Category: Hall & Oates

Hall & Oates – War Babies

ARTIST: Hall & Oates              220px-Hall_Oates_War_Babies

TITLE: War Babies

YEAR RELEASED: 1974

CHART ACTION: #86

SINGLES: Can’t Stop the Music (He Played It Much Too Long)

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: I don’t think so.

LINEUP: Daryl Hall, John Oates, Todd Rundgren, Richie Cerniglia, Don York, John Siegler, Willie Wilcox, Sandy Allen, Gail Boggs

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: A Todd Rundgren production that missed the mark commercially but is very intriguing as a meld between the two artists.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: It’s easy to see how this missed the mark, in retrospect. The sound of this album is miles away from blue-eyed soul and pop, and is definitely in the mold of Todd Rundgren’s mid-70’s records. (He produced this, and had the early version of Utopia play on it). It didn’t sell, and Atlantic dropped them.

But, it’s a fascinating mix of Hall, Oates, and Rundgren. “Is It a Star” should have been the single (that or “You’re Much Too Soon”), and at least should have gotten them some FM radio play. The songs may have odd titles (“War Baby Son of Zorro”, “Beanie G and the Rose Tattoo”, “Johnny Gore and the ‘C’ Eaters) but Daryl Hall was always kind of a closet prog weirdo, it turns out. The songs, despite the arty production and sounds, have hooks and great singing (of course).

It doesn’t have any hits, but it’s worth a listen, especially if you like both Hall & Oates AND Todd Rundgren. That’s not really a weird combo it turns out.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: It was the first album to chart after release, but Abandoned Luncheonette charted higher on re-release a year later.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No

 GRADE A-: Better than I really expected, and only some of the wilder prog excursions in songs don’t work.

Hall & Oates – Abandoned Luncheonette

ARTIST: Hall & Oates       Hall_and_Oates,_Abandoned_Luncheonette_(1973)

TITLE: Abandoned Luncheonette

YEAR RELEASED: 1973

CHART ACTION: #33 US

SINGLES: She’s Gone (#60 US on first release; #7 US, #42 UK on re-release)

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Ooh…maybe Lady Rain??

LINEUP: Daryl Hall, John Oates and session hotshots like Chris Bond, Hugh McCracken, Jerry Marotta, Steve Gelfand, Bernard Purdie, and more…

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Second album by the duo finds their sweet spot in an updated blue-eyed soul sound, with a couple of tracks not working this time.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Daryl Hall & John Oates moved from their hometown of Philly to New York to take in that scene and work with Arif Mardin on their album. Together, they crafted a sound that was the start of the classic Hall & Oates sound.

This collection is fine for the most part, with a couple of highlights like “Lady Rain”, and the all-timer “She’s Gone”. Oates had more tracks on this record than the usual release, and his tracks aren’t the weaker ones.

The record kind of goes off the rails at the end – with “Laughing Boy” kind of a messy solo performance by Hall (though he loved to play it in concert) and the final track which goes from blue-eyed soul to a…hoedown…for some reason. Well, just stop it after “Lady Rain” then.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: This is supposedly the duo’s favorite record that they did.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No

GRADE B+: Wow, those last two tracks derailed it. The first seven cuts were good to great to all-timer, and then…

Hall & Oates – Whole Oats

ARTIST: Hall & Oates Hall_Oates_Whole_Oates
TITLE: Whole Oats
YEAR RELEASED: 1972
CHART ACTION: None
SINGLES: Goodnight & Good Morning, I’m Sorry
OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: None
LINEUP: Daryl Hall, John Oates, Jim Helmer, Mike Patto
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Philly duo records debut album with soft blue-eyed soul and ballads to the fore. It didn’t make much of an impression.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: There are some cuts on this debut album from Hall & Oates that would fit right in with most of their output. Only the production changed – the songwriting and motifs didn’t change much. You can hear some hooks there too.

Hall takes most of the vocals, as usual, and has five solo writing credits to Oates’ two, also usual. So that’s really the same as it would be later down the road.

The album loses steam on the ballads where it’s mostly Hall or Oates as a solo artist. They seem a bit treacly and sappy and the duo operate better playing off of each other. The production from Arif Martin is okay, but I could do without a heavy hand on some songs.

Nothing here is that memorable – the hooks don’t grab you. They’d improve on that for sure down the road.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: The promo pressings actually called the group “Whole Oats” as that’s what they named their partnership at first. They wisely chose to use their names soon after.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No.

GRADE: C: I’m exiling about half of this for now. You really could play this and not notice it for a while. The ballads really bring down the grade.