Band members Related acts
line up 1 (1970-74)
- Chris Arnold -- vocals
- David Martin -- vocals
- Geoff Morrow -- vocals, harpsichord
- Phil Wainman -- drums, percussion
- James Last Orchestra (David Martin)
- Arnold, Martin and Morrow
- David Martin (solo efforts)
- The Stream of Consciousness
Genre: sunshine pop
Rating: 3 stars ***
Title: Don't You Know Butterscotch
Company: RCA Victor
Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+
Catalog ID: 1
As a production and songwriting team Chris Arnold, David Martin and Geoff Morrow had provided material to an impressive collection of US and UK acts. Among their clients were everyone from have been Cillia Black, The Carpenters, Edison Lighthouse, Bill Fury, Barry Manilow and even Elvis Presley ('This Is the Story', 'A Little Bit of Green' and 'Change of Habit') . The trio had also recorded a string of early-'70s singles under the name "Arnold, Martin and Morrow." Against that backdrop Butterscotch was basically a continuation of their solo work, albeit with a slightly hipper nameplate.
Self-produced, 1970's 'You Don't Know Butterscotch" featured thirteen original tunes. If you'd heard any of the earlier material they'd recorded as "Arnold, Martin and Morrow" you weren't going to be shocked by this album. With David Martin handling the majority of lead vocals the set was heavily weighted to precious top-40 pop ballads. From a technical standpoint tracks like ''Bye for Now', 'Us' and 'Things I Do for You' were all nice enough. Sweet vocals, nice melodies and romantic lyrics. Unfortunately most of those tracks were also saccharine and occasionally cloying. Martin's voice was pretty, but he simply didn't add much energy to most of these performances. Arnold handled one song ('Office Girl') and his performance was okay. Morrow handled lead vocals on the abysmal 'Cows'. Admittedly there were a couple of atypical standouts. The single 'Don't You Know (She Said Hello)' was a well deserved hit for the group. The instrumental 'Theme for a Theme' featured Morrow on harpsichord and was quite pretty. 'End of My Nose', 'Constant Reminder' and 'Office Girl' were quality pop songs with a touch of energy and lyrics that would have made The Archies or The Sweet smile. The album had moments, but was just to sporadic to get really high marks. I've struggled to come up with a comparison for this album. Perhaps a bad Hamilton, Joe, Frank and Reynolds LP? A Hudson Brothers album without the occasional cleverness and sense of humor? Close, but not perfect. To my ears the end result was an album for ten year old girls.
Know Butterscotch" track listing:
1.) 'Bye for Now (Chris Arnold - David Martin - Geoff Morrow) - 2:41 rating: ** stars
Saccharine '70s ballad ... David Martin took lead vocals on this one. To my ears he sounded a little like a lightweight Cliff Richard. And while ''Bye for Now' was wrapped in a pretty melody, the lead vocal was so precious it was cloying. Certainly at least a couple of ten year old girls were smitten. The rest of us ... not so much.
2.) Us (Chris Arnold - David Martin - Geoff Morrow) - 2:56 rating: ** stars
Geez, if you thought 'Bye for Now' was irritating, then the MOR and heavily orchestrated 'Us' was going to be a real challenge to sit thru. The jazzy keyboards didn't help much. Another Martin lead vocal.
3.) Theme for a Theme (instrumental) (Chris Arnold - David Martin - Geoff Morrow) - 2:43 rating: *** stars
Featuring Martin on harpsichord, the instrumental 'Theme for a Theme' sounded like something they'd nicked from Paul Mauriat. Kind of a waltz, it actually sounded like something from a low budget porn flick. (well what I imagine the soundtrack to a low budget porn flick would sound like.) Extra star for giving us a break from the sappy vocals.
4.) Things I Do for You (Chris Arnold - David Martin - Geoff Morrow) - 2:55 rating: *** stars
The instrumental break was nice, but 'Things I Do for You' plunged us back into sappy pop territory. The only saving grace this time around was the fact this was a mildly up-tempo pop. Martin's vocals still managed to sap most of the energy out of the song.
