David Ackles – David Ackles (1968/2015) [PonoMusic 24-96]

David Ackles – David Ackles (1968/2015)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/192 kHz | Time – 00:38:08 minutes | 1,51 GB | Genre: Rock, Folk Rock
Studio Master, Official Digital Download – Source: PonoMusic | @ Elektra Records

Ackles’ self-titled debut LP introduced a singer/songwriter quirky even by the standards of Elektra records, possibly the most adventurous independent label of the 1960s. Ackles was a pretty anomalous artist of his time, with a low, grumbling voice that was uncommercial but expressive, and similar to Randy Newman’s. As a composer, Ackles bore some similarities to Newman, as well in his downbeat eccentricity and mixture of elements from pop, folk, and theatrical music. All the same, this impressive maiden outing stands on its own, though comparisons to Brecht/Weill (in the songwriting and occasional circus-like tunes) and Tim Buckley (in the arrangements and phrasing) hold to some degree too. This is certainly his most rock-oriented record, courtesy of the typically tasteful, imaginative Elektra arrangements, particularly with Michael Fonfara’s celestial organ and the ethereal guitar riffs (which, again, recall those heard on Buckley’s early albums). As a songwriter, Ackles was among the darkest princes of his time, though the lyrics were delivered with a subdued resignation that kept them from crossing the line to hysterical gloom. “The Road to Cairo,” covered by Julie Driscoll, Brian Auger, and the Trinity, is probably the most famous song here. But the others are quality efforts as well, whether the epics tell of religious trial, as in “His Name Is Andrew,” or the mini-horror tale of revisiting an old home in “Sonny Come Home.” –AllMusic Review by Richie Unterberger

1 The Road To Cairo 05:16
2 When Love Is Gone 03:20
3 Sonny Come Home 02:58
4 Blue Ribbons 04:37
5 What A Happy Day 02:16
6 Down River 03:56
7 Laissez-Faire 01:56
8 Lotus Man 02:49
9 His Name Is Andrew 06:10
10 Be My Friend 04:50

David Ackles – piano, vocals
Michael Fonfara – organ
Douglas Hastings – guitar
John Keliehor – percussion
Jerry Penrod – bass guitar
Danny Weis – guitar