Band members Related acts
- Lou Gossett -- vocals, guitar
- none known
Rating: 3 stars ***
Title: From Me To You
Company: B.T. Puppy
Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+
Comments: still in shrink wrap (opened)
Catalog ID: 6202
Okay, okay it's doubtful anyone is going to buy this album on the basis of Lou Gossett's musical skills (which are actually better than you would have expected). The fact of the matter is that this one's interest factor is driven by the fact it was released on The Token's famous B.T. Puppy label and happens to be one of the rarest albums in that highly collectable label's catalog.
So rather than spend a lot of time highlight Gossett's career, I'll just copy the liner notes off the back of 1970's "From me To You":
"Famous actor, TV personality, night club entertainer, again shows his versatility by entering into the Recording field. In this Album, Lou displays his own individual, unique, and intimate style of singing that is reminiscent of the great and immortal Josh White. Lou began acting when he was a student at New York University. He amde his Broadway acting debut at the age of 17 in the play "Take a Giant Step:. Thereafter, he appeared and had starring roles in play after play, the most famous of which were "Golden Boy", "The Zulu and the Zada", "My Sweet Charley", and "The Blacks". He also co-starred in the movies with Sidney Poitier in the film "A Raisin In the Sun". Lou has appeared, and starred in Television on such national T.V. shows as "Cowboy In Africa", "The Invaders", and a half dozen others. Although Lou has performed for years in night-clubs around the country, prior to this time, he had never recorded an album. Lou Gossett's unique singing style as recorded in this Album will surely establish him as a talented and distinguished record Artist. Lou has a new T.V. series coming up called "Yankee Doodle".
So what to make of this entry into the celebrity-as-a-recording star genre? First off Gossett played it fairly straightforward throughout these ten tracks (including four Gossett originals), which meant it couldn't compete with camp products by the likes of Leonard Nimoy, Telly Savalas, or William Shatner. Produced by The Tokens, most of the album sought to showcase Gossett in a sensitive singer/songwriter mode. To his credit Gossett wasn't nearly as bad as you might have expected. As exemplified by tracks like 'The River and I' , 'Forbidden Fruit', and '' he actually had a pretty nice voice and seemed fairly comfortable in his studio surroundings. On the other hand, after awhile the stream of barebones acoustic ballads (normally just Gossett and acoustic guitar), started to sound similar and your attention rapidly began to wander about a quarter of the way through the collection. The funny thing was there were signs the album could have been far better. While if was another acoustic ballad, Tinglin' actually showed some energy and underscored Gossett had a sense of humor (missing in most of his singer/songwriter contemporaries). It would have been interesting to hear him in a more conventional band setting.
Me To You" track listing:
1.) The River and I (Gladstone - Mira) - 2:45 rating: ** stars
'The River and I' showcased Gossett in prime sensitive singer/songwriter mode - think along the lines of Ritchie Havens and you'd be in the right neighborhood.
2.) Forbidden Fruit (Oscar Brown Jr.) - 3:50 rating: ** stars
'Forbidden Fruit' wasn't a major change in direction, perhaps adding a touch of Jose Feliciano influence in terms of funky acoustic guitar. Nice background music though I found the whistling more of an irritation than anything.
3.) Old Jay Gould (Lou Gossett) - 3:05 rating: ** stars
One of four Gossett originals, 'Old Jay Gould' was a spoken word, country-blues number. While I wouldn't dare question his enthusiasm, the results weren't particularly bluesy, or impressive though I'd give him an extra star for a sense of humor.
4.) Tinglin' (Lou Gossett) - 2:43 rating: *** stars
Assuming Gossett accompanied himself on acoustic guitar, 'Tinglin'' was side one's surprise. Yeah, it was another singer/songwriter number, but he brought an unexpected sense of energy to this one and once again some of the lyrics were quite funny " ... she got me stone with her fish net hose ...."
5.) Spring Can Really Hang You Up the Most (Wolf - Landesman) - 5:09 rating: ** stars
In case you couldn't guess from the song title, 'Spring Can Really Hang You Up the Most' found Gossett returning to Havens-styled hippy singer/songwriter material. With one of those wandering, slightly stoned and jazzy melodies, this one seemed to go on and on and on, far beyond its five minute running time. Dull and plodding ...
Gossett's cover of Bobby Hebb's mega hit 'Sunny' stayed fairly true to the original melody, but stretched it out with some needless jazz-tinged edges. Certainly won't make you forget the original.
2.) Searching for the Love World (Lou Gossett) - 3:18 rating: *** stars
Probably my choice for best performance, Gossett's 'Searching for the Love World' had a nice melody, an energetic vocal, and some nice finger picking.
3.) That's the Bag I'm In (Fred Neil) - 2:25 rating: ** stars
Clearly intended to showcase Gossett's 'cool-and-happening' credentials, 'That's the Bag I'm In' was about as funny as a Smothers Brothers episode. Waste of time and energy.
4.) Fields of War (Lou Gossett) - 5:26 rating: ** stars
While it had a nice refrain, an admirable anti-war/anti-reacism lyric (remember this was 1970), and Gossett turned in one of this best vocals, 'Fields of War' made it clear he wasn't really another Bob Dylan. Nice try and you've certainly heard far more cloying anti-war songs.
5.) Joey, Joey, Joey (Frank Loesser) - 6:30 rating: ** stars
Wow, I've never quite figured out what Gossett was trying to accomplish on 'the closing ballad Joey, Joey, Joey' - Charles Aznavor perhaps ? This was another attempt at sophisticated, pseudo- folk jazz moves that utlimately came off as a rather meandering and dull exercise in audience abuse. Regardless I can't think of another song that included references comparing a woman to Texas avocados, or Arizona sugar beets ...
Not that you necessarily want to hear it, but good luck finding a copy of this one ...
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