Alan Price

A Price on His Head

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Alan Price's second album consolidated the change of direction he'd started in early 1967, when his cover of Randy Newman's "Simon Smith and His Amazing Dancing Bear" became a big British hit. Moving away from the jazzy Animals-styled R&B-rock that he'd presented on his first album and singles, Price moved into a more original, if less powerful, brand of Newman-influenced vaudevillian pop. The Randy Newman influence isn't a matter of conjecture; about half of the songs were covers of songs by Newman (who had yet to release his first album at the time A Price on His Head was issued), often of tunes that remain obscure even to serious Newman fans. The effect is something like hearing an even jauntier, more lighthearted Georgie Fame, as even Price's own compositions bore a strong Newman influence in their emphasis on poppy craft and wit. Breaking up the Newman and Price songs were covers of Bob Dylan's "To Ramona" and the little-known Gerry Goffin-Carole King number "On This Side of Goodbye." For a long time the material on this album was difficult to find, particularly in the United States, where Price's early work was virtually unknown. But the CD era has seen it reissued several times, both on its own and as part of the compilation The House That Jack Built: The Complete 60's Sessions.

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