Andy Cabic’s been a mainstay here at RSTB and his latest LP captures a new dose of mountain air in his sails. As I mentioned last week in my review, “Themes of wanderlust, lost love and new beginnings have (rightly) earned the album comparisons to Tom Petty’s mid-life high water mark Wildflowers. Shades of R.E.M. jangle up and there’s a rootsy honesty that knocks at Crazy Horse’s door.” It’s one of Cabic’s most unfussed, and yet one of his most affecting works. The Gems column always offers a chance to look behind the curtain on what an artist finds dear and Cabic shines a proper light on a country treasure that’s certainly in line with the amber hues and cool breezes thrumming through the wires of his own recent songwriting. Check out Andy’s take on an early ’70s forgotten treasure from Jane Getz below.
“Jane Getz’s 1973 solo album No Ordinary Child is a really unique record more people should know about,” muses Cabic. “Getz is a talented pianist, producer and songwriter who did a fair amount of session work in the 70’s playing on albums by Harry Nilsson & John Lennon, Jimmie Spheeris and the Bee Gees, to name just a few. Getz grew up on the West Coast, a child prodigy on the piano, memorizing Mozart pieces at the age of 6. She traveled East in her teens, moving to New York and an early career playing jazz with Pharaoh Sanders, Mingus, Stan Getz and other luminaries. (She wrote a book about her travels in the jazz world called Runnin’ With The Big Dogs) Her songwriting first surfaced with a group she led called Mother Hen and a great album they recorded in 1971. Featuring a stellar cast of heavy cats like Clarence White, Danny Kortchmar, Lee Sklar, Russ Kunkel and Sneeky Pete, Mother Hen introduced Getz’ striking voice and song stylings to the pop world.”
Elaborating, Cabic notes, “Sneeky Pete returns and plays on a lot of No Ordinary Child along with Jim Keltner, John Seiter and an extended cast of LA session players. There’s even a mariachi band on one tune! There are elements of country, boogie woogie, blues, ballads, Broadway; a wide range of sounds and styles that feel easily connected by Getz’ piano and vocals. Everything comes together here with a focus and depth that make the songs feel related, as vignettes in a larger tale. Part of the shimmer of the album includes the lovely arrangements by Nick DeCaro, an incredible talent who was an in-house arranger for A&M Records as well as a musician and performer on his own. His solo album Italian Graffiti is another overlooked gem and a big favorite of mine. If Nick DeCaro is on the credits of an album, I’m picking it up.”
This is one of those entries that solidifies the feature for me. I’d never heard Getz’ name before, let alone this ’73 gem she’s given to the world. Cabic’s praise is well-earned, and the record proves an entrancing listen. This one isn’t in print on LP, though in true Hidden Gem fashion, its pretty cheap to pick up second hand. I’d recommend giving it a listen and letting it into your life, not to mention grabbing a companion copy of Vetiver’s latest on Mama Bird, just out last week.
Support the artist. Buy it HERE.