Harriet Schock

Hollywood Town

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Harriet Schock's first album may not have enjoyed the success that it deserved, but it did spawn three popular covers, and in that respect, kick-started a long and successful songwriting career for the artist. The title track was subsequently recorded by Manfredd Mann, "Ain't Now Way To Treat a Lady" became Schock's best-loved song thanks to the US top 10 and AC #1 Helen Reddy version, and "That's The Way It Is With You" was blessed with the dubious honour of interpretation by The Partridge Family. Schock's first short-lived career writing advertising copy immediately gives itself away; one spin of the album is enough to reveal her conspicuous gift for word-play and professional's aptitude for witty couplets. She could just as easily have been a copy editor, too - there isn't a gratuitous word on this album, and not so much as one rambling, directionless line or thought. But more importantly, Schock is gifted with a profound and consistent melodic knack - even if you don't like any of Hollywood Town's 10 tracks, you won't forget them. It's the kind of high-comfort, major-key music that you hum without realising it, and then crave when it's gone - a sort of aural chocolate. Schock is even better when her songs are subdued and understated - "The Day" and "Could it Be," both quietly hopeful ballads about love affairs yet to begin - are dazzling. And her own stab at "Ain't No Way To Treat A Lady" is good for being less glossily produced than Reddy's, and more sympathetically sung; Schock sings with character, enthusiasm, and a crystal-clear soprano. She's also a good pianist, and here her playing is supported by top-notch "name" musicians, including Leland Sklar, Ron Tutt and Larry Carlton.

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