Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Hookfoot Good Times A' Comin' 1972

I was talking to a friend about a particularly poignant lyric in a song when he told me that he never listened to the lyrics. He was aware of the singing as part of the overall musical experience, but he NEVER listened to the lyrics enough to even know what they were about. All music, all songs. I was quite aghast at this, and insisted that lyrics got through to him sometimes. He reconfirmed that the lyrics were not a part of his listening experience. And he liked music quite a bit. I just couldn't relate, so I just had to accept.

That was years ago. Today, I pulled out this old Hookfoot record that I remembered enjoying. These are four talented guys that played the DJM house band rhythm section behind Elton John in the early seventies and produced five or six records of their own. Caleb Quale is a hot guitarist, Ian Duck is a fine vocalist and harmonica player, and Roger Pope and Dave Glover lay down a solid foundation. The songs are pretty well constructed, and they have a funky, organic rock sound that hearkens back to the era of emerging country rock and Elton's Tumbleweed Connection, on which they played.

Sweet Sweet Funky Music pulls off a Dr. Hook - BTO hybrid that rocks nicely. If I Had The Words is solid riff-rock, as is Is Anyone There. And the instrumental guitar/harp of Slick Blues For Jumbo is the highlight of the record. Why, you might ask? Well, it is because that's the one without lyrics. Several other songs would be at least pretty good with different words, but they've got these clunky, awkward lyrics that serve as a rather big distraction.

This is the record for my friend from years ago. Rock solid music, good playing and singing.

I can frequently look the other way when the lyrics are dated, of their time, as it were. But these lyrics have that problem as well as being just plain bad. The word that keeps coming to mind is banal. Caleb Quayle may have been one hot guitarist, but a lyricist he was not.

So when you see this one in a used record store, and it looks interesting, maybe the name seems cool, don't buy it.