Friday, 11 November 2011

Hudson Brothers - Totally Out Of Control (1974)

It was 2002 when I first heard The Hudson Brothers on the now defunct popfortyfive radio, one of the earlier internet radio stations.  I was laying on my bed reading a magazine and So You Are A Star came on. The song distracted me and for a second I thought I was listening to an Imagine outtake.  As the tune continued and I realised it wasn't John Lennon so I figured I better get up and look at the pc to make a note of the track.

I didn't waste any time before getting on ebay & tracking the album down.  £10 was well spent on a British demo copy of Hollywood Situation.  I was the only bidder.  At that point in time, before YouTube & blogs made practically every obscure record ever released available ebay was the only option if you didn't want to wait for your music. I was still on dial-up then so even if it was possible have downloaded the album it probably would've been quicker to arrive in the mail.

Hollywood Situation arrived and impressed me enough (apart from The Adventures of Chucky Margolis, a too long comedy sketch piece, which didn't make it onto the tape version I made for my Walkman) to want to hear everything with the Hudson's name on.
This eventually led to me owning Totally Out of Control...

Bill, Mark & Brett were on top form in 1974 releasing not one but two Beatle-esque pop masterpieces.
After Hollywood Situation (the first of the two releases of 74) the trio enlisted Elton John lyricist Bernie Taupin on production duties and came to England to record the follow up Totally Out of Control.
The LP was released on Elton's Rocket label (which also released lost classics by Stackridge and Blue, future entries of this blog) and is as close to perfect as a pop record has ever got.
The album opens with Long Long Day, a hook laden handclapathon, all pounding piano and power pop guitar. Be A Man wouldn't sound out of place on side 2 of Abbey Road with its tasteful use of Mellotron and Leslie speaker effects.  The Beatles sound is all over this record.  Dolly Day starts off as You Never Give Me Your Money and ends up as Octopuses Garden and If You Really Need Me embellishes Paul McCartney's Ram!  Straight Up and Tall and Lover Come Back to Me are reminiscent of Electric Light Orchestra in particular the Eldorado album also released in 1974. Coincidence?  The albums closing 7 minute medley demonstrates the creativity of the band and shows they weren't short of an idea or ten.

With all of these Beatles references you'd be forgiven for thinking that this may be bordering on parody album but luckily they're not putting on scouse accents but singing with their own voices, which although a little shouty & macho in places, sounds uncannily like Jeff Lynne.

1975 saw the release of Ba-Fa.  Produced again by Taupin, the songs on this LP sound very similar to its predecessor and contains the Hudson’s finest song Spinning the Wheel (With the Girl You Love).  A strong LP, but my least favourite of the Hudson Holy Trinity, still, killer by most other bands standards.  God only knows they found time to do all this and be TV stars at the same time.  They must have been knackered!

The fact that Totally Out of Control or any of the Hudson’s albums for that matter have never been reissued on CD makes me think that a deluxe remaster, reunion tour or a classic album documentary are not in the pipeline.  Shame.  Maybe they are a little embarrassed of some of their lyrics "I'm sick and tired of the LA scene, with all the faggots and drag queens" or "G.O.D. spells God, D.O.G. spells dog".

The Hudson Brothers do Beatle-esque very well and are a good starting point for fans of the post Beatle/pre Power Pop genre.  Check em out.

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