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MIke Corbett and Jy Hirsh (LP)
 

MIke Corbett and Jy Hirsh (LP)

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Genre: rock
Rating: **** (4 stars)
Title:  Mike Corbett & Jay Hirsh with Hugh McCrackin
Company: ATCO
Catalog: SD 33-361
Year: 1971
Country/State: US
Grade (cover/record): VG+ / VG+
Comments: gatefold sleeve
Available: 1
Catalog ID: 4835
Price: $20.00

Here's another example of the old adage about judging a book by its cover ... I found this one at a yard sale, but was so put off by the Hirsh-drawn cover (is it a turkey?) that I put it back. I eventually went back to get it. Thank goodness it was still there.

Mike Corbett and Jay Hirsh had previously recorded an album as part of Mr. Flood's Party and while some references describe this as Mr. Flood Part 2, it's anything but. Co-produced by the pair, 1971's cleverly-titled "Mike Corbett & Jay Hirsh with Hugh McCrackin" abandoned the formers' mild psych moves in favor of a first-rate collection of CSN&Y-styled folk rock. Largely penned by Hirsh (Corbitt was credited with co-authoring two tracks), tracks such as 'Gypsy Child', 'Uncut Diamonds' and 'The Mighty Emerald' were full of great melodies and wonderful vocal harmonies that withstood a comparison to such stalwarts as CSN&Y. Hirsh had a voice that was quite attractive and even the trio's occasional forays into country-rock such as 'Seashore' and 'Goodnight My Lady' were enjoyable. The secret ingredient may well have been guitarist McCrackin whose tasty guitar ensured that the other two never got overly goopy (okay 'Swan Song' was kind of lame) - check out his slide work on 'Sweet Virginia' and the blazing rocker 'Agatha's Raven'. One of my favorite recent discoveries and (at least to my ears) way better than their Mr. Flood work.

- 'Gypsy Child' started out sounding like it was going to be a routine country number, but suddenly exploded into a very likeable country-rocker with some fantastic CSN&Y harmonies. I even liked the fiddle arrangement on this one !!! rating: **** stars
- If you're a CSN&Y fan then you'll instantly recognize the David Crosby influences on 'Uncut Diamonds'. Like the best of Crosby's work (think along the lines of 'Lady Guinevere'), this one had an unconventional song structure that was somehow still quite commercial and perhaps even more intriguing because it was so bizarre. Stunning vocal harmonies from the pair certainly didn't hurt ... rating: **** stars
- The first part of 'Ply with Me' found the pair dipping their collective toes into Poco-styled country-rock. About half way through the song took on more of a rock orientation with McCracken providing fantastic lead guitar and the best part of the song ... rating: *** stars
- 'Seashore' was a pretty acoustic ballad that once again served to underscore the pair's wonderful harmony vocals. Very reminiscent of Crosby and Nash's work as a duet. rating: *** stars
- 'Propelled by more McCracken guitar, 'Agatha's Raven' found the group taking a stab at a tougher rock sound. Simply one of the best songs on the album, this one made you wonder why they didn't record more stuff in this vein. My only complaint on this one was that it faded out way too early. rating: **** stars
- Another pretty acoustic ballad, 'Goodnight My Lady' showcased their patented harmony vocals and a weird series of horn solos. rating: ** stars
- Yeah, the lyrics were a bit on the hippy-dippy side, but 'The Mighty Emerald' had an insidiously catchy folk-rock melody complete with little kid chorus and Coral electric sitar ... rating: **** stars
- I've got a weak spot for acoustic slide guitar (a talent I dearly wish I had), so the bluesy 'Annie's a Wizard' instantly struck a chord with me. rating: **** stars
- 'Baltimore Ladies' served as an example of first-rate country-rock with an Americana lyric that would have made Paul Cotton and Rusty Young proud. rating: **** stars
- 'Sweet Virginia' was one of the album's hidden treasures. Initially I thought it was a forgettable country-tinged effort; somehow managing to overlook McCracken's dazzling electric slide guitar. That performance alone made the song worth hearing ... rating: **** stars
- A stark, acoustic ballad, 'Butterfly Day' was one of the few outright disappointments. The song wasn't bad, rather simply kid of dull. rating: ** stars
- I'm not sure I can accurately describe the appeal of 'Broken Sky', but to my ears it had the same unique vibe that made so many Beatles songs classic. Mind you, I'm not saying this sounds anything like The Fab Four (it doesn't), but Corbett and Hirsh's amazing vocals, coupled with a nifty melody gave this one that special sound. rating: **** stars
- Given the number of great songs on this album, it was unfortunate 'Swan Song' ended the set on a flat note - in this case a plodding singer/songwriter track that was simply too sensitive and fey for it's own good. rating: ** stars

Elsewhere ATCO pulled a pair or singles from the album:


- 'Gypsy Child' b/w 'Butterfly Day' (ATCO catalog number 45-6826)
- 'Broken Sky' b/w 'Broken Sky' (ATCO catalog number 45-6835)

Needless to say the LP did little commercially; Hirsh's turkey buzzard (?) cover certainly didn't help sales.

Another LP worth checking out, made better by the fact you can still find copies on the cheap.

"Mike Corbett & Jay Hirsh with Hugh McCrackin" track listing:
(side 1)
1.) Gypsy Child (Jay Hirsh) - 2:58
2.) Uncut Diamonds (Jay Hirsh) - 3:14
3.) Ply with Me (Jay Hirsh) - 5:30
4.) Seashore (Jay Hirsh) - 2:19
5.) Agatha's Raven (Mike Corbett - Jay Hirsh) - 2:14
6.) Goodnight My Lady (Jay Hirsh) - 2:49

(side 2)
1.) The Mighty Emerald (Jay Hirsh) - 3:44
2.) Annie's a Wizard (Jay Hirsh) - 1:25
3.) Baltimore Ladies (Jay Hirsh) - 3:17
4.) Sweet Virginia (Jay Hirsh) - 4:15
5.) Butterfly Day (Jay Hirsh) - 1:23
6.) Broken Sky (Mike Corbett - Jay Hirsh) - 2:53
7.) Swan Song (Jay Hirsh) - 3:31
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