Tuesday, February 17, 2015

The Left Banke - 1968 - The Left Banke Too

The Left Banke
The Left Banke Too

01. Goodbye Holly
02. There's Gonna Be a Storm
03. Sing Little Bird Sing
04. Nice to See You
05. Give the Man a Hand
06. Bryant Hotel
07. Desiree
08. Dark Is the Bark
09. In the Morning Light
10. My Friend Today

Michael Brown (keyboards)
Steve Martin (lead vocals)
George Cameron (vocals, drums)
Tom Finn (vocals, bass)
Tom Feher (guitar)

With Brown unwilling to tour, the band effectively splintered into two factions. Having had the foresight to retain rights to the 'Left Banke' name, Brown promptly recruited vocalist Bert Sommer, returning to the studio to record new material including the single 'Ivy Ivy' b/w 'And Suddenly' (Smash catalog number 2089). The single was immediately greeted by the other band members with threats of a lawsuit. In the meantime, fearing legal ramifications, radio stations simply refused to play any Left Banke material. With the rest of the band terminating their management arrangement with Lookofsky, a brief reconciliation with Brown resulted in the singles 'She May Call You Up Tonight' b/w 'Barterers and Wives' (Smash catalog number 2097) and 'Desiree' b/w 'I've Got Something On My Mind' (Smash catalog number 2119).

With the singles bombing, the reconciliation quickly fell apart.

With Brand and Brown again out of the picture (Brown reappeared at the creative helm of the band Montage, Cameron, Finn and Martin (with uncredited support from keyboard player Emmit Lake and backup singer Steve Talarico (aka Steve Tyler - check out his instantly recognizable shriek on 'Bryant Hotel') returned to the studio releasing 1968's "Left Banke Too". To be honest, the sophomore LP was kind of an orphan, offering up a mixture of previously released singles ('Desiree' and 'Goodbye Holly') and newly recorded material. With Tom Feher and Finn penning most of the new stuff, exemplified by tracks such as 'There's Gonna Be a Storm', 'Dark Is the Bark' and 'In the Morning Light' the sound wasn't a major departure from the debut. A mixture of delicate ballads and pseudo-psych influences, it may not have been as consistent as the debut, but had more than it's share of winning moments. Particularly good was the glistening pop numbers 'Desiree' (their last chart single) and 'Give the Man a Hand'. (Wonder how hard it was to get the trio to wear the period piece costumes shown on the back cover ...)  Smash tapped the album for a couple of instantly obscure singles:

- 1968's 'Goodbye Holly' b/w 'Sing Little Bird Sing' (Smash catalog number 2198)
- 1968's 'Give the Man a Hand' b/w 'Bryant Hotel' (Smash catalog number Smash 2209)
- 1969's 'Nice to See You' b/w 'There's Gonna Be a Storm' (Smash catalog number 2226)

The album failed to sell and within a couple of months the group was dropped from Smash's recording rooster. They struggled on for several months, playing small venues and clubs, before finally calling it quits at the end of the year.

Over the next two years the band tried several comebacks. With Brown and Martin reuniting, the 1969 single 'Myrah' b/w 'Pedestal' (Smash catalog number 2243) went nowhere. Similarly, 1971 saw the reunited original lineup release the single 'Love Songs In the Night' (though it was inexplicably credited as a Martin solo effort). Again the results vanished without a trace; Brown then reappearing as a member of Stories and The Beckies.

1 comment:

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