Roulette RecordsMidnight Rider Review by Joe Viglione: In a business where timing is everything, this well-conceived and well-executed recording, the Midnight Rider album, came five years too late. The inevitable pairing of producer Jeff Barry, the man who co-wrote Tommy James first hit, "Hanky Panky," and the recording artist on his fifth post-Shondells solo project, would have been the logical follow-up to My Head, My Bed & Red Guitar, the Nashville project which blended James' psychedelic pop with country music. Jeff Barry nicks the melody from Neil Young's "Like a Hurricane" for the title track, "Midnight Rider, and he borrows heavily from the Eagles' "Best of My Love" for "Bobby, Don't Leave Me Alone." Though the vocal performance and songs from Tommy James are top-notch, Barry missed the mark just slightly -- perhaps he really should have gone after that huge Eagles market to get Tommy another '70's hit. Like "Kingston Highway" or "Nothing to Hide" on My Head, My Bed & Red Guitar, or the sublime version of "Tighter, Tighter" on the majestic and superior In Touch album which preceded this, there is a potential hit here, Tommy James' original "Still Got a Thing for You." Maybe it was a bit too mellow, not as bouncy as his wonderful "Three Times in Love," but that isn't the fault of Tommy James or Jeff Barry as much as it was of the time -- and maybe Fantasy Records not understanding how to market this class act. "Double or Nothing" would have been a great FM hit had FM radio given James the leeway groups like the Guess Who and Blue Cheer enjoyed as the underground was sneaking through on the FM band. Varese Sarabande released a compilation of this album, some singles, and much of the In Touch disc in 2000 calling it Tighter, Tighter. Missing from the re-release are the final two tracks on this LP, "What Happened to the Girl" and "Keep It in the Groove," two originals written by producer Jeff Barry. With friends like Michael McDonald, Alan Estes, latter day Spirit member A. Stahaely, Timothy Schmitt, and others, the album is actually more of a companion to My Head, My Bed & Red Guitar than to In Touch. It is James being very musical, and further evidence the man deserves a four-CD boxed set to put things in perspective. Maybe they should have done a mellow version of "Hanky Panky" on this with Byrds-meets-Eagles' guitars, though that would have been tough to pull off credibly! Still, Midnight Rider is an important chapter in Tommy James interesting and entertaining career."
James, Tommy – Midnight Rider – Used LP
Regular price $ 3.00
Sleeve: G+ (writing on back; not actual sleeve in photo)
Gatefold. 1977. James in mellow singer-songwriter mode.