David Cassidy: Gettin’ it in the Street

David Cassidy’s third and final post-teen idol album for RCA

In the two years after David Cassidy walked away from Bell Records and his career as a teen idol, he recorded three albums for RCA. The first, The Higher They Climb, found success in Europe and spun out a pre-Barry Manilow hit recording of Bruce Johnston’s “I Write the Songs.” Cassidy’s second album for RCA, Home is Where the Heart Is failed to chart, as did the pre-release singles from this third album. RCA planned and then shelved the album’sU.S. release, though apparently copies were pressed and warehoused, as they began showing up in cutout bins three years later.

The album’s track list is an eclectic lot, including the autobiographical title tune (featuring the guitar playing of Mick Ronson), the boozy original “Rosa’s Cantina,” a cover of Harry Nilsson’s “The Story of Rock and Roll,” and a tune co-written by Cassidy, producer (and America founding member) Gerry Beckley and head Beach Boy, Brian Wilson. The latter, “Cruise toHarlem,” has the hallmarks of a mid-70s Brian Wilson tune, with a chugging rhythm and sophisticated vocal arrangement. The album closes with Cassidy’s original “Junked Heart Blues,” sung in a clenched voice that brings to mind Boz Scaggs.

Cassidy sings with terrific emotion throughout, including a duet withBeckleyon “Living a Lie,” but his more sophisticated and soulful pop-rock couldn’t find a place in the market. One has to wonder whether the “David Cassidy” name was still overshadowed by his earlier fame, making it difficult for listeners to accept him as a bona fide recording artist. The music he made fit well with the commercial mainstream of ‘76-77, but despite his artistry, chart success was not to be. Real Gone’s reissue includes the album’s original nine tracks, clocking in at thirty-four minutes, and features liner notes from Michael Ragogna. [©2012 Hyperbolium]

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