Thursday, January 22, 2009

Top 100-Henry Gross

A few months back, I started posting about the Top 100 albums in my life, then I got sidetracked, as per usual. Let's continue the countdown, kids. Here's one that would fit somewhere in the 75-80 range.At age eighteen, Henry was a founding member of the world famous Rock & Roll revival group, SHA NA NA, wearing on-stage the "Greaser" clothes he wore in high school "because he thought they looked good". The groups' popularity took a giant step after legendary performances in the Fillmore Auditoriums, East and West and at the Woodstock Festival. With the groups' appearance in the movie "WOODSTOCK" their popularity became a worldwide phenomenon.
Henry left the band in 1970 to pursue a career as a singer songwriter signing his first solo deal with ABC DUNHILL RECORDS in 1971. The albums lack of commercial success did not discourage him and in 1973, after performing at colleges and clubs all over the country, he was signed to a production deal by Cashman and West, legendary producers of Jim Croce, who almost immediately placed Henry on A&M RECORDS.

Yes, Henry Gross did the song "Shannon" which, I thought, was a heartfelt tribute to a passing friend. Only later did I find out it was about That kind of ruined it for me. Before he did "Shannon", he relased an album full of great pop rock and roll. I had this on 8 track and wore it out. I bought this CD as an import from my buddy Tom at "Now Hear This" many years ago and again, it found a regular place on my CD player. Henry's got a high voice and the harmonies on this album makes me think of the Beach Boys and indeed, the CD features Carl Wilson. Along with the production duo of Cashman/West (Amercian City Suite), this is a joyful, great power pop record.

"One More Tomorrow" starts it off with a great ELO guitar riff and is a solid, moving, driving tune that would sound great on the interstate at about 75 mph. (I should know) Great harmonies and a killer solo in the middle. Dude could play.

"I'll Love Her" is a great word song wrapped in some cool harmonies (again) and a nice building groove. The guy has quite the vocal range. Great playing from the studio musicians he hired for the porject (including one of my favorite drummers Alan Schwartzberg and with keyboardist Micheal Kamen). This should ahve been a hit single.

"Southern Band" "I'll find me some smokin yankees and make a southern band" Great guitar song and he shows his chops here. Funky bass laid down by Warren Nichols.

"The Driver's Engine" This could've been done by Micheal Murphey (see previous post). Once again, tight Beach Boy like harmonies and a song that has a very distinct country feel.

"Travelin Time" You bet. Let's grab the Ipod, crank the windows down and crank this baby up. Last song on side one.

"All My Love" Beach Boys meet the Beatles, why this song wasn't a number one song is beyond me. Must have been the record company's fault. One of my all time favorite songs.

"Only One" the filler song, here he shows us how he can sing, but we already knew that. A bit sappy for me, but very heartfelt.

"Evergreen" cool song that reminds me of the mountains, featuring a banjo and a pedal steel guitar. "Evergreen, evergreen, you are my hearts true delight, with your lines softly whispering in the night..don't know why they made the city black and white"

"Dixie Spiderman" One of the best pop guitar songs ever, very well (maybe over) produced. Almost sounds like the Raspberries meet ELO

"Tommorrow's Memory Lane" the riff is from "Sweet Jane" by Lou Reed but his voice soars on this one. Nice finale to a great album

Yes, he's still around and making music. Here's his website, where he talks about writing "Shannon" (OK, after reading it, I am a bit more impressed than before) and how he and Carl Wilson became good friends. I always liked his music, not many hits, but the song "Tie Our Ships Together" remains one of my favorites.

1 comment:

dr sardonicus said...

An underappreciated album. He's another musician who migrated to Nash Vegas, and if you had hung around here a while longer you could have caught him doing some club dates, which he does from time to time.

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