Sunday, July 25, 2010

Nothing can hold the tears in me

Back in the 70s I was an avid reader of "Stereo Review" and especially the reviews by rock critic Steve Simels (now a co-host over at the fabulous Power Pop). He mentioned a long lost classic 45 by The Left Banke, the 1967 followup to their hit Pretty Ballerina. Desiree was a chart failure, barely denting the Billboard top 100 before disappearing in the mist. I searched high and low for years and was finally rewarded when a greatest hits LP was released in the 80s.

What other pop record starts with a string quartet and bassoons? It is a song of incredible complexity - mulitple sections which intertwine betwixt and between organ, trumpet, strings, brass, jangly guitar and the kitchen sink. Lead singer Steve Martin has a one-of-a-kind tenor voice that works perfectly within the baroque atmosphere of Michael Brown's compositions. And that ending with the cacophony of "la la las" over the orchestral counterpoint sends me over the edge. A guaranteed 2 and 1/2 minutes of pure listening pleasure.


Holly A Hughes said...

Wow -- cool song. I know I never heard this one -- though Walk Away Renee and Pretty Ballerina were two of my very favorites from that era. Kinda psychedelic sounding too!

Mister Pleasant said...

Same for me Holly. Until I read about "Desiree" ten years after its release, "Pretty Ballerina" was the song that sent me over the edge for the Left Banke. I will be writing about it soon.

For me "Desiree" is monumental, a giant leap forward by a band of nerdy teenagers. That it failed after their earlier successes does not dissuade me from listing it at number twelve on my all-time favorite singles list.