R. Stevie Moore

Herald, Goods.

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An underappreciated figure in R. Stevie Moore's early development as a musician, the late Victor Lovera was a gifted singer/songwriter who can perhaps best be described in terms of an analogy to a marginally better-known pair of singer/songwriters a couple hundred miles to the west of Nashville around the same era: he was Chris Bell to R. Stevie Moore's Alex Chilton. A much more conventional soft rock songwriter than the anarchic Moore -- he was Paul McCartney or Cat Stevens to Moore's Frank Zappa and Roy Wood -- Lovera nonetheless had a knack for spacy post-psychedelic balladry and catchy pop songs that took unexpected left turns. The 12 songs on Herald, Goods. are a 1972 session financed and produced by Nashville stalwart Chuck Sagle, one of the most professional-sounding recordings of this era in Lovera's and Moore's careers. Although the band here is basically an early edition of their band Ethos, with Roger Ferguson on acoustic guitar and Pete Spero on congas along with Lovera's lead vocals and acoustic guitar and Moore's electric guitar, keyboards, bass, and drums, the material selected here puts the focus squarely on Lovera's more immediately accessible vocals and songs. The songs are uniformly great, quasi-experimental early-'70s soft rock with echoes of Pearls Before Swine, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, early Wings, and Sunflower-era Beach Boys, much better than most of the sort of thing that obscurantist collectors happily pay hundreds of dollars for and well worth seeking out.

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