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Buzz Clifford - See Your Way Clear (LP)

Buzz Clifford - See Your Way Clear (LP)

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Genre: rock
Rating: 3 stars ***
Title:  See Your Way Clear
Company: Dot
Catalog: DLP 25965
Year: 1969
Country/State: Berwyn, Illinois
Grade (cover/record): VG+ / VG+
Comments: small cut out hole bottom left corner
Available: 1
Catalog ID: 6184
Price: $25.00

Frustrated with music, Clifford joined the National Guard. When his enlistment was up in 1964 he relocated to Los Angeles where he was hired by Hastings Music as a songwriting, placing material with the likes of Keith Barbour ('Echo Park') Petula Clark, Kris Kristofferson, and Leon Russell.

So jump ahead to 1968 when he was brought into the band Hamilton Streetcar as a replacement for guitarist Michael Georgiades. The Streetcar managed to record one interesting pop-psych LP before calling it quits at which time Clifford decided to resurrect his solo career. On the strength of his Streetcar credentials and his songwriting successes (notably Keith Babour's 1969 hit with 'Echo Park'), he was signed as a solo act by Dot (which had coincidently been Hamilton Streetcar's label),. The resulting album 1969's "See Your Way Clear" was produced by former Challengers drummer Richard Delvy (who had also produced the Hamilton Streetcar album). The collection teamed Clifford with an extensive collection of friends, including members of Colours (Jack Dalton, Robbie Edwards, and Gary Montgomery), The East Street Kids (David Doud, Mark Doud and David Potter), and Moon members David Jackson and David Marks. With Clifford responsible for penning nine of the eleven tracks, musically the album was quite diverse including stabs at country-rock ('Hollywood Joe'). pop ('(Baby I Could Be) So Good At Loving You'), and conventional rock (a toughened-up cover of Hamilton Streetcar's 'I See I Am'). As a singer Clifford didn't have the most dynamic voice you've ever heard, but his voice was versatile and made the most of his chops.

- Geez, how best to describe 'Procter & Gunther' ? Um, to my ears this one sounded like something out of Delaney and Bonnie's collaboration with Eric Clapton (think along the lines of "Delaney & Bonnie On Tour with Eric Clapton". A gsoepl-tinged blue-eyed soul number, the song shared the same raw, bluesy vocal style Delaney brought to the table. The comparison was underscored by the Clapton-styled slide guitar. If you liked that genre this was a great song. Otherwise ... not so much. Dot tapped it as a single. rating: *** stars
- 'I Am the River' was a pretty, slightly acid-tinged ballad that would have been even better without the heavy orchestration. Anyone know what the weird sound effect was ? rating: *** stars
- An early stab at country-rock, 'Hollywood Joe' again recalled something out of the Delaney and Bonnie catalog. The song actually picked up considerable speed as it went along and served as a nice platform for one of the album's best guitar solos. rating: *** stars
- Every time I hear 'Ocean Liner' I reminded of a Young Rascals song. Like the best of Felix Cavaliere and company, this one had a distinctive blue-eyed soul feel and a nice pop-rock melody. It also sported another fantastic guitar solo - anyone know what the effect was ? rating: *** stars
- 'Hawg Frog' (love the title) found Clifford beating Joe South at his own game. Want to hear a real swamp rocker that embeds a truly funky beat ? Well here's the song you need to hear. The song also featured a great freak-out organ solo. My pick for standout performance on the album. rating: **** stars
- 'Angeline' was a breezy acoustic number that bore more than a passing resemblance to something out of Nilsson's mid-1960s catalog, rating: *** stars
- Side two opened up with one of two non-originals - a cover of Ricky Sheldon's 'We'll All Get By'. I'm not a big country fan so this one had limited appeal to me. The song did sport an interesting guitar riff and Clifford's snarling vocal (a countrified Elvis sneer) was kind of cool. rating: ** stars
- A couple of years ago I put this album on CD and one day I was driving a friend somewhere when 'Children Are Crying Aloud' came on. My friend had no idea who was on the CD but mentioned something to the effect he'd never heard this Crowded House song. Thing is he was right on target. A pretty, heavily orchestrated ballad, the song does bare an uncanny resemblance to a Tim Finn song. rating: *** stars
- Keith Barbour enjoyed a top-40 hit with his cover of 'Echo Park'. I can't say I ever liked it all that much - overly sentimental and emotive. Clifford's version of his own song was marginally better ... The country-soul acoustic guitar helped a but. rating: ** stars
- Quite unlike anything on the rest of the album, '(Baby I Could Be) So Good At Loving You' almost sounded like a raw demo recorded to showcase Clifford's knack for penning catchy pop melodies. It actually had more of a 1966 feel than 1969, but was quite enjoyable and would have made a nice am radio single. rating: *** stars
- Clifford's 'I See I Am' had previously been released on the Hamilton Streetcar album. Here it was given an extended (eight plus minute running time) and toughened-up arrangement. The instrumentation was occasionally a but fussy, but the overall results were quite impressive, One of the best songs in the album. rating: **** stars

The album was tapped for a single in the form of:

- 1969's 'Proctor & Gunther' b/w 'I Am the River' (Dot catalog number 45-17344)

Well worth looking for, as is the Hamilton Streetcar album !!!

"See Your Way Clear" track listing:
(side 1)
1.) Procter & Gunther (Buzz Clifford) - 2:10
2.) I Am the River (Buzz Clifford) - 2:45
3.) Hollywood Joe (Daniel Moore) - 3:12
4.) Ocean Liner (Buzz Clifford) - 2:37
5.) Hawg Frog (Buzz Clifford) - 4:00
6.) Angeline (Buzz Clifford) - 1:35

(side 2)
1.) We'll All Get By (Ricky Sheldon) - 2:35
2.) Children Are Crying Aloud (Buzz Clifford) - 3:03
3.) Echo Park (Buzz Clifford) - 3:29
4.) (Baby I Could Be) So Good At Loving You (Buzz Clifford) - 2:45
5.) I See I Am (Buzz Clifford) - 8:18
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