Actually, I thought today’s follow-up to a popular past post (“A Classic 70s Show Band” from January) should be titled something like “the awesome origins of Dave Major and the Minors” because we found a copy of their first record!!! and then I looked at the back of the jacket and at the writing on the spine. You have to do these kind of things when you write about records. The second record album by Dave Major and the Minors is called Second Record Album.
Wait, let’s back up … Dave Major and the Minors were a touring lounge act in the late 60s and early 70s. All five were multi-instrumentalists, and all five sang. After writing about their second record, Something New, I started receiving emails from people all over the midwest who remembered Dave Major and the Minors. Every one expressed effusive praise – And for somebody to remember a band they saw in a hotel bar forty years ago the band must have really been good. These guys were showmen.
Something New opened with an eponymous original by Dave Major (whose real name is Dave Perry, leading me to wonder why they didn’t give it a go as Dave Perry and the Ports). “Something New” is an upbeat little cooker and I’d like to see it revived just as soon as the touring lounge acts come back. There were ten other tracks but all were covers – Dave Major and the Minors swung through sharp arrangements of songs like “Spinning Wheel” and “This Guy’s in Love with You”. It’s an especially fun record because it rambles through jazz, R&B and pop – Even an impassioned take on “Malaguena”, Cuban composer Ernesto Lecuona’s masterpiece.
Their second record album, Second Record Album, delivers. “Proud Mary”, “The theme from Fistful of Dollars” and oh yeah, Dave Major puts up FIVE NEW SONGS!
“Baby, You Are Really Groovy” and “You Are All I Need” are the two on side one, stacked with the pair of covers I mentioned.
So look, I understand that they’re singing “Baby, you are really groovy” and once actually sing “She is something else / Got to be real!” but these guys are really good! Dave’s breakout solo part in “Baby You Are Really Groovy” – Really all of the vocal parts, especially the second vocalist who jumps in (Dick, Gary, Lucky or Steve) – is rusty soul while other present Beach Boys harmony. “You Are All I Need” could have been a lesser Beach Boys track, maybe a Carl. Dave Kennedy’s string arrangement feels out of place at times.
Yeah, it’s really impressive that the group could get a guy to write a string arrangement, and then get a whole bunch more guys to play it for your record, but they deserved better. Think about it, Dave Perry and the Pint Pots probably raised a bunch of money to have strings on their record, and Dave Kennedy gave them Strauss’ corniest waltz instead of something that would fit the song’s fairly contemporary feel. You’re probably thinking it works well at the end, but that’s probably because you like the sound of Gary Williams’ harmonica, apparently borrowed from Stevie Wonder.
Dave Kennedy also recorded the album, though. I’m guessing that because it’s recorded to his studio in Milwaukee. There’s no credit for the great work mixing this album, but I think we could make another fair guess there – Here he’s done a great job, especially when you consider the variety of instruments and the different styles represented on the record.
It’s really fun to hear a band like Dave Perry and the Plethorics because all of us who grew up years later can only imagine what kind of an act they were. Were they serious, one of those bands that really didn’t make any banter but were super rehearsed, or were they goofballs who took songs on request, and really riffed on their solos. Did they always wear matching suits? Who picked the suits? And seriously, I wonder if their shoes matched.
Tomorrow… side two!