Band members Related acts
- Del Buckingham -- vocals, keyboards
- Larry Cook --
- Curtis Duncan
- Jeff Flory --
- Carl Habekost --
- Tommy Smith --
- none known
Rating: 3 stars ***
Title: No Gimmicks
Country/State: West Alexandria, Ohio
Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+
Catalog ID: 5572
Maybe it's an early senior moment, but I have absolutely no recollection of having purchased this album. It just seems to have appeared in the middle of my 'to listen to' pile. Add to that, the first couple of times I played the album it didn't make much of an impression. I can distinctly remember putting it in my "so what" pile. Luckily, it's one of those albums that actually grew on me over time.
What little biographical info I've come across came from the album liner notes accompanying 1974's self-produced "No Gimmicks" and there wasn't much there. Singer/songwriter Del Buckingham was apparently a native of South West Ohio. That guess is based on the fact his album was recorded in West Alexandria, Ohio. A true private press, Buckingham served as publisher, executive producer, wrote all twelve tracks, and handled vocals and keyboards.
Judging by the cover (I know, never judge a record by it's cover ...), I was expecting to hear a set of singer/songwriter personal pain. The first couple of times I played the collection it was stark ballads like 'Another Drunken Morning' and 'Good-Bye' that stood out. Unfortunately, I'm not big on singer/songwriter ballads so nothing here made much of an impression on me. Luckily I set the LP aside and gave it another shot a couple of months later. Revisiting the album I was surprised to discover those ballads were atypical, the collection actually far more diverse and quirky than I remembered. Buckingham had a lightweight, thin, but likeable voice that occasionally reminded me of a slightly flatter sounding Marc Bolan. That resemblance was underscored on a couple of the funkier tracks - check out the hyper-speed opener 'Your Eyes Do Lie', 'Conversation' and 'Strange Lady'. Elsewhere, complete with flute solo 'Smilin' Lady' sported a jazzy vibe. Yeah, the Herbie Mann-styled flute wasn't a great selling point for that track. 'I Can Feel the Day' was the most mainstream rocker (with another nice guitar solo). 'Sweet Rock and Roll' was the weirdest track somehow managing to meld feedback guitar with a lame lyric and fey vocal performance. The album also benefited from full band arrangements with the anonymous lead guitarist turning in some tasteful fills throughout (check out his lead work on the jazzy ballad 'Woman (I Can Feel') and 'Everybody'). Weird and diverse enough that it will appeal to some folks out there.
Gimmicks Just Music" track listing:
1.) Your Eyes Do Lie (Del Buckingham) - 1:39 rating: ** stars
I'm not trying to be mean-spirited, but as exemplified by 'Your Eyes Do Lie', Buckingham's thin, lightweight voice simply didn't have the power to handle a frenetic rocker. Add in the fact the song wasn't all that good and the hyper-speed delivery sounded like the band was overdosing on crack ... Probably not the song I would have opened the album with.
2.) Wrong Is Right (Del Buckingham) - 2:17 rating: **** stars
In contrast, 'Wrong Is Right' was a clever, tuneful pop song that didn't put too much of a burden on Buckingham's voice. Imagine Eric Carmen singing with a nasty head cold. The song also featured a lovely guitar solo.
3.) Conversation (Del Buckingham) - 2:49 rating: **** stars
Always loved the melodic opening bass line on 'Conversation'. Buckingham's slinky delivery on this one gave the song kind of a Marc Bolan glam vibe. Another album highlight.
4.) Woman (I Can Feel) (Del Buckingham) - 3:03 rating; *** stars
Kicked along by some discrete, jazzy guitar and a super busy bass line, 'Woman (I Can Feel)' was almost goof enough to make you forget how fragile Buckingham's voice was. I'll readily admit this one built up quite a bit of energy as it went along. Called it the album's "sleeper".
5.) Another Drunken Morning (Del Buckingham) -- 2:36 rating; *** stars
'Another Drunken Morning' was a surprisingly pretty ballad. Can't say I agree with the lifestyle choices the song advocates, but the track featured some of the album's prettiest lead guitar.
6.) Smilin' Lady (Del Buckingham) - 4:07 rating: ** stars
The Herbie Mann-ish vibe (complete with flute backing), on 'Smilin' lady' really didn't do a great to improve side one. Yeah, there was some nice, raw lead guitar, but it was largely lost amidst the song's other shortcomings.
One of the album's standout performances, the slinky ballad 'Strange Lady' was another tune with a slightly jazzy Marc Bloan-meets-Herbie Mann vibe. Liked the multi-tracked vocals on this one.
2.) Sweet Rock and Roll (Del Buckingham) - 3:40 rating; *** stars
Yeah 'Sweet Rock and Roll' was a ballad with a full band arrangement. Unfortunately the combination of Buckingham's thin voice and the full-tilt rock arrangement made for a strange, not completely convincing end result.
3.) Everybody (Del Buckingham) - 2:46 rating: ** stars
The cocktail jazz opening bass line saw my hopes instantly dashed. In spite of a nice lead guitar solo, by the time the rest of the band strolled into the arrangement, it was too late to save 'Everybody'.
4.) I Can Feel the Day (Del Buckingham) - 1:54 rating: **** stars
'I Can feel the day' was the album's most successful rocker. Strong melody, strong vocal, strong performance by the band. Would have made a nice single.
5.) Good-Bye (Del Buckingham) - 2:22 rating: ** stars
Lounge act ballad ...
6.) Look Into the Skies (Del Buckingham) - 3:03 rating; *** stars
'Look Into the Skies' was another rocker that wasn't bad, but would have been even better with a stronger lead vocal. Not that I could do better, but there was just something irritating hearing Bucking trying to power his way through this one.
As far as I can tell this was Buckingham's only release ... Wonder what happened to him. Someone out there know.
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