Thursday, December 10, 2020

John Hiatt - Hangin' Around The Observatory / Overcoats (1974-75 us, unique sound of a tinge country funky classic rock mixed with sharp lyrics, 2006 remaster)

At 10 songs each, Hiatt’s debut and sophomore solo sets confused the critics with their variegated musical styles and delivery. In retrospect, however, they have an air of foresight about them. The likes of Space and The Divine Comedy would meld similarly disparate elements, providing a rich, if sometimes gloopy, sonic mix, which is by turns captivating and jolting.

The astronomically-titled set mixes countrified piano and slide guitar with honky-tonk, glam-claps and some audacious humming, no less. Hiatt’s dulcet tones are Joe Cocker-esque on the Traffic-like Full Moon, while the upbeat title track throws everything in.

The follow-up saw Hiatt plough further down the Randy-Newman-on-the-rocks path, slurring his way through the likes of One More Time. Saxophone should usually be used in excessive moderation, but not so here. The horn section shines on the porn-vibe I’m Tired Of Your Stuff, while Distance could be Roy Harper in full-blown lucidity. The oddly-named title track is as jolly as you like, and while the critics hated I Killed An Ant With My Guitar, it was a way ahead of its time whistling lounge-yodel. The gospel of Motorboat To Heaven also stands up, there’s much to please.
by Tim Jones 
Hangin' Around The Observatory 1974
1. Maybe Baby Say You Do - 2:37
2. Whistles In My Hears - 3:25
3. Sure As I'm Sittin'Here - 3:19
4. Rose - 3:06
5. Hangin'Around The Observatory - 3:02
6. Full Moon - 5:16
7. Wild Eyed Gypsies - 4:45
8. It's All Right With Me - 3:46
9. Little Blue Song For You - 3:14
10.Ocean - 5:27
Overcoats 1975
11.One More Time - 3:36
12.Smiling In The Rain - 4:16
13.I'm Tired Of Your Stuff - 3:35
14.Distance - 3:32
15.Down Home - 3:08
16.Overcoats - 6:52
17.I Want Your Love Inside Of Me - 3:10
18.I Killed An Ant Witch My Guitar - 3:24
19.Motorboat To Heaven - 5:24
20.The Lady Of The Night - 3:12
All compositions by John Hiatt

*John Hiatt - Acoustic, Electric, Twelve-String Guitar, Percussion, Piano, Vocals
Hangin' Around The Observatory 1974
*Debbie Friedman - Guitar, Vocals
*Marsha Routh - Vocals 
*Pam Clarke - Vocals
*Doug Yankus - Guitar, Vocals 
*Hayward Bishop - Drums, Percussion 
*Shane Keister - Synthesizer, Piano, Hammond B3 
*Ted Reynolds - Bass
*Charles Myers - Drums 
*James Clemmons - Vocals
*James Moon - Vocals 
*Paul Easley - Vocals
Overcoats 1975
*Ted Reynolds - Bass Guitar
*Larrie Londin - Drums
*Shane Keister - Piano, Electric Piano, Moog Synthesizer, Fender Rhodes
*John Huey - Steel Guitar 
*Josh Graves - Dobro 
*Bobby Emmons - Organ
*Gene Estes - Marimba 
*Tracy Nelson, Anita Baugh, Dianne Davidson, Sadie - Background Vocals 
*Samuel Boghossian - Viola 
*Allan Harshman - Viola 
*Jesse Ehrlich - Cello 
*Billy Puett - Clarinet, Flute, Recorder, Soprano Saxophone, Tenor Saxophone
*Norman Ray - Baritone Saxophone
*Irving Kane - Trombone
*George Tidwell - Trumpet, Horn Arrangements