Apr 15, 2009
BUCKINGHAMS - PORTRAITS (COLUMBIA 1968) Jap DSD mastering cardboard sleeve + 4 bonus
In 1967-68, the dam burst for Chicago's Buckinghams, and the airwaves were awash with that wonderful sound: heartfelt vocals riding over lush horn arrangements. By year's end, Dennis Tufano, Carl Giammarese and company had scored major hits with "Don't You Care," "Mercy, Mercy, Mercy," "Hey Baby (They're Playing Our Song)," "Susan," "Back In Love Again" and more. In rapid order, the group released three Columbia albums: Time & Charges, Portraits, and In One Ear And Gone Tomorrow, jam-packed with Top 40 radio smashes and much, much more. In 1967 Billboard Magazine declared that The Buckinghams were the most popular band in the world..(!!!!)
Portraits is a "concept" album it is almost diametrically opposed to the image most people have of the Buckinghams. The hits, "Hey Baby" and "Susan" are totally out of place with the rest of the material on the album which was written by various members of the band. "C'mon Home", "Have You Noticed You're Alive" and "Any Place in Here" are just fabulous!
After producer James William Guercio steered the Buckinghams in a quasi-experimental direction with their previous album, the group continued to try out material too ambitious for the 45 rpm format on their third LP. The big difference this time around was that they wrote almost everything, instead of playing songs by Guercio and other outside writers. Some bands blossom given the room to stretch; others, when given the opportunity, prove that they're better off when constrained within the limitations of commercial singles. The Buckinghams, as laudable as their ambition was, fell into the latter category. The over-arching horn and string arrangements (still by Guercio), and occasional bouts of quasi-psychedelic weirdness -- not to mention the arty reprises of three songs -- couldn't disguise that these were, at heart, ordinary pop/rock songs trying to be something better and different...[net]