Jim Friedman: Love Makes It Beautiful
From Hungry (JF Records, 197?)
Paul Mitchell Trio: Don’t Let Me Be Lonely Tonight
Paul Mitchell Trio: Now That I Know What Loneliness Is
From Another Way to Feel(Dantes Down the Hatch, 1973)
Spirit: The Other Song
From Son of Spirit (Mercury, 1975)
It’s not like I have stacks of records, littering the floor or anything but I don’t always organize my records that well and inevitably, that means rediscovering things from my stacks that I had forgotten about. I stumbled back across these three LPs last night while I was getting stuff ready to sell and it reminded me of how nicely random some records can be.
Take the Jim Friedman LP for example – a really obscure (perhaps for good reason) private press jazz album that I last wrote about four years ago (damn, I’ve been doing this site for a minute – peep the old design!) when I was writing about his song “Aubrey.” This is what I had to say about Friedman:
“one of those anomalous albums by an anomalous artist that is partly why I love records. Friedman’s not much of a warbler and elsewhere on this private press release, his singing is rather terrible but on “Aubrey,” it all comes together. It’s not like his voice magically turns from schlock to Sinatra but I just kind of feel him on this one, you know?”
And indeed, coming back to the album after, well, four years, I dropped the needle on another song, the funky “Love Makes It Beautiful.” It’s still kind of clunky, he still can’t sing but this song has tons of charm and nice musical touches.
The Paul Mitchell Trio LP is another private press jazz LP – Mitchell was the long, long, long-time resident player at Dantes Down the Hatch in Atlanta (alas, he passed in 2000). He recorded in 1966 for Verve and it’s rather remarkable that we was able to do so again (this time for Dantes’ own label) seven years later, with the same players: Layman Jackson on bass and Allen Murphy on drums.
The A-side starts off well with an instrumental cover of James Taylor’s “Don’t Let Me Be Lonely Tonight” (I am not too proud to admit: I dig this tune – go Taylor!) but for whatever reason, I had never bothered to really listen to the flipside where I discovered that Murphy wasn’t just the drummer – he was also the band’s vocalist and sings on several of the songs including this great Mitchell-original ballad, “Now That I Know What Loneliness Is.” (The arrangement reminds of George Jackson’s “Aretha, Sing One For Me” for some reason).
Last but not least, I had this Spirit LP in my “sell” pile only to realize that it wasn’t a spare so I put it back in my stacks. “The Other Song” is what you’d want all druggy, psych-influenced rock to sound like – dreamy yet with that hard drum beat anchoring things down. I’m surprised no rappers have flipped this (or have they?) You get a contact high just from listening to it.