Band members Related acts
- P.F. Sloan (aka Philip Gary Schlein) -- vocals, guitar,
backing musicians (1966)
- Hal Blaine -- drums
- Bones Howe --
- Larry Knechtel -- keyboards
- Joe Osborrne --
- John Phillips -- guitar
- The Rincon Surfside Band
- The Fantastic Baggys
Rating: 3 stars ***
Title: Twelve More Times
Country/State: New York, NY
Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+
Comments: mono press
Catalog ID: 5981
Co-produced by P.F. Sloan and Steve Barri (who also co-wrote several of the songs),1966''s "12 More Times" didn't knock me out the first couple of times I heard it. This time out tracks like 'From a Distance' and 'The Precious Time' reflected a fuller, more 'produced' sound, but overall the sonic differences were minimal. You could also hear Sloan struggling to carve out a unique identify. Unfortunately, on first brush about half of the set sounded like Sloan was suffering from a severe case of Dylan wannabe. Tracks like 'The Man Behind the Red Balloon', 'Here's Where You Belong' and 'Upon a Painted Ocean' not only borrowed Dylan's mid-1960s sound, but appropriated his lyrically dense, socially relevant palate. Luckily Sloan's voice was way better than Dylan's, croak but that didn't do anything to make this stuff sound more original. All of those comments might explain the reason these songs didn't strike me as being as fresh and energetic as the first album. Luckily I set the album aside and a couple of years later gave it another chance. The second time around the set's charms started to reveal themselves to me. True, it wasn't the most original collection you've ever heard, but it's probably one of the best mid-1960s folk-rock albums, though few folks have actually heard it. Dunhill floated a pair of singles, but didn't do a great deal to promote them, or the parent album which merely increased Sloan's unhappiness with the label.
More Times" track listing:
1.) From a Distance (P.F. Sloan) - 2:59 rating: **** stars
'From a Distance' was one of those period electric folk-rock songs that should have been a massive hit for Sloan (it was tapped as a single), and probably would have been a massive hit had The Byrds, The Grass Roots, The Turtles, or some other band tapped it as a cover. One of those lost mid-1960s classics that collectors dream about stumbling across.
- 1966's 'From a Distance' b/w ' Patterns Seg, 4' (Dunhill catalog number D-4024)
2.) The Man Behind the Red Balloon (P.F. Sloan) - 2:19 rating: *** stars
A driving blues numbers, 'The Man Behind the Red Balloon' found Sloan doing his best Dylan impression ... well it sounded like Dylan had Dylan been gifted with a decent singing voice.
3.) Let Me Be (P.F. Sloan) - 2:49 rating: ** stars
Basically just Sloan and acoustic guitar, 'Let Me Be' had a likeable raw sound which actually sounded a but like an unfinished demo. Naturally The Turtles covered it an had a hit.
4.) Here's Where You Belong (P.F. Sloan - Steve Barri) - 3:00 rating: **** stars
Co-written with Barri, 'Here's Where You Belong' was another song with a Dylan influence, as channeled through The Byrds. Nice driving rocker ...
5.) The Precious Time (P.F. Sloan - Steve Barri) - 2:40 rating: **** stars
Once 'The Precious Time' got rolling it reflected a distinctive Byrds influence than jangle rock feel. This might also be about as close to recording a grunge song as Sloan ever came. One of the best performances on the album.
6.) Halloween Mary (P.F. Sloan) - 2:30 rating: **** stars
Complete with lyrically dense structure (with all those words this one would have been a bitch to play live), a bouncy melody, and harmonica solo, 'Halloween Mary' sported one of the album's best Dylan-esque melodies. Yeah the goofy title was a mystery to me, but who cared when the song was so catchy, which probably explains why it was released as a single ...
- 1966's 'Halloween Mary' b/w ' I'd Have To Be Out of My Mind' (Dunhill catalog number D-4016)
Another stripped down acoustic performance (just Sloan, acoustic guitar, and harmonica), 'I Found a Girl' was interesting for simplicity and for being one of the few tracks that didn't try to make sine sort of 'big' statement. Yeah it was amazingly sappy, but Sloan sounded very happy on this one so it stands as my choice for the album's best performance ...
2.) On Top of a Fence (P.F. Sloan) - 4:28 rating: ** stars
'On Top of a Fence' found Sloan returning to scathing social commentary. If heard in isolation this one probably would have been okay, but when packaged alongside the rest of these tracks, this one just kind of blurred in with the rest.
3.) Lollipop Train (You Never Had It So Good) (P.F. Sloan - Steve Barri) - 3:05 rating: **** stars
With strumming electric guitar 'Lollipop Train (You Never Had It So Good)' started out sounding like a sappy 1950s love song, but quickly opened up into what sounded like a biting stab at a former girlfriend. He's seldom sounded as pissed off ...
4.) Upon a Painted Ocean (P.F. Sloan) - 3:10 rating: ** stars
'Upon a Painted Ocean' offered up more Dylan, but this time out it sounded tired and obvious ...
