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June 22, 2024

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Ian Whitcomb
This Sporting Life (ITW Industries)

By: Gary "Pig" Gold

It would be just too easy to peg Mr. Whitcomb as a case of the right man (wickedly tweedy prep school student) with the right accent (British-- well, Irish actually) and hair style (over the ears) in the right place (#8 on the Billboard Hot 100) at absolutely the right time (July of '65). Too easy, I say, because that couldn't explain the length (thirty-three years and counting!) nor depth (singer/producer/author/musicologist/radio host) of his career. Or can it explain the veritable wealth of hitherto undiscovered prizes on this digital anthology (eg: "Life Has No Reason" predates the Moody Blues' Future Past daze by a good couple'a years, and "The Notable Yacht Club of Staines" sounds like a Summer of '67 Dylan/Plastic Ono Band parlor tape!). Ian hasn't lost the touch lately either: his recent ragtime-tango take on "Oh Pretty Woman" displays musical cross-dressing worthy of fellow Calif. crazee Van Dyke Parks at his nuttiest. And lyrically, I highly recommend "The Star" as Required Reading for all students of the Courtney/Cobain media-go-round (ditto, Ian's splendid Rock Odyssey book). Sure, the Sixties produced a bumper crop of flashes in the ol' pan, but this disc's surely singing, playing proof that, for one resident alien at least, there most certainly is life after Shindig.
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