Band members Related acts
- Ken Knight -- vocals, guitar, bass, keyboards
- Dennis Baldemor -- keyboards
- Joe DuPaolo -- drums
- Stephanie Lamotta Makris -- rhythm guitar
- Lenny Pesce -- lead guitar, rhythm guitar
- none known
Rating: 3 stars ***
Title: Scarlet Lady
Company: Rocking Horse
Grade (cover/record): VG/VG+
Comments: taped corners
Catalog ID: 5854
Rocking Horse is one of the lesser known mid-1970s tax scam labels, which means there isn't a great deal of information out there on any of the artists that recorded for the label. Singer/guitarist Ken Knight is no exception to the rule - good luck looking for information on the man.
Released in 1977, "Scarlet Lady" credited Knight as singer, multi-instrumentalist, writer, and arranger. Even though most of the nine tracks surrounded Knight with a full band, this one was best described as real person/outsider fair. Exemplified by tracks like 'Outside Looking In' and 'Road Trip' Knight was a pretty decent guitarist, but as a singer he was best described as an acquired taste with his performances falling into one of two categories - flat, or atonal. Most folks will tune out at this point which would be a mistake since this was one of those quirky albums that was better than Knight's musical limitations would have you expect (you could say the same thing about large chunks of Bob Dylan's catalog ...). I've listened to this one dozens of times and really can't explain it's strange appeal. Like one of The Kaplan Brothers albums, I'm not sure it there's a sadistic streak in me that wonders whether Knight will be able to claw his way through the set, or perhaps it's simply so bad that it becomes entertaining ... You'll have to judge.
Lady" track listing:
1.) Scarlet Lady (Ken Knight) - 4:38 rating: ** stars
Knight certainly wasn't the most accomplished singer you ever heard, but even by that standard 'Scarlet Lady' was a bizarre way to start the album. Think back to your junior high school music class and the kid who was tone deaf and simply couldn't hold a tune to save his life. Yeah, there's a good chance it was Knight. Musically this was actually a modestly likeable bouncy, happy-go-lucky tune with an upbeat lyric, but that vocal ... flat and atonal you had to wonder.
2.) Outside Looking In (Ken Knight) - 3:36 rating: *** stars
Opening up with some snarling fuzz guitar, 'Outside Looking In' was a better song (it also sported one of the album's best guitar solo), but once again suffered from Knight's atonal voice.
3.) Road Trip (Ken Knight) - 3:33 rating: *** stars
'Road Trip' offered up the mandatory 'life-is-tough-on-the-road' rock song. Pedestrian lyric and an equally plodding song, though it did have a killer fuzz solo - extra star for the solo.
4.) Country Joe (Ken Knight) - 3:25 rating: ** stars
So was Knight any better working in a country idiom? Judging by 'Country Joe' the answer was no. His stab at a country accent was actually kind of funny.
5.) Wishing Wells: Fairy Tales (Ken Knight) - 6:34 rating: ** stars
Clocking in at over six minutes, stylistically 'Wishing Wells: Fairy Tales' opened up with a happy-go-lucky folksy segment, but about halfway through slipped into a brief, but strange jazzy segment and then returned to the original bouncy melody.
All In a Dream' opened side two with the album's standout performance. Sporting some truly disturbing lyrics 'Retreat inside your lonely self, drunk with sadness, frightened of the world, the nightmare lasts so long ...' and a soundtrack to go along with it, this one came off as Knight's stab at a Neil Young. This one was fascinating in the same way a bad traffic accident captures your attention - no matter how bad the carnage you can't take your eyes off of the mayhem. Same effect here. There's a freak out guitar solo that simply has to be heard and the closing chord serves as a perfect way to end the track.
2.) To You I Write This Song (Ken Knight) - 2:44 rating: *** stars
After encountering the heart of darkness it only made sense that Knight would return with his most commercial and uplifting song - 'To You I Write This Song'. Imagine Wildman Fisher having taken some singing lessons and then gotten his hands around a truly commercial song.
3.) Foxy Roxy (Ken Knight) - 5:19 rating: *** stars
Admit it, how could you not like a song with a title like 'Foxy Roxy'? Besides, it had one of Knight's nifty fuzz guitar solos.
4.) You (Ken Knight) - 4:32 rating: ** stars
'You' was a decent commercial ballad. Standard sappy lyric, but there was some nice acoustic guitar and I have to admit Knight's normally irritating voice wasn't as bad on the first half of this one, or perhaps by this point you just got accustom to it's unique qualities. Course at the end he started to yelp.
Certainly not for everyone ... real people/outsider fans will be interested in this one.
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