Yes, I know what you’re probably thinking. You’re thinking I’ve lost my mind, right? How could I possibly think the ’70s sit-com musical family’s first album is great?
Well, it’s not great the way the previous great albums (The Who’s Quadrophenia, Genesis’ Abacab, Suzanne Vega’s self-titled debut, and Simon & Garfunkel’s Bridge Over Troubled Water) that I’ve reviewed were great. But, as an example of pure, pleasurable, playful ’70s pop it’s hard to deny this album’s appeal.
I suppose there’s a good deal of nostalgia for my youthful innocence of that time period, from which this album and sit-com arose, that influences my opinion, but when you compare this first album, The Partridge Family Album, to later releases, there’s just something special about it. The Partridge Family, or rather members of the group of studio musicians collectively known as The Wrecking Crew and the pop vocal group The Love Connection, were firing on all cylinders on this album.
It was discovered that David Cassidy, who played the oldest Partridge son, could sing, so he provides lead vocals for most of the songs. And Shirley Jones, who played the mother of the talented brood, was also a fine singer and she provides some backing vocals. The rest of the cast were required to lip-sync… for the show, not the album.
I think the album is great. The sit-com? Well… No.
Brand New Me – The lush, string-filled opening song starts off with a nice warm guitar riff. There are horns and soaring backing vocals and Cassidy demonstrates he has quite the range to his voice.
Point Me In The Direction Of Albuquerque – The lushness of their sound continues as Cassidy sings of a young, female hitchhiker trying get home. The song builds and descends again and again in its just under four minutes. Nice piano throughout and the “cha! cha! cha!” vocal bursts at the end are a nice touch.
Bandela – Cow bell! Lots and lots of cow bell! The Wrecking Crew cook on this one, my favorite track.
I Really Want To Know You – This one is a bit sappy, but the vocals are very sweet and sincere and completely David Cassidy-less. It’s kinda fun trying to determine which of the male voices is supposed to belong to Danny Partridge.
Only A Moment Ago – Where did all the happy people go? Did the Partridges just become the Omega Family? Or is David lamenting a lost love and how the world changed after losing her. I prefer to think it’s a post apocalyptic tale. But then I’m a bit fatalistic.
I Can Hear Your Heartbeat – Time for a rocker! A song of new found love and heartbeats and being a man of your word. Nice guitar riffs and excellent building to a quick cut to end the song.
I’m On The Road – Another song without David’s vocals. (Again which one is Danny?) It’s a fun travel the countryside song. They needed a travel song. The family got around in an old school bus, after all.
To Be Lovers – Mostly without David’s vocals, he does sing a little lead in the middle bit, this song is a little creepy. Creepy if you consider the story on the TV show had that this song being co-written by Danny. Who was – what? – ten at the time. A song about lovers who aren’t in love? Jeez! The kid’s been around.
Someone Wants To Love You – Well, it was the 1970s and the hippies’ message of love and peace had been co-opted by TV executives, so, of course, there had to be a song hinting at free love, right?
I Think I Love You – This was their big hit. It reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. It’s a pretty rockin’ tune about a fellow who woke up from a good dream realizing he might just be in love.
Singing My Song – Another song touching on Hollywood’s notion of hippie culture and their love of singing. It’s a nice quick rollicking singalong end to a good collection of ’70s pop. The “bah-dah-dee-dum” chorus is irresistible.
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