by David


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The sole album from six-man-and-a-woman Canadian band David is one of those wonderful, flawed surprises from the era, an overreaching blend of orchestral, soft pop with light psychedelic and soul touches that doesn't quite come together, but is full of exquisite music nonetheless. The intraband songwriting, the majority of it by Ted Grimes, is a mixed lot of varying caliber, but the finest songs -- and those make up at least half the album -- are truly stellar. The two Francis Webster contributions are highlights. "Never Been in Love" is a moody, psych-tinged folk-rock beauty, gorgeously produced and featuring stunning, ethereal harmonies that descend into quasi-medieval gothic chants and are goose pimple-inducing when they mix with the track's prominent trumpet. His "Cup of Tea" is a romantic, country-picked tin pan alley tune that sounds not unlike Paul McCartney's most sentimental, show tuney acoustic efforts. David never outright falters, but their writing does at times lapse into prosaic melodies, as on "Lovely Lady," a ballad as faceless as its title. At other times the results are merely quaint ("Flight of the Egyptian Army," a fine "Peter Gunn"-style instrumental that, nevertheless, is not nearly as esoteric as the title implies) or, on one occasion, simply embarrassing. "Because I'm Black," while musically a lovely piece of swaying pop
ock, bites off more than it can digest lyrically. It is admirable as social commentary, but the premise -- a black child confusedly questioning the racist mentality -- is ridiculous coming from a lily-white septet. Then again, it's not quite as ridiculous as it first seems. One of the most fascinating traits of the album is the completeness with which horns are incorporated into the arrangements on songs like the whimsical "Little Boys" and the sensational "Descension," a trippy slice of psychedelically inclined pop that brings to mind both the Vejtables and Left Banke, and pre-dates the sound of Chicago by more than a year. Other rock combos like Blood, Sweat & Tears and Love were experimenting with horns at around the same time, and even beforehand, but brass actually comprised an essential part of David's repertoire, somewhat novel for 1968. The primary inspiration seems to have come from American soul music, especially if the last two songs on the album are any indicators. The loopy "Alvin J. Ashtray," with its deep-groove bassline and a fine lead vocal from Deborah Kelly, and the sweet duet "Take My Hand" actually predict, convincingly, the funky urban soul of the early '70s -- a shock considering the source and recording date. Even if a few of the album's more precious moments haven't aged so well, David is more than a mere footnote to the late-'60s scene. It is an unjustly forgotten bridge between the harmony-based pop of that decade and the gritty city soul to come.

Product Details

Release Date: 02/13/2001
Label: Gear Fab Records
UPC: 0645270016322
catalogNumber: 163
Rank: 243402

Album Credits

Performance Credits

David   Primary Artist
Ray Lawrence   Recorder
John Webster   Guitar,Trumpet,Vocals
Bill Szekeres   Bass,Vocals
Ted Grimes   Piano,Trumpet,Electric Piano,Vocals
Cliff Snyder   Organ,Piano,Trombone
Tony Lecaillon   Percussion,Drums
Deborah Kelly   Vocals

Technical Credits

David Lawrence   Producer
Ray Lawrence   Producer,Engineer
Public Domain   Composer
Roger Maglio   Liner Notes
David   Producer
Ted Grimes   Arranger
Tony Lecaillon   Arranger
David & Ray Lawrence   Producer
Ray Lawrence   Engineer

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