The Holy Mackerel
Paul Williams 2nd from left (as if you didn’t know…)
Listen – Love For Everyone – MP3
I hope everyone is well, and digging the new Funky16Corners Radio mix.
If you -like me – are in the Northeast US, I also hope you’re staying cool. I work late on Mondays, and on my way home tonight it was still 86 degrees. JEEBUS!
Today’s selection is a bit of Sunshine Pop from the early years of a very talented cat, who, if you are less than 35 years old, may be unknown to you. That man is Paul Williams.
Now, if you’re my age (44…cough, cough…) Williams was all over the place during your childhood, as a singer, songwriter and actor. An unforgettable physical presence – he was the very essence of elfin – Williams was all over the pop culture landscape, but was first and foremost a songwriter. He co-wrote (with Roger Nichols) ‘We’ve Only Just Begun’, and on his own penned ‘Fill Your Heart’ (recorded first by Tiny Tim, and later by David Bowie) as well as ‘Just an Old Fashioned Love Song’ for Three Dog Night, and…wait for it….here it comes….’Evergreen’ for Barbra Streisand.
Williams early years are less well known, but musically well worth checking out. He had been signed to (and dropped from) a composers contract with White Whale records. In the wake of that misadventure, he formed a band (which included his brother) called the Holy Mackerel.
The Holy Mackerel recorded one full length album in 1968 for A&M, which is a lost gem of late-60’s, LA-based pop. Their eponymous LP – which is available as a reissue – was a great mix of pure pop, psychedelia, and Laurel Canyon hippie country.
Not long after I picked up the reissue (and kept it in heavy rotation for a while) I managed score an OG copy of the LP, and soon after that the 1969 non-LP 45 that included ‘Love For Everyone’. The mixture I described above is distilled perfectly in this tune, which includes twangy guitar, rich harmonies and even a touch of psyched-out whimsy in leading into the chorus.
Oddly enough when the Lp was reissued they omitted this excellent tune, so here you have it.
If you dig the vibe herein (late 60’s pop/soft rock in general) I highly recommend Williams 1971 LP ‘Someday Man’ (also in reissue) which includes a number of excellent songs, but especially his own version of ‘Trust’, which had previously been recorded by the Peppermint Trolley Company, and Roger Nichols and a Small Circle of Friends (Nichols co-wrote every song on ‘Someday Man’).
PS I haven’t really gotten together a backlog of material for inclusion at Iron Leg yet, thus the absence of a label scan. When I carve out a little work time, I’ll stockpile some stuff for future use, and get a scan for this one posted. – L