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Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Cargoe - Cargoe (1972 us, brilliant melt of power pop, southern, classic rock with prog traces, japan remaster)

Often associated with the Power Pop genre given to Ardent Label Mates Big Star, Cargoe projected more of a stylized artistic nuance to their songwriting and performing, with harmonies exhibiting a strong American/Southern Roots cultural influence.

The band recorded their Album CARGOE with Terry Manning producing at, John Fry's Ardent Studios. They scored numerous Billboard and Cashbox Top 100 listings, and reviews from 1970 through 1973, along with major radio play of their first single “Feel Alright” and follow-up “I Love You Anyway”. The band’s studio LP CARGOE was even featured, with Isaac Hayes Shaft, which won an Academy Award/Oscar that year for Best Original Song, in a Special Edition section of Billboard’s June 3, 1972 “The Deck is STAX” promotion.

The band began a west coast tour the summer of 1972, but was caught up in the distribution and bankruptcy label problems at Stax/Volt, who distributed the album and owned the masters. Distribution was sold to Columbia Records who failed to include Cargoe in their catalog, which meant that listeners who heard the hit couldn't actually buy the record. “Feel Alright” and their debut CARGOE LP fell off the charts instantly.

The same label troubles caused both Cargoe and Big Star to disband within a short time. Big Star went on to become one of the most beloved and influential bands of the entire decade, while Cargoe pretty much disappeared out of the popular memory.

Ardent Records contracts for distribution with Stax/Volt gave Stax ownership of the master tapes. When Stax went bankrupt in the mid-'70s, ownership of the masters eventually wound up in the hands of Fantasy Records Saul Zaentz, and no one's been able to get the tapes for domestic release.

It's certainly worth noting that after nearly 40 years of producing and engineering countless hit records including ZZ Top, Led Zeppelin, George Thorogood, Celine Dion, Björk, Lenny Kravitz, Mariah Carey, Shania Twain, and many others, Terry Manning to this day regards Cargoe as “the great record he helped make that no one ever discovered”.. 
by Frank Gutch Jr.

1. Come Down (Bill Phillips) - 3:59
2. Feel Alright (Tommy Richard) - 2:33
3. Horses And Silver Things (Tommy Richard, Max Wisley) - 2:49
4. Scenes (Max Wisley) - 3:46
5. Things We Dream Today (Bill Phillips) - 2:44
6. Time (Bill Phillips, Max Wisley) - 4:09
7. Feelin Mighty Poorly (Tim Benton) - 5:35
8. Thousand Peoples Song (Tommy Richard) - 4:13
9. Heal Me (Tommy Richard, Max Wisley) - 3:11
10.I Love You Anyway (Tommy Richard) - 4:02
11.Leave Today (Bill Phillips) - 5:14
12.Tokyo Love (Bill Phillips, Jim Peters) - 3:51

*Bill Phillips - Hammond B3, Rhodes, Grand Piano, Vocals
*Tommy Richard - Guitar, Vocals
*Max Wisley - Bass, Vocals
*Tim Benton - Drums, Vocals

1972  Cargoe - Live In Memphis! 

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kobilica said...

Superb album.Thank you"MARIOS"...

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much, this is great.

Vic said...

Excellent post! Thanks Marios!

Rumtoad said...

Thanks marios! I truly appreciate this. FYI anyone reading this, the studio version of "Tokyo Love" on this issue is REALLY REALLY hard to find, so I would grab this while you can. It has taken me (until today) THRITY SIX YEARS to track it down!

Ice X said...

My desert island disc. The band is outstanding (especially the lead guitarist & drummer) and the multi-layered instrumentation makes it a headphone favorite (I love the segue between "Feelin' Mighty Poorly" & "Thousand Peoples Song"). It really is my all-time fave (over White Album, Blonde on Blonde, etc), so I must think it's the No. 1 Power Pop album, too. A real shame they weren't able to put out a few more (dozen) records.

Anonymous said...

Wow, thanks for posting. This needs to be heard by more. It is absolutely criminal this LP and band did not ever hit it big. Such a shame, but hey, it's never too late.

Anonymous said...

This is like hearing a Beatles album for the first time. It is EPIC. Listen.

Jamal C. said...

Is this the greatest blog ever? ... YES!!! Keep up the great posts

lmelis said...

