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14 Jun 2017

Jeremy Storch ‎ “From A Naked Window"1970 US Psych Pop Baroque Pop

Jeremy Storch ‎ “From A Naked Window"1970 US Psych Pop Baroque Pop
If you've ever heard his name, singer/keyboardist Jeremy Storch is probably known to you for his work with The Vagrants. It's doubtful more than a few folks have ever heard any of his early-1970s solo work, or have a clue of where life took him.
With the breakup of The Vagrants, Storch found himself signed to a solo career by RCA Victor. Released in 1970, Storch's debut "From a Naked Window" teamed him with producers Gary Illingworth, Ernie Aitschuler and Al Schwartz and a host of New York sessions players. The album was actually very good, though anyone expecting to hear something along the lines of The Vagrants' brand of heavy garage rock was bound to have been surprised to hear Storch-penned originals like 'Dream City' and 'Delia'. I was certainly dumbfounded the first couple of times I played the album. Largely abandoning The Vagrants-styled rock and roll grunge, Storch plunged headlong into anguished singer/songwriter mode, occasionally sprinkled with a lysergenic blanket. While the results weren't exactly the year's most upbeat collection, the material proved well suited for Storch's slightly nasal and strained voice. About half of the album was stark singer/songwriter material - 'Playground' and 'Message In the Wind' simply showcasing Storch and keyboards. The rest of the material featured more elaborate arrangements (courtesy of Illingworth), including a couple with classical influences and a couple of fuzz guitar supported efforts ('Man In the Sky' and 'Lady In the Sand'). Interestingly with the exception of the closing instrumental 'Delia', all of the original songs were bound together by Storch's highly personal and strange lyrics - 'Lynn and Sue Are a Country' appeared to provide a nod of approval to lesbian relationships. Fascinating in a weird, hard to describe fashion, the results probably horrified Vagrants fans.

Imagine an American version of Peter Hammill and you'll have a feel for what the set sounded like.................

Sampling has become such a taboo these days, with all the legal proceedings, restrictions and the overuse of obvious samples; that people forgot it is most of all, a form of art that can bring benefits not only to the sampling artist, but for the original act too. For example, if it wasn’t for DJ Shadow, this review would of never happened. The song “Building Steam With a Grain of Salt” from his critically acclaimed, sample-based album “Endtroducing…” made me curious about who was the guy behind that beautiful piano sample. Jeremy Storch is the guy.

Mostly known for his role as songwriter and vocalist for the rock group The Vagrants (that was an important part in the formation of one of the most rock bands from the beginning of the 70’s: “Mountain”). Jeremy Storch started his solo career in 1970 with his debut album “From A Naked Window”, and what a solo debut! “From A Naked Window” is a different step from the Vagrants work. The album is characterized by Storch’s songwriting and particularly nasal voice, with half of the songs composed by only his singing and piano play, while the other half have some good rock arrangements. One of the highlights here are the melodies, which are pretty elaborate and delightful, giving the album a dark, but beautiful and enjoyable feeling. “I Feel A New Shadow” and “Lady In The Sand” are examples of this atmosphere, with the first one bringing a stunning vocal harmony to the well-known piano riff. The ending track “Delia” is another result of Storch’s piano skills mixed with an elaborate harmony, this time produced by an orchestration that will give you chills.

With such quality material it’s a shame that this album needed 26 years to finally be recognized by some. Well, late is better than never i guess and all we can do is thank DJ Shadow and all the crate diggers/real samplers in the world for helping us find amazing musical gems like this ..........

I have to admit, I find this one rather spotty. Though all tracks bear his unmistakable signature, He presents his material in two distinctly different styles. If he were an acoustic guitar player, this album would be little different than so many other singer-songwriter LP's. But he is instead backed by piano, and just piano, on most of the songs offered, and with a fairly high-pitched, semi-nasally sounding voice that can be tough to stick with over the course of an entire LP. For me, this record's saving grace is the few cuts where he switches gears and rocks out. Though somewhat hard, these songs still seem to have a pop/psych sound that is much more appealing than the slower and more somber solo piano material. Had he only reversed the ratio between these two different styles, this would be well worth seeking out. As it is, your money could be better spent. But if you're a completest, wait for a reasonably priced copy. .....tymeshifter .............

- Jeremy Storch / vocals, piano, organ

A1 Dream City
A2 Playground
A3 Old Man In The Sky
A4 Message In The Wind
A5 Lynn And Sue Are A Country
B1 On The Right Road
B2 Lady In The Sand
B3 If You Are Going Home
B4 I Feel A New Shadow
B5 Delia

johnkatsmc5, welcome music..