White Duck


Band members                             Related acts

  line up 1 (1971-72)

- Lanny Fiel (RIP 2009) -- vocals, lead guitar, slide guitar, horns

- Rick Fiel - vocals, lead guitar, rhythm guitar, keyboards

- Mario Friedel -- vocals, bass, keyboards, guitar

- Don Kloetzke -- vocals, keyboards

- Paul Tabet (RIP 2015) -- backing vocals, drums, percussion

 

  line up 2 (1972)

- Mario Friedel -- vocals, bass, keyboards, guitar

NEW - John Hiatt -- vocals, guitar

- Don Kloetzke -- vocals, keyboards

- Paul Tabet (RIP 2015) -- backing vocals, drums, percussion

 

  supporting musicians:

- Buzz Cason -- backing vocals

- Doyle Grisham -- steel guitar

- Andy McMahon -- keyboards

- Steve Mendell -- bass

- Skip Rogers -- backing vocals

- Lump Williams -- bass

- Doug Yankus - guitar

 

 

 

 

- John Hiatt (solo efforts)

- Little Village (John Hiatt)

- Teddy Neely Five (Paul Tabet)

- Prince of America (Rick Fiel)

- Willie an the Red Rubber Band (Lanny Fiel)

 

 


 

Genre: rock

Rating: 3 stars ***

Title:  White Duck

Company: Uni

Catalog:  73122
Year:
 1971

Country/State: Lubbock, Texas and Fond du Lac, Wisconsin

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: textured cover

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 31063

Price: $40.00

I bought this album for two reasons - Sharleen Pederson's cool cover art and the fact the LP was produced by Buzz Cason.

 

For a band that recorded on a major label, there isn't a great deal of bibliographic information to be found on them.  What is out there tends to focus on their second album and the fact a young John Hiatt was a member of the line-up.  That leaves their debut album largely unknown, with most of what I know being pulled from the album's liner notes.  The original line-up featured brothers Danny and Rick Fiel, bassist Mario Friedel, lead singer/guitarist Don Kloetzke and drummer Paul Tabet.  Guitarist Lanny Fiel had previously been a member of the Texas band Willie an the Red Rubber Band.  Older brother Rick had been in a couple of bands, including Nashville's Prince of America.  After moving from Wisconsin, to Los Angeles, Tabet started working as a studio player, eventually becoming a member of the Teddy Neely Five. 

 

The band came together in Nashville where several of them met while recording Jimmy Buffet's 1970 debut album "Down To Earth".  During the Buffett recording sessions they attracted the attention of famed produced Cason.  With Cason's support they were signed by Uni.   Produced by Cason at his Nashville Creative Studios, the results were released as 1971's "White Duck".  A clear reflection of the label's faith in the band's talents, the collection featured ten originals with all five members contributing to the writing chores.   I won't try to convince anyone the album's an unsung masterpiece.  The ten tracks were way too derivative to get much credit on the originality scale, but while the performances may have been a little short on originality, the band's outside influences were all first rate.  The opener and single 'Billy Goat' reflected a nice Memphis sound.  The ballad 'World (Keep On Turnin')' demonstrated they had mastered folk-rock 101.  'Anna Belle' had a Band-styled Americana vibe. While White Duck weren't alone in reflecting a Beatles fixation, kicked along by Kloetzke's Paul McCartney impressions, performances like 'No' and 'Don't Mix with Politics' were among the more impressive Fab Four tributes.  Even better was the ballad 'Really'.  One of the best Beatles songs they never wrote.

 

"White Duck" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Billy Goat   (Lanny Fiel - Rick Fiel - Don Kloetzke) - 4:00  rating: **** stars

Based on the fantasy album cover, to be honest, 'Billy Goat' was nothing like what I expected.  Built on a funky little riff and showcasing Kloetzke's rugged, blue-eyed soul vocals, the tune sounded like something a Memphis band like Big Star might have recorded.  Icing on the cake came in the form of Lanny Fiel's slide guitar.

 

 

The tune was tapped as a single in the States and England:

 

- 1972 'Billy Goat' b/w 'Really' (Uni catalog number 55322)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2,) World (Keep On Turnin')   (Lanny Fiel - Don Kloetzke) - 2:37  rating: **** stars

The opening studio snippet wasn't necessary, but when the song actually started 'World (Keep On Turnin')' revealed itself as a sweet acoustic ballad.  The tune showcased Kloetzke's glistening twelve string guitar and the band's impressive hamronies, with Tabet's percussion adding a subtle Celtic edge.  Nice.

