The late Nineteen Sixties/early Nineteen Seventies had been a musical godsend for followers of nation music however searching for better selection of their love of it (you possibly can reside on a weight loss program of the likes of Patsy Cline and Loretta Lynn and the like for under so lengthy). The emergence of country-rock was particular for this listener, successfully beginning with The Byrds’ ‘Sweetheart of the Rodeo’ in 1968 and the emergence of The Eagles in 1970. I do know that these days you must choose and select who you admit to liking The Eagles to! However their early stuff was magical. After which there was the Laurel Canyon set, a merry-go-round of residents, tenants and lovers that spawned a few of the nice songs in trendy pop historical past, courtesy of Joni Mitchell, Jackson Browne, The Mamas and Papas, Crosby, Stills and Nash and so forth.
The Eagles had been guests although not residents and a lot of budding songwriters on the time additionally spent days there hoping to imbibe the songwriting stardust. Three such had been Richard Stekol (on the time taking part in with a regionally common band known as Honk), Jack Tempchin (a pal of The Eagles’ Glenn Frey and author of ‘Peaceable Straightforward Feeling’) and Jules Shear (later to search out appreciable success as chief of Jules and the Polar Bears, and as a solo artist). Stekol was probably the most competent instrumentalist however when the three obtained collectively to kind a band, they wanted a REALLY competent instrumentalist and that they present in Greg Leisz, one of the crucial excellent guitarists of the final 50 years. Collectively they fashioned The Funky Kings, with Invoice Bodine (session man and document producer) on bass and Frank Cotinola (later drummer with the Walter Trout Band) on drums.
And this album got here to my consideration by way of a sweaty little store in one of many alleyways simply off Charing Cross Highway in London, within the basement of a girls’s garments store, that often offered albums on import from the States, both earlier than their UK launch or in the event that they weren’t scheduled to be launched within the UK in any respect.
The self-titled album ‘Funky Kings’ was their solely launch (a second was recorded however by no means launched) and highlights the burgeoning songwriting skills of the three writers, notably ‘Gradual Dancing’ by Jack Tempchin, which grew to become an enormous hit for Johnny Rivers, ‘Nothing Was Exchanged’, a slightly good Jules Shear track which appeared on a later Shear album, however not so good as the excellent ‘So Straightforward to Start’ – “I’ve been so far-off from you whereas standing by your aspect There have been nights we had been so in love, that lovin’ made us blind However that point is up to now under us now, the reminiscence’s so skinny It’s So Straightforward To Start, nevertheless it’s so onerous to cease, this love”, which was lined properly by Artwork Garfunkel.
The album ought to have been successful – they recruited one of many producers du jour, Paul A Rothchild (The Doorways, Neil Younger, Joni Mitchell and so forth) and the album is fantastically produced. Geoff Muldaur, Katy Moffatt, Mike Finnigan and Barry Beckett added their skills on just a few tracks.
It adopted on the success of the Eagles, which they hoped to capitalise on. Nevertheless it flopped and the band members subsequently went on to different issues. Tempchin made just a few extra albums, none of which actually took off, however he was a profitable songwriter. Shear developed his fame together with his Polar Bears ‘Obtained No Breeding’ album however after the group disbanded, he went on to launch a lot of high-quality albums. Stekol remained a singer-songwriter however with out chart success. It’s a superb album, in components excellent, nevertheless it adopted numerous Eagles manqué bands and was not successful.
The unique US subject of this album, like many US albums, was pressed at a lot of urgent vegetation. All pressings are broadly obtainable and can price you beneath £5. There was no UK urgent however its launch in Europe was facilitated by Dutch and German pressings each of that are normally priced at beneath £10. There have since been two CD reissues, each in Japan, firstly in 1996 after which a re-mastered model in 2016. These uncommon Japanese CDs go for greater than the unique albums with the 1996 one fetching something as much as £25 and the newer re-master round £12. When albums had been costing £5.99 within the seventies, I paid £7.99 for the import model.