The Third Album From Studio One
Welcome to my review of the third album produced at Studio One, The Atlanta Rhythm Section's self-titled debut release. This is the third review in my ongoing series that I call “Studio One Project: Great Music From Doraville” where I acquire and review a copy of every album that was recorded at Studio One in Doraville Georgia. Why would I do that you may be asking? Good question…..to find out the reason please check out the original post in the series (which has the table of albums recorded at Studio One along with links to my review of each album).
Before we dive into the review I must first issue a disclaimer:
“Warning, I am not a trained music reviewer! I’m just a guy who likes music. Anything that is said in any of my reviews is purely my own interpretation/opinion and should not be relied upon as an endorsement of the quality of any particular piece of music or compilation thereof.” How's that for Lawyerspeak? :-)
OK, now that we got that out of the way…onto the review!
Review #3 Atlanta Rhythm Section
The third album produced or recorded at Studio One was The Atlanta Rhythm Section's self-titled debut release. The Atlanta Rhythm Section "ARS" was formed from a group of session musicians for newly opened Studio One in Doraville Georgia. The band was made up of Dean Daughtry (keyboards), Rodney Justo (vocals), Barry Bailey (lead guitar), J.R. Cobb (rhythm guitar), Robert Nix (drums/percussion), and Paul Goddard (bass). There were some changes to the band over the years (which I'll highlight as I review their other albums) but they remained true to their Doraville/Atlanta roots.
Here are a few sites with additional info on the band:
Here’s a summary of the LP version of the album (courtesy of Discogs) This album doesn't have a lot of detail, maybe because it was the first album from the band:
|A1||Love Me Just A Little (Sometime)|
|A2||Baby No Lie|
|A3||All In Your Mind|
|A5||Forty Days And Forty Nights|
|B1||Another Man's Woman (It's So Hard)|
|B2||Days Of Our Lives|
|B3||Yours And Mine|
|B4||Can't Stand It No More|
|B5||One More Problem|
Acquiring this album was a bit of an adventure. There aren't a lot of copies of this album for sale at any one time but after a little searching/waiting I thought I found the perfect candidate on Discogs, a NM copy from a highly rated seller for an OK to slightly high price ($15.00). I plunked down my cash and waited for the vinyl to show up. When it did, I noticed that the box had a fairly significant puncture in it. When I opened the box and took out the album I immediately saw that the vinyl had what could only be described as a "crease" in it, about an inch long. It matched almost perfectly with the puncture in the shipping box. Needless to say I was not happy, so I let the seller know about the damaged album and got back a "sorry but it's not my fault" reply. I guess, technically, he was right but I was hoping for a little help/discount, which didn't happen :-( I'm not into publicly trashing online sellers but I did let him know I wasn't completely satisified and that he could expect zero business from me in the future. Undaunted, I went back on Discogs, found another copy for $10 that was advertised as NM (near mint). I crossed my fingers as I ordered it. Luckily, when it arrived a week later it was in great shape. All it needed was a good cleaning and it was ready to go. So, I guess this album was a sort of "two for one" deal if I look at it in a positive way :-)
The second time was the charm with this album. The vinyl is in very good shape but it did need a good cleaning, actually two good cleanings. I gave it my usual cleaning using my custom solution of distilled water, a drop of palmolive pure dish soap and a lab-grade surfactant (Triton X-114) and tossed it on the turntable and immediately noticed the right channel cutting in and out on the first track. Not good. I put the vinyl back on my cleaning machine (self made for <$50) and gave a good, vigorous 2nd cleaning. That did the job. The sound quality was much improved and the channel cutout was completely gone. It shows that even a good looking/glossy piece of vinyl can still need a good cleaning. The album is nearly 45 years old at this point and who knows what the "provenance" of this album was. All I know was that 2nd cleaning brought up a lot of dirt...
The album is a basic single vinyl LP in a standard cardboard sleeve. Here’s the front cover:
And here’s the back cover:
The First Listen
I turned on my Lounge LCRMKIII preamp (highly recommended and a review to come at some point) and Pro-ject Debut turntable, put the newly cleaned vinyl on the cork pad, lowered the arm and sat down for a listen....
The first side started with “Love Me Just A Little - Sometime”. It's a good song to start off the album. After a few verses of some nice lyrics the song goes on for a couple more minutes sans lyrics. And that's when it hit me -"so this is what a solid group of session musicians do when they get to make their own album - Jam!". ARS was, after all, a session band, and a very talented one at that.
The second track, "Baby No Lie" is more of a ballad. Rodney Justo has a good voice and it is backed up by the rest of the band.
The third track is "All In Your Mind" and it has a sort of soft rock/jazz feel but with a slight edge. The lyrics are inspiring and speak to the power we have within us when we "put our mind to it".
"Earnestine" is track #4 and is another straight up juke joint jam session, no vocals needed. The lead and rhythm guitars of Barry Baily and J.R. Cobb get highlighted in this song.
The fifth track on side one is "Forty Days and Forty Nights" and it is a slow groove, slightly spiritual song full of well played honky-tonk keyboards by Dean Daughtry and some nice vocals by Justo.
Side two starts off with "Another Man's Woman(It's So Hard)". This song hit me as "southern rock" right off the vinyl. The bass line laid down by Paul Goddard is strong and solid, letting the guitars of Bailey and Cobb carry on a bit, all backed up by the drums/percussion of Robert Nix.
"Days of Our Lives" is the second track and no, it's not the theme song for the long-running soap opera, far from it. Rather, it is a song about the constant progression of time and how our life just keeps going so we better make the most of it.
"Yours and Mine" is track three and it's an uptempo song about taking responsibility for what we do. Everybody gets in the act on this song and it is a good listen.
"Can't Stand it No More" is a song about a broken relationship. There are a few good licks in this song that I enjoyed.
"One More Problem" is full of overdriven guitars, has a slightly urgent pace and a very "Dirty Electric Blues" feel to it. It is a good end to the album.
Second Listen and Thoughts
As I am getting in the habit of doing, I waited a few days to take a nother listen to the album. This time to try and get a deeper view of what the whole thing is about. So I re-cued the LP on my Pro Ject Debut Carbon Turntable and sat down for another listen. When I just sat there and listened without worrying about each individual song I came away with the impression that this first ARS album was a bit like letting a genie out of a bottle. There is a lot of talent on display here but it is a little rough around the edges. The musicianship is great, no question, but there is a lot of room for the band to grow. I was very happy to listen to this album because it sets the stage for what is to come as well as establishes a baseline. I've heard a lot of their songs over the years but never really in a complete album format. That will obviously change since the Atlanta Rhythm Section recorded all of their music up to 1989 at Studio One, so as part of my project I will listen to all of the albums over the course of this project....And I'm Looking Forward To It!!!!
Help Support This Project
OK, here’s where I shamelessly ask for money :-) Seriously, buying vintage vinyl (heck this one album cost me almost $30 when all is said and done) and hosting this site doesn’t come without a cost so any help you can provide toward that effort is greatly appreciated! If you like what you read and want to help out just click on one of the links below. You can get some ARS music for yourself, or anything else that Amazon sells, by Clicking on one of the links.