Andrew Gold: Lonely Boy – The Asylum Years Anthology review

15 06 2020

Lonely Boy – The Asylum Years Anthology is a 6 CD / 1 DVD collection from Andrew Gold, released by Esoteric Recordings via Cherry Red on 24 July 2020. The collection features all of the solo albums released by the singer – songwriter on the Asylum label between 1975 and 1980.

Prior to his solo career, Andrew Gold worked with Linda Ronstadt, as multi-instrumentalist and arranger for her 1974 Heart Like a Wheel album.

The Lonely Boy anthology contains the studio albums Andrew Gold (1975), What’s Wrong With This Picture (1976), All This And Heaven Too (1978) and Whirlwind (1980). The studio albums are all newly re-mastered from the original Asylum Records master tapes, and have never sounded better.

Disc 5 is titled Out-Takes And Unreleased Recordings, with disc 6 consisting of Live Recordings – Released 1976 / 1977 whilst the final disc is a DVD of promotional videos and live recordings / interviews (including quite a few from the legendary Old Grey Whistle Test TV show).

The debut album perfectly captures the mood and the sound of 1975, with a mixture of early 70s Laurel Canyon and late 60s Beatles inspired harmonies, particularly on Heartaches in Heartaches and Hang My Picture Straight.

The most familiar song on Gold’s debut is Endless Flight, that was famously covered by Leo Sayer on his best-selling 1976 album of the same name.

What’s Wrong With This Picture? contains Gold’s most famous song, Lonely Boy but is a solid mid-70s rock/pop album in its own right. Highlights include the bittersweet ballad Passing Thing, the mostly acoustic and country tinged Firefly plus a playful cover of Maurice Williams’s Stay (that was also recorded a year later by Jackson Browne, in slightly rewritten form, on Browne’s Running On Empty album).

All This and Heaven Too is the most rewarding of Gold’s solo albums from the Asylum years period. How Can This Be Love has hints of 10cc (Gold would later record with 10cc and form Wax with Graham Gouldman).

The charming space-themed Oh Urania (Take Me Away), the sparse but haunting beauty of Looking for My Love and the masterpiece that is Genevieve are career-highlights. This is the beauty of box-sets such as this, discovering songs that never made it onto mainstream radio at the time, and certainly do not feature on 70s or 80s themed radio stations now but are lost classics, crafted with love and deserving of our attention.

Most people will know the two big hits from this album, Thank You for Being a Friend (the theme to NBC sitcom The Golden Girls) and Gold’s biggest hit in my neck of the woods, Never Let Her Slip Away, which features background vocals from J. D. Souther, Timothy B. Schmit (Poco / Eagles) and rumour has it, an uncredited Freddie Mercury. Never Let Her Slip Away is one of my favourite singles from the seventies, and a perfect pop song.

The Asylum years ended with the Whirlwind album, released as the new decade began. More guitar-heavy than previous Gold albums and more in-step with current trends such the new-wave infused pop of The Police and Joe Jackson, highlights include the nods to his earlier work with Sooner or Later and the slide-guitar driven Make Up Your Mind.

The live recordings disc, with performances from 1976 and 1977 is overflowing with memorable performances, and the quality is pretty good, considering the age of the recordings.

The out-takes and unreleased recordings disc is a fascinating dip below the artist’s engine, with excellent alt-takes such as a must-hear version of Lonely Boy and a sublime bossa-nova instrumental version of Genevieve.

The sleeve-notes, lyrics and an informative essay on Gold’s work from Don Breithaupt add to the value of this essential collection for lovers of 70s music.

Lonely Boy – The Asylum Years Anthology is an excellent collection, that provides the best of the 70s work of Andrew Gold, and also serves as a charming snapshot of this period in rock and pop music.

Buy Lonely Boy – The Asylum Years Anthology on CD


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