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Rating: 3 stars ***
Title: If Tomorrow Never Comes
Grade (cover/record): NM/NM
Comments: still in shrink wrap (opened)
Catalog ID: 338
Best time to play: when you're cutting the family lawn
Hum, even though this was released on the Tribute taxscam label, the MOR cover art and equally lame liner notes weren't particularly promising: "Fran's Band. A people's band. "Makin' music for jus' plain folks is what it's all about for us," says Fran. The tunes included herein over the broadf range of this versatile band's vocal abilities. They are a popular favorite of the New York night club set. They will soon be a favorite of yours too !" To be honest, my limited expectations on this one were more in the klezmer band, Woody Allen-styled jazz band arena ...
As you'd expect from a taxscam release, there are no writing or performance credits on the album and about the only thing I can tell you about the Tribute label is that it seemingly had ties back to Frankie Carr of Tea Company fame. You can see my link to the rest of the Tribute label at: http://badcatrecords.com/BadCat/AA_REVIEW_TRIBUTE.htm
So everything from here on is pure speculation on my part and you should treat it as such. Stretching back to his Tea Company days, Carr had a long and varied career in music and I'm guessing he worked with a wide array of bands over the years, probably accumulating a considerable amount of recorded material during that timeframe. That would certainly help explain why 'Tomorrow Never Knows" doesn't have a unified sound, or feel, rather appears to have been cobbled together for at least four or five different bands. Similarly the 1977 release date is clearly not when these tracks were recorded. Virtually every one of these nine tracks has a distinctive '60 sound. That's not intended as a criticism of the material since several of these songs were surprisingly enjoyable. Personal highlights included the top-40 ready 'Seeing You Tonight', the Steely Dan-ish 'Goodtime', and 'Colours'. One quick word of warning - if you're looking for an album with super production, then this isn't a set for you. The Association-styled ballad 'Thinking of Time' and several other tracks have sub-par sound. One other comment - the running order shown on the liner notes and the inner labels were both wrong. At least judging by the songs themselves, my review places the songs in the correct running order.
A lost classic ? Far from it, but still an interesting and mysterious release with at least four really good tracks that would sound good on someone's future compilation release.
Tomorrow Never Comes" track listing:
1.) If Tomorrow Never Comes rating: *** stars
Surprise, surprise .... 'If Tomorrow Never Comes' was a decent slice of '60s pop, sounding like something along the lines of The Spiral Staircase (remember 'More Today Than Yesterday'). Nice melody and nice harmony vocals and it was actually quite commercial in a 1968 kind of way.
4.) Seeing You Tonight rating: **** stars
To my ears 'Seeing You Tonight' sounded a bit like an early Monkees track. With a bright, uplifting melody, an enthusiastic vocal from the anonymous lead singer, and a nice, borderline freak-out guitar solo, the song was quite commercial in a mid-'60s fashion.
3.) Goodtime rating: **** stars
'Goodtime' was a catchy blue-eyed soul number that managed to mashup some tasty Ray Charles-styled keyboards with some intriguing jazzy moves including a cool jazzy-guitar solo. Imagine Steely Dan had they started recording around 1967 instead of the early-'70s and you might get a taste for this one. Another surprisingly cool tune !!!
An Association-styled ballad, 'Thinking of Time' was pretty and actually had a minor acid-tinged feel. Nice vocals, but the song was undone by some horrendous sound quality - it literally sounded like it had been recorded in a basketball shower stall and then transferred to a beat up cassette tape.
5.) Father of a Child rating: *** stars
Full of strumming acoustic guitars and chirping harmonies, 'Father of a Chilld' sounded like The Beach Boys providing music for an early-'70s Catholic folk music mass ...
Sporting a nice folk-rock melody with a let's-change-the-world, the only thing wrong with 'Come Now Rejoice' were the hideous group lead vocals. Whoever these guys were sounded a bit like cats being strangled.
2.) Colours rating: **** stars
Opening up with some melodic electric guitar, 'Colours' found this outfit trotting out there best Dylan impression. Backed by a nice folk-rock melody, the lead singer had one of those grizzly, weather voices that bore more than a passing resemblance to Mr. Zimmerman. His voice also gave the strange lyrics (family incest?) an a distinctively ominous feel. Added bonus; the song went out with some classic fuzz lead guitar. Nice.
3.) Granhilda rating: **** stars
Opening with some bloozy lead guitar, frenetic drumming, and Ozzy-influenced manic vocals, 'Granhilda' saw the record turn heavy rock ... it actually worked pretty well until they hit the section with harmony vocals. Those vocals sounded like curdling milk. Lucky it was brief and the song returned to mindless heavy rock. No idea what the title was about ...
4.) Beat's Inside of Me rating: *** stars
Another heavy rocker, I could have sworn the title was 'Beast Inside of Me', rather than 'Beat's Inside of Me', but then the sounded quality on this one is so muddy, who knows. Shame the audio was so bad since the song was actually quite propulsive.
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