3.) No   (Don Kloetzke - Mario Friedel) - 2:42  rating: *** stars

The first mild disappointment, 'No' was a routine boogie-rocker workout.  The song's most notable was Kloetzke's vocal where he seemed to be channeling early Paul McCartney.

4.) Lonely   (Don Kloetzke) - 3:00  rating: ***** stars

Opening up with some lovely piano, 'Lonely' caught me totally off guard.  In fact, for a second I wondered if I'd mistakenly slapped on a Beatles album.  Penned by Kloetzke, the song was a beautiful keyboard powered ballad with vocals that bore an uncanny resemblance to McCartney.  It wasn't just the vocals - the entire song seemed to project a Fab Four vibe.  Always loved Friedel's melodic bass work on this one.  Possibly one of the best Beatles songs they never wrote.

5.) Black-Eyed Susan   (Rick Fiel) - 2:22  rating: **** stars

What started out as an attractive, but pedestrian pop tune turned out to be one of the album highlights.  Of course you had to wait until the song was half over which is when Lanny and Rick kicked in with their lysergic tinged  backwards guitar solos.

 

(side 2)

1.) Really   (Rick Fiel - Lanny Field - Don Kloetzke - Mario Friedel - Paul Tabet)  - 3:50  rating: **** stars

Another song that opened up with some attractive Kloetzke piano, 'Really' may have been the album's most original and commercial track.  The song had a wonderful melody (with a great bass line) and some gorgeous harmony vocals.

2.) Don't Mix with Politics   (Lanny Fiel - Rick Fiel - Don Kloetzke) - 2:50  rating: **** stars

The title and the opening sound collage left me thinking this was going to be a throwaway.  Instead, this was another slice of McCartney-the-rocker influenced hard rock.  Built on a tasty little guitar riff, this one would have made George Harrison proud. 

3.) Anna Belle   (Mario Friedel - Paul Wittenburger) - 2:30  rating: ** stars

An early slice of Americana,, 'Anna Belle' featured bassist Freidel on lead vocals.  His voice was okay, though it made clear why Kloetzke handled most of the lead vocals.  Imagine a Leon Helm solo album and you'd get a feel for this one.

4.) No Time   (Lanny Fiel - Paul Tabet) - 2:32  rating: **** stars

With driving lead guitar and a strong Kloetzke vocal 'No Time' got an A+ in the folk-rock awards.  Their backing vocals were truly impressive, making you wish this one had stretched on longer.

5.) I Never Wanna Go   (Lanny Fiel - Don Kloetzke) - 2:18  rating: **** stars

The rocker 'I Never Wanna Go' found the band returning to a Memphis garage-rock feel.  With an insidiously catchy riff, this one as simply awesome and another track that faded out too early.

 

 

Until his death in 2009, Lanny Field remain active in music.  The Texas Tech University has an archive of his papers:  https://legacy.lib.utexas.edu/taro/ttuav/00029/tav-00029.html

 

Friedel returned to Wisconsin.  At least for a time he appears to have been the Director of the non-profit Wisconsin School Music Association Inc.  The Association focuses on supporting Wisconsin music teachers.

 

Kloetzke had actually started his career as an artist and returned to art after the band called it quits.  He's known for portraits of wildlife, Green Bay Packer fans, and World War II aircraft.

 

Tabet relocated to Las Vegas where he played in various Casino house bands for the next 40 years,  He died of heart failure in June, 2015.

