The tune I bring you today is one of those odd points on the line where a pejorative prophecy of sorts is fulfilled.
Those of you that are not deeply into the world of 60s/70s singer-songwriter sounds, or lack a grasp on the Village folk scene of the 60s may not know the name Eric Andersen.
I would however venture a guess that you have heard some of his songs.
Back in the day, when he was one of the many ‘new Dylans’ (the prophecy referred to above) he penned some truly remarkable tunes, including ‘Violets of Dawn’, ‘Thirsty Boots’ and ‘Close the Door Lightly’.
Eric Andersen was a talented singer and writer who also happened to have movie star good looks. Unfortunately, the 1960s was an era packed so tightly with talent and charisma that sometimes even those with all of the right moves didn’t make it all the way to ‘star’.
That Andersen – who has been recording steadily since 1965 – was branded one of the many ‘new Dylans’ (which I referred to as pejorative since the title ended up as an albatross around many necks during the 60s and 70s) isn’t surprising, but his 1968 LP ‘Tin Can Alley’ didn’t do anything to shake it off.
He had already electrified his sound the previous year with ‘’Bout Changes and Things Take 2’ (which was, oddly enough, an electrified re-recording of 1966’s ‘Bout Changes and Things’), but ‘Tin Can Alley’ really pushes into ‘electrified Dylan’ territory.
This is not to say that the album is bad (it’s pretty good) but rather that you look back wishing that some artists had taken the counterintuitive tack and not locked into what seemed like the obvious groove.
‘Honey’, recorded with a who’s who of NY studio heads (including Al Kooper) is a line drive right down the main street of Dylan-town, sounding like a slightly more energetic ‘Highway 61’ outtake.
For something a little more ambitious and interesting, stay tuned for next week’s look at Dave Van Ronk and the Hudson Dusters.
See you then.