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Sunday, May 06, 2012

Pure Pop For Then People

I've been sent the latest compilation in the Late Night Tales series. It's put together by Tom Findlay from Groove Armada. "Music For Pleasure" is sub-titled "a late night classic 70s collection of:
Blue Eyed Soul
Funk Rock
Disco Rock
and Yacht Rock".

The sleeve note says it aims to "evoke the ghosts of Laurel Canyon for one last rallying cry". Actually most of the selections - Robert Palmer's "Every Kind Of People", Steve Miller's "Fly Like An Eagle", Boz Scaggs "Lowdown", ELO's "Showdown", Todd Rundgren's "Be Nice To Me" and 10cc's "I'm Not In Love" etc - had very little to do with Laurel Canyon, due to their being northern Californian, not Californian at all or not even American.

But the past is whatever the present wants it to be, particularly when it comes to music. What's slightly more puzzling is the genre menu at the top. All of these terms were invented after the event. They were designed to describe the horse once the horse had bolted. At the time these were all great pop records. They were all recorded as things were starting to get a little electronic at the edges and records wanted to sound above all modern. That's why they still sound faintly ethereal and share a sun-blasted vibe. These acts - Michael McDonald, AWB, Hall & Oates and Bread - gloried in modernity every bit as much as Kraftwerk did. It's just they didn't talk about it in interviews. They just wanted hits. In fact Music For Pleasure is a title that doesn't need much qualification.