 

 

 

 


 

Genre: rock

Rating: 3 stars ***

Title:  In Season

Company: Uni

Catalog:  73140
Year:
 1972

Country/State: Lubbock, Texas and Fond du Lac, Wisconsin

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: --

Available: 1

Catalog ID: --

Price: $40.00

 

After the release of the first White Duck album front men/brothers Lanny and Rick Fiel left White Duck.  Bassist Mario Friedel, keyboard player Don Kloetzke and drummer Paul Tabet elected to continue the nameplate recruiting a young John Hiatt (then working as a Nashville-based songwriter) for 1972's "In Season".  Once again working with producer Buzz Cason, anyone who enjoyed "White Duck" was liable to find the follow-on equally entertaining.  Blessed with three writers in Friedel, Kloetzke and Hiatt, the collection suffered from some of the same weaknesses as the debut.  Anyone hoping the group would carve out a more unique sound was probably disappointed to discover the collection was just as derivative as the debut.   'Firewater' and Hiatt's 'Sail Away' echoed the band's earlier interests in The Band styled Americana.  The performances weren't bad; rather just professional.   Like the debut, there were a couple of country-tinged numbers ('Lazy Days') that didn't strike a chord with me.  Finally, keyboardist Kloetzke continued to display his affection for Paul McCartney styled pop.  Kloetzke's 'Carry Love' stood as one of the best faux-McCartney tunes I've ever heard and the album's highlight.  Amazing that Uni didn't tap it as a single.  

 

"In Season" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Carry Love   (Don Kloetzke) - 3:50  rating: **** stars

The slinky opening sitar-flavored guitar has always reminded me of George Harrison.  In contrast the silky smooth melody and lovely vocal harmonies exhibited a Paul McCartney flavor.   Seriously, 'Carry Love' may be one of the best faux-McCartney tunes ever recorded.

2.) Firewater  (Mario Friedel - Skip Rogers) - 2:50   rating: *** stars

'Firewater' found the band returning to a Band-styled slice of Americana that was more in keeping with the debut album.  Nice keyboard solo from Don Kloetzke, but not as mesmerizing as the previous tune.

3.) You Caught Me Laughin'   (John Hiatt) - 3:25   rating: *** stars

The first of two Hiatt compositions, 'You Caught Me Laughin'' introduced his instantly recognizable gravelly voice on an upbeat, bouncy rocker that had some commercial potential.

4.) Thank You   (Don Kloetzke) - 3:22   rating: *** stars

Sweet, catchy ballad that would have made a nice single. Kloetzke's vocal has always reminded me of Neil Finn, though the tune's smooth melody sounded like something The Raspberries might have recorded.  

5.) Sail Away   (John Hiatt) - 3:35   rating: *** stars

'Sail Away' was another track that sounded like Hiatt and company had been listening to more than their share of Robbie Robertson and the band.  Nice melody and once again, Hiatt's voice was one of the album's most endearing features.  Shame he didn't handle more of the vocals.

 

(side 2)

1.) Bull Island Boogie   (Buzz Cason - Don Kloetzke) - 5:03   rating: *** stars

'Bull Island Boogie' was a rather pedestrian boogie rock tribute to a1972 concert festival that in the shadow of Woodstock and Altamont has fallen out of the publics' memory. Shame since The Erie Canal Soda Pop Festival sounded like a hoot.  Held Labor Day weekend 1972, organizers expected 50,000 and were left to contend with an estimated crowd of 200,000 - 250,000.  Not enough food and water; too many drugs, limited sanitation and medical assistance - the event turned into anarchy, culminating with the crowd burning down the main stage.  Good time for all ...  

2.) Honey, You'll Be Alright (Do What Ya' Gotta Do)   (Paul Taber - Mario Fredel) - 2:25  rating: **** stars

Kicked along by some awesome twin guitar work, 'Honey, You'll Be Alright (Do What Ya' Gotta Do)'  was the album's most impressive rocker and would have made a dandy FM single.

3.) Lazy Days   (Mario Fredel) - 4:01   rating: ** stars

Complete with pedal steel guitar, 'Lazy Days' was an out-and-out country tune.  Pass.

4.) A Girl Who  (Don Kloetzke - Skip Rogers) - 3:32   rating: *** stars

'A Girl Who' was another breezy, country-tinged ballad.  At least it had a pretty melody.

5.) Again   (Mario Fredel) - 3:06   rating: *** stars

Not a great performance, but thankfully 'Again' found the band returning to a more rock oriented sound.    

6.) Looney Tune   (Don Kloetzke) - 2:44   rating: ** stars

Typically when band's opt for an old-time feel the results are attrocious.  'Looney Tunes' as a prime example of why band's shouldn't go down this creative rod.  Throw in barrelhouse piano, needless scatting and you couldn't wait for this one to finish.


 

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