Monday, August 09, 2010


Linda Ronstadt on Danny Kortchmar's album "Innuendo."

When deserving studio musicians get a solo shot, superstar friends are ready to help out. It's a tricky thing, though. How overt should the contribution be, and how strongly should it be marketed?

Sometimes the guest star simply turns up in the credits as a nice surprise, like Ry Cooder on guitar for two tracks on Ron Nagle's debut album. Sometimes the artist promotes the lucky favor. After an indifferently received solo album, Gary Brooker trumpeted on the back of his second: "Special thanks to…Phil Collins, Eric Clapton and George Harrison who by their help and company made this record not unworthy of the perusal of most listeners."

Not that it helped him sell many copies. And in this case, the Linda Ronstadt-Danny Kortchmar duet was actually issued as a single, and few seemed to notice. So luck plays as much a part as the guest vocalist. Linda and Danny's version of Jody Reynolds' morbid cult classic "Endless Sleep," is epic. And what a nice touch, to have a song about a woman lost at sea now featuring the frantic voice of a woman!

To be honest, though this album's been part of the Illfolks morgue since it was released, the favorite track has always been "Hair of the Dog," a kind of Zevonesque novelty. There's a jeeringly obvious pun in the refrain. As Danny sings to a girl who might need more lovin' from her bad boy lover, he sneers that she needs "the hair of the dog that bit cha…bitch ya…bitch ya…"

It was during a nostalgic hour of returning to the world of West Coast edgy-hipsters and truth-tellers (ooh, Don Henley, Jackson "Lawyers in Love" Browne, even his brother Sev) that I felt like dragging and dropping the needle on "Hair of the Dog," and then re-exploring the rest of the forgotten album, with its shaving gel advert cover of a moist-faced wet-haired Mr. Danny with a towel around his neck. That's when I literally grooved on "Endless Sleep," with perky Ronstadt on a death trip fer Reaper's sake!

It's surprising that given the Japanese fetish for all-things James Taylor (they love any session man who played with James and even re-issued Craig Doerge's solo album for that reason) Danny's "Innuendo" album never made an appearance in the land of the wan Obi-covered CD.

Surely, as influential as the Illfolks blog is, everything will change now that attention's been called to this lost rendition of "Endless Sleep." I said, surely as influential as the Illfolks blog is… attention...

ENDLESS SLEEP danny kortchmar Instant download or listen on line. No pop ups, porn ads or wait time.


Anonymous said...

boy, a lost classic. I had all ( weren't there three under his own name...2 on Warners and one on The Section's 2 WBros releases?) of Kootch's catalog at one time (even add in all those early Taylor LPs as you said and the later Henley and whoever else there is)...
BUT, it's been too long since I have owned all these. I think he deserves a special retrospective. The man is TOO anonymous for his own good. I'm sure he gets good money for what he has done, but household recognition? Thanks for the you got me wanting all the Kootch i can find. Damn you!

Ill Folks said...

Yeah, I'd like all the Kootch I can find...but I think we may be discussing two different things.

Actually, re-researching the problem, there's good news. 1973's "Kootch," Danny's first album, was re-mastered on HDCD via Japan.

For non-audiophiles, it's now available in mp3 version for $5.99 from Amazon, among others.

But "Innuendo," the second one, which has this Ronstadt track, was not given the Japanese sonic compliment. But it's gotten a domestic CD re-issue, at least, from the folks at Wounded Bird, the same label that has also re-issued The Section's "Forward Motion" album.

So that leads me to the well-worn phrase, "If you like it, buy it." Although "Endless Sleep" is pretty different from the rest of the album, since it's an oldie reworked as a magnum opus and has Linda on it. The rest of the album is more straight-forward Cal-rock in the Browne, Henley or Zevon mode. Not so much James Taylor.

I don't think any of the other albums from The Section are on CD, and not Danny's 1982 album with Steve Lukather ("Night Plane").

Anonymous said...

two things...thanks for confirming my memory of what Kootch's catalog is and thanks for reminding me of the titles.

As much as I like to support the artists I did that the first time around back in the seventies and eighties when I was shelling out $250 a week for records as a full time club DJ at a 7 day a week music club where I warmed up the crowd for the shows and played the breaks for national and regional acts.

I'm still not convinced any of these guys are getting a cent on these older releases. I do buy many many local musician releases and support live music (as well as perform it myself).

I spent 28 years working in record stores and a better portion of that same time being a DJ in clubs, on radio etc. A very eclectic one at that. I see my 'job' now as re-collecting my old vinyl collection on mp3 or flac or ape and sharing what I can with as many people as I can. I do about thirty concerts a year now as the MIX CD guy for before show and between sets entertainment. You can be sure that this one will show up on one of my mixes.
That said, your blog is VERY entertaining and informative and I look forward to your posts, even though they usually signal bad news.

VRP Music said...

Don't worry about Kooch & $$$. He gets his in a "New York Minute" as 1/2 owner of all of the Kooch/ Henley songs on "Building The Perfect beast et al. Not inclusive of Production fees & Session Fees. Kooch lives quite comfortably in Ct.

borka said...

btw. if you listen carefully you'll hear a second female voice on this track ;)

It's the voice of Louise Goffin, her Kid Blue Album was produced by Kootch...besides having the Section playing...

Well,well, well fond memories come in when remembering listening to both albums all the time (and also the No Nukes Soundtrack) back then over here in Germany...

oh i was sooo young and there was sooo much great music

This blog is great! love it!!! :)