Thursday 9 July 2015

Daddy Warbucks: another brilliant tax-scam label release from 1976

[No Back scan unfortunately]

Fantastic name for a band, agreed?  It was then, and it still is now...

The full story of tax scam releases was told here.  Despite what I read, I still find it hard to believe.  In particular I just can't conceive that these record producers would pretend to create a record and a false run of thousands of copies, but only print out a hundred to sit in a warehouse, for the sake of accounting.  Why not falsify the whole enterprise and just keep it as a paper loss?  Why bother to take actual demos or recordings: was there an expectation that someone from the IRS was actually coming to listen to these?  And the scale of the project surprises me, as well as the fact the practice was widespread across different labels.  What about all those poor but brilliant concomitant artists forced to privately press their beloved records-- why couldn't they just join forces with the fake labels and print those instead considering they were never going to sell many?  At least it would introduce some realism into the scam.  It seems almost tragic, a complete waste, for the sake of what-- a profit of a bit of money for the major label?

At any rate, here's an instance (along with Sunshine Makes my day, and Ilian's Love me Crazy) where a really excellent progressive album should have gotten more notice, instead, it wound up in truncated, 22 minute form, on a tax scam label!  Again we will see the same symptoms of this syndrome: uneven recording quality, some demolike imperfections, short album length, a missing track (the back lists 8 but in reality there are only 7 songs)...

First, from rateyourmusic:

This typically obscure Tiger Lily LP has something most do not: accurate credits. Members of this band were previously in GoodThunder and would later form the melodic hard rock/AOR bands L.A. Jets and 1994. Daddy Warbucks are cut from the same cloth, but with some added prog moves (despite short songs.) This album is chock full of wonderfully used synthesizer and has its share of tricky rhythms/time signatures. It also has a bunch of catchy tunes. Check out the frantic bass playing on "Blue Eyes" or the atonal synth on "There's a time" [ed. this seems to be erroneous, or an incorrect use of the term atonal] and you can see that these guys had serious pop smarts. In fact, if it wasn't for the typically early 70s bluesy male vocals, this would be a grade-A power pop album. As it is, it's a grade-A mainstream rock album. In a similar fashion to the first two Cars albums, it shows that synthesizers need not be used only to make "synthesizer music," but can be beautifully integrated into a rock band as lead and rhythm instruments. It's a bit mainstream for psych fans, but if Crack and Steve Drake can be highly sought after by collectors, it stands to reason that this equally (maybe more?) rare album should be too. Note: A song from the GoodThunder album is remade here with a new title and new lyrics. In usual hilarious tax scam fashion, the back cover lists a song that's not on the album and the total time is a scant 21 minutes and 53 seconds, not a second of which is wasted. 

Ignore the reference to the Cars-- they have nothing to do with this record, which in style is like any mid-seventies (hard) pop-prog record.  Notice here the extensive information on performers and composers, including the shocking presence of one Peter Cetera (on track 2).  Notably his entry is by far the weakest song.

There is one outstanding prog composition on the first side, which is (time has a) "Hold On You."  Check out how absolutely dynamically interesting the melodies are with their unrepentant and unflinching chromaticity, with the stanza deftly, or deviously, moving from the initial E minor to C sharp minor, and listen to the intermission instrumental passage with its climbing atonality (using the term appropriately here):

Ending on a majestic guitar solo, it just doesn't get any better than this folks...
This track was written by one Wayne Cook, of whom not much information here.  It was placed in pole position on the earlier Goodthunder album, with, as noted above, different lyrics, and a watered-down sound which to me sounds inferior to this Daddy demo-like version.

Amazingly the progressiveness gets even more enjoyable by the all too short side two.  Listen for example to the instrumental Space Suitor on the second side, starting with that familiar fat and fuzzy thick sustained B on the guitar evoking, probably unintentionally, the Tommy Pinball Wizard B:

How is it possible this track was never officially released, when it's so brilliant?

The other thing I love about this record is the fact it forms a cohesive whole, showing someone was thinking about this as a totality (presumably the band members), almost all the songs referencing time or the changes in life, as you will hear on listening closely to the lyrics, with an accent on a slight cynicism or perhaps the jaded melancholy of reflecting on how quickly our lifespans pass.

And then, consider how bizarrely and bitterly ironic it is that those avaricious and pathologically self-absorbed music execs made sure a piece of music that would otherwise have been completely forgotten will now be remembered forever!

What a story, and what a work of hard rock art we have here...  thanks to those jerks...  Such are the mysterious ways of art...

Look at the stunning cover art of the 1972 Goodthunder record mentioned above.  This has been released to CD.  On comparing the music side by side to the Daddy Warbucks opus, it is without a doubt inferior.


  1. daddy warbucks

  2. Hi Thank you
    it' s great, is it in 320 kbps quality ?