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Archive for June 8th, 2012

Reviews: Three From Real Gone – Mick Fleetwood’s Zoo, Jerry Reed and Durocs

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Real Gone Music has become known for its wide-ranging and eclectic releases, and today we’re looking at three of the most recent, from the countrypolitan stylings of Jerry Reed to the rock animals of Mick Fleetwood’s Zoo and the pure pop of The Dūrocs!

Dūrocs, Dūrocs (Real Gone Music RGM-0058, 2012)

Are you ready to hear one of the best albums you’ve never heard?  Then head straight to the pig pen for the first-ever CD release of Dūrocs.  Primarily written and produced by the team of Ron Nagle and Scott Mathews, fun is the order of the day on this 1979 pure pop gem.  Co-produced by Neil Young associate Elliot Mazer, Dūrocs blends tongue-in-cheek humor with a flair for melodic pop songcraft that will appeal to any fan of The Beach Boys, The Beatles or Phil Spector’s Wall of Sound.  The album could come with a warning: These songs will get stuck in your head!

Ron Nagle and Scott Mathews found gainful employment as songwriters in the 1970, successfully placing songs with artists ranging from The Tubes to Barbra Streisand.  When the duo set their sights on recording as a band, it was so named for “a breed of pig known for its intelligence and large testicles.”  (Seriously.)  Nagle calls his take on the Philles sound his “Wall of Mud,” and it’s in evidence on the album’s blast of an opener, the tongue-in-cheek “Hog Wild.” But there’s nothing sludgy on this goofily charming rock anthem: “We got the Dūroc stance/But we don’t stand a chance if we do it only half-hearted…hog wild!”)  An authentic Wrecking Crew legend, Steve Douglas, adds his trademark honking saxophone alongside, um, squealing backing vocals!

Douglas’ saxophone adorned many Beach Boys songs, so why not the very Beach Boys-influenced “We Go Good Together,” then?  The catchy, humorous list song with a tropical vibe has a lyric so eccentric that even Brian Wilson would likely have approved: ““We’re just like ham and cheese/Birds and trees/Shoes and socks…”   There’s even a New Wave sheen to “True Love,” which also recalls the best of Todd Rundgren.

The surprisingly earnest ballad “Don’t Let the Dream Die” features yearning Beatle-esque songcraft with ringing guitars and pedal steel played by Mathews (“We’ll never have to worry anymore/Goin’ round in circles/Chasing rainbows ‘til I think I’m gonna drop/Then a little voice inside me says that/Good things never come from giving up”), and “One Day at a Time” is another look at the softer side of Nagle and Mathews’ ouevre.  The raucous, scathing “Seeker (You Be Sucker)” is at the opposite end of the spectrum, turning its lyrical ire towards quasi-spiritual truth-seekers.  It, too, is tempered by a Douglas sax solo!  “Saving It All Up for Larry” is similarly dark; Gene Sculatti’s liner notes reveal that the song “evolved from a true story involving a reluctant miss, her absentee boyfriend and a zealous, deliciously overconfident stalker.”  The lone cover is a choice one: the irresistible “It Hurts to Be in Love,” a hit for Gene Pitney penned by Howard Greenfield and Helen Miller.

The length of the album has been almost doubled, with eight bonus tracks added to the original ten.  The otherwise-copious notes by Gene Sculatti don’t go into much detail about the origin of these tracks, but they’re copyrighted with a 1985 date, and that date sounds about right.  These “bone-us tracks” demonstrate the same melodic facility and fun sensibility as the original album, with a bit more of a “big ‘80s” sound. Highlights include the wryly-titled “Pete Has Got the Power” and the honky-tonk country homage “Drinkin’ One Day at a Time,” with a suitably exaggerated, pathos-filled lyric.  In a rather unexpected cameo, you’ll hear Ernie K-Doe (“Mother-in-Law”) on the most peculiar “Nawgahide.”  As a whole, they’re not as strong a set of songs as the original album, but they round out one of the most purely enjoyable reissues to have emerged of late.  If you prefer your pop with a sixties sensibility and a seventies/power-pop sound, you won’t want to miss Dūrocs.

We check out Jerry Reed and Mick Fleetwood’s Zoo after the jump! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

June 8, 2012 at 11:39