Τρίτη, 30 Ιουνίου 2009

Clover - Unavailable


In 1976, Clover relocated from Mill Valley, California, to London, England, where the group hooked up with managers/record company executives Jake Riviera and Dave Robinson and signed to PolyGram Records, which, in early 1977, released this, their third album. In the UK, the LP appeared on PolyGram's Vertigo label and was called Unavailable; in the US, PolyGram's Mercury label felt that title was a bit uncommercial and opted instead for the generic Clover, which as it happened had already been used for their Fantasy Records debut album in 1970. In any case, it was apparent that Riviera and Robinson felt that they'd hit upon a more authentic, American version of Brinsley Schwartz — country-rock with an edge. In fact, the band was all over the map stylistically. There were two lead singers, the smooth-voiced Alex Call and the gruffer Huey Lewis, and they sounded too different to be in the same band much less on the same song. Multi-instrumentalist John McFee kept introducing touches of steel guitar and violin into what otherwise were rock tracks, while Lewis's harmonica was full of blues. It might have made for an interesting mixture if the result was a distinct musical identity, but either because of the songwriting or the arranging, it wasn't. And while the move across the Atlantic had earned the group a Dew recording contract, it also landed them in an emerging punk-rock scene with which they had nothing in common. "I come so far from San Francisco to walk these streets alone," sang Call, and despite the group's talent, it was easy to see why.

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