Saturday, August 25, 2012

The Late Show - Portable Pop

"They don't make music like they used to." 

That's how dinner started.  My friend Jack was about ten years older than me and was travelling through on his motorcycle so I invited him to share a meal.

"Where are the bands with beautiful soaring melodies, jangly guitar and catchy writing?  You know, like the early Beatles, Byrds,  Stones."

I hadn't seen Jack in ten years, since a certain bizarre scene that involved police, illegal apartments, fisticuffs and a room of plants.  It was clear he was fixated on the rock music of the early 1960's.  Not a bad fixation as far as fixations go.  Jack was 22 in 1969, and always spoke most passionately about his attendance at the Beatles 1965 Shea Stadium concert, Woodstock, the Fillmore and Winterland.  He was a rock music snob, played guitar and prided himself on the breadth of his pop music knowledge.

I looked up from my plate, sipped a glass of wine and said, "Remember The Late Show?"

Jack countered, "Don't really like Letterman and I've got to be on the road way before 11:30."

Actually it was a relief to hear that he would be gone before 11:30.  While I like Jack I can only deal with him in small doses.  He is rather vulgar and opinionated, but always with an amusing story and the need for a dollar.   

"No, I'm talking about the band The Late Show.  Remember them?" I asked.

He reached for a roll, tore it in half, took a bite, responded, "No,"  and continued to chew with gusto.

"Here, let me queue up their release "Portable Pop."   I got up, pulled up the album on the tablet and pressed play.  Jack said nothing and continued to down all of the salad, lasagna and wine within reach.  I came and sat back down at the table.

Portable Pop consists of 16 absolutely stunning 1960's sounding pop songs written and performed by Don Main, Mark Moran, Chris Pyle and Rick Clayton as the band The Late Show.  Here's the thing - The Late Show was formed in 1972 at North Central High School in Indianapolis, but were discovered a year or two later by well-know music producer Jack Douglas.  Portable Pop was their debut album and was recorded in 1979, but was only released on vinyl by Rave Records in 1980.  The band continued to record until 1988 although it never got a major label record deal.

Fortunately, Trashy Creatures Records recently reissued Portable Pop and threw in a number of awesome goodies. The CD features the original twelve-song LP, plus four previously unreleased studio bonus tracks. The cassette reissue is pure sugar; it contains the album and a ten-song live concert from 1980. I also have it on good authority that The Late Show is readying a release of all new material to be issued by Trashy Creatures in 2013.

Jack listened intently, said nothing, but continued to shove food in his mouth and drink all my wine.  As the second track, "Stop" finished I said, "Well, remember this stuff?"

"That second song sounded a little familiar, but not really. The music is great..  Beautiful harmonies and Beatles-esque arrangements.  Keep it on.  Let's hear a few more tracks. " he said as he used a corner of his napkin to pick his teeth, and then he asked, "what's for dessert?"

The album played on and, quite frankly, for the next three quarters of an hour it was the only thing that made the remainder of Jack's visit tolerable. There's my ringing endorsement of The Late Show and the album Portable Pop - makes trying friends tolerable.  Actually this is really beautiful genre stuff that deserved to be reissued. I suggest you find a place for it in your pop music library.

- Old School

Take A Chance -

Just A Matter Of Time -

Hey Sue -


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