When I reviewed last year's 'Learning To Dance' on the site, I mentioned that Tempchin is probably best known as the writer of 'Peaceful Easy Feeling' and 'Swaying' To The Music' (aka 'Slow Dancing'), hits for The Eagles and Johnny Rivers, respectively. For this new simply arranged collection (of largely old, but never previously recorded - at least by him -songs), he's revisited the latter, a track he originally recorded with The Funky Kings 40 years ago. It's the opening number and, with pedal steel from producer Joel Piper, is as beautiful a love song now as it was then.
Written for a busking friend, 'Singing In The Street' (which is about exactly what it says) is another Funky Kings track from the same 1976 album while, featuring Waddy Wachtel on rhythm guitar, the easy lazing 'Old River' is a co-write with Bobby Whitlock, inspired seeing the river running by his house in Mississippi.
Another old number, 'Around Midnight', a song Tempchin has been playing live for the past decade or so with his current band, Rocket Science, is a late night jazzy number with a piano arrangement by John Barnard. Going back to the 60s, 'Circle Ties That Bind', featuring just Jack on guitar and harmonica and redolent of the folk club scene of the era, was one of the first he wrote and, although Hoyt Axton used to perform it live, it's never been recorded until now.
Featuring Piper on drums, banjo, mandolin and bass, set to a midtempo swayalong rhythm evocative of early Kristofferson et al, 'So Long My Friend' is another restless soul/roaming musician number, while, by contrast, written for a film but never included, 'Still Looking For A Way To Say Goodbye' is a piano ballad in the classic style of Jackson Browne.
Apparently composed on the spot for a night at a pop up club he ran on a store in Hollywood, 'Streets Of Midnight' is lost love number set to a similar walking rhythm as Tom Waits' 'Looking For The Heart of Saturday Night'.
Another co-write with Bobby Whitlock and again featuring Wachtel, 'I Got Her Right Where She Wants Me' is the sort of waltzing country soft shoe shuffle you might have expected to find on a George Jones album. The simply sung 'Song For You' is another joint composition, this time with Keith Harkin, a songwriter who was also a star of Celtic Thunder on PBS, the lyric booklet documenting how it all came about when Tempchin saw Harkin in a second hand clothes store wearing a T-shirt with the words Deus Ex Machina and was subsequently inspired by a friend who invited people to send him letters about their life to write a song about. Basically, this is Tempchin's song about that project.
Featuring Jessy Green on Dahlia five string violin, the penultimate cut is 'Tumbleweed', another number about a restless soul, a beautiful world-weary live recording from a Solana Beach club 2014, leaving the album to close with its arms swaying, lighters aloft title track, a song written back (and mentioning) when he and a friend traded under the name of The Silverados. Described as "The Great American Song!" by no less than Jackson Browne (who once played it in concert with Linda Ronstadt), it sounds like something that should be on an Eagles Greatest Hits and was, in fact, the title track of Randy Meisner's 1980 solo album, but this - complete with the spoken passage - is the first time Tempchin's recorded it. Meisner's version is great. Tempchin's is better. "I've got sings in heart", he sings, and he's been keeping these close to his chest for far too long.
|John Renbourn & Wizz Jones: Joint Control||Ashley Hutchings All Stars: As You Like It|
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