Other Players

One album wonders - got any?

1

Ok we all know 'one hit wonders' ...maybe more of the analog / singles era thing. It was a person or group who had a song that was a huge hit and then was never heard from again.

In a similar way does anyone have any One Album Wonders-- which I define as someone/ some band that put out a great first album that they never again equaled... no matter how many more came. For me this is first album only, not someone who started out shaky and got better. Just that they had something undefined, unknown that they hit on without really knowing.. (?)

So you go for their later records, or got them as they came out and just find some do not live up to expectations you had.

For me, for this is 70s, 80s, 90s. After that album format became less important and I lost touch with lots of stuff, anyway.

Some of this old music may not be your thing... but still for me these are:

1970s/ 1970 Dave Mason: Alone Together.

He was big in the 1st half of the 70s and was doing better than Traffic, his old band who called it quits ( for quite a while) in 1974.

Just the songs, guitar work, sidemen... his later LPs were also quite good but none to me got back to what he did at the very start. Also I can't think of another person who re-did his earlier songs so much -- new studio takes, (not live versions). I can think of four songs.

Also this does not count the just a moment-earlier record with Cass Elliott because that was a shared project. Also Alone Together had that crazed multicolored disk that one reviewer said look like an LP someone puked on. Anyway, best known from this LP -- you may know it!

1980/s / 1982: Marshall Crenshaw, self titled.

I just never signed on to this later stuff like one. It just had something I liked over the later ones. He just faded into semi-obscurity, more remembered for his Buddy Holly retro- association. Great guitar player.. and wish I could sing like that guy. Cool songs and cool titles.

Best known of course is Cynical Girl.

1990s/1994 Pete Droge / Necktie Second

Pac NW guy, not that widely remembered, WXPN in Phila played him a lot tho. Claims to have CFS (chronic fatigue syndrome) now This song is known because it was in a movie.. bright capeoed electric guitar, good arrangement of 3 chords.This is the most upbeat song it has... most are introspective and even mopey. "So I Am Over You"...was sort of the ultimate breakup song. Great recording for long drives. His later stuff just did not get me like this one.

HEY ALSO -- got another BirdMan book review coming later.

2

I've just recently discovered that Dave Mason album. Great playing. I especially love his playing during the close out of the final track, Look at You, Look at Me. Stellar.

Other one album wonders?

Well, the Sex Pistols.

4

Stray Cats, First UK eponymous album: I know Stray Cats did a number of albums and all members have a creditable output in their own rights, but nothing really hits the spot like that first album. Truly remarkable.

Fairground Attraction - First Of A Million Kisses: If you've not had the pleasure then do yourself a favour and buy it. Then buy it again in case you lose the first one.

The Ranch (eponymous): Again, we all know what Keith Urban went on to do, but I don't think anything (not that I've heard since at any rate) ever captured the awesomeness of this first offering.

5

The Seahorses ,who's one and only album was Do It Yourself.

6

Great topic; I'm sticking to one-off albums that were not only good, but which changed my notion of what music could do and be, which bent my trajectory and shaped my taste - albums which remain desert isle stuff for me.

I'm sure I'll think of others, but the one that always comes to my mind is Merchants of Venus, a trio whose one album I found in the cutouts section of a CD store (remember those?) somewhere in Champaign-Normal, Illinois in the 90s.

I find there has now been another Merchants of Venus, with whose output the picture of my MoV is mistakenly associated in searches. Members of the MoV I strongly advocate were:

Brett Cartwright - lead vocals, bass, keys
Shane Fontayne - guitars, vocals
Denny McDermott - drums

Fabulous streamlined, elegant, punchy, melodic, beautifully arranged rock of a kind that I wish had become a thing in the 90s and afterward. When such a thread came up here years ago, I waxed enthusiastic about the band, even posted a few mp3s for the CD (at the time I don't think any were available online), and one of the members - Brett, I believe - found the thread and shared a few stories of the band's story.

Now I find not only all the tracks from their one album on ütoob (though not in order, yet...I didn't look thoroughly) - but a number of other tracks also credited to them and posted by Brett. I'm guessing they were alternative tracks, or maybe candidate songs for a second album. I'm glad to see that, and look forward to hearing them when I have more time.

I did literally buy the album, then seek out a second copy just in case I ever wore out the first one. (And the second was purdurn hard to find.)

Find the songs all spread out here:
https://www.youtube.com/pla...

They're so good. There really is no justice.


