Like so many other record fanatics, I first encountered Emitt Rhodes' solo debut LP for mere peanuts at one of my old record digging spots, which in this case happened to be a rural flea market and the price was probably 25 cents. In the twenty years since, I snatched up every other vinyl artifact from this masterful songwriter (most of which came my way after signing up for ebay in 1999) and have treasured them deeply, never growing tired of their majesty.
While these songs are heard everywhere on LP's and digital compilations, there's something cool about hearing the mono 45 versions that I felt compelled to share. I'm the first to admit that there's a whole lot of wackiness when it comes to the mindset of the completist, there is a certain sductive power of hearing the same familiar songs at 45 RPM that brings to mind an era that I did not live through but feel a deep connection with nonetheless.
While Emitt was only 20 years old when he recorded his solo debut LP, he was already a veteran musician with 7 years professional experience under his belt as both a drummer (The Emerals, The Palace Guard) and guitarist/ forntman (the amazing Merry Go Round). "Fresh As A Daisy", the debut single from the LP, became a minor hit (peaking at number 54) that drove the self-titled LP to become a mild success. The mix heard on the 45 is mono, punchier and has much hotter low end than the LP version. Must have sounded incredible on the AM radio!The opening track from the debut LP, "With My Face On The Floor", was released hot on the heels of "Fresh As A Daisy". As excellent as the song is (I think of it as one of the definitive, explosive album openers that is so good it draws the listener in to the mood of the record immediately), the single failed to make much of an impression on the charts. However, just like the debut, the 45 mix is mono and HOT, and, while it still retains the homemade murkiness of the LP, it is far punchier than the mastering that is heard on the full length release. While that mysterious, murky sound is indeed part of the charm, every copy of the LP I've had has sounded WAY too flat when compared to the 45's.
Lullabye Ending today's set is the one non-LP single that emitt released during his years at ABC Dunhill Records. 'Tame The Lion', a strong anti-Vietnam statement, was not included on his (excellent) second LP, Mirror. While this song has been reissued on a few compilations, here it is taken from an original, mono UK copy.