Over the past few months, one of my longest standing song-poem pals, who I believe I've been corresponding with for the better part of a decade, has sent me some favorites from his collection. With his permission, I'm going to share a few of these over the next few months, interspersed with many more from my collection. Most of these do not have scans of the labels, but on the other hand, given that they are among his favorites, they are quite excellent and shareable, and I didn't want the lack of label scans to prevent me from letting them be heard here.
Today's example comes from the Preview label, and that charming man-about-Preview, Rodd Keith. For whatever reason, on this side of the record, he is billed as "Fred Hamilton", a name not documented on any other Preview record in the AS/PMA database. Be that as it may, it's certainly Rodd singing, and the fantastic production could hardly have been anyone else.
As heard here, Rodd reminds me of no one so much as late period (i.e. the last two decades) Leonard Cohen. And the otherworldly sounds on this track - the overall wooziness, the plucking guitar, the spacy sounds in the background - this is a keeper which should have been anthologized a long time ago. First rate stuff!
ADDENDUM, 1/30/13: A couple of my closest song-poem pals, including the person who supplied these tracks, have written to say that they don't think this is Rodd singing (see comments). I believe that it is, and have other records of his where his singing sounds much like this, but can see their point that it might be someone else. I'd be interested to hear what others think!
On the flip side is a song credited to "The Downtowners", titled "Among My Memories". That group name usually means Rodd and some of his cohorts, and this is no exception. But this side seems like a missed chance - the chorus at the start is absolutely fabulous, but then he does that damn talky-talk thing that rarely works (on a song-poem or elsewhere). Then nearer the end, they kind of mix up the singing and talking, and that doesn't do it for me, either. Throughout, the backing track holds the promise of what might have been. Obviously, dear listener, your mileage may vary. Here 'tis!