Visconti, Tony


Band members                             Related acts

- Tony Visconti -- vocals, bass, Moog, recorded, rhythm guitar

 

  supporting musicians:

- Chris Birkett -- guitar

- RIchard Burgess -- drums

- Mark Goodwin -- drums

- Mary Hopkins -- backing vocals

- Phil Kenzi -- sax

- John Kongos -- lead guitar

- Bruce Lynch -- bass

- Susie Lynch -- backing vocals

- Andy Newark -- drums

- Jean Roussell -- lead guitar

- Stan Sulzman -- sax

 

 

 

- The Hype

- Tony and Siegrid

 

 

 


 

Genre: pop

Rating: 3 stars ***

Title:  Visconti's Inventory

Company: Mercury

Catalog: 9102 602
Year:
 1977

Country/State: Brooklyn, New York

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: UK pressng

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 1025

Price: $40.00

 

Funny, I bought this album at a yard sale thinking it was some '60s Italian outfit along the lines of The Rokes.    I guess if I'd paid a little more attention to the album I would have figured out this was related to American producer Tony Visconti.  

 

Pretty much a glorified vanity project, musically "Visconti's Inventory" was a fairly odd offering, pulling together a mid-'70s solo single  ( I Remember Brooklyn') along with a bunch of studio demos Visconti had apparently recorded and stored away over the years.  To his credit Visconti had a surprisingly commercial voice, but given his amazing catalog as a producer and arranger, he didn't have much of a musical identify across these 14 tracks.  Almost schizophrenic, the track listing haphazardly bounced all over the musical spectrum including a hideous stab at 'barbershop quartet ('Hello'),  doo-wop ('I Remember Brooklyn'), disco-tinged dance material ('Inventory'), conventional top-40 pop ('Let Me Cast Your Chart'), and even an ill-advised stab at reggae (a cover o f The Dovells' 'Mope-Itty, Mope Stomp').   If you were expecting to hear something along the lines of the material he'd produced for Marc Bolan, David Bowie, or Thin Lizzy, then you were going to be in for a major disappointment.  

 

"Visconti's Inventory" track listing 
(side 1)

1.) What a Dilemma (instrumental)   (Tony Visconti) - 1:53

The instrumental 'What a Dilemma' started the album off with a surprisingly new wave-ish  number.  Jittery and slightly ominous ...  "This devious instrumental was played by  John Kongos on guitar and Richard Burgess on drums.rating: *** stars

2.) Hello  (Tony Visconti) - 0:31

"This was the start of a tae letter to my parents.  Daddy sings bass in a Brooklyn Barbershop Quartet.  The Wargrave Barbershop Quartet, residing at 'The Bull' pub, Wargrave Berks, England performed this ditty."   Well, that's a completely apt description - literally 30 seconds of cloying barbershop quartet moves.   Yech.   rating: * star

3.) Inventory  (Tony Visconti) - 2:57

Lightweight, slightly disco-tinged pop tune.   Probably would have slotted perfectly on the insipid mid-'70s British pop charts.   "Intentionally written in four time signature you can't dance to it unless you have three pairs of arms and four left feet.  Bruce Lynch played bass, guitar, and wrote the brass parts.  Jean Roussell is on piano and Andy Newmark played drums.  Susie Lynch and Mary Visconti (Mary Hopkins to you) sang backing vocals. rating: *** stars

4.) I Remember Brooklyn  (Tony Visconti) - 2:48

No idea why, but 'I Remember Brooklyn' had been released as a 1974 Visconti single on the English Regal Zonophone label.  About all I can come  up with in terms of an explanation if that English listeners had an inexplicable desire to hear third tier doo-wop impersonations.    Simply hideous and I'd argue not even good enough to make the Happy Days television soundtrack.  "This song is like so many I heard of Jocko and Alan Freed's radio shows when I was working out my puberty in Brooklyn.  Bruce, Jean, and Andy play on this one too.  Stan Sulzman played the sax solo."    rating: * star

5.) Middle of Your Heart  (Tony Visconti) - 3:43

Weird, atmospheric pop tune that was goofy enough to be one of the better tunes on the set.  Mary Hopkins backing vocals were very clear on this one.   "A sort of love song.  John Kongos is on guitar and Richard Burgess on drums.  Mary sings backing vocals.   Chris Birkett played lead guitar.  rating: *** stars

