Gary Farr

Addressed to the Censors of Love

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Gary Farr is the sort of artist who became a cult figure because he tends to be interesting even when his music is not. The man had a great back story (Dad was a champion boxer, he was the singer with the almost-made-it British beat group the T-Bones, Keith Emerson was his keyboard player for a while), his solo albums were an intriguing blend of folk-rock and blue-eyed soul, while his lyrics suggested a bit of the literary accents of Elliott Murphy and the poetics of Tim Hardin. However, Farr's ideas generally were more impressive than his execution, though he came close to hitting a balance on his 1973 set, Addressed to the Censors of Love. Co-produced by Jerry Wexler with the Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section anchoring the backing band, Addressed to the Censors of Love sometimes comes off as pretentious as the title would lead you to believe, but Wexler also drew some superb vocal work from Farr, who brings soul and muscle to his obtuse lyrical conceits on numbers like "Breakfast Boo-Ga-loo," "Certain Lady," and "White Bird." And while Farr certainly had some talented partners on his earlier albums, the Muscle Shoals gang brings a much higher grade of groove to these sessions, and helps this music soar when it might have simply coasted in the hands of lesser players. Gary Farr is more of a footnote than a major player in the story of British rock, but if he'd made a few more albums as strong as Addressed to the Censors of Love, there might have been a different story.

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