Friday, February 7, 2014

Blast From The Past-Four Seasons Who Loves You

I never been much of a Four Seasons fan, the high pitched falsetto of Frankie Valli sometimes puts me off and makes me change the channel whenever I hear Sherry or Candy Girl.  Upon hearing Private Stock's long deleted Four Seasons Story, I never quite caught on although without the direction of Bob Crewe and main Seasoner Bob Gaudio they would not have the hits.  There's personal favorite songs of note: Working My Way Back To You or Opus 17 (don't you worry about me) and B side Beggar's Parade.  They were a singles band, their albums tended to grate although the Genuine Imitation Life Gazette remains a curio classic, their response to Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band.

Like most teen idol bands their hits dried up and moving over to Motown didn't help either and The Four Seasons were regulated into oldies history, until they paired up with the evil Mike Curb and with help from Warner Brothers put out Who Loves You, a somewhat now dated attempt to go disco with the title track and nostalgia in the overplayed December 1963 (Oh what a night).  What got me to buy the album was their third single from that album Silver Star an underrated classic of a song that was bypassed on regular radio.  Kinda epic in its way, it begins with the piano driven beginning and is that a french horn doing the lead riff? At six minutes, Warners chopped it down to three and a half minutes. And starts out the record on a high note.

Listening to Who Loves You today still manages to hold up although the fast forward button gets pushed for Oh What A Night.  Gerry Polci, and Don Ciccone  compliments Valli fairly well since he could not hit the higher notes better than Frankie could at that time.  Even though there's the usual MOR fare (Slip Away) and pop songs via harmonies (Harmony Perfect Harmony) they attempt to shake things up with new wavish Mystic Mr Sam (B side to Silver Star) and Gaudio's attempt of prog rock; Emily Salladedanse (which actually ends on side 2 of the LP).  These two songs alone put a more varied and variety sound on Who Loves You.   And for these ears the WB album of Silver Star/Harmony/Storybook Lovers/Who Loves You and Side 2 Mr Sam, Dec 1963, Slip Away, Emily Salladeetcetc had a better flow than the Curb CD that came out in the 90s which rearranges the whole album into Who loves you, Mr Sam, Silver Star, Emily, Storybook, Dec 1963, Harmony, Slip Away in that order, which really shows more of a decline in song arrangement.   But still easier to take than the rest of the albums that the Four Seasons would put out, the disappointing Helicon, with Valli becoming more behind the scenes and Gerry Polci and Don Ciccone doing most of the vocals. Later, even more duller albums such as 1985 Streetfighter and 1991's bizzare Hope + Glory was forced upon the world, the latter Gaudio relying too much on the despised syn-clavier and not enough on songs.

Which leaves Who Loves You as the last genuine 4 Seasons album you could listen to.  

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