Tuesday, July 16, 2013

SPAZ reviews the MAC DAVIS compilation A Little More Action Please!


The Anthology 1970-1985

More often than not, we tend to forget those artists who once spent a good amount of time in the upper regions of the charts but were eventually cast aside in favor of less interesting 'newcomers' who came and went without leaving anything but a faded memory. While time has been kind to singer/songwriters like Harry Nilsson and John Denver, people tend to forget that those artists were overlooked for a few decades before folks went back and started reappraising their artistic output.  Unfortunately, both of those artists were dead before that reappraisal happened.  On opposite ends of the musical spectrum, Nilsson (dangerous) and Denver (lovable) were gifted musicians who had their time in the spotlight before fans (and radio) moved on.  Another one of their contemporaries who rode the tide of fame until he was replaced by a new breed was singer/songwriter Mac Davis.  While the general public has overlooked him since his heyday, Mac was at one time popular enough to have his own TV show, make movies and create a catalog of music that still sounds fantastic today, as this collection proves.

In the '60s, Mac Davis wrote some amazing tunes that were covered by Elvis Presley ("In The Ghetto", "Memories" and "A Little Less Conversation") before becoming a solo star in the early '70s. His own hits included "Baby Don't Get Hooked On Me", "Stop And Smell The Roses", "One Hell Of A Woman" and "Hard To Be Humble". He even penned "I Believe In Music" and "Watching Scotty Grow", two tracks that have been covered by numerous artists. All of those hits are here and so much more.  Obviously, Mac's versions of the songs he penned for others are on this collection and it's interesting to hear his interpretations of the songs Elvis covered - "Memories" is especially poignant and moving.  But hearing the hits again brings memories of the days when AM radio could play Mac's Country-heavy tunes alongside Pop and Soul hits of the era as well, and it all sounded wonderful together.  Mac may have been a Country artist, but when he came up with a magical melody (as he does throughout this collection's 23 songs), he transcended genres. You can even feel a funky vibe on some of his songs, which made his crossover from Country to Pop so easy and flawless.

The last few tunes from his '80s output may not reach the heights of his early work, but they are certainly worthy of inclusion. Hopefully, releases like this will raise his profile a little bit and remind people of the music he created some 40+ years ago.  He most certainly deserves your attention... again!

Peace, love and roses,
Stephen SPAZ Schnee

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