Larry and Myra
Band members Related acts
line up 1 (1970)
- Larry Spatz -- vocals
- Myra Spatz -- vocals
- Lee Callahan -- keyboards
- Francis X. Chelland -- bass
- David Moss -- drums
- Neil Olson -- flute, clarinet, sax
- Dave Robinson -- harmonica
- Anita Schwartz -- cello
- none known
Rating: 3 stars ***
Title: Eat All Day
Company: The Alien Nation
Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+
Catalog ID: 31203
If you've poked around the BadCatRecords website you'll notice that I have an affection for the rare and offbeat. A quick look at this album and you can see why I own a copy. It was issued on a label named The Alien Nation. You've got a picture with a woman and children in a field of tall grass. You've got a track listing that just screams early-'70s hippie-dom (e.g. 'Awake, Arise (If All the World was Paper) and 'The Hills of Timothy''). And the release is all but unknown. Other than a couple of cursory reviews and showing up on several high priced dealer lists, there's hardly any information about this early-'70s duo.
Larry and Myra were Larry and Myra Spatz. Ah, judging by the album sleeve photos, a young couple in love ... they co-wrote all thirteen songs, shared lead vocals, produced and handled the arrangements. I'm guessing Larry was responsible for the strumming acoustic guitar. Released in 1970, their sole album "Eat the Day" was recorded at Syncron Sound Studios in Wallingford Connecticut and released by the small South Carolina The Alien Nation label. And that's it for the biographical information.
So in the interests of full and open disclosure, if you see a review of this collection that uses the adjective "psychedelic" - ignore it. This is a straight-ahead folk album. The closest this collection came to psych influences were the subtle Indian sounds that were buried in the ballad 'Rain In the Air'. You can scan the song titles and see it had a distinctive '70s hippie vibe. The pair shared vocals on every track and while they didn't have the prettiest voices you've ever heard, it didn't take long for their slightly raw harmonies to grow on you. Admittedly, in spite of the low-fi sound, the production and arrangements were quite impressive. Exemplified by performances like 'Dance of the Sea' and 'Silver Rings' the overall sound was pastoral folk with songs like 'The Shadow of the Hawk' providing occasional nods to English folk groups like Sandy Denny and Fairport Convention, or early Renaissance. The Renaissance comparison was quite apt since Myra recalled Annie Halsam; particularly when she use her higher registers (check out 'The Music Box'). Elsewhere, 'I Can't Go' recalled Peter, Paul and Mary, while 'Dance of the Sea' and the jazzy 'Tell me Baby' have always reminded me a bit of The Free Design. Clearly not for everyone, but folks that like the folkie genre are liable to enjoy the album.
1.) Awake, Arise (If All the World was Paper) (Larry Spatz and Myra Spatz) - 1:56 rating: *** stars
When I was in my teens I was an alter boy and in that capacity spent more than my share of time listening to Catholic folk-masses. While it wasn't a secular offering, 'Awake, Arise (If All the World was Paper)' effortlessly yanked me back to that time in my life. The song actually had kind of a "kid's song" vibe.
2.) The Child In Us (Larry Spatz and Myra Spatz) - 3:10 rating: *** stars
Starting out with Myra's laugh, 'The Child In Us' was the album's strangest offering. No idea if it was meant as a pro-life statement, but it had some truly out-there lyrics ("the world will kill you before you die if you do not taste the fruit that grows wild"), while Larry and Myra bounced all over the melody. Not sure why, but the song's always reminded me a bit of The Jefferson Airplane. No idea since it sounds nothing like that band ...
3.) Cool In the Evening Sun (Larry Spatz and Myra Spatz) - 2:43 rating: *** stars
'Cool In the Evening' introduced a jazzy feel (complete with scatting section) to the mix. David Moss added some martial drums to the mix.
4.) The Shadow of the Hawk (Larry Spatz and Myra Spatz) - 3:17 rating: ** stars
The folk tune 'The Shadow of the Hawk' sounded like the Spatz family had been listening to a lot of Fairport Convention. The tune opened up on a challenging note - Myra trotting out her higher range which had a very fragile and shrill edge. The lyrics reminded me of one of those historical novels you had to read in High School English class. Some folks will love it. Others (like me) will recoil and head for the exit.
5.) Dance of the Sea (Larry Spatz and Myra Spatz) - 2:40 rating: **** stars
If I was going to pick a song that epitomized their "sound" it would probably be 'Dance of the Sea'. Built on a sweet acoustic riff, the track showcased the pair's sweet, intersecting vocals (image a less polished The Free Design) with a bit of orchestration from cello player Anita Schwartz and flute from Neil Olson. Their voices weren't technically great and the lyrics weren't going to change your life, but taken as a whole, there was something surprisingly calming and affecting in these grooves.
6.) Tell Me Baby (Larry Spatz and Myra Spatz) - 2:50 rating: *** stars
The album may have been released in 1970, but complete with Neil Olson's blurt sax solos, 'Tell Me Baby' sounded like something that had been lifted from a 1965 beat group playing in a Greenwich Village coffee bar.
7.) I Can't Go (Larry Spatz and Myra Spatz) - 3:28 rating: *** stars
Who put on the Peter, Paul and Mary album? Nice display of their harmonies.
1.) The Hills of Timothy (Larry Spatz and Myra Spatz) - 4:00 rating: *** stars
'The Hills of Timothy' is the tune that seems to attract the most attention across the few brief reviews I'ev read. It's a pretty enough tune, but I didn't find it to be anything special.
2.) Rain in the Air (Larry Spatz and Myra Spatz) - 2:45 rating: **** stars
If there was a psych influence to be found on the album, then 'Rain In the Air' was about as close as you were going to get. I guess I can hear a touch of Eastern influences on this one, but that's still a stretch to get to psych.
3.) The Music Box (Larry Spatz and Myra Spatz) - 4:24 rating: *** stars
More English folk influences. 'The Music Box' found Myra employed her most fragile voice giving the song an Annie Halsam (Renaissance) vibe. Pretty, but a bit on the fey side.
4.) Rocking Through My Time (Larry Spatz and Myra Spatz) - 2:30 rating: *** stars
Dave Robinson's harmonica added a touch of country to their standard folk sound. The acoustic guitar nod to the 'Hallelujah Chorus' was unexpected.
5.) Silver Rings (Larry Spatz and Myra Spatz) - 2:08 rating: *** stars
From a sonic standpoint, most of this album had kind of a low-fi vibe. One of the exceptions was 'Silver Rings'. Their home-grown folk sound remained firmly in place, but the track had a fuller arrange and sounded much smoother. Myra's voice exhibited a much huskier edge on this one. And yes, there were bell in the arrangement.
6.) Two Wild Horses (Larry Spatz and Myra Spatz) - 3:03 rating: *** stars
Opening up with some more Robinson harmonica, 'Two Wild Horses' sees me reaching the saturation point where it all starts to sound the same ...
7.) Eat the Day (Larry Spatz and Myra Spatz) - 2:23 rating: *** stars
The bouncy title track again reminded me of something off of a kids album. That's not necessarily a bad thing, just not something I particularly enjoy.
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