Band members Related acts
line up 1 (1978)
- none known
Rating: 2 stars **
Title: California Memories
Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+
Catalog ID: 1956
Darn - I had high hopes for this one. A decent band name; largely original material with song titles that seemed promising ... It wasn't to be.
In typical tax scam fashion, there wasn't much information to be gleaned from the liner notes. While there were writing credits for the nine tunes (Biggs Ethals ?), there were no production or performers credits. That's kind of understandable given start to finish this was one of the lamest Album World releases I've stumbled across. Musically "California Memories" offered up an anemic set that ranged from country-tinged pop ('Cold and Dusty'), to bad Gordon Lightfoot clone ('Dutchman'), and Bill Murray-styled lounge act ('Prelude To Sunrise'). Other than the Flamenco-styled instrumental 'Song for the Workers' it was hard to pick highlights since there weren't any.
Memories track listing:
1.) Days and Ways (Bob Ethals) - 4:45 rating: ** stars
'Days and Ways' started out as a pretty, if extremely MOR-ish acoustic guitar powered ballad. Unfortunately when the vocals kicked in the tune quickly degenerated into a hideous slice of country-pop. Hard to tell what was worse - the lame-brained lyrics; or the singer's flat and highly irritating voice (image Glenn Campbell singing after getting his tonsils removed). The female backing singer was even worse. Painful.
2.) Cold and Dusty (Bob Ethals) - 3:10 rating: ** stars
Straightforward and forgettable country - okay the guitar solo was actually pretty good.
3.) Stay the Same (Sean John) - 4:03 rating: ** stars
Southern California country-pop ... guess this was what passed for inspiration in the mid-'70s. Kind of sad. Once again the guitar solo provided the song's highlight.
4.) Song for Nikki (Eddy Grande) - 4:11 rating: ** stars
Another pretty ballad that didn't have a chance ... the anonymous lead singer was flat and about as inspirational as a toothpaste commercial. Adding flute to the background arrangement didn't help. rating: ** stars
Cocktail lounge piano piece.
2.) Dutchman (M. Smith) - 4:42 rating: ** stars
Third tier Gordon Lightfoot ... if you heard this in an Irish bar you'd probably walk out. rating: ** stars
3.) Song for the Workers (instrumental) (Biggs Ethals) - 3:13 rating: *** stars
Having dumped all over the previous six tunes, I'll at least admit the opening Flameco guitar made for a nice change of pace. I'm not a big fan of the style, but compared to the previous tunes, this one came off as a winner.
4.) California Pay-Off (Biggs Ethals) - 2:45 rating: ** stars
zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz ... I listed to this one three times and simply faded away each time.
5.) Albatross (Judy Collins) - 9:00 rating: ** stars
As I remember, 'Albatross' was one of the first Collins originals to appear oIn one of her albums (1968's "Wildflowers". Interestingly her version wasn't even five minutes long. Clocking in at nine minutes, this cover just goes on and on and on ... I'm not sure about most folks, but I can only take so much hyper sensitivity before I start to feel queasy.
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