WIldwood


Band members                             Related acts

  line up 1 (1974-75)

- William Clay -- drums, percussion

- David Hull -- bass, backing vocals, trumpet, sax

- Ronnie Levine -- lead guitar

- Linda Reoch (aka Aura Lee) -- vocals, tambourine, autoharp

- Marc Stuart -- vocals, guitar, Hammond B-3

 

 

 

 

 


 

Genre: pop

Rating: 3 stars ***

Title:  Wildwood

Company: Wildwood

Catalog: WW 101
Year:
 1975

Country/State: Houston, Texas

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: --

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 1652

Price: $80.00

 

This mid-'70s quintet is a complete unknown to me.   They were apparently from Houston, Texas and featured a line-up showcasing drummer William Clay, bassist David Hull, lead guitarist Ronnie Levine, vocalist  Linda Reoch, and singer/guitarist Marc Stuart.

 

Released in 1975, their eponymous titled debut was seemingly a self-financed effort probably sold at their shows and at local music stores.   It's certainly obscure and rare.   Hard to imagine more than 1,000 copies being pressed.  Produced by the band and John D. Mayfield, the collection offered up an okay mix of original blues ('Orion'), country-rock ('So Long'), and pop ('I Love You (You're What I Look Forward To)').  Exemplified by titles like 'The Breakfast Blues',  'Scotty the Bear ('s Midnight Moonlight Dream)', and 'Euthanasia' the band had a penchant for cleverness.  Well, they clearly thought they were clever.  You may disagree,   The group gifted with three lead singers.  Reoch was probably the best of the lot, though her pseudo-Joplin blues numbers weren't particularly impressive.   Hull and Stuart also handled lead vocals, but were far more anonymous.   

 

"Wildwood" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) I Love You (You're What I Look Forward To)   (Marc Stuart) - 2:04

Here's how the liner notes described the song: "A tribute to The Beatles ... it must be commercial.  Took 15 mnutes to write ... dedicated to Sherry."   Yeah, I can go along with that description with a couple of caveats - think early Beatles with a dollop of country-rock thrown on the arrangement.  Nice, in a low-key, cute kind of way.   rating: *** stars

2.) Orion   (Linda Reoch) - 4:28

I guess it was meant to be cool, but making the first half of the bluesy 'Orion' sound like it was pulled off of some scratched up old '78 really didn't do much to make this one enjoyable.  On the other hand, the second half of this bluesy track wasn't much better.   Reoch certainly had a decent enough Joplin-styled voice, but the song was just dull and forgettable.  rating: ** stars

3.) The Breakfast Blues   (Ronnie Levine) - 3:22

With bassist Hull handling lead vocals, 'The Breakfast blues' was a pedestrian big blues number (complete with horns) and lyrics that were clearly funnier in concept than execution.  Remember the lounge act singer Bill Murray played in Saturday Night Live - Nick the Lounge Singer ?  Well that's what this one sounded like.    rating: ** stars

4.) So Long   (Marc Stuart) - 3:32

Sharing lead vocals, Stuart and Reoch sounded quite good, but, hile pretty, the country-tinged ballad was simply too bland and anonymous to make much of an impression.   rating: *** stars

5.) Pretty Woman  (Roy Orbison - Bill Dees) - 3:02

The song that I had absolutely no expectations for turned out to be side one's biggest surprise.  They stuck close to the original arrangement, but once again Stuart and Reoch sounded good harmonizing and Hull hit the famous bass pattern with all the energy he could muster.    "Another so-called tribute to ye favourite hittes of yon yesteryear ... deftly, expertly goosed into disco territory by our superb drummer, and he didn't even write this!"

 

(side 2)
1.)  Nobody Wants To Know   (Marc Stuart - Bill Dees) - 3:47

"A song with a message about the lurid, disgusting, dirty, murdering, diseased, violent, scuzzy, sex-infested gutters of the city ... real commercial."   Beats me since to my ears it sounded like a pleasant, forgettable pop tune, highlighted by some nice jazzy lead guitar fron Levine.   rating: *** stars

2.) Scotty the Bear ('s Midnight Moonlight Dream)   (Ronnie Levine - Linda Reoch - Dave Hull - S. Berryhill) - 3:10

With Reoch on lead vocals, 'Scotty the Bear ('s Midnight Moonlight Dream)' offered up a weird mix of old-timey and blues moves.    Can't say this one did much for me.   rating: ** stars

3.) Butterfly   (Bill Dees) - 3:16

"Depending on your point of view, a beautiful ballad of hope and inspiration, or a tawdry tale of forbidden love between a quadriplegic and a senile catepillar."   With Hull on lead vocals, 'Butterfly' was a pretty acoustic ballad 

4.) Sad Ending   (Ronnie Levine) - 3:29

Jazzy interlude was nice enough though it sounded kind of out of place on  the album.   rating: *** stars

5.) Euthanasia   (David Hull) -  3:27

Another tune featuring Hull on lead vocals, 'Euthanasia' sounded like a collision between a small Gospel choir and a Southern rock band.   Strange and also endearing.  Probably my favorite tune on the LP.  rating: **** stars

 

 

There just doesn't seem to be a great deal of information on the group, though the band seemingly still reunite on occasion.  I saw a November 2013 advertisement for a reunion show in Houston.

 

 

 

 

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