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Episode Info: Scot and Jeff talk to Robert Dean Lurie about Hall and Oates. Introducing the BandYour hosts Scot Bertram (@ScotBertram) and Jeff Blehar (@EsotericCD) with guest Robert Dean Lurie, author of No Certainty Attached: Steve Kilbey and The Church and We Can Be Heroes: The Radical Individualism of David Bowie. Producer and performer on the tribute album The Dark Side of Hall and Oates. Read Robert’s work in the pages of NRO, the Federalist, and on his own website. Robert’s Musical Pick: Hall & OatesThis week, the gang is excited to be discussing one of the most underrated musical acts of the ’70s and ’80s (at least to the extent that any group that scored SIX #1 singles and over 30 chart hits can be considered underrated): Hall & Oates. Robert contends that today’s podcast represents Important Work: correcting the slander that has been directed at Hall & Oates over the years as “disposable pop” when even a brief survey of their career makes it immediately obvious that they are so much more than that. Jeff remembers his introduction to Hall & Oates as a child no moreso than any living creature remembers its first “introduction” to oxygen; their music was always just there, on the radio, in the family’s CD collection, on TV…ubiquitous, in the best possible way. KEY TRACK: “Maneater” (H2O, 1982) Folk-rock and Philly soul: the Atlantic Years: 1972-1974Before Hall & Oates became multiplatinum megastars in the early 1980s, they were a scrappy, semi-experimental folk duo signed to Atlantic Records, a label which allowed them to indulge their initial folk-soul fusionist predilections with the help of the finest musicians and orchestration Atlantic’s legendary producer Arif Mardin was capable of rustling up for them. While all agree that the duo’s first LP Whole Oats (1972) is tentative, Scot cites “Fall In Philadelphia” and “Lilly” as two that distinguish themselves from the rest. Jeff argues that “it sounds like The Grass Roots, and not in a good way” (he then mis-cites to a Hamilton, Joe Frank & Reynolds song, because of course he does). However, as the sucker for piano ballads that he is, he argues that the gorgeous “Waterwheel” is the highlight. There are no such reservations about H&O’s second record, Abandoned Luncheonette (1973). Jeff argues that this is their finest album, despite the fact that, sonically, it’s miles away from their classic hitmaking-era stuff like Voices or H20. Soulful, assured, with weird progressive touches to boot, there isn’t a single subpar track on Abandoned Luncheonette as far as he’s concerned, and on top of all that it also happens to contain one of greatest singles ever recorded in the history of American popular music. Robert shares his dark reading of “I’m Just A Kid (Don’t Make Me Feel Like A Man)” and notes that Luncheonette is Hall & Oates as a true duo: both write an equal amount of material, and both members’ contributions...
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