On the Road (aka David Wolfter)

Band members                             Related acts

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- David Wolfert -- vocals, keyboards, guitar




- none known





Genre: pop

Rating: 3 stars ***

Title:  No Coin

Company: Calla

Catalog: SC 100

Country/State: US

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: --

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 1434

Price: $75.00



I bought this album based on the label, without any knowledge of the group.  Calla had been associated with Roulette Records and the infamous Morris Levy.  The couple of Calla albums I owned had been surprisingly decent soul efforts, so why not spent a couple of dollars for an unknown quantity like On the Road?


Well, as it turns out 1970's "No Coin" was the work of a then-young David Wolfert.   Today Wolfert is known as a musical jack of all trades.  He's written material, arranged, played guitar, and produced for a truly amazing list of acts covering the spectrum from Cher to The Temptations.  He's been nominated for Emmys and Grammies, written music for films, video games, television, and hundreds of commercials.


So back to this album.  This is nothing more than speculation on my part, but I would not be surprised if the collection had been released without Wolfert's knowledge, or participation.   The Calla imprint was a small, independent New York based label "owned" by the late Nate McCalla.  McCalla was better known as Morris Levy's  associate and bodyguard (he was found murdered execution style in 1980), so you've got an album released on a less than reputable label.  The fact that Wolfert wrote all nine tracks, but the album wasn't credited to him was certainly curious.  Add to that, the title - there's something ironic about naming an album "No Coin" if you haven't paid royalties to the composer.


Produced by Charles Koppleman and Don Rubin, these nine tunes sounded like they might have been studio demos intended to shop around to other artists.  The sound was kind of thin; seemingly Wolfert accompanying himself on keyboards and guitar with help from sessions players.  Stylistically the tunes were all over the map ranging from pop ('No Parking'), to singer/songwriter  ballads ('Wake Up'), and an occasional foray into rock ('Rising Sun').   Wolfert certainly wasn't the greatest singer you've ever heard.  His dry raspy voice didn't have a lot of range.  If you had to compare him to someone, then Randy Newman would be a good baseline, though Wolfert came off as smoother than Newman.  Kudos for being willing to record himself.  Moreover, Wolfert was clearly a talented keyboardist and guitar player.  By the way, the album's certainly rare - I've never seen another copy. 


For anyone interested, Wolfert's still active in the business and has a website at:  http://www.davidwolfert.com/site/index.html


"No Coin" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Getting Old   (David Wolfert) - 3:23

The first half of 'Getting Old' sounded a bit like a waltz, showcasing some nice piano and lead guitar.  About half way through the tune suddenly shifted into a more rock oriented direction.  Wolfert sounding a bit like a slightly more in-tune Randy Newman.   rating: ** stars

2.) Another Day   (David Wolfert) - 3:27

Pretty, slightly dark, piano-based ballad.   rating: *** stars

3.) Wake Up   (David Wolfert) - 2:30

Sensitive singer/songwriter ballad with some nice bass moves.   rating: ** stars

4.) No Parking   (David Wolfert) - 2:47

'No Parking' was one of the album's more commercial and pop oriented tunes.  The title certainly doesn't seem to match the lyrics.     rating: *** stars

5.) Red Shoes   (David Wolfert) - 1:30

'50s-styled boogie tune.  Not hard to imagine Sha-Na-Na covering this one.  Always wondered why the ending was so abrupt.  rating: ** stars


(side 2)
1.) Reasons
   (David Wolfert) - 3:45

The mid-tempo, keyboard-propelled 'Reasons' had a dreamy, slightly discordant feel that made it the album's most interesting composition.  Another track with some impressive bass moves..   rating: **** stars

2.) Rising Sun   (David Wolfert) - 3:04

Another tune where Wolfert sounded very much like Newman.   Nice rocker with full backing band arrangement.   rating: *** stars

3.) Lady Song   (David Wolfert) - 4:26

Stark acoustic ballad (just Wolfert on guitar and piano), that should have appealed to David Crosby and Joni Mitchell fans.  rating: ** stars

4.) Old Lady   (David Wolfert) - 3:48

The dark and disturbing piano-based 'Old Lady' sounded like it might have been intended for a film soundtrack.  Wow, must have been a tough week when he wrote this one.   rating: ** stars