Friday, February 21, 2014

The Wheel

Kick back in your comfortable chair, slip into euphoria and spin the Wheel.



  1. From Bad Cat:

    For some reason we weren’t surprised to discover that Bernie Schwartz was born and raised in Los Angeles (Hollywood). By the time Schwartz was a teenager he’d become an accomplished sessions guitarist. He’d also struck up a friendship with songwriters Dale Bobbitt and Sharon Sheeley and begun writing material with them.

    Under the stage name Don Atello, he released an instantly obscure single for the small Tide Records: – 1963′s “She’ll Break Your Heart” b/w “Forever Please Be Mine” (Tide catalog number 1009) Released under his given name, a sophomore 45 was no more successful: – 1964′s “Questions I Can’t Answer” b/w “It Isn’t Right” (Tide catalog number 2002) 1965 saw Schwartz signed by Warner Brothers, where a collaboration with Phil Everly was also commercially stillborn: “Baby Bye Bye-Oh” b/w “Something’s Wrong” (Warner catalog 5651). Credited to Adrian Pride “Her Name Is Melody” b/w “I Go To Sleep” (Warner catalog 5867), continued his losing streak.

    By the mid 1960s Schwartz shifted his attention from performing to writing where he began to make a name for himself; placing material with The East Side Kids, Power and The Yellow Payges. The resulting publicity allowed him to return to recording via the short-lived band The Comfortable Chair. Unfortunately, the band broke up after one poor selling album (“The Comfortable Chair”).

    Things didn’t improve when Uncle Sam served Schwartz with an induction notice. Claiming conscientious objector status, he began working for Goodwill Industries, in his spare time continuing his collaboration with Sheeley who had recently signed a writing deal with Pierre Cosette and Burt Sugarman’s newly formed, MGM-affiliated CoBurt Records.

    A series of demos saw Cosette and Sugarman sign Schwartz to a recording contract, resulting in the release of 1970′s “The Wheel”. Produced by Schwartz and Euphonic Productions, the album featured an intriguing group of collaborators, including Comfortable Chair cohort Gene Garfin, former Stone Ponies guitarist Kenny Edwards and Euphoria’s Bill Lincoln and Wesley Watt (the album included a cover of Euphoria’s “Sunshine Woman”).

    Showcasing a mixture of original songs and interesting covers (Fred Neil, Randy Newman and Neil Young), musically the set was equally intriguing, spanning the spectrum from the pretty country-rock-flavored title track to light psych ( a cover of Kenny Edwards’ “Follow Me”). So what were the highlights? Well, we’ll cast our votes for the rocking cover of Fred Neil’s “Candy Man” (check out the meltdown guitar solo) and the Euphoria cover “Sunshine Woman”. All told, one of our favorite recent discoveries and well worth the price of admission.


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