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Emitt Rhodes: One Man Macca by Mike Nessing

One of my favourite LP’s is a buried treasure and it’s the self titled offering from Emitt Rhodes on the ABC Dunhill label..

Here’s a guy who grew up in Hawthorne, CA right around the same time as the Beach Boys and around 1971 recorded this absolutely amazing LP in his garage literally blocks from the Wilson homestead. It immediately drew comparisons to Paul Mc Cartney because of his vocals certainly, and the quality of the songwriting. Mainly though it was the one man band approach. Much like the solo album “McCartney”, on “Emitt Rhodes” every single note played and sung is by the artist himself. The songs are beatlesque sure, but the quality is undeniable and the more you listen you realize it’s much more than just that.

Rhodes agreed to a contract whereby he would produce 4 lps in 2 years. However, because he worked by himself with no band, it was impossible to own up to. His own record company sued him which helped prevent him from making much more money or any further records. He did release two more after this one which are certainly worth hearing, but it’s this one thats the cream of the crop.

There’s a rumor on his wikipedia bio that he is actually recording a new LP which I sure hope is true. All reports indicate that hes been a bitter recluse for the last 35 years. Thanks to the use of the tune “Lullabye” in Wes Andersons,”The Royal Tenenbaums” his musical output enjoyed a bit of an uptick on the public awareness radar around 5 years ago. If you’re a fan of 1970’s California pop or of course Macca, you would be well served to seek out and appreciate this album, as well as his entire output..

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