I'll buy just about any album with Michael Lloyd's name on it. I first grew to love his work via his productions for the Osmond family and other 70s teen idols like Leif Garrett and Shawn Cassidy. But his credits appear on dozens and dozens of album from the period. Like other great producers of the 70s, such as Dennis Potter, Freddy Perrin and Lamont Dozier, even his least distinguished work is worth a gamble at the local thrift store (where the greatest gamble of course is not price, but that unbearable stop at the checkout counter).
Mr. Lloyd's pre-70s work is actually considered collectible. As a teenage wunderkind, he produced bands like October Country (whose "My Girlfriend Is A Witch" was later covered by the Cattanooga Cats) and Fire Escape, and released a cult classic by his own band, The Smoke. Later, barely out of his teens, he ran the MGM A&R department for Mike Curb. But he stakes a true claim to history as a member of the West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band. Along with having has got to be one of the worst-ever names for a group, the WCPAEB left behind a fascinating legend, which is described in loving detail over at RockMuse.com.
Naturally, it's Lloyd's exploitation efforts that attract the strongest resonance here at Bostworld. His series of "songbook" albums by "The Rubber Band" (featuring The Smoke's guitarist Stan Ayeroff and drummer Steve Baim) and other wholly fabricated studio entities offer all that tasty Lloyd studio ear candy without the annoying burden of having to absorb a real band or acclimate to their all-new material. It's also comforting to hear the work of such artists as Cream, Creedence, the Doors, the Beatles, Rolling Stones and of course Jimi Hendrix, properly defanged in a low-budget, middle-of-the-road milieu.
Which of course brings us to our featured album. Comprised of a scant eight numbers, "Hendrix Songbook" clocks in at well under a half hour. The arrangements add a horn section, keyboards and the occasional orchestral instrument to a hard rock three-piece rhythm section. The trio rocks out serviceably, and at the end they jam (on the appropriately named "Rubber Jam"). That leaves only seven short Hendrix numbers. And since "The Wind Cries Mary" and "All Along The Watchtower" are both exclusively orchestral, only five tracks that actually bring the Hendrix. But those remaining five, including "Little Miss Lover" and "Fire" are completely reasonable, while "Manic Depression" is entirely awesome.