Jimmie Spheeris

The Original Tap Dancing Kid

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Jimmie Spheeris' second album, The Original Tap Dancing Kid, was produced by Felix Cavaliere, who was the lead singer of the Rascals from 1965-1972 and co-wrote such blue-eyed soul classics as "Groovin'," "A Beautiful Morning," "I've Been Lonely Too Long" and "People Got to Be Free." Known for both rock & roll and blue-eyed soul, the Rascals didn't sound anything at all like Spheeris-the Rascals were very extroverted, whereas singer/songwriter Spheeris was the epitome of an introspective singer/songwriter. So Cavaliere and Spheeris might appear to be an unlikely combination, but then, Cavaliere was hardly one-dimensional. Just as an Italian chef could master Vietnamese and Cambodian cuisine if he really put his mind to it, there is no law stating that masters of blue-eyed soul cannot produce introspective singer/songwriters-and on 1973's The Original Tap Dancing Kid, Cavaliere does right by Spheeris. This is a slightly more commercial effort than Spheeris' debut album, Isle of View, but only slightly. Spheeris' writing is still quite introspective, and he isn't any less poetic and vulnerable-the main thing he gets from Cavaliere (who is heard on piano and organ) is a more commercial production style. Once you get past the production, it becomes obvious that this excellent album (which Rain reissued on CD in 1998) is state-of-the-art Jimmie Spheeris.

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