5.) End of My Nose (Chris Arnold - David Martin - Geoff Morrow) - 2:49 rating: **** stars
Imagine my surprise when I discovered 'En of My Nose' was actually a decent pop tune. Nice melody, catchy chorus and Martin's voice avoided the usual irritating cuteness factor. The song would have been even better if they'd stripped off the irritating female backing singer and the MOR horn arrangement.
6.) Reasons (Chris Arnold - David Martin - Geoff Morrow) - 3:02 rating: ** stars
Mid-'70s bands seemed to have something written in their contracts that required they include at least one Elvis Presley inspired performance. 'Reasons' was that contractually required song. The combination of Chuck Berry guitar solo, Jerry Lee Lewis keyboards and Martin's Presley snarling vocals didn't reflect a single original thought, but at least it wasn't another ballad.
Martin's vocal on 'Surprise Surprise' has always reminded me of Davy Jones. That comparison was underscored by the song's manufactured catchiness. It would not have sounded out of place on a Monkees album. Extra star for the do-do-do chorus and refrain. RCA tapped it as the lead-off single:
- 'Surprise Surprise' b/w 'In This World of Loving You' (RCA catalog number RCA 1983)
2.) Constant Reminder (Chris Arnold - David Martin - Geoff Morrow) - 3:02 rating: **** stars
With a bouncy melody the upbeat 'Constant Reminder' was another quality bubblegum tune that bore more than a passing resemblance to something Jeff Barry might have penned and recorded for The Archies.
3.) Office Girl (Chris Arnold - David Martin - Geoff Morrow) - 2:54 rating: **** stars
Showcasing Chris Arnold on lead vocals, the up-tempo 'Office Girl' was another standout performance. Yeah, the lyrics haven't aged all that well, but it would have made a dandy theme song for a TV sitcom. The song was released as a single in Japan:
- 1971's 'Office Girl' b/w 'Things I Do For You' (RCA catalog number SS-212)
4.) There's Still Time (Chris Arnold - David Martin - Geoff Morrow) - 3:32 rating: ** stars
An unfortunate return to "big ballads". The album's dullest performance.
5.) Cows (Chris Arnold - David Martin - Geoff Morrow) - 2:52 rating: ** stars
The lone tune with Geoff Morrow on lead vocals (easy to see why he was normally featured on backing vocals), 'Cows' was a complete mystery to me. Complete with moos and a childrens' chorus I guess it was meant to be cute and funny, but this one would have made Paul McCartney cringe.
6.) Hero's Return (Chris Arnold - David Martin - Geoff Morrow) - 3:18 rating: *** stars
The lyric was certainly different, abandoning their usual lightweight themes for a somewhat darker theme - soldier thinking of his girl while sitting in the middle of a jungle. Yeah, it was a little creepy and the ending was totally unexpected - boy loses girl.
7.) Don't You Know (She Said Hello) (Chris Arnold - David Martin - Geoff Morrow)
Pure pop joy, 'Don't You Know (She Said Hello)' was easily the album's standout performance. This had everything needed for massive success - great breezy melody; heartbreaking lyric and a nice Martin vocal. An edited version of the song was released as the album's second single and one of two US singles. Going top-20 it also provided the group with their only UK hit.
- 1970's 'Don't You Know (She Said Hello)' b/w 'The Closer To You' (RCA catalog number RCA Victor 45-9865)
The trio churned out some additional non-LP singles through 1974 at which point Martin left to join James Last's touring group.
- 1971's 'All On a Summer's Night' b/w 'Things I Do For You' (Bell catalog number 45-114)
- 1971's 'Some Day Soon' b/w 'Reasons' (RCA catalog RCA 2052)
- 1972's 'Can't You Hear the Song' b/w 'ALl I Every Want To Do' (Jam catalog number JAM 15)
- 1973's 'Don't Make Me Laugh' b/w 'Is Everybody Happy' (Ammo catalog number 102)
- 1974's 'Sunday Won't Be Sunday Anymore' b/w 'This Way That Way' (Ammo catalog number 112)
BACK TO BADCAT FRONT PAGE
BACK TO BADCAT CATALOG PAGE
BACK TO BADCAT PAYMENT INFORMATION