OK, Sparks.....hadn't really even thier goofy early 1970's albums in a while, for some reason the song
"Whippings and Apologies" popped into my cranium the other day......the band began in California, formed by the Mael brothers, keyboardist Ron and vocalist Russ. The "classic" lineup included a set of brothers the Mankeys, guitarist Jim and bassist Earle, and ace drummer Harley Feinstein......the band was around forever, probably still are in some form or another (the Mael brothers have carried on with many varying lineups, trying thier hands at various forms of music.....I lost track of them/lost interest in them fairly early on, we can observe the handful of their early albums that I DO have, post 1975 or so, you are on your own.
The debut ("Sparks") is a little slow, it features a couple of decent numbers highlighted by Ron's strange keyboard playing, Russ' frankly annoying vocals, and some often moderately interesting, artistic lyrics ("Wonder Girl", "Biology 2")......nothing really great. However, the followup, "A Woofer In Tweeter's Clothing" is not without its merits.....the crackling "Whippings and Apologies", the bizarre "Beaver O'Lindy", the much MORE bizarre "Here Comes Bob"......not a bad album, worth listen or two, this stuff does wear thin QUICKLY though.
Along with "Woofer", their peak was reached with "Kimono My House", another collection of falsetto vocals, crackling drum breaks, and of course, plenty of admittedly clever lyrics ("Amatuer Hour", "Barbcutie".......the last of their albums that I own is 1975's "Propoganda", by which time, in my estimation, this ship had LONG sailed. Again, more "clever" than actually"lisenable", with an occasional good one ("Never Turn Your Back On Mother Earth")
And that, from here, is THAT.....from looking them up, it would appear they have released probably 20-30 more albums, and I assume they must have a hard core fan base SOMEWHERE in order to hang around so long, but, honstly, I think I'll pass, myself.
"Woofer" and "Kimono" enough interesting material on them to make them worth a
listen....."Whippings and Apolgies" and "Beaver O'Lindy" are both still capable of rocking the house on occasion.
I remember once the "Rolling Stone Record Guide" evaluated the albums and ended the review with the statement "docked one star per album for being somewhat responsible for Queen". Couldn't possible have put it any better.
SPARKS-01 Wonder Girl/02 Fa La Fa Lee/03 Roger/04 High C/05 Fletcher Honorama/06 Simple Ballet/07 Slowboat/08 Biology 2/09 Saccharin and the War/10 Big Bands/11 (No More)Mr Nice Guys
A WOOFER IN TWEETER'S CLOTHING-01 Girl From Germany/02 Beaver O'Lindy/03 Nothing Is Sacred/04 Here Comes Bob/05 Moon Over Kentucky/06 Do Re Mi/07 Angus Desire/08 Underground/09 The Louvre/10 Batteries Not Included/11 Whippings and Apologies
PROPOGANDA-01 Propoganda/02 At Home At Work At Play/03 Renforcements/04 BC/05 Thanks But No Thanks/06 Don't Leave Me Alone With Her/07 Never Turn Your Back on Mother Earth/08 Something For the Girl With Everything/09 Achoo/10 Who Don't Like Kids/11 Bon Voyage/12 Alabamy Right/13 Marry Me
Pretty much forgotten stuff, at least in my circles.......hopefully bring a smile or two to your face (seriously, "Woofer" IS a decent, if hard to take, album.....if you followed these dudes after 1975 or so, I am curious, why? Did they do anything good? Give me a full report!