Thursday, April 01, 2010

The Epitome Of Cool

While everyone was going apeshit, "swinging" and acting like monkeys on the dancefloor, running a saturday night fever, few took notice of the great stuff coming out of the wayside. Former Steelers Wheel-er (with no less than Joe Egan) Gerry Rafferty, flirted briefly with the hitlist in '73 with "Stuck In The Middle Of You," (which gained renewed popularity, thanks to QT's Reservoir Dogs), hit paydirt in '78 with a song about singing for coppers in the tube.

City To City lifts and soars spirit-like, with great musicianship and songwriting to boot. Aside from the ubiquitous gargantua-hit "Baker Street," made memorable by the song's sax hook by one Raphael Ravenscroft (not to mention the searing guitar solo of Hugh Burns), the album also includes "Right Down The Line," laced with equally entrancing guitarwork (which figured in an old Palmolive soap ad back in the day, if you're old enough to remember).

For the obssesive compulsive listener, there's a lot of additional trivia info on
"Baker Street" that the untrained (or less anal-retentive) ear might have missed out on; stuff like.. the original album version is 6:01 minutes long.

The single version released in the U.S. is 4:08 minutes long and its tempo was greatly accelerated for commercial radio time allotments.

In 1988, when City To City was released on CD for the first time,
the album version was itself sped up a bit, perhaps by error in the mastering process.
An alternate, uncut and remixed version (in Right Down The Line: The Very Best of Gerry Rafferty) a 1989 compilation CD, contains about thirty seconds more of end-material not in the original 1978 version. In this new mix, reverb emphasized the drummer's snare & cross-stick accents and Rafferty's vocals were electronically double-tracked.

The speed in this version was actually slowed down greatly when played side-by-side against the 1988 City to City CD release, and yet still slower than the original record album version from 1978.

Trivia bits notwithstanding, "Baker Street" is definitely one for the books.


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