It's been a while, but to make up for the delay I'm posting 2 albums, both by Len Chandler and both released in 1967. They're also the only 2 albums he released under his own name. To Be a Man is my own recording but I have to thank blog reader Markus (for forwarding the other album to me) and his friend Steve for recording it.
Of these 2 albums, To Be a Man, is the first and (to my ears) weaker of the two. It's a more traditional folk album, featuring him and his guitar, but is perhaps too traditional, and while I don't believe he cops any of the riffs here it does sound like a lot of other records you may have heard before. Chandler's faults as a perfomer are also more glaring--his vocals are often too formal and I, for one, wish he would loosen up a little (as he does sometimes on the other release). His guitar playing is fine but not exceptional, and his songs are also a bit generic at times. He's at his best here on bluesy, uptempo numbers like "Feet First Baby" (about an ornery natural-born fighter) and on the satirical "Hide Your Heart, Little Hippie.вЂ� When he tries to be poetic he meanders and the results are kind of confusing (as on вЂњShadow Dream Chaser Of RainbowsвЂ� which goes from images of вЂњmoths deep inside [him]вЂ� and the вЂњfires [he's] been drawn to, to learnвЂ� to people following rainbows for an imaginary pot of gold, which really isnвЂ™t as valuable as a shadow because soulless people have no shadows, or something to that effect.
On The LovinвЂ™ People, he has the benefit of a good backing band consisting of Pretty Purdie on drums, Artie Butler on organ & piano, and Joe Mack and Bill Salter on bass. The band, who play both loose and funky without ever sounding sloppy, helped produce a more laid back vibe and Chandler sounds more relaxed than he did on the earlier album. He has some better songs on this one, too, such as the title cut warm, poppy number about...well, вЂњLovinвЂ™ People,вЂ� on which the presence of a chorus (made up on the spot of people who had gathered to provide assistance to a mothersвЂ™ help organization) also helps temper ChandlerвЂ™s unfortunate tendency towards over-earnestness. вЂњThe Naked FoolвЂ� is about a relationship gone bad, which doesnвЂ™t have anything new to say but will have a few toes tapping. вЂњSold Out, No More ReservationsвЂ� is an interesting number about a male groupie, and вЂњBound to FlyвЂ� has a nice soaring quality, and ChandlerвЂ™s lyrics and delivery mesh well on it. If anything the problem here is that Chandler is sometimes eclipsed by his backing bandвЂ”check вЂњBehind Your EyesвЂ� where the band goes off on some nice free jazz-psychedelic tangents while Chandler seems to be trying to channel Sammy Davis, Jr.
Here's the tracklist for To Be a Man
- To Be A Man
- Feet First Baby
- Nancy Rose
- Missionary Stew #2
- Keep On Keepin' On
- Shadow Dream Chaser Of Rainbows
- Hide Your Heart, Little Hippie
- Roll, Turn, Spin
- Time Of The Tiger
- Takin' Me Away From You Train
- Quittin' Time
And here's the list for Lovin' People
- Bound to Fly
- The Naked Fool
- The Lovin' People
- The Warmth of You Beside Me
- And Still I Dream
- Behind Your Eyes
- Touch Talk
- Sold Out, No More Reservations
- I Couldn't Keep From Carin' After All
- The Language of Love
To Be a Man was transferred from a mono copy of the album and the Lovin' People (apparently) from a stereo copy (at least the MP3s are encoded in stereo). The first album is encoded at VBR-extreme and the 2nd at 192k, and I've made available as one DL from either r-share or . I hope you'll enjoy them.
There was a problem with the file for "Feet First Baby"--but I reposted it with the corrected file--you can also grab the corrected version of the song here.