Released: December 1970
Chart Peak: #29
Weeks Charted: 20
Followers of wimp-rock like myself remember Emitt Rhodes as the singer and songwriter of the Merry-Go-Round, an L.A. group which had an album of the same name and a hit single called "Live" about three years ago. Apparently Emitt has spent the time since in the netherworld at Dunhill learning to be an engineer. Now he's back on records, by himself this time, and the age of the one-man band is really with us: not only does he write all the songs, sing them, and play all the instruments, he's also the engineer and co-producer of the album.
The trouble with this kind of musical incest, though, is that the dynamism which, in the best bands, results from the interaction of several minds is missing. Emitt's accompaniments are all competent, but they lack the punch of the infinitely more primitive backup of the Merry-Go-Round on "Live," and everywhere they have the feel of being accompaniments, not an integral part of the music.
This is mere carping, though, because anyone who likes this type of music, namely lightweight melodic rock, will find this album a delight. Emitt's songs are not much lyrically, slight things about lost and found love mainly, but his melodies are surpassingly pretty. It's his singing that's so great, though. He has the kind of high, clear voice, the sort one might think of as a harmony voice, which is absolutely perfect for this kind of music. He keeps himself busy singing several parts on most of the songs, a sort of one-man Hollies.
There is a more-than-fortuitous resemblance on some songs to Paul McCartney, whom it's always nice to have among your influences. Several songs demonstrate typical McCartney rhythms, singing tricks, and bass and piano playing; the opening bars of "She's Such a Beauty" reming inescapably of "Martha My Dear." Emitt is not yet as good as Paul, but if you liked Paul's solo album it might be safe to assume you'd like Emitt's. I like it the more I play it, which is constantly.
- Melissa Mills, Rolling Stone, 2/18/71.
The album Emitt Rhodes can be compared with its predecessor, McCartney, in several aspects. When Emitt Rhodes entered the music scene, it went unnoticed, unpublicized and virtually unknown. But as did the McCartney album, it has slowly soared the record charts.
Another outstanding feature of this album is the fact that it consists of a one-man band. This means all instruments, vocals and songs are played and written by Emitt Rhodes. Again, we see the comparison of this album to that of Paul McCartney's.
In most cases the piano is the dominating instrument on the album; this can be seen especially in the songs: "My Face On The Floor," "She's Such A Beauty," and "Fresh As A Daisy."
- Barbara Chalawick, Hit Parader, 11/71.
A formalist in an age of licence, Rhodes writes very tuneful rock and roll songs and overdubs all the voices and instruments in the studio, distinguishable from Paul McCartney mostly by his compulsive precision. As a believer in pop structures I approve, but as a lover of rock and roll I'm beginning to suspect that the bouncy little beat -- and probably the dinky little lyrics -- come with the package. B-
- Robert Christgau, Christgau's Record Guide, 1981.
Emitt Rhodes turns in a fine performance, much in the style of Paul McCartney's first solo album. Like McCartney, Rhodes wrote all the songs, played all the instruments and recorded the album at home. There the comparison ends. Songs like "With My Face on the Floor" and "She's Such a Beauty" are the kinds of songs that pop into your head 20 years later and get you as excited as the first time you heard them. * * * *
- Jim Worbois, The All-Music Guide to Rock, 1995.
The straight reissue of Emitt Rhodes' first solo LP is is good, with mostly sunny, upbeat tunes such as "Fresh As a Daisy" and "Live Till You Die." * * * *
- Mike Greenfield, Musichound Rock: The Essential Album Guide, 1996.
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