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Emitt Rhodes


Matthew C. Clark

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An overlooked mega-talent. Should have been a superstar. Great songs. Top voice. Multi instrumentalist and a first rate producer in an era when it was no easy task to accomplish the FULL/RICH sounds that he released.

What happened to Emitt was and IS a crime. He should be a household name...his songs on everybody's lips. [or at least well established in their memory banks]

And that company went spinning down the toilet. No wonder. That they took talented people with them is a sin. [MCA which ultimately cherry picked the ABC/Dunhill roster obviously not much brighter...but then exactly which record company was/is?]

Pirates.

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That "next Paul McCartney" label ruined Rhodes for me. I listened. didn't hear it, and moved on. But his story is a very sad one. How many stories have we heard like this? Hundreds? Thousands? it's just one more reason why the demise of record companies is something worth celebrating. Especially for artists.

Bernie

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You know Bernie...at THAT time...over the course of releasing his first 2 or 3 lps...I thought that he outdistanced McCartney. He certainly outdid him in the studio...regardless of whether the music struck you [personally] or not.

For me there was an energy and sincerity to it that gave it more creedence. Although neither of them could usually hit the mark with every single song per lp...their ratios were higher than most and certainly outdistance all but a handful over the long haul. [and even if McCartney was 'considered' better than Emitt at THAT point...as I suspect that others might feel that too...the fact of the matter IS...not VERY many who 'made' it were better than Emitt Rhodes. The guy was 'enslaved', robbed and had his most promising career 'murdered' as it was heading toward its glorious prime. As a result...we were robbed too...especially the legions who missed out on hearing his music]

Rhodes has just never received his due...primarily because of bad luck...not to mention the lost fortune.

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A sad story, indeed. Emitt was a very talented singer/songwriter; his self-titled record from 1970 was particularly great, as was a lesser-known, cobbled together collection titled "The American Dream," released by his former label, A & M, at around the same time the S/T album came out. (Try listening to "Someone Died" and see if it doesn't get to you...)

The good news is that an Emitt Rhodes tribute record is in the works, and from what I've heard about it, it should be a goodie...stay tuned...

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As big a Beatles fan as I am, I enjoyed Emitt's self-titled solo album more than I did McCartney's first solo album. I felt the McCartney album had too much "filler", where as Rhodes' had complete tunes all the way through. Another one of those records where I liked every single tune on it.

Popdude, who's doing the Rhodes tribute?

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I've always wondered why so many people who love the music I love also love Emitt Rhodes. I sampled him a few times and never 'got it.' Well…I just got off the phone with Ken Sharp who politely let me know that I may have been listening to the wrong Emitt Rhodes albums. He has instructed me on what particular discs are essential and I will get back to you after having heard same.

:-)

Bernie

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I must say that I like the compilation of Emmitt's stuff that was put together for me by Mike, but in refernce to Ken's quote "listening to the wrong Emitt Rhodes albums", I always wonder about an artist who has SOME great music and OTHER not-so-great music. Which one was an aberration: the SOME or the OTHER?

Marv

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I've always wondered why so many people who love the music I love also love Emitt Rhodes. I sampled him a few times and never 'got it.' Well…I just got off the phone with Ken Sharp who politely let me know that I may have been listening to the wrong Emitt Rhodes albums. He has instructed me on what particular discs are essential and I will get back to you after having heard same.

:-)

Bernie

Which were the ones you were listening to?

In my opinion, "The American Dream" and the S/T record are essential - after that, it's very hit and miss. "Mirror" has some good stuff and some not-as-good stuff, and "Farewell to Paradise" is even spottier.

Some of Rhodes' Merry-Go-Round stuff is great, also, beginning with "Live" (which The Bangles later covered) and the stunning ballad "You're a Very Lovely Woman." Some of their coolest stuff, though, is not on their lone album: "She Laughed Loud" and "Listen, Listen" are two great, lost pop gems of the late '60s.

