Thursday, September 07, 2006

Gallagher and Lyle "Willie And The Lapdog" (UK Folk 1973)

Too often dismissed as wimpy, middle-of-the-road lightweights, Benny Gallagher and Graham Lyle are in actuality class A songwriters and performers; their recorded legacy, distinguished by classy, hook-filled numbers, is merely the cap on a career that also includes a stint in McGuinness Flint, during which they wrote two of the greatest folk-and-country-tinged songs in pop history, "When I'm Dead and Gone" and "Malt and Barley Blues," and scribed for Mary Hopkin (her version of the terrific "International" is classic and superb).

Gallagher and Lyle may be better known by some more for covers of their material than for the original versions of their songs, such as "A Heart in New York," one of Art Garfunkel's best solo recordings. Amazingly, the duo charted only twice in America, landing at number 49 and 67, respectively, on the Billboard pop singles chart with "I Wanna Stay With You" and "Heart on My Sleeve." Hardly a brush with chart longevity, and hardly fair considering the high quality of the music.

Willie and the Lapdog, Gallagher and Lyle's second album, is the fruit of a more folk-influenced duo, and therefore quieter and possibly more at peace with the world around it. Produced with great care by ex-Beatles engineer Glyn Johns, and with appearances by Pete Townshend on Bass Harmonica, and one of McGuinness Flint's namesakes, Hughie Flint, on drums, Willie has a homey feel, as if it is being played to an small audience gathered around a campfire on a warm summer's night. The instrumentation is appropriately sparse, and the songs, which come together to tell a heartfelt story, are imaginatively written and performed. The duo's singing is tremendous throughout.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

This duo were the heart & soul of McGuiness Flint,,, this record very much in the same vein as McGF's 1st LP (no wonder, G&L wrote 90% of it). Anyway, fans of those 1st two McGF LPs will need to pick up here what was left off after these two departed. Thanks.


08 September, 2006 09:17  
Blogger joe said...

I have a vinyl rip of the very rare G&L first album (unreleased on CD) which I'd be happy to let you have for public sharing. Just let me know how.

31 October, 2009 02:10  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love scrolling through this site seeing the musical links between artists and being reminded of albums and tracks I had long forgotten. This album is one of those however I can't see any link to download it. Has it now gone, was it never available or am I missing the obvious? Clarification would be welcomed as would a general post advising how we can contribute our own albums from this period and genre that are not already listed. In anticipation....

many thanks,


10 January, 2010 13:49  
Blogger joe said...

I'm in the same boat, Anonymous. I have a rare G&L album, but I don't know how to upload it. Joe

11 February, 2010 06:42  

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