But also. Joe Byrd and the Field Hippies, American Metaphysical Circus, circa 1969. Helped blow my mind and reconstruct the pieces in forms that have remained to this day. Whole album, as sequenced, here. Definitely worth the listen.

https://www.youtube.com/pla...


I don't know...do Blind Faith or Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs count? They were one-offs - but hardly isolated and distinct artistic statements.


I wish Love Sculpture had been a one-off, so I could rhapsodize about their 1970 Forms and Feelings, which was another important influence on my sense of what was possible with guitars in a rock band. But I see they'd had an earlier album, 1968. Anyway, as far as I'm concerned, they were a one-off, so here's Forms and Feelings. (Sabre Dance - the last track - is the usual poster child for the album, but I like it all.)


I only wish the first Captain Beyond album had been their only - it was far and away their best (as I found decades later when I realized they'd had more). So in honor of my 40-year delusion that it was a one-off, I'll still nominate that 1972 album.

8

The original, self-titled album from Moby Grape in 1968 comes to mind. The ballad "8:05" is one of my favorite pieces of music ever, but the entire album was classic. They never came close to matching it later.

10

Sanford Townsend Band

11

Rickie Lee Jones

12

1973 How's The Weather by Milkwood was pretty good. "Timetrain Wonderwheel" being a favourite. Milkwood were Ric Ocasek, Benjamin Orr and Jas Goodkind.

And of course Donald Fagen's The Nightfly (if you ignore Kamakiriad and all the Steely Dan stuff.... )

13

Rickie Lee Jones

– NJBob

What? Pirates was much better.

15

The LA's?

– tabletop

The first one that came to mind. A desert island disc.

16

What? Pirates was much better.

– Powdog

Aaaaaaaaarrrrrrrrrrr...nope.

17

Arc Angels. As far as I know they literally only made one album. The band consisted of Charlie Sexton, Doyle Bramhall II, Chris Layton and Tommy Shannon. Chris and Tommy were better known as Double Trouble as in Stevie Ray Vaughn and Double Trouble. The album was awesome. I don't know why they didn't do more together.

18

Proteus,

That Captain Beyond Album (did you have the original 3D lenticular cover version?) was indeed a smoker.

Also, Montrose (the band) never came close to repeating the brilliance of their first album.

In a completely different vein, Little Village was another great one-and-done album. An ersatz supergroup that was never meant to last (a' la "Honeydrippers" and "Traveling Wilburys"), it was nevertheless a killer record with the likes of Nick Lowe, John Hiatt, Ry Cooder and the omnipresent Jim Keltner on the skins. Well worth a listen-- you can often find it in the dollar bin of used CD stores.

20

did you have the original 3D lenticular cover version?

Still do.


And of course Donald Fagen's The Nightfly (if you ignore Kamakiriad and all the Steely Dan stuff.

I’ll agree Nightfly is so good it ought to be a one-and-done...but even Fagen’s other “solo” work is good enough to stay out of its shade, not to mention the whole SD catalog, which isn’t all that far away. So even with the stretchers we’re allowing, I think I’ll have to call foul on that one. I’ll give you Becker’s 11 Tracks of Whack, which is less Steely than any Fagen or Dan (because Becker vocals, among other things)...but it’s not quite the sui generis classic Nightfly is.

Actually, I don’t think anything bad could happen to you while listening to it.

22

Suggests Wabash Slim:

It's A Beautiful Day

and I love that album, so I wish. But the band had 4 albums between 1969 and 1973. The first does seem a singular achievement, though.

Like Rare Bird, whose first album was the only one I knew...but they had more. Durn.

23

Suggests Wabash Slim:

It's A Beautiful Day

and I love that album, so I wish. But the band had 4 albums between 1969 and 1973. The first does seem a singular achievement, though.

Like Rare Bird, whose first album was the only one I knew...but they had more. Durn.

– Proteus

I have similar feelings about Chuck Leavell's "Sea Level." A couple of really, really good records, and the rest is fairly lackluster.

24

The original, self-titled album from Moby Grape in 1968 comes to mind. The ballad "8:05" is one of my favorite pieces of music ever, but the entire album was classic. They never came close to matching it later.

– RobLV1

I agree. Moby Grape would have probably made it, had it not been for Matthew Katz killing them with overexposure on the first album, not to mention screwing them on their contract, a practice for which he was notorious.

A very talented band on that first record.

25

I’ll agree Nightfly is so good it ought to be a one-and-done...> Proteus

Well, yes, that’s the point I was making. Hence the smiley.

Nightfly is just so good that nothing else needed to come after it. Such a joyous celebration of everything, even the constant fear of nuclear armageddon!


Register Sign in to join the conversation