Personnel includes: Gerry Rafferty (vocals).
Encased in a classy sleeve painted by Scottish playwright John "Patrick" Byrne, the first LP from the tumultuous Stealers Wheel is a debonair affair comprised of the kind of accomplished and polished pub pop for which impetus Gerry Rafferty would become known as he subsequently rode out the decade on the sublime radio single "Baker Street ." Rafferty released his first solo slab, Can I Have My Money Back? (the title already showing signs of unrest) in 1971, and brought amigo Joe Egan from those sessions to the princely proceeding here. Worthy musical moments abound, all forever overshadowed by the clever corporate-snub "Stuck in the Middle With You" which branded the duo a one-hit wonder when the track took on a life of its own. Sadly, the song also foreshadowed the premature end of Stealers Wheel, and Rafferty and Egan continued to document the personal and professional turmoil of their short time together throughout their respective solo careers, even re-recording some of these early jewels. And though only Rafferty's star continued to rise, Egan harbors considerable talent as well, shining brightly on his Rubber Soul-influenced tapestry "Another Meaning"; however, he keeps bland company with Bad Company with the dumb thud of "I Get By." Meanwhile, Rafferty creates one of those oh-so-cosmic '70s grooves for "Outside Looking In," before being unfortunately caught in one of those oh-so-abrupt '70s fades at the end of side one. This vibe wouldn't be broken so drastically on CD, but for now, and seemingly forever, the platter must be flipped for the unique "Johnny's Song" wherein mountain-rock breaks surround Rafferty's wry life observations. Hidden nugget "Next to Me" extols mellow melancholy meditations exclusive to the West Coast and the Have a Nice Day Decade. Closing pastorale "You Put Something Better Inside of Me" inspired renditions by Ted Neeley and Raphael Ravenscroft. Ultimately, this very solid outing casts a somber shadow because of unfulfilled expectations. And any record this carefully crafted doesn't deserve to languish in the bins of obscurity, but such seems to be the fate of Stealers Wheel. At least the band will always be remembered through the cinematic revival of that supreme FM staple "Stuck in the Middle With You." [This album was re-released by Cherry Red in 2004.] ~ Whitney Z. Gomes
- RSD Release Date: DDD
- Format: Vinyl
- Genre: Rock
- Released: 10/30/2015