Monday, 30 April 2018

Bernie Schwartz (Everly Brothers,Comfortable Chair) “The Wheel” 1970 US Acid Folk Rock,Country Rock


Bernie Schwartz  (Everly Brothers,Comfortable Chair) “The Wheel” 1970 US Acid Folk Rock,Country Rock
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By the time he released this solo album in 1970, Bernie Schwartz was a veteran of the Hollywood music scene, having collaborated with The Everly Brothers on some unsuccessful singles, written songs for The East Side Kids and The Yellow Payges, and played with psych-pop band The Comfortable Chair. Co-produced with Wesley Watt and Bill Lincoln of Euphoria, The Wheel effortlessly spans wild psychedelic rock and gentle ballads. Expertly written, played, and sung, it’s a lost classic, reissued here for the first time….~

By the mid 1960s Schwartz shifted his attention from performing to writing where he began to make a name for himself; placing material with The East Side Kids, Power and The Yellow Payges. The resulting publicity allowed him to return to recording via the short-lived band The Comfortable Chair. Unfortunately, the band broke up after one poor selling album (“The Comfortable Chair”). Things didn’t improve when Uncle Sam served Schwartz with an induction notice. Claiming conscientious objector status, he began working for Goodwill Industries, in his spare time continuing his collaboration with Sheeley who had recently signed a writing deal with Pierre Cosette and Burt Sugarman’s newly formed, MGM-affiliated CoBurt Records. 

A series of demos saw Cosette and Sugarman sign Schwartz to a recording contract, resulting in the release of 1970’s “The Wheel”. Produced by Schwartz and Euphonic Productions, the album featured an intriguing group of collaborators, including Comfortable Chair cohort Gene Garfin, former Stone Ponies guitarist Kenny Edwards and Euphoria’s Bill Lincoln and Wesley Watt (the album included a cover of Euphoria’s “Sunshine Woman”). Showcasing a mixture of original songs and interesting covers (Fred Neil, Randy Newman and Neil Young), musically the set was equally intriguing, spanning the spectrum from the pretty country-rock-flavored title track to light psych ( a cover of Kenny Edwards’ “Follow Me”). So what were the highlights? Well, I’ll cast my vote for the rocking cover of Fred Neil’s “Candy Man” (check out the meltdown guitar solo) and the Euphoria cover “Sunshine Woman”. A little too unfocused to be a classic album, but all told, one of my favorite recent discoveries and well worth the price of admission … by…RDTEN1 ….~

Bernie Schwartz’s first classic single, Her Name Is Melody was released off Warner Brothers in late 1966 under the name Adrian Pride. This record is an excellent, early stab of raga rock that was perhaps too adventurous for pop audiences though its interesting to note that both Don and Phil Everly produced this fabulous single. 
Even prior to this, Schwartz had been releasing obscure singles under the stage name Don Atello in 1963/1964. Around 1967/1968 Schwartz joined psychedelic pop band Comfortable Chair who released a solid lp in 1968. The Wheel, released in 1969 off Coburt/MGM was quite a departure from Schwartz’s earlier psych pop leanings. The Wheel is an excellent album, mixing hard rock, country-rock and folk-rock into something similar to Euphoria’s sole album or Neil Young’s Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere. The Euphoria duo of Wesley Watt and Bill Lincoln actually appear on this disc and one can hear Watt’s wild fuzz guitar playing on Schwartz’s epic cover of Sunshine Woman. There are also a few more ace fuzz rockers in Follow Me and a brutally intense reading of Fred Neil’s Candy Man. 
Everything about this album is on target from Schwartz’s superb vocals to the songwriting, production and tight musicianship. This is one of the best 60s albums never to make it onto cd without a doubt. The Wheel’s leadoff track, Where Can I Hide is a country folk-rocker with lyrics that deal with disillusionment, depression and escapism. It’s a brilliant track that had strong hit potential though its deep, world weary tone could have thrown off more than a few listeners. Another track with similar lyrical concerns is the awesome country-rocker Lost My Wings. It’s a classic of the genre with wonderful steel guitar playing and a righteous bridge that symbolizes everything that is great about 60s rock n roll. Other mellower tracks such as Randy Newman’s Think It’s Gonna Rain Today, Don’t Make It Bad, Can’t Go On, and the beautiful rural rocker Peace On Earth are just as good and grow on the listener with repeated plays. 
Sometime after the release of the Wheel, Bernie Schwartz quit rock music to focus on writing psychology books. The Wheel is proof that there are many rare, great recordings that have not been reissued on cd. I found a near mint copy on ebay for about $25 and would recommend this lp to anyone with an interest in 60s rock…..Rising Storm review…~

Vocals – Bernie Schwartz 
Musicians – Gene Garfin, Grant Johnson, Wesley Watt, Kenny Edwards, Kevin Kelley, Bill Lincoln

Tracklist 
A1 Where Can I Hide
A2 Candy Man
A3 Lost My Wings
A4 Round And Round
A5 Follow Me
B1 Peace On Earth
B2 Sunshine Woman
B3 Don’t Make It Bad
B4 Think It’s Gonna Rain Today
B5 Can’t Go On 

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