Sunday, March 31, 2024

rep> Joe E. Covington - Fat Fandango (1973 us, fine melt of roots 'n' roll, psych, glam rock)

If you recognize the name Joe E. Covington at all, chances are that it’s a result of his late inning association with The Jefferson Airplane – he replaced Spencer Dryden in 1971, or for his work with The Airplane spin off Hot Tuna.  Though he only played on one Airplane album (19721’s “Bark”), that connection was enough to line up financing for his 1973 album debut – “Joe E. Covington’s Fat Fandango” on The Airplane’s RCA Victor affiliated Grunt label.  

Ironically Covington’s solo debut actually stretched back to 1967 when he released a one-shot single for the small Original Sound label – an early cover of The Who’s ‘Boris the Spider’ b/w ‘I’ll Do Better Next Time’ (Original Sound catalog OS-74). He’d also been a member of the Pittsburgh-based The Fenwicks and after quitting The Airplane  joined Peter Kaukonen’s Black Kangaroo.

While his attempts to sing in tune were only marginally successful, given the LP’s low-key charm, that problematic characteristic kind of faded into the background … c’mon, The Clash couldn’t sing to save their lives.  Calling the album eclectic was an understatement.  Apparently intent on showcasing his diversity, the album bounced all over the musical spectrum, including semi-competent stabs as soul (‘Your Heart Is My Heart’ and ‘Miss Universe’), 1950s rock (‘Moonbeam’), conventional rock (‘Hideout (A Crook’s Best Friend’), and even pseudo-psych (the trippy ‘Mama Neptune’ and the extended closer ‘Vapor Lady’). 

Luckily a strong and enthusiastic backing band in the form of keyboardist ‘Senator’ Patrick Craig, guitarist Stevie Midnight, and bassist Jack Prendergast kept things moving in the right direction.  The two previously mentioned soul-ish numbers were particularly good!  Slap them on some type of soul compilation and I’ll guarantee most folks would never be able to guess who the performer was.  The other standout track was the most commercial number – ‘Hideout (A Crook’s Best Friend)’ which went from straight ahead rock to a surprisingly engaging funk workout.  
1. Your Heart Is My Heart (Joe E. Covington, Jack Prendergast, Senator Patrick Craig, Mack) - 3:41
2. Country Girl - 3:27
3. Moonbeam - 3:47
4. Mama Neptune - 7:16
5. Miss Unaverse - 5:25
6. Hideout (A Crook's Best Friend) - 4:12
7. Vapor Lady - 8:08
All songs written by Joe E. Convington except track #1.

*Joe E. Covington - Vocals, Drums
*Senator Patrick Craig - Keyboards
*Stevie Midnite - Guitar
*Jack Prendergast - Bass

Related Acts
1968-69  Racket Squad - Racket Squad / Corners Of Your Mind
1972  Peter Kaukonen - Black Kangaroo (2007 bonus tracks edition)

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