Gary Farr


Band members                             Related acts

- Gary Farr (RIP 1984) -- vocals, guitar, harmonica

 

  backing musicians: (1972)

- Barry Beckett -- keyboards
- Harrison Callaway -- trumpet
- Pete Carr -- guitar
- Ben Cauley -- trumpet
- Ronnie Eads -- sax
- Roger Hawkins -- drums, percussion
- David Hood -- bass
- Jimmy Johnson-- guitar
- Mike Lewis -- sax, flute
- Jerry Masters -- bass
- Charles Rose -- trombone
- George Terry -- guitar
- Harvey Thompson -- sax flute

   

 

 

Gary Farr and the T-Bones
- Lion (Gary Farr) 

- The Lion and the Fish (Gary Farr)

 

 


 

Genre: rock

Rating: *** (3 stars)

Title:  Addressed To the Censors of Love

Company: ATCO

Catalog: SD 7034

Year: 1973

Country/State: UK

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: promo copy with sticker on cover; small cut out notch on bottom seam; includes lyric insert

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 640

Price: $25.00

Cost: $1.00

 

Bought this one without knowing much about the artist ... While waiting for the wife I was poking around a junk store and found a stack of albums in the back corner. I vaguely remember having read a favorable review of the album in an old Rolling Stone a friend had kept (turned out it was in a 1972 issue) and took a gamble (you probably don't want to know I paid 50 cents for the LP).

The son of English heavyweight boxer Tommy Farr, singer/guitarist Gary Farr got his musical start as a member of The T-Bones. Not to be confused with the American band who scored a mid-'60s hit with "No Matter What Shape (Your Stomach's In)", the mid-'60s saw Gary Farr and the T-Bones (whose line up at one time included keyboardist Keith Emerson) enjoying minor popular success with a little-heard 1965 single for Epic:

 

 

 

 

'Give All She's Got' b/w 'Don't Stop and Stare' Epic catalog number 9832)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Unfortunately, by 1967 the band had run out of steam, Farr embarking on a solo career. A pair of UK albums vanished without a trace and by the early-'70s he'd relocated to New York City.

In the New York Farr began playing the city's club circuit.  English and handsome, it was probably only a matter of time before he attracted the attention of a major label; in this case he was spotted by Atlantic A&R man Jim Delehant. Quickly signed to Atlantic's ATCO subsidiary, Farr was teamed with producer Jerry Wexler who promptly took him to Muscle Shoals (the go-to-recording spot in the early-'70s). With Wexler and Delehant producing, 1973's "Addressed To the Censors of Love" was challenging, but definitely interesting.   I'll be honest and tell you the set didn't do much for me the first time I heard it.  Exemplified by tracks like 'Breakfast Boo-Ga-Loo', 'Wailing Wall' and 'Muggsey the Lard', most of Farr's songs were lyrically dense story teller fare that took some effort to understand.  There was also the issue of his voice - Farr's deep, drowning delivery (recalling a frog with a bad head cold), was an acquired taste. That said, the album's well worth the investment of time and energy. Original songs such as 'Mexican Sun', 'General's Daughter' and 'John Birch Blues' showcased Farr's literate, intriguing and frequently odd material. With sterling backing from the cream of Muscle Shoals players (including Barry Beckett, Roger Hawkins and David Hood), Farr aptly displayed he could be sensitive (the pretty ballad 'Wailing Wall'), funny (check out his subtle ode to oral pleasure 'I'll Be Your Rocket'), while still capable of rocking ('Breakfast Boo-Ga-Loo'). In spite of favorable reviews, the set vanished without a trace.

"Addressed To the Censors of Love" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Breakfast Boo-Ga-Loo   (Gary Farr) - 3:13   rating: **** stars

'Breakfast Boo-Ga-Loo' started out sounding like a rather pedestrian blues number complete with a Dylan-esque lyric (lots and lots of words), but when the slide guitar kicked in the song improved significantly,
2.) Wailing Wall   (Gary Farr) - 4:41 
rating: *** stars

Pretty keyboard-powered, if slightly MOR-ish ballad that poured a thesis worth of lyrics into the 4 minute plus song.  Interesting to hear Farr trot out a different, darker timbre in his voice.
3.) Muggsey the Lard   (Gary Farr) - 3:57 
rating: *** stars

The lyrics were lost on my American outlook, but it sounded a bit like an English guy trotting out his best early Bruce Springsteen impression.    Nice acoustic melody.
4.) General's Daughter   (Gary Farr) - 3:32  
rating: *** stars

'General's Daughter' offered up a great David Hood bass line and managed to compress one of those romance novels into three and a half minutes.   
5.) Mexican Sun   (Gary Farr) - 2:39  
rating: *** stars

Hearing a pale, English guy sing a Mexican-themed ballad always makes me smile.  There wasn't anything wrong with this one; in fact Farr turned in one of his better vocals.  For some reason this one's always reminded me of something Tom Jones or Englebert Humperdinck might have recorded in the mid-'70s.   Perhaps that's why ATCO tapped it as a promotional single:

 

 

 

 

1973's 'Mexican Sun' (stereo) b/w 'Mexican Sun' (mono) (catalog number 45-6955)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


6.) White Bird   (Gary Farr) - 3:22   rating: *** stars

If I'd been on ATCO's marketing team, the sweet ballad 'White Bird' is the track I would have tapped as a single.  Nice melody that served to showcase what a nice voice Farr had.  Very commercial and would have sounded good on top-40 radio.

 

(side 2)

1.) Faith with a Face   (Gary Farr) - 3:13   rating: *** stars

Kicked along by some nice acoustic slide guitar and Farr's own harmonica, the slinky 'Faith with a Face' might have been the album's second most commercial endeavor.  
2.) I'll Be Your Rocket   (Gary Farr) - 3:05  
rating: *** stars

'I'll Be Your Rocket' was a straight ahead rocker and one of my favorite performances.
3.) Certain Lady   (Gary Farr) - 3:00  
rating: *** stars

Geez, it isn't very often that a cocktail jazzy tune captures by attention, but ''Certain Lady' was one of those rare exceptions.  For goodness sakes, this one even had flute and xylophone in the arrangement - normally that would send me screaming out of the room.  Here Farr's vocals and the intriguing lyrics made this one a keeper.  It took  me a couple of years to figure out he wasn't singing "dances as if the wind blew in her boobs ..."
4.) John Birch Blues   (Gary Farr) - 2:42  
rating: ** stars

Bland, pedestrian blues-rocker.   
5.) Rhythm King   (Gary Farr) - 4:57  
rating: *** stars

Sensitive singer-songwriter self-flagellation.  I've heard far worse, but it was far from the album's standout performance..
6.) I'm a King Bee   (Slim Harpo) - 3:56  
rating: ** stars

Can't say this cover of the classic blues tune was anything special.  If I felt the need to hear it, I'd probably opt for the Slim Harpo original.  Guess it showed that Farr had good taste when it came to blues, but not much else.  The trumpet solo was nice ...

 


In the early-1980s Farr moved to Southern California were he reappeared as a member of the hair band Lion. The band managed to release one instantly obscure album before calling it quits. Farr subsequently largely dropped out of the music business. He got married and raised a family while paying his bills as a photographer. Sadly, in 1984 he suffered a fatal heart attack in his sleep.

 

 

 

 

By the way, the wonderful UK music magazine Mojo featured this LP in their February 2002 Buried Treasures column.  Not sure I'd go that far with my appreciation, but it's interesting.

 

 

 

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