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Friday, September 22, 2017

Kevin Westlake - Stars Fade (In Hotel Rooms)

Name: Kevin Westlake
Album: Stars Fade (In Hotel Rooms)
Year:1976
Style: Bluesy & Country Rock. 
Similar Bands: Kinks, Rockets, Creedence Clearwater, Blasters, Rod McKuen, Ween's 12 Country Greats
One Word Review: Smooth Country Tributes
Based Out Of: London, England 
Label: Utopia
Stars Fade (In Hotel Rooms) -  Cover & Record
Stars Fade (In Hotel Rooms) - Back & Record

Stars Fade (In Hotel Rooms) (1976)
  1. Yankee Girl 1:41
  2. Stars Fade 2:32
  3. Anticipation 4:20
  4. The Girl 3:10
  5. I Like Rock n' Roll 2:20 /
  6. Love, Love, Love 3:57
  7. Sweet Green Eyes 3:47
  8. Pretty Boys Daces 2:30
  9. Borrowed From a Dream 3:23
  10. Monkee Tree 3:39
Album Rating (1-10): 6.0

Members & Other Bands:
Kevin Westlake - Guitar, Vox, Composer (BB Blunder, Blossom Toes, Ronnie Lane & Slim Chance, The Frankies)
Tony Meehan - Producer, Arrangement
Hugh Jones - Engineer
Keith Bessey - Engineer
Milton Glaser - Cover Design
Jimmie Jewell - Sax (Keef Hartley Band, Ronnie Lane & Slim Chance, Roger Daltrey, No Dice, The Hollies)
Billy Livsey - Keys (Slim Chance)
Steve Bingham  Bass (Slim Chance)

Unknown-ness: I've never heard of this artist. It looks like it may be a kinda plain, singer songwriter album. The straight lines and color fade, although resembles the window of the hotel room in the album title, it also has a bit of a Jazz artistic style to it, including the font- so it may be a little more than tedious guitar folk.

Album Review: Kevin was born into a world where music was prevalent. A drummer in the late 60’s his art college background allowed him to transition and weave easily between a couple of semi-popular bands and a solo career. Although he continued to play, art became the main focus of his career in the 80’s through to his death in 2004

“Yankee Girl” is a boozey, bouncy New Orleans big band jaunt. Lots of horns in the background, and a light pleasant vocal, reminding me of the Kinks. Odd how the song, that drips of bourbon street parade is considered a good style for a Yankee girl.
“Stars Fade” is a quieter, reflection of a song. With layered vocals during the verse, and echoing organ that rings out, the song is almost an easy listening track. But the bass countrifies the song a little.
“Anticipation” follows with a slow, leg dragging tempo, and it is either a big coincidence or appropriating the key line in 1975’s Rocky Horror Picture show, as the vocals drag out the last two syllables of the song title. The song builds as it moves along, bringing in sax, a chorus of backing female vocals, and a bit quicker drive. The vocals are a little singer-songwriter Beatle-y. The sax & keys play the song out to a fade
“The Girl” sounds like a slow Belle & Sebastian song at first, with the organ melody and tempo. But the vocals are soft, and the melody is not too complex, with a sleepy male vocal like Rod McKuen.
“I Like Rock n' Roll” kicks right in with a driving rock and roll tempo thanks to guitar and drums. It then becomes a pub rock version of RnR, driven by the piano melody. A sax plays out the instrumental, sticking to the basic melody.

“Love, Love, Love” starts of side two with a trip back to the southern, bluesy & boozy swamp stomping ditty. The chorus of Loves is layered with harmonizing backing vocals. The demeanor of the vocals are lazy, almost bored.
“Sweet Green Eyes” starts slow and quiet with a couple of chords held for a few seconds and soothing, vocals serenating a woman with mentioned green eyes. Overall it feels a little churchy, especially when the organ emerges from the main chords as its own distinct voice. The song ends somewhat abruptly.
“Pretty Boys Daces” kicks right in with an older honky-tonk style song. Driving bass line and country & wester style vocals, and twangy guitar in the background. The chorus slows the song down alongside the vocals, and supporting “Oooo’s” make the break seem important and angelic.  
“Borrowed From a Dream” begins with a barn dance style song with simple two note bass line and violin strings. The verse only keeps the bass line, and it loses the danceable element. The instrumental breaks should have an accompanying line dance, and it really does feel like it could be on Ween’s 12 Country Greats.
“Monkee Tree” starts with piano, and the vocals croon, with beatle-esq quality over the slowly growing musical accompaniment. The bass is featured prominently along with the pub room piano. There is one section where his vocals train higher for emphasis, which reminds me a lot of how Robert Schneider (of Apples In Stereo) sings “but you” toward the end of their song “Nobody But You.” The sad sax seems to echo sadness in the vocals. The song seems to reset itself with a bouncy section right before it ends.

Stand Out Track: Yankee Girl

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