Monday, February 12, 2007

8-Track Review - "Sandman" by Harry Nilsson in Quadraphonic!

Program 1 - I'll Take A Tango, Something True, J*** C**** You're Tall, The Ivy Covered Walls, Thursday Or, Here's Why I Did Not Go To Work Today
Program 2 - The Flying Saucer Song, How To Write A Song, Pretty Soon There'll Be Nothing Left For Everybody, Will She Miss Me

1976. Even though his voice was recovering from blowing it out (literally) recording the drunken disaster "Pussy Cats" with John Lennon, this year was just about rock bottom for pop wunderkind Harry Nilsson. His (very expensively produced) albums and singles were not charting, and RCA was running out of patience. And what does Harry come out with.."Sandman"! Oops.

I am a very big fan of Nilsson, and have all his albums on more formats than I care to think about. But lets face it, albums like this are not the way to stay in the good graces of your record company, especially when you recently signed a contract where they eat all the production costs. However, 30+ years on, I sure am glad that Harry was not too worried about staying in their good graces.

"I'll Take A Tango" starts the album off in fine style, with Harry proclaiming that "Deep down in my soul I hate rock and roll", continuing with him hanging out with Valentino and Marlin Brando, and wrapping up with on of the most throat tearing screams ever. "Something True" is a nice love song, and is what he should have released as a single. " J*** C**** You're Tall", a very blasphemous, but very funny song cracks me up every time I hear it. Side note..this is the song he introduced the rough cut of on his previous album "Duit On Mon Dei". "The Ivy Covered Walls" and "Thursday Or, Here's Why I Did Not Go To Work Today", are two very forgettable album fillers.

Program 2 opens with "The Flying Saucer Song", which may be the only song ever recorded about two drunks singing and talking about a UFO sighting. The best part about this track is that it gets better every time you listen to it. The same can be said for "How To Write A Song", in which Harry tells you how to do just what the title says. "If you write it on guitar then put the guitar on your knee. If you write it on piano, don't do that!" Maybe the best song on the album. Check for the rhyme for the word "talent". "Pretty Soon There'll Be Nothing Left For Everybody" is Harry singing about overpopulation, ecology, etc. Pretty forgettable. "Will She Miss Me" is the album closer. I have never really warmed to this song.

There are probably five tracks on this album that are keepers. Most people did not think so, and Sandman did not sell. I see sealed copied of the cart often, and based on the sealed copies of the LP that appear on eBay, there was a whole lotta stock left over.

And now the quadraphonic part. RCA spared no expense on their quad releases. Sandman has fantastic separation. And the cool part is that if played on a stereo deck, you can isolate Nilsson's backing vocals on certain tracks. Definitely a quad worth getting.

Keeper? Of course! It's Nilsson! Besides, I have two copies in quad, so let me know if you have a hankering for one. Make it worth my time though!
Number of ka-chunks: Three of four. It's Nilsson! Five out of nine ain't bad!

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