Kenny Young

Last Stage for Silverworld

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On the heels of David Bowie's The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars, songwriter Kenny Young reprises the 1964 Drifters hit he co-wrote with Artie Resnick on this 1973 science fiction-styled album released by Warner Bros. It's an ambitious and effective project that comes with elaborate packaging and some help from Albert Hammond, Andy Kim, and the Drifters' Gerald Garrett. The remake of "Under the Boardwalk" opens up with what sounds like a transistor radio playing the familiar song. Unfortunately, Young picks the tune up where the back-in-time rendition leaves off and what could have been a chart performance itself remains just part of this big production. Certainly better than Zager & Evans' failed attempts at sci-fi rock, the artist's lyrics and ideas are worthy of attention and absolutely needed more promotion. "Wake Up Navajo" and the title track, "Last Stage for Silverworld," are both powerful and appealing to those who found Bowie's "Starman" off the aforementioned Ziggy project such a treat. You'd swear the opening track is an outtake of the Stones' "Under My Thumb" from the Symphonic Music of the Rolling Stones tribute, taking that riff behind Chris Gunning's strings and delivering "Amanda in a Silverworld." "Play Electric Waters" could be something leftover from T. Rex's Electric Warrior -- it's a splashy and classy American take on the glam movement in a fancy package designed by John Kosh which doesn't convey the excellence of the music within. Before Robert Appere co-produced some valuable mid-'70s work with another singer/songwriter, Neil Sedaka, he and his team of well-known session men Dean Parks, Leland Sklar, Jim Horn, Russ Kunkel, and the gang put their magic here. The co-writer of "Mandy" and other Barry Manilow hits, Richard Kerr adds his piano and composing skills to "Wake Up Navajo," while John "Rabbit" Bundrick and Rolling Stones sidemen Bobby Keys and Jim Price also lend their skills to music that truly deserves the support. Last Stage for Silverworld makes the grade and demands study -- it's really an extraordinary work that somehow got away.

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