Tuesday, January 11, 2005


Original Review of RECORDS ARE LIKE LIFE on AMG:

I wrote the review probably two years before I wrote the liner notes; there are soundbites up on the AMG page.

Review also on MP3.com http://www.mp3.com/albums/38837/reviews.html

Written Mon, 7 Apr 2003 04:03:08 -0400 (EDT)


Polydor 24-4015 Stereo, Records Like Life, was produced by Andy Pratt and Aengus for Amphion Productions, Inc. It's an eight song collection clocking in at a little over thirty-nine minutes featuring "Bella Bella", a tune that was part of Andy's live set, and the title track "Records + Records (Records Are Like Life)" . In a June 1976 review of RESOLUTION by
Peter Herbst published in The Boston Phoenix he states "1971's RECORDS ARE LIKE LIFE (Polydor) stirred nary a ripple and is now lost to time (though Pratt has recently regained the masters)" while a July 3 1973 published interview with Ben Gerson notes: "After college came RECORDS ARE LIKE LIFE, the master of which Pratt's shrewd manager Nat Weiss has
purchased from Polydor in order to avoid Polydor's capitalizing on Andy's Columbia success by re-releasing it. Now Pratt, Weiss, and his producer ex-Earth Opera John Nagy can decide what they wish to do with it --re-release it themselves, re-cut some of the songs, or forget about it. " "It may be a masterpiece, it may be swill" " ponders Andy's road manager Buzzy. " "Whatever it is, we own it." " Earlier in the interview Gerson begins the piece by saying "For the past three years Andy Pratt has been an intriguing local rumor, having release in 1970 a Polydor album entitled RECORDS ARE LIKE LIFE whose 5,000 copies soon wound up in the

It was these early articles which put the fan on a mission: this writer had to find this lost artifact. In the days before Ebay and Gemm sites on the web which bring little record stores from around the world into your home via the world wide web one had to sift through hundreds of recordings in dozens of stores before uncovering hidden treasure. And RECORDS ARE LIKE LIFE lives up to expectations - it is a tremendous early work by Andy Pratt adorned with an off-white cover featuring a cherub on a frosty jungle high wire on a mountainside with sun rays
shooting down at a right to left angle. No credit is given to the cover artist, though a David Jenks photo with three musicians starting with a very young Andy Pratt is itself a work of art, the youthful faces peer out from the back cover in single file, but placed perfectly in the square. Drums and percussion by Rick Shlosser, Bill Elliot providing a bass and vocal on "Mindy" as well as a string arrangement on "Low Tide Island" with a Steve Crump guitar on "Bella Bella" Hindsight is always 20/20, and with over thirty years since this work was created and released, it is easy to speculate - the record should have been left in circulation - Polydor "capitalizing" on Andy's Columbia success could only help him build a following - when Sonny And Cher found their 1964 recording "Baby Don't Go" resurrected and going Top 10 just six weeks after their
breakthrough hit, "I Got You Babe" hit #1, it helped make them the hottest of commodities. It would be a year and a half until they hit the Top 10 again - so that early record not only provided them with momentum for concert performances, it has made their Greatest Hit collections so much more fun. And as the Grateful Dead learned through allowing tape
trading, the more material the fans have, the bigger the following. Again, this fan becoming obsessed with finding a copy (he actually found three, two with a cover, one with just an inner sleeve), proves that when the public hears a sound they like, is turned on to an artist who
makes a positive impact in their lives, they want more of his/her work. They want to explore the sound and the individual crafting that sound. This fan also recorded Pratt at Paul's Mall and taped his concert at that venue off of the radio. "Avenging Annie" opened doors for Andy
Pratt, and to this day people remember how amazing its sound was, but how it lent itself so well to radio. "Bella Bella" would have been the perfect follow-up on a production which has the same flavor as the Columbia disc, much more so than the refined Arif Mardin productions
that are RESOLUTION and SHIVER IN THE NIGHT and the Eddy Offord (Yes -
Emerson, Lake and Palmer) gloss of MOTIVES. In another interview from THE REAL PAPER
printed in 1976 around the time of the August 29th free concert on City Hall Plaza in Boston, it is said of the artist in regards to this album that it is something "he now denies nearly categorically." Wow. Times change, and over three decades have elapsed since Andy Pratt
recorded this rare and beautiful gem of a disc. The fan who sought out the pearl of great price had the honor of having his review published on AMG as well as Rolling Stone.com. In that review the disc is called "a lost treasure. This is Pratt at his most innocent, with vocals that sound otherworldly and songwriting that is way ahead of its time." The review also describes Andy as a ( more orthodox) "doppelgänger" of pianist/vocalist Willie "Loco" Alexander
and goes on to describe the songs - citing "Wet Daddy," "a charming guitar/percussion ditty", "Oliver" an indication of where Pratt would take his music: elegant piano, double-tracked vocals, and a unique melody and "Low Tide Island" "a truly extraordinary (and haunting) song with the ttitle track bringing things back to the jazz/pop that is Andy Pratt's forte. The decade after this music was made saw the music business becoming more business than music. With manufactured sound as well as fabricated artists proliferating like snowflakes a work such as RECORDS ARE LIKE LIFE can be viewed for exactly what it is, a pure artistic statement that continues to entertain - and that is more useful than much of the material being forced on the market today. It has stood the test of time. If the Columbia album was the Messiah of Andy Pratt's work, RECORDS ARE LIKE LIFE is its John The Baptist. The references are not made as a nod to Pratt's Christian albums, only to put this collection of songs in its proper context. The Andy Pratt album on Columbia is a major work that has yet to get its due. It is worthy of a Grammy, and RECORDS ARE LIKE LIFE is the work that came directly before it. There is much insight into the artist on this recording. Buzzy Linhart (no relation to Pratt's aforementioned road manager referenced above), co-author of Bette Midler's theme song, "(You Got To Have) Friends" - Top 40 in November of 1973, fell in love with the title of
this album when he heard about it on the phone in April of 2003, when these liner notes were being composed. Both men were flirting with major success in 1973, and both are revered in musical circles. RECORDS ARE LIKE LIFE is one of those artifacts that truly reflects its title - and lives up to its legend.