6.) Let Me Cast Your Chart  (Tony Visconti) - 3:39

With a funny astrologically oriented lyric, 'Let Me Cast Your Chart' bounced between sweet pop tune and weird concept piece.   A nice '60s-styled arrangement helped.   "Another sort of love song.  This demented epic took 20 minutes to write and 40 hours to record.  Mark Goodwin played drums and Jean Roussell played piano.  Mary sang backup vocals."   rating: **** stars

7.) Speak To Me of Love   (Tony Visconti) - 3:31

More top-40-ish pop ballad and probably side one's most radio friendly tune.   It's actually always reminded me of something The Walker Brothers might have recorded during their ill-advised '70s comeback.  "Inspired by one of Gibran's books, this song was written on the Isle of Arran, Scotland. It's not a love song.  Bruce, Jean and Andy appear again.  So do Susie and Mary."

 

(side 2)
1.)  Dance Children Dance
   (Tony Visconti) - 4:03

'Dance Children Dance' opened side two with a slice of jazz-rock funk.  I'll admit the first time I heard it I hated the song, but it's grown on me over time.    "Originally called 'Counterpoint funk' this is played by Bruce, Jean and Andy and the words were written afterwards.   Mary and Susie sing backing vocals.  Ricky Gardiner played lead guitar. rating: *** stars

2.) Mope-Itty, Mope Stomp   (Bosstones - W. Chatmani) - 2:28

Wonder how Visconti stumbled across this weird early '60s tune, let along why he decided to record it and why Mercury elected to tap it as a 1977 single (b/w 'Let's Grow a Little Garden' (Mercury catalog number 6007150) "This was the B side of 'Do the Continental' by The Dovells.  It was written by Bosstones (?) and W. Chatman in 1961, so it says here on the label.   That is all I know about it.  Phil Kenzi plays the sax."   The albums' performance.  rating: ** stars

3.) I Can't Help It   (Tony Visconti) -2:49

"Musically it's The Coasters singing reggae.  My apologies to aficionados of Jamaican music.  It's not the real thing, but it wasn't meant to be."  And to be honest, I couldn't describe it any better if I wanted to.   rating: ** stars

4.) Field of Heather   (Tony Visconti) - 3:26

The ballad 'Field of Heather' sported one of he album's prettiest melodies,   Curiously, Visconti sounded like the late Andrew Gold on this one.   "A love song that happens in the future.  This is the only song I wrote in Beckenham, Kent (so what).  Mary sings backing vocals."  rating: *** stars

5.) The Cabaret Is Over   (Tony Visconti) - 3:28

'The Cabaret Is Over  ' sounded like Scott Walker taking on a disco number .  Horrible, horrible, horrible.   "Bruce Lynch read this newspaper headline to me over the phone.  That afternoon it became a song.  Bruce, Jean and Andy are back again with Chris Karan on bongos and Susie and Mary singing backing vocals.   Bruce wrote the string parts."   rating: ** stars

6.) Bohdi Tree   (Tony Visconti -  Ricky Gardiner) - 3:01

Breezy pop ballad that had some commercial potential.  "A Kind of prayer.  I Dedicate this song to my friend Chime Rinpoche.  Much did he teach me, little did I learn.  Bruce, Jean and Andy play on this and Ricky Gardiner composed and played the guitar solo."   rating: **** stars

 

In 2000 the TVP label reissued the album in CD format (TVP catalog number TVPI 2).   The double CD reissue included twelve bonus tracks that had apparently been intended for a second un-issued  Visconti solo effort.

 

 

1.) Let's Grow a Lirtle Garden - 2:04

2.) Sweet Baby (Suite Baby) - 1:40

3.) Not That the Baby Is Coming - 2:42

4.) Delaney My Son - 2:42

5.) Clorissa - 3:28

6.) Skinny Rose - 1:59

7.) Conasuela - 2:22

8.) Scenescof - 3:46

9.) Nothing Can Be Very Wrong - 2:15

10.) Hunger Sucks - 2:58

11.) Wholetone - 1:17

12.) It Feels Like Death - 3:17

13.) And You Go - 1:20

 

 

 

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