying to be commercial.
2.) Can't Be Alone (Michael Brown - Gary Hodgden) - 2:45 rating: ** stars
actually liked the rocker 'Can't Be Alone' except for Hodgden's painful
vocal. The song's high range just wasn't a good fit for his voice and
when he stretched out at the end of the tune ... well it wasn't a pleasant
Trust's best performance, 'River Song' had the most mainstream and
commercial structure and arrangement. Brown fans probably hated it for
being so conventional. Great backing vocals.
title was a giveaway, but I'd tag 'On the Morning That She Came' and the
most successful faux-Left Banke performance. Another nice Trusty vocal
with sweet backing vocals.
highlight on 'One of These Days' came in the form of McAllister's
George Harrison-styled lead guitar.
closer 'Run Jenny Run' reminded me of a late-'60s bubblegum tune. That
was meant as a compliment. This might have been Hodgden's standout
performance. Shame it faded out so soon.
nine years after its initial release the Real Gone label reissued the
collection in CD format - Real Gone catalog number RGM-04010).
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