5.) When the Wind Changes (P.F. Sloan) - 4:27 rating: ** stars
'When the Wind Changes' was an acoustic folk number that actually sounded like Donovan trying to channel Dylan. With it's overt political manifesto, this one was simply pompous and plodding. Imagine a bad night at your local Irish bar ...
6.) Patterns Seg. 4 (P.F. Sloan) - 3:10 rating: **** stars
Bless his soul, the notorious serious Sloan saved one of his best performances for the closer. Atypically goofy, 'Patterns Seg. 4' had a great rockabilly melody coupled with some of the funniest lyrics he'd ever penned. Nice to hear a throwaway like this ...
For anyone interested, Sloan's got a small myspace presence at: http://www.myspace.com/pfsloan
Rating: 2 stars **
Title: Raised On Records
Country/State: New York, NY
Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+
Comments: gatefold sleeve; radio station timing strip on back cover
Catalog ID: 5874
I'm a big P.F. Sloan fan, but as much as I'd like to say something positive about this 1972 release ... Well it was nice to Sloan returning to the studio after a four year break.
Released by the small Epic-distributed Mums label, "Raised On Records" (great title), found Sloan trying to find a niche in a rapidly changing music market. Judging by the eleven tracks, during his four year hiatus he'd been listening to lots of James Taylor which probably went a long way to explaining why the collection was heavy on singer/songwriter numbers (seven out of the eleven tracks). In spite of the extended layoff Sloan sounded in good voice and he didn't spare any expense in terms of support; the album listing an all-star cast of sessions players including Johnny Barbata, Barry Beckett, Hal Blaine, James Burton, and Larry Knechtel. Unfortunately with so many acoustic ballads, few of the new tracks made much of an impression. The overall impression was of a severely underpowered LP. Elsewhere the album included a pair of Sloan remakes ('Let Me Be' and 'Sins of a Family'), though neither was as good as the original. So when all was said and done the results were mildly entertaining, but paled in comparison to his earlier work. You know what? This one was earnest, but simply kind of boring.
Radio" track listing:
1.) Let Me Be (P.F. Sloan) - 2:44 rating: ** stars
Remaking 'Let Me Be' as an intimate slice of sensitive singer/songwriter material was one of those ideas that probably sounded better on paper than in practice. Done as a ballad , the results were mildly pretty with Sloan turning in a suitably earnest performance. Not particularly impressive when compared to the original. Mums tapped the song as the LP's single:
- 1972's 'Let Me Be' (stereo) b/w 'Let Me Be' (mono) (Mums catalog number ZS7 6010)
2.) The Way You Want It To Be (P.F. Sloan) - 4:06 rating: ** stars
Well, 'The Way You Want It To Be' was another sensitive acoustic ballad, but it at least had some nice jangle guitar and pretty harmony vocals going for it. Unfortunately Sloan didn't sound particularly comfortable on the track, turning in a vocal that was atypically unsteady.
3.) The Night the Trains Broke Down (P.F. Sloan) - 4:15 rating: ** stars
Based in large measure on the fact it featured a full band (credited as 'The Neighborhood Band'), 'The Night the Trains Broke Down' was one of the better performances. Not that the song was anything great, rather after two touchy feely ballads it was simply nice to hear some pounding drums and Sloan singing with a bit of anger in his voice.
4.) The Moon Is Stone (P.F. Sloan) - 4:09 rating: ** stars
'The Moon Is Stone' started out as another ballad, but thanks to guitarist Ben Benay, actually turned into one of the better performances.
5.) Raised On Records (P.F. Sloan) - 4:00 rating: ** stars
'Raised On Records' was simply too cutesy for my tastes, sounding like something Lobo, or Andy Kim might had recorded.
'Springtime' started side two with another sensitive singer/songwriter number. Yeah, it was pretty, deep and insightful. Imagine a Dan Fogelberg song ...
2.) Como (P.F. Sloan) - 3:08 rating: ** stars
The oddest song on the album, 'Como' was a weird mix of Latin and rock influences. Frankly the best part of the song came in the form of Tony Terran's Mexican trumpet.
3.) Sins of a Family (P.F. Sloan) - 3:29 rating: ** stars
Another Sloan remake, this version of 'Sins of a Family' wasn't nearly as good as the original. That said, Joe Osborn's bass was great.
4.) Turn On the Light (P.F. Sloan) - 3:00 rating: *** stars
Sloan's always sounded good surrounded by a true rock arrangement and that was the case with 'Turn On the Light'. In contrast to most of the album, this one actually generated some real energy. Duane Eddy was credited with playing guitar on the track ???
5.) Midnight Girl (P.F. Sloan) - 3:00 rating: ** stars
Back to James Taylor-styled ballads with 'Midnight Girl'. Pretty, but with the exception of the title track hook (which didn't kick in until the end of the song), forgettable.
6.) Somebody's Watching Me (P.F. Sloan) - 4:04 rating: ** stars
And for a change of pace, how about ending the album with an acoustic ballad ? Okay, that pretty much covers 'Somebody's Watching Me'.
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