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Key - Fit Me In (LP)

Key - Fit Me In (LP)

Price: $150.00 currently not available     
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Genre: pop
Rating: 4 stars ****
Title:  Fit Me In
Company: EMI/Electrola / Emily
Catalog: 1C 06-45 137
Year: 1978
Country/State: Germany / UK
Grade (cover/record): VG+ / VG+
Comments: German pressing; original lyric inner sleeve
Available: 1
Catalog ID: 5649
Price: $150.00

Wish I knew more about this short-lived Anglo-German duo. There isn't a great deal of info out there on the group and what you stumble across is essentially the same paragraph rehashed time after time.  

So what do I know about these guys? Singer/multi-instrumentalist Volker Langefeld and drummer Alan Warren (mis-spelled Warran on the liner notes), were the mainstays behind this short lived outfit. As The Key, they recorded one of the best (if completely overlooked) post-Fab Four Beatlesque albums released in the 1970s. Signed by EMI's short lived Emily subsidiary, the company seems to have sunk some big money into the album, recording tracks in at least six studios scattered across England and Germany. Co-produced by Langefeld and former March Hare member Barry Guard, "Put Me In" showcased a series of thirteen slices of glistening mid-1970s pop. Largely written by Langefeld (Warren co-wrote 'And the Rain' and 'I'd Really Go for a Lady'), material like 'The Farmer and the Fisherman', 'Lazy Star' and 'Pretty Little Star' clearly reflected the duos' deep affection for the Paul McCartney school of pop. Langefeld had a great voice and unlike a lot of German singers, exhibited little or no accent on the performances (all sung in English). Credited with playing virtually all of the instruments except drums, the guy was also a truly gifted musician. Check out his guitar solo on the title track. Anyhow, here's a quickie breakdown on the individual songs:

- 'The Farmer and the Fisherman' made it clear these guys were proud of their Beatles-fixation. Shimmering guitars, a pounding melody, coupled with a 'Magical Mystery Tour' feel made for a great opening track. rating: **** stars
- Showcasing Langefeld's multi-tracked voice (complete with Liverpudlian accent) and Macca-styled fluid bass line 'And the Rain' was a great ballad. rating: **** stars
- Kicked along my some great acoustic guitar and another great bass pattern 'Pamela' was an extremely catchy slice of top-40 pop. Eric Carmen and The Raspberries would have killed for a hook as catchy as this one. rating: **** stars
- With a feel that recalled something along the lines of 'Martha My Dear' (yeah I know that was a Beatles track), the acoustic 'Lazy Bird' sounded like an outtake from one of McCartney's early-1970s solo albums - say 'Ram'.  rating: **** stars
- The mixture of catchy melody, barrelhouse piano, and pseudo-psych instrumentation made 'Pretty Little Star' sound like Emmitt Rhodes doing his best Paul McCartney imitation ... one of my favorites tracks. rating: ***** stars
- The only real side 1 disappointment, the Dixieland-flavored 'Old Fashioned Boogie' opted for cutie (unfortunately a McCartney tendency the duo apparently picked up). rating: ** stars
- Even though it had a "White Album" styled feel the ballad 'Half as Much' struck me as the second flat spot, making the George Harrison-ish guitar solo the best part of the tune.  rating: ** stars
- Showcasing their pop sensibilities complete with Mexican styled horns and 'Admiral Halsey' styled vocal effects, 'I'd Really Go for a Lady' found the duo diving squarely back into early McCartney solo career territory. rating: *** stars  
- 'Dragonamonia' found the pair pulling out another McCartney staple in the form of a 1950s-styled rocker. Surprisingly enjoyable with another great lead guitar from Langefeld. rating: *** stars
- One of the few tracks that strayed from their McCartney-inspired baseline, 'Fit Me In' sounded like a slice of Chinn-Chapman inspired Brit-pop. Actually quite good with another nice lead guitar for Langefeld. rating: *** stars
- Sounding effortless, 'Sometimes' was another pretty acoustic ballad that echoed back to something off of an early McCartney solo effort.   rating: *** stars
- I'm on the fence with respect to the closer 'Western People'. Kind of a 'Tax Man' styled slap at Western beliefs. Nothing wrong with that, but it lacked the spunk of the former. Call it the second flat spot on the album.  rating: ** stars

All hyperbole aside, anyone who enjoyed the likes of Badfinger, The Raspberries, or Emmitt Rhodes was bound to be entranced by this set.  

For some reason the album was only released in Spain and West Germany and though it came out in the midst of a market craving disco madness, Krautrock experimentation, or punk aggression it apparently sold well enough for Electrola/Emily to front the pair some promotional money which they used to hire a band, including Michael Lowery and hit the road to promote the album. 

Though I've never seen or heard it, they apparently released at least one non-LP follow-up single. (If you've got the details, let me know). Unfortunately EMI wasn't happy with sales and promptly dropped the duo.

"Fit Me In" track listing:
(side 1)
1.) The Farmer and the Fisherman (Volker Langefeld) - 
2.) And the Rain (Volker Langefeld - Alan Warran) - 
3.) Pamela (Volker Langefeld) - 
4.) Lazy Bird (Volker Langefeld) - 
5.) Pretty Little Star (Volker Langefeld) - 
6.) Old Fashioned Boogie (Volker Langefeld) - 

(side 2)
1.) Half as Much (Volker Langefeld) - 
2.) I'd Really Go for a Lady (Volker Langefeld - Alan Warran) - 
3.) That Game (Volker Langefeld) - 
4.) Dragonamonia (Volker Langefeld) - 
5.) Fit Me In (Volker Langefeld) - 
6.) Sometimes (Volker Langefeld) - 
7.) Western People (Volker Langefeld) - 

Thanks to a 2007 reissue by the Rev-Ola label (catalog number 211), this one's readily available in CD format (complete with four bonus tracks - 'Ba-Uwa-Mare-Re', 'Until The Day', 'Should You Ever Meet Again' and 'Cause You're A Lady'). That said, good luck finding a copy of the 1978 original on Electrola/Emily.

I've never heard any of it, but Volker seems to have briefly reappeared as a member of the Duesenberg.  If anyone knows what happened to the pair, drop me a line.
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