Excellent as always.
Thanks Marios

amacau said...

Many thanks.

adamus67 said...

Cargoe is an American Band from Tulsa, Oklahoma, originally formed in the late 1960s as Rubbery Cargoe, whose lone studio album, engineered by phonon Terry Manning, was released on Memphis Tennessee’s legendary Ardent Records in 1972. They moved to Memphis, TN in 1970 with the help of legendary Radio Personalities Robert W. Walker and the infamous Jim Peters, to begin their recording career with legendary producer Dan Penn of the Box Tops fame. They later signed with Ardent Records where they recorded alongside cult icon Big Star in the original National Street Ardent Studios location, as well as the new studio built on Madison Avenue in 1971.

Keyboardist/guitarist/vocalist/songwriter Bill Phillips and guitarist/bassist/vocalist/songwriter Max Wisley formed the pop/rock quartet Rubbery Cargoe in the mid 1960s. The Tulsa based group went through various incarnations, eventually choosing drummer /vocalist/songwriter Tim Benton and lead guitarist /vocalist/songwriter Tom Richard and later changed the name to Cargoe.

Cargoe were first-rate musicians who epitomized that funky Tulsa Sound every bit as well as Leon Russell or The Dwight Twilley Band, to name two acts with which they share musical heritage. Their peers in Tulsa went on to back artists like Eric Clapton, Delaney & Bonnie and Friends, Bob Seger, Kris Kristofferson, and Moon Martin. The legendary status of Ardent Studios in Memphis has continued to grow year-by-year, as dedicated fans of power pop cult heroes Big Star have sought out more information about the organization that originally released their albums.

The group eventually ended up re-recording the entire album at Ardent Studios due to a technical problem with the tapes from Penn's studio, and it was finally released in early 1972. Ardent has remained to this day ahead of the curve technically, and that tip-top sound quality comes through as always on Cargoe's lone album. It doesn't matter how good a recording sounds if the songs aren't there, and Cargoe more than delivers the goods on that count.

Even though it was released on the Anglo pop-obsessed Ardent label, this isn't a power pop album, it's really more a hybrid of Southern rock and progressive rock. However, the group's songs are very tightly constructed, and stay away from the jammy nature of many of their contemporaries. Along with "Feel Alright," there are a few more real barnburners on the album, including "Time" and "Thousand Peoples Song." But the group also created some great mellower material, including the beautiful "I Love You Anyway," which was released as their second Ardent single in late 1972.

The story of Cargoe's records commercially is much the same as what befell Big Star. The label worked hard to promote the album, and the second single release of "Feel Alright" again gained some radio action. But the distribution problems of Stax (which handled Ardent releases) made the records hard to find for those who wanted to buy them. It's often estimated that only a few thousand of each of Big Star's albums made it out the door, and these days Cargoe's album seems to be even less common than those are. After a brief tour for the album's release, the band returned to Memphis and broke up shortly after.

While Big Star has enjoyed a remarkable second act years after the original band's breakup, their equally worthy labelmate unfortunately hasn't been as lucky. Cargoe was available briefly as a Japanese import CD, and the only domestic re-release of their music was an excellent live CD released by producer Terry Manning's Lucky Seven label. It appears that disc, too, has already been discontinued... so track one down while you can!

Anonymous said...

This sounds interesting, thanks everybody, I will have to give it a listen.

- Lonesome Pine Tree Joe

Anonymous said...

What a great find! thanks for posting this. Any chance you have The Hot Dogs album to post?

greekrocker said...

This is a real lost gem ! Excellent
compositions with wonderful guitar playing. By the way, I was born in Tulsa Okla ! Thanks for all this great music you are offering to us.

zappahead said...

Thanks for the share...really great music....much obliged cheers

Unknown said...

Fantastic blog!
Any chance of reposting this hard to find album. Cheers

Marios said...

....Cargoe ...loaded...

Unknown said...

Sorry to be a bother but the link still appears dead



Marios said...

Hi Michael, just checked, nothing is wrong, try again.

Unknown said...

sorry but definitely not working at this end

kind regards

Anonymous said...

Hi Marios,
would you be so kind as to repair the broken link? It is much appreciated.
All the best, Schlabbeduddel :)