joe viglione
april, 2003

Original Review of RECORDS ARE LIKE LIFE on AMG:


Liner Notes to THE AGE OF GOODBYE - Evert Wilbrink & Joe Viglione (Corazong)


First time Andy Pratt caught the public's eye was with 'Avenging Annie' his 1973 hit single. The song, set partially to the tune of Woody Guthrie's 'Pretty Boy Floyd', was included on his album 'Andy Pratt' and became a timeless FM classic and Pratt's calling card. He never scored another hit like 'Avenging Annie' (Later recorded by Roger Daltrey finding itself on no less than 6 of Daltrey's albums; Mr. Pratt's version became the B side of Bruce Springsteen's 'Blinded By The Light' on a highly collectible CBS promo disc. Bette Midler phoned Andy personally to discuss possibly recording the tune. Andy next recorded two albums, produced by Arif Mardin, for Atlantic. Each one to critical acclaim and helping to develop his reputation as one of rock music's most unique and meaningful songwriters and artists. Rolling Stone critic Stephen Holden wrote in 1976 'By reviving the dream of rock as an art and then re-inventing it, Pratt has forever changed the face of rock'. That alone could have been the end of a fairy-tale story. However the Big Time appeared to be just around the corner. Pratt and his intermediate label Nemperor, moved to CBS/Epic for the fourth album that contained a lighter, jazzier feel while lyrically sporting Andy's newfound Christianity. On that disc Pratt worked with ELP/Yes engineer Eddy Offord. Andy Pratt returned in 1982 with the mini album 'Fun In The First World' (included in 'The Age Of Goodbye') on Boston's Enzone Records. Produced by Modern Lover Leroy Radcliffe, it is his finest and most compact rock 'n roll work up to that point in time. Pratt's religious overtones hampered some of his earlier work, but here he uses his beliefs and his vision to deliver an exceptional science- fiction epic in the title track. 'Fun In The First World' is a really magnificent and forgotten work that deserves a better fate' (Joe Viglione of AllMusic.com). On the strength of 'Fun In The First World' Andy Pratt got a deal offered from Lamborghini Records in London. The label that also signed Stiff's Joana Lewie, fellow-Bostian Peter C. Johnson and reggae artist Jack Miller, started with great media hype, but unfortunately never got off the ground and thus the Andy Pratt album got shelved. In Europe the Lamborghini recordings (with Rhythm tandem Andy Newmark and Tony Levin) were briefly available on the album 'Not Just For Dancing' on EMI/Aztec Records in Holland and Megadisc in Denmark and are now included in 'The Age Of Goodbye'. This CoraZong album' The Age Of Goodbye' combines the tracks from 'Fun In The First World', the Lamborghini masters of 'Not Just For Dancing' and two songs recorded for EMI/Aztec of the Netherlands. The Lamborghini recordings and the songs of 'Fun In The First World' were mastered from Bob Clearmountain's original Sterling Sound Studio tapes. The two Dutch recordings had to be restored from vinyl. Immediately after the release of "The Age Of Goodbye" on Corazong, about two dozen reel-to-reels were found in two different offices in America. A boxed set of out-takes is being planned for a limited edition "Numbered and signed" release.


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