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Marv...after your record company ties you to the grist-mill...beats you like a horse...sues you...and leaves you destitute...it impacts on your creativity and desire to keep on tryin'...I'm guessin'.

The guy was on fire. They put THAT out.........

Must be something about talent, record companies and being from Hawthorne CA.

It's exceedingly easier to really like songs that you already know...songs that have been with you for years...songs that bring back memories...songs that are part of your own personal LIFE soundtrack. ABC Dunhill, through their short-sighted stupidity, robbed Emitt Rhodes of the chance to do that...to be that...and much MUCH more...for the general population. We are all the poorer for it.

This was a GREAT introductory cd... http://www.amazon.com/Daisy-Fresh-Hawtho...TF8&s=music ...looks like you have to pay big bucks for it now.

Not gonna get into a Rhodes vs. McCartney thing. They're both good. And it's unfair. Just cause some TWIT in Rolling Stone magazine compared Springsteen to Dylan [exceedingly ignorant thing to do...and an unfair weight to wrap around a young man's neck] didn't stop Bruce from finally rising above that 'twiticism'. Emitt never really got THAT chance.

I suggest he be judged on his own merit...and remember the time frame. Late 60s/early 70s. And he virtually did it ALL on his own.

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I suggest he be judged on his own merit...and remember the time frame. Late 60s/early 70s. And he virtually did it ALL on his own.

Rhodes was a true pioneer in the DIY pop movement...played/sang it all himself in his ggarage studio, and the S/T record was engineered by Keith Olsen, who went on to work with Fleetwood Mac, among others....
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I was playing Emitt’s self-titled CD a few weeks ago, and for the hundredth time thought to myself how McCartneyish/Carmenish it sounded. When Bernie mentioned the fact that he didn’t much care for ER on a previous thread, I remember thinking to myself “What am I not hearing here?†because I just couldn’t believe that if someone like Eric that they wouldn’t like Emitt, especially the self titled effort.

That being said, a very sad article. But I’m glad to read how many people on this forum enjoyed his music.

Here is a very lucky-for-me-to-find link to the Merry-Go-Round on YouTube-

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IgmioAfzhXE

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My wife and I like the self-titled album enough that is was the only cd we played on a 10 hour trip to Chicago a few years back. I love everything about that album, especially the fact that he played every instrument/sang all the parts on it. That was the "big" thing about McCartney's first album too, but I really feel that Emitt's was the better of the two.

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Another one of my favorite Merry-Go-Round songs was titled "Time Will Show the Wiser". I understand it was also covered by Fairport Convention. Very good lyrics; the MGR effort was very British sounding.

Here is a link to the photographers website who shot Emitt for the "Happy, Happy, Joy, Joy" article-

http://www.msgphoto.com/music1/emittrhodes.html

From the "beautiful" young man on the YouTube Hollywood Palace video to this; the poster boy for how stress can age you.

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To be compared to Paul McCartney and still be in a situation where you are at the very least holding your own says MUCH about Emitt's talent Bernie. That it was hidden from public consumption and subsequently lost ALMOST from the first lap or two of the marathon is the shame.

If even only 4 out 10 appreciate it...that is a VERY high ratio...as the BIGGEST stars are hard pressed to appeal to 5.

One thing you can say about Rhodes' recordings...his musicianship is first rate on ALL of the instruments and his lps [given the era] were never underproduced. [not mentioning any names here.]

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IMO, comparing Emmitt Rhodes to McCartney is as pointless as comparing Klaatu to The Beatles. Different thing! Sure, Rhodes sorta looked like Macca, sorta sang a little like him, but he was an original talent. His songs were straight from the heart, shot through with solid playing, singing and home-spun production. Nothing flashy. Just good, direct, touching pop music.

Such a sobering experience to read about how despondent he is. And note that this story was from 2004. I wonder if anything's changed since then for him? He did collaborate with Philly musician Jim Boggia on the latter's recent CD "Safe in Sound."

--Howard

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