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3 tracks performed by Roger Nichols and the Small Circle of Friends have been recommended.
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Don't Go Breaking my Heart  performed by Roger Nichols and the Small Circle of Friends  1968
Recommended by delicado [profile]

A beautifully gentle and textured version of this song, led by some great group harmony vocals. These are backed by a gentle bossa nova beat, electric harpsichord, and strings which sweep in and out. Gentle and addictive listening.

from Roger Nichols and the Small Circle of Friends (A&M)
available on CD - Complete (Polydor Japan)




  09 May 05 ·rum: Oh there’s certainly no denying it, this track has an irresistibly seductive melody but there’s no chance I’d be seduced. Oh rum, you’re just being silly, she’d say, “don’t make a mountain out of a grain of sand…” silly?! I caught you in bed with the Mayor of Pensacola, Florida… this is no grain of sand my dear! But rum, it was just one time, a silly mistake, “one drop of rain doesn’t make the sun run away”, does it? Are you mad? What kind of reasoning is that? 17, 18… eighty-seven drops of rain wouldn’t either. So what are you trying to tell me? Am I to hold out for a rainstorm of two-timing before getting in a huff? The summer of love ended last September. This is 1968, the year of revolution, of fighting in the streets, of… but then she’d put her finger on your lips, “DON’T… go breaking my heart…” and look up at you with the innocence of a wee lamb. Oh, you so want to forgive her. Maybe I’ll give her just one more chance, it is such a beautiful melody… “I’ll love you till the sky falls down, even then… you’ll remain in my heart” Ahh, no, no, I’m not falling for that. I’m not an idiot, that’s impossible. Now I know you’re having me on. I’m not getting caught in your web of lies you, you, you… Your melody maybe sweet but your argument stinks. Go on get out, strumpet! “…come to my arms, forever…” No, no, clear off. “…teach my heart how to smile?...” OUT!
Love so fine  performed by Roger Nichols and the Small Circle of Friends  1968
Recommended by delicado [profile]

It's hard not to smile when you hear this lovely, rousing late 60s number. Roger Nichols is the composer (along with Paul Williams) of many late 60s and 70s hits for, amongst others, The Carpenters. He wrote this song with 'Pet Sounds' lyricist Tony Asher, and they created a beautiful combination of sunny soft pop sounds (handclaps, brass, group harmonies) and pleasing, happy words. Musically, it is superior and extra-catchy, with nice Bacharach-esque touches and great instrumentation. The lead vocal also deserves a mention for sounding almost supernaturally brilliant (far better than it sounds in the sound sample). The singer is Melinda Macleod; her voice is lovely anyway, but here it sounds as if 3 perfect takes have been somehow overlaid on top of each other to produce an incredibly rich, soothing effect. It's over quickly - in just over two minutes. At which point I normally listen to it again a few times.

from Roger Nichols and the Small Circle of Friends (A&M)
available on CD - Complete (Polydor Japan)




  13 May 02 ·PappaWheelie: I couldn't agree more. This is the epitome of what Pizzicato Five were trying to recreate in the early 90's.
  29 Jan 03 ·klatu: I didn't realize someone had picked this one already! I spelled it "&" instead of "and". Excellent choice!
Love so fine  performed by Roger Nichols and the Small Circle of Friends  1968
Recommended by klatu [profile]

The pinnacle of soft pop! And I can't imagine it not being followed up by "kinda wasted without you"! Twin peaks! Vinyl buffs are at a disadvantage there, you have to get up quickly for the side change to experience the epiphany, and deal with the "pops-and-crackles" chiaschuro instead of "sterile" atomic clock mastering. Also included, my favorite version of the Lovin' Spoonful's "Cocoanut Grove", even better than the one by David Lee Roth! Well, I probably lost a few of you on that one. Roger Nichols went on to later fame and fortune as Paul Williams' songwriting partner on several smash singles, mostly by the wrongly-maligned Carpenters. After that, engineering on all of the Steely Dan albums. Not too many superstar engineers, but on those albums, it was notable. Fagen'n'Becker dubbed him Roger "the Immortal" Nichols on some liner notes. Now he has a byline in some stereo mag, or so I am told.

from Roger Nichols and the Small Circle of Friends (A&M UICY-9184), available on CD (A&M Japan)



  30 Jan 03 ·gregcaz: Roger Nichols/pop genius and Roger Nichols/Steely Dan engineer are actually two different people. When Steely Dan toured Japan, people kept asking him to sign their "Small Circle" CDs! So funny!
  31 Jan 03 ·klatu: How embarrassing to be the spreader of internet misinformation! I've heard that from several places. It seemed so plausible, with the Ted Templeman Harper's Bizarre/Van Halen connection. Or is that two Ted Templemans? Thanks for the correction. So it's probably the Steely Dan guy who writes the article? I'll have to check that out.

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