Whole Oats, Abandoned Luncheonette & War Babies
Please note, territorial restrictions may apply to this product.
This Edsel package brings together (for the first time) Hall & Oates’ first three albums, all recorded for the Atlantic label between 1972 and 1974. Also featured are four bonus tracks: one song from the “Whole Oats” sessions, and three songs exclusive to “No Goodbyes”, a compilation issued after the duo’s departure from Atlantic. These three songs were recorded after the “War Babies” album.
• Legendary producer Arif Mardin (Aretha Franklin, Roberta Flack, the Bee Gees, Chaka Khan and many more) took the controls for debut album “Whole Oats” in 1972, as well as 1973’s “Abandoned Luncheonette”. Considered by both Hall and Oates to be their best album, it features the slow-burning hit, the absolute classic “She’s Gone”, still the duo’s best-known song.
• For “War Babies”, they recruited fellow Philadelphian Todd Rundgren, eclectic solo act and producer extraordinaire (“Bat Out Of Hell”, XTC, Psychedelic Furs, Patti Smith, The Tubes, Sparks and many more). Resultantly, the trio experimented with a darker, edgy sound, which Rundgren refers to as the first “Daryl Hall solo album”. Their next move was to the RCA label, and eventual massive global success in the late 70s/early 80s, but these albums are where it all started.
• The 32 page booklet features all the lyrics and musician credits, photos and a 2000 word note by Alan Robinson.
|| ||I’m Sorry|
|| ||All Our Love|
|| ||Fall In Philadelphia|
|| ||Goodnight And|
|| ||They Needed Each Other|
|| ||Southeast City Window|
|| ||Thank You For…|
|| ||Lilly (Are You Happy)|
|| ||When The Morning Comes|
|| ||Had I Known You|
|| ||Better Then|
|| ||Las Vegas Turnaround|
|| ||(The Stewardess Song)|
|| ||She’s Gone|
|| ||I’m Just A Kid (Don’t Make|
|| ||Me Feel Like A Man)|
|| ||Abandoned Luncheonette|
|| ||Lady Rain|
|| ||Laughing Boy|
|| ||Everytime I Look At You|
|| ||Past Times Behind|
|| ||It’s Uncanny|
|| ||I Want To Know You|
|| ||For A Long Time|
|| ||Love You Like A Brother|
|| ||Can’t Stop The Music|
|| ||Is It A Star?|
|| ||Beanie G And|
|| ||The Rose Tattoo|
|| ||You’re Much Too Soon|
|| ||70’s Scenario|
|| ||War Baby Son Of Zorro|
|| ||I’m Watching You|
|| ||(A Mutant Romance)|
|| ||Better Watch Your Back|
|| ||Screaming Thru December|
|| ||Johnny Gore And The|
|| ||C Eaters|
Before being crowned the king of fop-rock on the RCA label, Hall & Oates spent a few years on Atlantic trying to mould their evident talent into something that could be called a style. These efforts ranged from their weak Arif Mardin-produced War Babies. The best moments on the 2CD set, which is not helped by the interposition of “bonus tracks”, come with the title track of their second record Abandoned Luncheonette and its false-start hit single She’s Gone, still one of the great “remember this?” tunes.
Though they would ultimately be revered for their blue-eye soul, thanks largely to Daryl Hall’s sweet, smooth voice, the Philadelphia pair were more of a melancholy folk-rock concern when they were signed to Atlantic in 1972.
Their debut that year, the terribly titled Whole Oats, is as much producer Arif Mardin’s album, teasing R&B motifs out of the more acoustically-minded demo version of Fall In Philadelphia and overhauling Goodnight and Goodmorning, until it resembled the kind of epic Jimmy Webb casually fashioned for Gen Campbell.
The soul infusions are taken up a couple of notches on 1973’s Abandoned Luncheonette, while simultaneously doffing a cap to the burgeoning Laurel Canyon scene of Jackson Browne and Carol King (Had I Known You Better The, Las Vegas Turnaround). It’s also the album that provides the massive breakthrough hit She’s Gone, irrefutably one of the best white soul songs of all time, and the loose template for almost all that was to come – but not yet.
It was a hard act to follow, and the rockier elements producer Todd Rundgren bought to the 1974’s War Babies have a tendency to lose their way. Parts of it sound like an extension of Todd’s own records (Can’t Stop The Music, You’re Much Too Soon), with Daryl and John only really establishing their own identity on the bristling funk of Better Watch Your Back.
Get Read To Rock
The first thing to say is what a great job Edsel has done in putting together this package of Hall & Oates' first three albums - Whole Oats (1972), Abandoned Luncheonette (1973) and War Babies (1974) on Atlantic Records. The band were then dropped, moved to RCA and went global, but hey, we all make mistakes. Here, you get four bonus tracks - one from the Whole Oats sessions, and 3 recorded as a contractual obligation after War Babies which were previously only available on the No Goodbyes compilation, and an extensive 32 page booklet.
None of the albums were terribly successful at the time as the pair struggled to find their own sound. Whole Oats typified that initial search focusing in on white Philly soul, whereas Abandoned Luncheonette moved subtly into folk and soul, and War Babies brought Todd Rundgren and Utopia in as producer and band giving the pair the most rock orientated album of their career.
Actually, much of the material has worn surprisingly well. If there's a better sequence of tracks than Had I Known You Better Then, Las Vegas Turnaround (The Stewardess Song), She's Gone, and I'm Just A Kid (Don't Make Me Feel Like A Man) - from the magnificent Abandoned Luncheonette - then I've yet to discover it.
Add to that some real gems off both Whole Oats and War Babies - an album that's stood the test of time part particularly well despite hastening the departure from Atlantic (a case of 'right album, wrong time'?) - and this collection is well worthwhile exploring.
Oh, how Atlantic must have rued the day when, the year after they gave the boys their P45's, Sara Smile took Hall and Oates into the top 10 and made them a household name. At least, Atlantic had the satisfaction of reflected glory when a re-release of She's Gone achieved similar status.
Strangely, Hall & Oates mega success was short lived - a star burning brightly in the mid seventies, only to be doused and re-ignited for another brief spell in the early eighties. But at their best they were as good as good as it gets. And there may be no mention that any re-mastering on this compilation, but nevertheless, it has to be said, all 3 albums sound fantastic.
Prior to achieving global success with RCA, Daryl Hall & John Oates cut their teeth and found their direction via a trio of albums recorded for the Atlantic label.
Newly anthologised on this double disc set, they include 1972 debut Whole Oats, 1973’s Abandoned Luncheonette and 1974’s War Babies. Perhaps owing more to their folk/rock background than the blue-eyed soul sound that dominated their later output, Whole Oats is nevertheless a fine first effort, bristling with pretty, melodic tunes, including Fall In Philadelphia, a sweet tribute to their hometown, and the delicately ethereal They Needed Each Other. They upped the ante considerably for Abandoned Luncheonette, with the set’s opener, When The Morning Comes, providing a bridge between the more homespun style of the first album and the slicker, more soulful direction they were now pursuing. The set includes their first hit, the formidable She’s Gone, which starts as an atmospheric instrumental and builds into hard-hitting vocal tour-de-force every bit as soulful as anything that ever came out of Philadelphia.
After the first two albums under the tutelage of Arif Mardin, they switched to fellow Philly fella Todd Rundgren to produce War Babies and, although it is still an excellent piece of work, it did lose some of the impetus they had gained from Abandoned Luncheonette, with less accessible, more brooding material to the fore.
The set is completed by a quartet of hard-to-find bonus tracks, and a 32-page booklet featuring all the lyrics and comprehensive liner notes.