Sunday, November 09, 2008

by Franco

Eric Andersen - 'Bout Changes & Things Take 2 (1967)

This unusual disc consisted of the exact same songs that Eric Andersen had released on his previous album, the almost identically titled 'Bout Changes and Things, in 1966. The difference was that now the songs were given fuller folk-rock band arrangements (and also presented in a different order). Commercially, this was a hard proposition to pull off; essentially it was giving listeners the option of repurchasing an entire album that they might have already had if they were hip to Andersen. Probably the thinking was that the more modern band backup would expand his pop/rock audience by reaching people who'd never heard Andersen before, but in the end he remained about as much of a cult figure as he was before the plan was hatched. The folk-rock backing grafted onto the songs was mild and tentative, and did not fully develop the material as much as it could or should have. For that reason, most Andersen fans prefer the original, acoustic folk version of Bout Changes and Things. Which isn't to say that Bout Changes and Things Take 2 is bad; if these were the only versions of the tunes in circulation, they'd still hold up for the most part. The early Andersen favorites "Violets of Dawn," "Close the Door Lightly," and "Thirsty Boots" are all here, and sometimes the production has a decent early New York Dylanesque folk-rock vibe, as on "The Hustler" and "The Girl I Love." ~ Richie Unterberger, All Music Guide

Eric Andersen - More Hits From Tin Can Alley (1968)

On his second album with rock instrumentation (following 'Bout Changes & Things, Take 2, his electrified remake of 'Bout Changes & Things), Andersen was growing more comfortable with a folk-rock setting. Lingering comparisons as a gentler Bob Dylan remained inevitable, though, on tracks like "Tin Can Alley Part 1" and "Tin Can Alley Part 2" (which open and close the record, respectively) in both the vocal phrasing and the anxious strings of odd imagery. Similarities, alas, didn't end there. Several New York sessionmen that played on early folk-rock albums by Dylan and others filled out the sound, including Al Kooper, Bobby Gregg, Herb Lovelle, Paul Harris, and Paul Griffin, and "Honey" doesn't sound too far off the Highway 61 Revisited route, though the song isn't great. There was also some period Baroque folk production -- flowery vibes, peppy horns, light dramatic orchestration, and the like -- that add some color and dimension, but also make it dated. Andersen sounded best on his more tuneful and pensive ballads, like "Miss Lonely Are You Blue" and "Just a Little Something"; the more sardonic and lyrically vague outings just don't seem as in tune with his strengths and artistic personality. There are touches of bluesy vaudevillian honky tonk ("Mary Sunshine," "Hello Sun") and good-time pop (also on "Mary Sunshine," interestingly enough). Other tracks, like the lengthy "Rollin' Home (It's a Far Cry From Heaven but a Short Cry From Home)" and "Broken-Hearted Mama," sound rather like the Blues Project's folk-rock ventures. Ultimately it's a respectable but erratic album. ~ Richie Unterberger, All Music Guide


Blogger Jeffro said...

Thanks for posting Bout Changes Take 2!!! I have been looking for this one online forever, nevermind on CD -- the rare Akarma release is long out of print and exceedingly hard to find/expensive when ya do.

If you ask me, this is one of the great early folk-rock album, and the performances are way better than the solo-acoustic versions on the first Bout Changes album. So glad to have a digital version of this! Thanks!

12 November, 2008 11:42  

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