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Articles Home » 1977 Articles » Sommer, Bert - 1977 Bert Sommer
 
Sommer, Bert - 1977 Bert Sommer



ARTIST: Sommer, Bert
ALBUM: Bert Sommer
LABEL: Capitol
SERIAL: ST-11684
YEAR: 1977

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:

LINEUP: Bert Sommer - lead vocals, guitar, piano * Hugh McCracken, Eric Lowen, David Spinozza - guitar * Alan Schwartzberg - drums * Will Lee, Russell George, Anthony Jackson - bass * Paul Shaffer - piano * Jimmy Maelen - percussion

TRACK LISTING: 01 Give It To Me * 02 She's A Woman * 03 When You Feel It * 04 Dance The Night Away * 05 Someone Like Me * 06 Destiny * 07 We Sail Tonite * 08 Stuck Inside The Maze * 09 I'm Alone * 10 Never Go Back


Background
The belated and trendy interest in Bert Sommer has seen his first three solo albums reissued on CD and inevitable name-checking from hipster pop artist's who in most cases sound nothing like him. A former cast member of 'Hair'; Sommer wrote five songs for Leslie West's pre- Mountain outfit The Vagrants and replaced vocalist Steve Martin Caro in baroque pop gods The Left Banke but it's his virtually ignored appearance at Woodstock - the most over-hyped of all '60s free-for-all's that's fueled Sommer's underground status as one of pop's unsung heroes. The truth is Sommer was a product of his time and the pastoral wide-eyed psychedelic optimism of his early albums, while charming, are a zillion miles from his 'me decade' tries at stardom. As the glittery superfly 'Flatbush' in the pre-fab television glam band Kaptain Kool and the Kongs; Sommer lasted just one season with this, his final solo album appearing a year later.


The Songs
Self-titled and produced by bubblegum wonder boy Ron Dante, this record has not found any favor among rose-coloured Sommer fans that never left the '60s, but it's their loss. It was seven years since his last album and a whole lot of changes in the music world found Bert sounding not that far removed from Burton Cummings, Andy Kim or early Barry Manilow for that matter. Dante's presence is felt throughout and a brace of ready for radio pop on 'Give It to Me', the sunny 'She's A Woman' and 'When You Feel It' gives the album a care-free vibe from another time and warmer place. The gospel tinged send-up 'Someone like me' would fit perfectly on one of the latter Guess Who albums and Sommer's voice does have that Burton Cummings feel throughout. Bright and shiny songs like 'I'm Alone' and 'Never Go Back' echo a by-gone era when AM radio and stacks of 45's made growing up a little easier.


In Summary
Bert Sommer died in 1990 and it's sad he never lived long enough to see the respect he's given today. Never on CD, it's a revisionist's world and I suppose that has something to do with this LP having been left out in the digital cold which is a shame since it's an important piece of the Sommer story many have read negatively about, but so few have actually heard.


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Comments
#1 | trillion1999 on October 08 2011 23:22:08
It seems i sleep-walk thru the reviews it was not until now I understood that his first three solo-albums has been released on CD.I did not keep the first but would love to get hold of the other two.Bert Sommer is a hero to me because of his Left Banke-connections.Never knew he had gotten hipster-status.Glad to have this LP.Smile
 
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