Harry Nilsson – Pandemonium Shadow Show

ARTIST: Harry Nilsson 220px-Harry_Nilsson_Pandemonium_Shadow_Show
TITLE: Pandemonium Shadow Show
SINGLES: Without Her, You Can’t Do That (#122, #10 Canada), River Deep-Mountain High
OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Ten Little Indians was covered by the Yardbirds. The Monkees did Cuddly Toy.
LINEUP: Harry Nilsson + studio musicians.
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Songwriter and singer creates an album of psychedelic whimsy which sounds a bit dated, and to my ears, a bit too cute.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: The era around Sgt. Pepper was an interesting time in music. Here, we have an interesting album by a later-famous songwriter and singer. Nilsson goes a bit crazy in the studio, which I think dilutes his already excellent song-writing. It just seems all flash and show to me, but I wasn’t that big into music hall.

His choice of covers is interesting. “You Can’t Do That” is an interesting mix, but he doesn’t do “River Deep-Mountain High” any favors, and “She’s Leaving Home” is dependent on if you like the song or not.

This is probably best heard once, but not again unless you’re really into music hall and / or preposterous psychedelic pop

NOTES & MINUTIAE: This is how Harry Nilsson met the Beatles, and John Lennon in particular. Their publicist heard a track, bought a crate of albums and gave them out to the Beatles and friends – and they loved it.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: Well – in 1971 he did a ‘remix’ of this and his next album. He didn’t really need to.

GRADE: C+: I think there’s just too much tom foolery her obscuring the songs.


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