John Simon's Album

John Simon's Album

by John Simon
     
 
Producer John Simon did a pair of albums of his own during the 1970s, starting with John Simon's Album (1970), which was two years in the making and featuring many of the musicians with whom he'd been working over that period, including Cyrus Faryar, Garth Hudson, Richard

Overview

Producer John Simon did a pair of albums of his own during the 1970s, starting with John Simon's Album (1970), which was two years in the making and featuring many of the musicians with whom he'd been working over that period, including Cyrus Faryar, Garth Hudson, Richard Manuel, Rick Danko, Delaney Bramlett, Leon Russell, Jim Gordon, Carl Radle, Jim Price, and Rita Coolidge, Bobby Whitlock, and Jean Millington. Perhaps not surprisingly, John Simon's Album mostly resembles the first two Band albums, with a clear, sharp, brittle sound rooted in a multitude of popular music strains. The strangest song here is the first, "Song of the Elves," a surreal, psychedelic song derived from an R&B source and beat (with a strong '50s New Orleans feel) that calls to mind both Randy Newman and Brian Wilson -- the strange chorus with its deliberate distortion evokes the late '60s and the peculiar brand of psychedelia generated by the Beach Boys. And speaking of the latter, the bluesy "Did You See" sounds like some magnificent lost piece of the Wild Honey sessions, Wilson suddenly trying his hand at piano-and-guitar blues. The album also encompasses stripped-down gospel in "Nobody Knows," but the real jumping off point comes early, in the horn-driven "Tannenbaum," which sounds for a moment like the original Blood, Sweat & Tears jamming with the Band, and "Davey's on the Road Again" (co-authored with Robbie Robertson) could be a lost Band track in its playing and texture, though Merry Clayton's soaring backing vocal adds a special wrinkle (and recalls Simon's arrangements on Leonard Cohen's first album). Much of the rest, regardless of who's playing, moves between intimate Newman-like (or even Wilson-like) quirkiness and the lean, rocking sound of the Band -- though the piano tends to be the lead instrument, somewhere in there (most notably on "Don't Forget What I Told You") the guitar (mostly played by John Hall) comes in along with the bass and drums, all sounding like part of the Music From Big Pink of The Band sessions. Anyone seeking a kind of stylistic/textural extension of either of those first two albums need look no further, and Simon's music holds up as well -- it's difficult to see what would have been the single off of this album (maybe "Railroad Train Runnin' up My Back"?), though "Annie Looks Down" or "Did You See" could and should have gotten FM play. Out-of-print for decades in the United States, John Simon's Album was re-released on CD in Japan in the early twenty-first century, and reappeared in America in 2006 on the Water label.

Product Details

Release Date:
04/26/2005
Label:
Water
UPC:
0646315714524
catalogNumber:
145

Related Subjects

Tracks

Album Credits

Performance Credits

John Simon   Primary Artist,Piano,Horn,Vocals,Mandola
Rita Coolidge   Vocals
Leon Russell   Guitar
Marvin Stamm   Trumpet
Grady Tate   Drums
Delaney Bramlett   Tambourine
Rick Danko   Bass,Electric Bass
John Hall   Guitar
Jim Price   Trumpet
June Millington   Bass
Jim Gordon   Drums
Cyrus Faryar   Vocals
Barry Beckett   Organ
Harvey Brooks   Bass
Merry Clayton   Vocals
Gary Coleman   Percussion
Paul Harris   Organ
Roger Hawkins   Drums
Levon Helm   Drums
Eddie Hinton   Guitar
David Hood   Bass
Garth Hudson   Soprano Saxophone
Wells Kelly   Drums
Bobby Keys   Tenor Saxophone
Richard Manuel   Drums
Sherlie Mathews   Vocals
Jean Millington   Bass
Peter Pilafian   Violin
Paul Prestopino   Dobro
Carl Radle   Bass
Bobby Whitlock   Vocals
Paul "Blind Man" Harris   Organ
Alice DeBohr   Drums

Technical Credits

Marlin Greene   Engineer
John Simon   Composer
Roy Cicala   Engineer
Don Hahn   Engineer
Bill Halverson   Engineer
Bob Kovach   Remixing
Tony May   Engineer
Shelly Yakus   Engineer
Lee Hirshberg   Engineer
Pat Thomas   Reissue Producer
Mark Keresman   Liner Notes
Eugene Gregan   Paintings

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