The Emitt Rhodes Recordings 1969-73
4 out of 5 stars
Reviewed for Coffeerooms by Mike Jefferson
When you look up the terms unfulfilled potential, musical genius, and compelling composer in the dictionary, Rhodes' picture should appear right alongside the text. His 1970 debut, "Emitt Rhodes" put him on the road to stardom, but within four years it was "Farewell to Paradise."
Hip-O-Select has set right the many wrongs visited upon Rhodes by releasing the four albums he recorded between 1969 and 1973 in a 2 disc remastered set.
The closet artist I can compare Rhodes to would be Paul McCartney -- back when Macca mattered. Emitt looked like Paul's twin and recorded all the instruments himself on three of his four albums, just like Paul did for his first solo record.
Rhodes first came to public's attention at the age of 14 when he occupied the drummer's stool for The Emerals, a cover band that played in his adopted hometown of Hawthorne, California. The Emerals changed their name to The Palace Guard, recorded three singles that went straight to the discount bins and had the distinction backing actor Don Grady (of "My Three Sons" fame) during a recording session. By 16, Rhodes was the de facto leader of The Merry-Go-Round, a baroque/folk/rock quartet that placed a couple of minor hits ("Live" and "You're a Very Lovely Woman") on West Coast radio stations. Rhodes stayed on the merry-go-round for three years before striking out on his own, recording a solo album in 1969, "The American Dream," in order to fulfill the band's contract with A&M. The album featured noted session players Jim Gordon, Hal Blaine and Larry Knechtel, among others, and was the only one of Rhodes quartet of albums in which he used outside musicians. It was telling, however, that A&M chose not to release it until 1971.