“Well, Well,” Said the Rocking Chair — Dean Friedman — W.A.C.#1

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“Well, Well,” Said The Rocking Chair

My thoughts

I hate the word wacky; so many attribute it to Friedman and it just doesn’t apply here. Friedman is cheeky in some of his writing but its not anything obtuse. This album displays a lot of Friedman’s talent and it really is a shame he wasn’t more popular so as to get more. Then again, the man kept on writing and still performs today. Just not to catch the public’s imagination.

Friedman’s style really invests a sort of natural personality into his work, whereas many musicians are attempting a vocal perfection that leaves a clinical feel. Everything here screams the artist. Taking the lyrics from Don’t you ever dare:

It’s irresponsible. It isn’t right it isn’t fair.    I couldn’t give a good God damn.

It only makes me crazy ’cause I care.

He practically spits the lyrics “good God damn” and then trails of wistfully, leaving the instrumentals to pick up his mood. This is good writing, just from a purely intellectual point of view.

This is Friedman’s style: a solid tenor voice – Not uncomparible to Billy Joel but so different in style. Friedman is talented; as both a writer and performer. There’s a real versatility in the songs here. Ranging from ballads to comedy and a level of depth in his lyrics. His songs are backed by the standard percussion, rhythm and lead guitars, with the occasional peek from some jazzy sax, bell sounding keyboard, or well placed sound effect.

Exploring some of the tracks in a little more depth; just reading opinions about the title track seems to paint pictures of a certain “wackiness” ascribed to Friedman, which is nonsense. The song is more of a whimsical look at how people ascribe feelings to objects of their lives, but hardly some idea of a man standing in a house that literally talks to him. The track itself is quite upbeat, really Friedman can write fun, with a tune and lyrics that catch the head.

Lucky Stars also carries a level of this humour, a sort of posed argument between Friedman and Denise Marsa, catchy and actually one of the highlights of the album, in my opinion. It sits somewhere between amusing and a general ballad, whereas Lydia really does pose a nice wistful feeling as Friedman’s vocals gleam through. The man’s writing style really does gel well with his performance. He can write well for himself!

Dean Friedman is often described as a one hit wonder with the hit, particularly in the USA. His UK exposure fared rather better but still perhaps not to the heights that one would expect. “Well, well,” said the rocking chair reached #21 in the UK charts on its release in 1978, after a previous album who saw the aforementioned hit, Ariel, grab public attention.

Is this album for you?

This is a fundamental feeling of late 70’s pop, with some rock and folk lilts The man is the definition of a singer/song-writer and talent is there. As you can tell, personally, I really enjoyed the album but some will just not be able to get past the idea that the style is dated. If you have any sort of affinity for easy listening pop, certainly give it a go. On saying that, that is not to say the album is generic and basic. I would describe it as solid. Give it a go if in doubt.

Scores

  • Writing: 8/10
  • Performance: 8/10
  • Style: 7/10
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