Saturday, January 14, 2006

I Need a Branch Away From Here

I'd come across the name Rab Noakes in connection with two Driftwood favorites, Lindisfarne and Stealers Wheel, so I decided to buy a solo album.

The self-titled Rab Noakes from 1972 seemed a place to start -- if only I'd known that there's a Rab Noakes from 1980 as well. The supposedly all-knowing AllMusic Guide mistakenly conflated the two and the Australian record dealer on eBay sent me this one and not the much cooler-looking (and likely, -sounding) one, which I've yet to acquire.

If you get a lemon, make lemonade, they say. That's clearly an underlying theme here at The Driftwood Singers Present. So even though the production suffers terribly from the brittle synth/sax/conga combo that plagued so many albums of the era -- and even though Dewey says it sounds like the theme song to a TV show -- I've decided that "I Can't Get Enough of You" is a great song. Indeed, if one were so inclined, you could say the Scottish accent and the jaunty pop tempo foreshadow the last Belle & Sebastian album. And when the backup singers come in at the end, I'm pretty much sold, aren't you?

Another tune, "Call It A Day," is also quite nice, a willowy folk number and nicely not screwed up by studio spit-and-shine.

I originally heard Rab on No. 1 in Belgium -- a much better song called "Branch," from the 1974's Red Pump Special. I'm really only posting this as an excuse to relay fourth-rate trivia, which is that "Rabbie" taught Lindisfarne frontman Alan Hull the guitar tuning that led to "Clear White Light," the 1970 fog-soaked psych tune that everyone knows I'm overly obsessed with. (Primarily because I'm experiencing premature mid-life crisis and the song makes me wanna start my own Harmonic Convergence cult on some remote farm in Vermont.)

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