There has been a great deal written/talked/whispered about the long-awaited, highly-anticipated return of Emitt Rhodes, with good reason. His long-out-of-print albums (four, from the early ’70’s) are considered musical prizes to those lucky enough to have them; his songwriting, performances and production styles are almost other-worldly and because he stopped releasing new music in 1973, the myth surrounding him has grown exponentially.
There’s more than enough ample history available to read up on Mr. Rhodes and the past; what led to his abandonment of recording, etc., so I’ll leave you to find the details on your own. What is important is the fact that he has indeed released a brand new album of all new material and it IS worth the advance buzz, hyperbole, etc. Because it doesn’t matter how much time has gone by – Emitt Rhodes still has it. That indescribable ability to construct a song with feel, refinement, melody and words that provoke thought. It’s as if no time has passed by virtue of that alone.
The title cut, “Rainbow Ends” is simply a thing of beauty; subtle and delicate with emotion pouring out from start to finish; “Dog On A Chain” is a fine example of dynamics – slow and acoustic at the beginning and picking up with such tasteful backing and a stellar middle break with harmonies leading into a spot-on guitar solo and “I Can’t Tell My Heart” is tender, dramatic and passionate.
“Friday’s Love” walks right out of the mid-’70’s, where Rhodes left off, and that’s just fine, as it’s another perfect example of how to write a complete song – mellow, tuneful, memorable and fitting a specific mood; “Put Some Rhythm To It” is a fun, rollicking number with a juke-joint vibe – and it must be stressed that throughout the 11 tracks is his voice is in fine form – Mr. Rhodes’ vocals are just as warm and embracing as they were on his earlier works. Maybe a slight bit deeper but no less powerful.
So let us be thankful that Emitt Rhodes has decided to once again grace us with his music; yes, a long-missed and legendary warrior returns with a clutch of stellar new songs. And for those who can understand, one of the few who can still show us just how it’s done.
A MUST – HIGHLY RECOMMENDED