Sunday, May 16, 2010

Gary Puckett & The Union Gap - Woman, Woman (1968)

The album with the debut hit from the Union Gap featuring Gary Puckett found the Top Five song "Woman, Woman" as the beginning of half-a-dozen smash tunes, five of which got into the Top Ten.
The slick Jerry Fuller production is comparable to the work of James William Guercio on behalf of their labelmates, the Buckinghams, the difference being that the Buckinghams scored their five major hits all in the span of one year, 1967, while Gary Puckett's chart excursions happened over a two-year period from the end of 1967 to autumn of 1969. Having Cher arranger Al Capps on hand to arrange and conduct may have led to the cover of Sonny Bono's "You Better Sit Down Kids," and the song is perfect for Puckett. The cover of Cher's gender bender gives a good indication of Puckett's talents outside of the hits that he is known for. He is a great interpreter and puts the song in a mainstream setting. The neo-Baroque of "My Son" and the up-tempo rendition of Tim Hardin's "Don't Make Promises," borrowing just enough pop from the Ad Libs' "Boy From New York City," are wonderful contrasts to the covers of contemporary hit material. Neil Diamond's "Kentucky Woman" and the Bee Gees' "To Love Somebody" keep the band true to former Columbia Records president Mitch Miller's apparent mission of covering big songs from the day to fill out an album. For the Union Gap, it's a great introduction. The only song that doesn't work is "By the Time I Get to Phoenix," the singer so sincere in all his other love songs it's hard to imagine Gary Puckett up and leaving, though maybe he wanted some revenge for the actions of the protagonist in "Woman Woman." Producer Jerry Fuller pens "Paindrops," and like the other tracks on this album, it is well-done, but it's the hit record which, far and away, brings the artist to another level.

1. Gary Puckett & The Union Gap - Woman, Woman (3:15)

2. Gary Puckett & The Union Gap - M'Lady (3:21)

3. Gary Puckett & The Union Gap - By The Time I Get To Phoenix (2:58)

4. Gary Puckett & The Union Gap - Paindrops (2:49)

5. Gary Puckett & The Union Gap - Believe Me (2:03)

6. Gary Puckett & The Union Gap - I Want A New Day (2:24)

7. Gary Puckett & The Union Gap - You Better Sit Down Kids (4:07)

8. Gary Puckett & The Union Gap - Kentucky Woman (2:33)

9. Gary Puckett & The Union Gap - My Son (3:02)

10. Gary Puckett & The Union Gap - To Love Somebody (2:41)

11. Gary Puckett & The Union Gap - Don't Make Promises (2:32)
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