Gallagher & Lyle

Willie & the Lap Dog

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Willie & the Lap Dog has the early-'70s rustic British folk-influenced rock feel associated with Pete Townshend and Ronnie Lane's early solo work. These comparisons are hardly a surprise, given that Townshend himself plays harmonica on the LP, and that Gallagher & Lyle would join Ronnie Lane's Slim Chance shortly afterward. Still, approximating the feel of work by major artists is one thing; matching it is another. And while Gallagher & Lyle's material here has a pleasing, wistful, informal ambience, the songs aren't anything on the order of what Townshend and Lane were coming up with for their own rootsy solo endeavors. These are mostly easygoing ambles that drift by without leaving too much of an impression, sometimes going into more serious introspective and slightly bluer moods on tracks like "Home" and "Hotel Constantine," and adding orchestration for just one song, the closing "Thoughts from a Station." The use of harmonica, harmonium (on a cut actually titled "Harmonium"), and accordion adds to the archaic feel, though some of the harmonica riffs on "Give a Boy a Break" veer uncomfortably close to some that were used on George Harrison's "Apple Scruffs."

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