Alan O'Day

Caress Me Pretty Music

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Alan O'Day's Caress Me Pretty Music is an excellent, heartfelt album from a singer/songwriter best known for three frivolous records which were huge hits: "Rock & Roll Heaven," the fourth biggest chart climber for the Righteous Brothers; a number one hit for Helen Reddy, "Angie Baby"; and O'Day's only solo smash, the ridiculous "Undercover Angel," which also hit number one. It's hard to conceive that the writer of those songs could create a work of sheer beauty that is this earlier recording from 1973. The title track sounds like Leo Sayer's "The Show Must Go On" and was recorded by David Clayton-Thomas, a worthwhile melody for the Blood, Sweat & Tears singer to find. The PR for this album which Warner issued to the media called it "a songwriter's patchwork quilt -- a journey in many directions," and this time the label is right on with the description. O'Day covers a variety of styles, though the centerpiece is "Heavy Church," a magnificent song which Three Dog Night covered on their monster album Naturally. Produced by Dallas Taylor, the tune is an excursion into psychedelia and soul searching, a brilliant, exquisite melody combining all sorts of musical elements which make it as essential as Three Dog Night's rendition, though different enough to stand on its own. You can hear the lyrics more clearly on the songwriter's version, and they are terrific. "Crucifixtion 2000 A.D." is a religious song of regret, lamenting that 20 decades after we've lost the Savior, people haven't changed one bit, and that He's needed more than ever. There's more than a few touches of religion here: "Good Book" seems to poke fun at it, but the hook is solid as a rock, perhaps redeeming the songwriter from his subtle sacrilege. It's an album chock full of hooks and displays the real craftsmanship missing from his hits, strong lyrics, and a variety of melodies. Though "Heavy Church" stands out as the masterpiece, the rest of Caress Me Pretty Music has lots to offer as well. A real sleeper worth searching the back pages of Goldmine magazine for.

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