Friday, March 28, 2014

The Free Box Tapes #5: Joe Farrell and Randy Brecker, "Together," except actually not

Since the fifth Free Box Tape was a bona fide commercially packaged cassette tape, I didn't expect to have to do any, like, investigating.  

From the cover, you'd have to think that this was the album Together, by Joe Farrell and Randy Brecker. 

But it ain't.  I wouldn't have noticed a thing, actually, if I hadn't been planning to write that the album features funk and disco sounds that were only used for a few years in the mid-1970s, but then decided to check for a copyright date to hedge my bet.

Copyright 1985?!?  There was no guitarist alive that would have used the um-chakka-um sound in 1985.  So I looked the record up in the massive database, and found that, well, it didn't exist.  That was weird.  I put in a few of the song names, and I kept getting results for somebody named Michael Longo.  That was weird, too.  

Then I looked at those liner notes.  There are five musicians listed on the cover, but a sixth -- Michael Longo -- is listed under "personnel" (we say "human resources" these days).  And then notice the song credits: M. Longo wrote all six of them.  A few more clicks confirmed it: what we have here is the 1975 Michael Longo Album 900 Shares of the Blues, doing business under not just a different title, but as the work of other artists.  There's a boring story in there, somewhere.

"Joe Farrell/Randy Brecker: Together (1985)," which is actually Michael Longo: 900 Shares of the Blues (1975)

Sixty-Four Words: Because it features funk and disco sounds that were used widely for a few years in the mid-1970s and thereafter scrupulously avoided, you instantly recognize this album’s context. It shouldn’t matter, but it does. The music conspicuously aims at being jazz with a contemporary feel, but the moment has passed. Perhaps unfairly, it is hard not to see the music as past its sell-date.

Disposition: Unraveling the weird misattribution of this tape's packaging has somehow made me kind of fond of it. It shouldn't matter, but it does. I'll hang on to it, for now.

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