213

Gale Garnett And The Gentle Reign: An Audience With The King Of Wands & Sausalito Heliport

Nic Jones By

Sign in to view read count
Gale Garnett And The Gentle Reign: An Audience With The King Of Wands & Sausalito Heliport Say what you like about the 1960s, but it would be no easy task trying to identify another decade of the late twentieth century when music as singular as this would have made its way onto record. On the surface, this is music typical of the era. It's only with repeated listening that its singularity emerges, with influences from all quarters and then some merging into a brew that's both heady and a little unsettling.

Gale Garnett has a resonant, chestnut brown voice that belies her winsome appearance on the cover, and she applies it to a range of material that might have tested the interpretative power of a more accomplished, "correct" singer. That in itself contributes in no small part to the appeal of "Ballad For F. Scott Fitzgerald" where, over an accompaniment of guitar and strings, she hints at the unlikely amalgam of Bobbie Gentry and Julie London.

Such pigeonholing as that might imply has no place here, however, especially when the nuanced "Word Of Advice" makes a political point in something other than the naive counter-cultural norm of the day. The Gentle Reign comes into its own on this one with its mixture of folk and beat group stylings.

The unassuming air of "You Could Have Been Anyone" is subverted from within by the lyrical content and Garnett's reading of it. The song's success is due in no small part to its unusual structure, but that of itself is only a measure of how far this was a band for which self-containment seems to have been some kind of watchword.

By the time of "Sausalito Heliport," both singer and band have moved on. Opening as it does with "Freddy Mahoney" the album is rather more caught up with worldly concerns than its predecessor. The subject of the title forfeits his position as a junior executive in plumbing supplies to join a rock group and grow his hair, though not necessarily in that order. Handled with a particular attitude, the theme doesn't come across as hackneyed and that's an achievement in itself.

"Deer In The City" is something else, however, evocative of a world where all the black silk socks are singing and conformity is corrosion of the mind. Whilst the latter is a hackneyed theme, to be sure, here the treatment of it is anything but, with an arrangement bordering on the baroque rendering the song a kind of one act drama.

Existing as this coupling does now as both of its time and outside it, the age turns a spotlight upon it which reveals only a singular work for which comparison does little.


Track Listing: Freddy Mahoney; Peace Comes Slowly To The Thrashing Fish; Pretty Is Gone; This Year

Personnel: Gale Garnett: vocals; Bruce Horiuchi: guitar, kazoo; Tony Hill: piano, organ, harpsichord, celeste, guitar; Rob Fisher: bass; Michael Aragon: drums; Paul Robinson: percussion.

Year Released: 2008 | Record Label: Rev-Ola | Style: Beyond Jazz


Shop

More Articles

Read Fellowship CD/LP/Track Review Fellowship
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 22, 2017
Read E.S.T. Symphony CD/LP/Track Review E.S.T. Symphony
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 22, 2017
Read June CD/LP/Track Review June
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: February 22, 2017
Read The Invariant CD/LP/Track Review The Invariant
by Mark Sullivan
Published: February 22, 2017
Read Akua's Dance CD/LP/Track Review Akua's Dance
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 21, 2017
Read Daylight Ghosts CD/LP/Track Review Daylight Ghosts
by Mark Sullivan
Published: February 21, 2017
Read "Sea Changes" CD/LP/Track Review Sea Changes
by Hrayr Attarian
Published: February 29, 2016
Read "The Long Road" CD/LP/Track Review The Long Road
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: October 30, 2016
Read "Disorder at the Border Plays Ornette" CD/LP/Track Review Disorder at the Border Plays Ornette
by Nicola Negri
Published: December 24, 2016
Read "Something Real" CD/LP/Track Review Something Real
by Doug Collette
Published: March 14, 2016
Read "This Could Be That" CD/LP/Track Review This Could Be That
by Chris M. Slawecki
Published: August 2, 2016
Read "One For Marian: Celebrating Marian McPartland" CD/LP/Track Review One For Marian: Celebrating Marian McPartland
by Karl Ackermann
Published: June 5, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!