Before beginning today's post, I wanted to share that I have offered up (at WFMU), an essay I wrote some time ago that I'm very pleased with, about some of the reasons behind my collecting passion. Those interested can find it here.
Today, let's hear it for The Real Pros, that anonymous gathering of song-poem professionals pulled from whoever happened to be available for the sessions that week. And this week's feature actually pairs up two very different sides of the "group". On the A-side, we have that earliest of Cinema/Real Pros sound, the one-man-band with the home studio, play-it-yourself rhythm and chord organ, on a number called "Roses of Love".
The lyrics here strike me as staggeringly unmusical and stupifyingly non-sensensical at times. Is there a way to fit "If I'm only a poet, every poem I compose will be from your name" into a melody, ANY melody, and make it work? Also notice that the statements are "if I'm only a king" and "if I'm only a poet", and not "if I was...", which would be the correct opening, given that the writer is contrasting these things with what he is, which is, wait for it "only me".
And here's where it really falls apart for me, because being 'only him', he is telling his love that the only thing he can offer is something free, which he then identifies as.... Roses? I've bought Roses - I even once worked in a flower store. And I know this: Roses aren't free. And I haven't even gotten to the moment when the singer - who sort of reminds me of Dick Kent, although I don't think that's who it is - starts talking, something that's usually the sign of lyrics that were too clunky to fit to music at all.
Curiously, the flip side, "Broken Hearted" clearly features a different song-poem factory sound, that of the Preview label, specifically the Preview of Rodd Keith. This is a VERY late-era Rodd offering, dated 1973, and as my friend Stu has pointed out, it seems likely that Rodd took some of his Preview backing tracks with him, as he would certainly have been at MSR by this point.
This is Rodd in his C & W guise, with the hick edge to his voice, and certainly the better of the two songs and performances.