Curt Boettcher

Chicken Little Was Right

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It seems like every year or so, Sundazed or some other label unearths some part of the recorded legacy of Curt Boettcher that makes his presence loom ever-larger in music, and makes the loss seem ever more tragic. Chicken Little Was Right is another one of those releases, courtesy of Sonic Past Music and their Sound City label. It was never an official album but, rather, an attempt at a starting another album in the wake of the There's an Innocent Face LP, Boettcher working again with multi-instrumentalist Web Burrell, who played all of the electric instruments and the drums, and sang most of the harmonies (and one lead) while Boettcher played acoustic guitar and sang most of the leads. According to Burrell, the album was barely started, and a lot of changes would have been made before any of these songs -- apart from the leadoff track, "I Call You My Rainbow" (which was close to complete and is a gem that belongs in any Boettcher anthology) -- was heard by the public. But from what one hears on this CD, it's more listenable as is than a lot of records that made it out onto the market in the 1970s; oh, one could add a drum part here, or a bass there, and some keyboards elsewhere, but there's nothing that sounds overtly unfinished. Boettcher's singing, augmented and sometimes shared with Burrell, is exquisite, a beautifully expressive medium folk tenor, somewhat reminiscent of Gene Clark of the Byrds, that extends itself into country and even soul ("We're Dying," a song inspired by Marvin Gaye's What's Going On). The short running time coupled with Burrell's disclaimers may put some listeners off, but this is a surprisingly good place for the uninitiated to discover Curt Boettcher the performer -- the hauntingly melodic material and exquisite treatment it's accorded (even in what amounted to a demo setting) perfectly complement the richness of his better-known output as a producer, in association with bands such as the Millennium.

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