Jack Tempchin's name may not elicit immediate recognition, but chances are his songs will. He contributed to the composition of "Peaceful Easy Feeling" on the Eagles' eponymous debut album in 1972 and also helped write "Already Gone" from On the Border (Elektra, 1974). As a member of the Funky Kings in 1976 (along with another estimable composer, Jules Shear), he wrote and recorded "Slow Dancing," made a bonafide hit by Johnny Rivers the very next year/ Yet that was just the first of many covers of this man's tunes over the course of four decades in addition to a plethora of other writing collaborations during that interim, with the likes of another esteemed Eagles comrade, JD Souther and former friend of Delaney & Bonnie (and one of Derek's Dominos) Bobby Whitlock.
In the wake of that early success (but prior to his collaboration with Eagle Glenn Frey during his solo career), Tempchin made his first solo album in 1978 and One More Song is the tenth since, recorded and produced with the simplest possible production values (except for the sterling master job by Gavin Lurssen that preserves the elegance of the arrangements). With the spare acoustic guitar and soft vocal harmonies, Jack Tempchin's most famous song appears here as the very first track of the twelve and "Around Midnight" might well be considered the sequel to "Slow Dancing." its muted piano and soft electric guitar conjuring much the same intimacy,
The honest emotionalism of that track introduces virtues reappearing throughout One More Song. More of the chirpy travelogue of "Singing in the Street" would preclude the cumulative sentimentality that afflicts this record before it's over, but that doesn't deny the fundamental beauty of Tempchin's best compositions: the indisputable logic in the marriage of words and music. Not only does that upbeat song's melody resonate, reaffirmed over a single chord progression through Tempchin's harmonica solo, as if with a life of its own, the lyrics ring out as if no other choices could be so appropriate. "So Long My Friend" radiates much the same effect, almost as if it's a traditional folk rearranged; plus, there's a hint of sardonic humor in Tempchin's vocal delivery recalling the late great Warren Zevon.
The lilt of that number gives way to a tangible floating quality in "Old River," but this cut marks the first appearance of drums and bass that reinforce the gravity of the story Jack Tempchin's telling. and the gentle force of rhythm section, akin to the resonance of a heartbeat, haunts in much the same way as his deceptively strong, near-whispered vocal on "Circle Ties That Bind." The artist's singing is as understated as the acoustic guitars and bass arrangement he shares with co-producer Joel Piper on "Streets of Midnight," as indicative as any track here how they so charmingly redefine minimalism.
The stark piano backing of "Still Looking for a Way to Say Goodbye" reminds how, without being derivative, Jack Tempchin's songs sound positively familiar on first hearing. Yet that cut and the title tune (despite its precious spoken word interval) reveal their durability with the repeated listenings, as does the entirety of One More Song.
Track Listing: Slow Dancing; Singing in the Streets; Old River; Around Midnight; Circle Ties That Bind; So Long My Friend; Still Looking for a Way to Say Goodbye; Streets of Midnight; I Got Her Right Where She Wants Me; Song for You; Tumbleweed; One More Song/
Personnel: Jack Tempchin: vocals, guitar, harmonica; Joel Piper: vocals, acoustic guitar, electric guitar, piano, pedal steel, mandolin, bass, percussion; Waddy Wachtel: guitars; Terry Medeiros: guitar; Rob Meurer: keyboards; Jessy Greene: violin; The Lennons: background vocals; Rick “The Bass Player” Rosas: bass; Scott Crago: drums; Phil Jones: drums.
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