Kenny O'Dell

Beautiful People

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By the time his song "Beautiful People" became a minor hit for him in 1967, Kenny O'Dell had been working his way through the music biz in fits and starts. He had written songs for Duane Eddy, started his own record label, and formed a Mamas & the Papas-style lounge act (which featured the ex-wives of both Duane Eddy and fellow guitar whiz Al Casey), but hadn't made much of a splash. The sweet sunshine pop of "Beautiful People" changed that, as both his original demo and Bobby Vee's very similar version reached the Top 40. O'Dell's label jumped at the chance to capitalize on the song's success and rush-released an album of demos and quickly recorded covers. The title track is the best by far, but O'Dell's reedy voice is pleasant enough and he's a decent songwriter in the Bobby Vee-Brian Hyland-Del Shannon mold with a touch of MOR added. Both the melancholy "If My World Falls Through" and "Take Another Look" could have been Monkees album tracks, "You'll Break Me Yet" is a fine loping country-rocker, and "I'm Gonna Take It" is a surprisingly tough little rocker. Does it all add up to a lost classic album? Not quite, but it is a nice artifact of an era.

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