New Nilsson Songs
This promotional LP was released in 1967 by Perry Botkin and Gil Garfield's publishing company, Rock Music Co., primarily to promote Harry Nilsson's songs. Of the songs it included ten were written (or co-written) by Nilsson and two others were sung by him, though written by Botkin & Garfield. Some of the songs would later appear on 'Pandemonium Shadow Show'.
There were a few more details released about Nilsson's early years. Harry got to work with the legendary Phil Spector, co-writing a song called ‘This Could Be the Night’. Recorded by the Modern Folk Quartet in 1965 it could well have really got Nilsson’s career up and running but the ever eccentric Spector mysteriously abandoned the record once completed. (Another of Spector’s acolytes, Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys, fell in love with the song and to this day counts it amongst his favourites. He later recorded it for the posthumous Nilsson tribute album ‘For the Love of Harry’ in 1995)
This early version of the vaguely autobiographical song is virtually, if not, identical to the version which appeared on PSS.
A Boy From the City
A fairly basic demo of a song which had more potential than to go henceforth completely ignored. Featuring Harry on piano (with a prominent left hand providing solid bass), double-tracked vocals and maracas.
The La La Song
Also known as 'The Wedding Song' (Harry manages to 'la' his way into Wagner's Bridal Chorus at the end) this is a guitar/vocal demo (with the guitar rather too loud in the mix). Harry managed to get a good Beatles reference into the song: "But that was yesterday and like that fellow said 'my troubles seemed so far away'"
Hey Little Girl
Harry does not sing this song (that honour went to Jimmy Cross who, perhaps, took it a little too seriously here). However, it is easy to hear Harry in this song - firstly the song is typical Nilsson and secondly it is obvious that Harry 'coached' Cross as to HOW to sing the song (it is very similar to the only known Nilsson recording of the song - a demo of potential songs he recorded for 'The Monkees'). Cross had a chequered career which is most notable for the single he made cashing in on the fashion for 'death' songs - I Want My Baby back.
This song has no Nilsson connection apart from being on this album
There Will Never Be
In contrast to 1941 this is a different version of the song. This is piano, bass and drums - missing the brass which was to play such an integral role in the final 'PSS' version. But while the backing was different this shows us clearly just how much thought went into Harry's interpretations - his vocal line (including the scat) is almost identical to the finished product, meaning he must have had it all worked out in his head prior to recording either.
Don't Say Goodbye
The record label credits this to Botkin/Garfield though some sources (most notably Roger Smith's web pages) give Nilsson a songwriting credit. Sung by Jean King.
Seems to be the same arrangement as on PSS.
The Story of Rock and Roll
Nilsson seems to have put a lot of thought, time and commitment into this song. It even appears in an early published songbook 'Nilsson Together' which is most unusual as the song was never officially released by Harry. (It was, however, subsequently recorded by artists including The Turtles and David Cassidy) In this version you can hear Harry's enthusiasm for the song...surely it must have been a contender for PSS?
Harry recorded this song himself in 1971, though that version has yet to be released. It has quite a pedigree though: it was co-written with Phil Spector and provided a hit for The Ronettes, subsequently also being recorded by artists including The Shangri-Las and Bette Midler. This version is quite like Spector in its production.
This is a clever song, by all accounts - Harry, in recording the Monkees' demo called it 'cute'. On this version the vocal is double-tracked. I believe (this has not been confirmed) that one of the tracks is Harry's guide vocal and the other the vocalist who is credited on the album. Listen carefully and see if you hear what I mean... The lyrics are very noteworthy, "One Coke, Two straws, Three o'clock, gonna walk you home. Fo(u)r you I'd carry books, Five blocks isn't very far..."
Little More Rain
Another song co-written with Botkin and given a Spector-like production for a female vocalist. Listen out for backing vocals which strangely pre-echo 'The Moonbeam Song' at times.
By the time this record was made 'Good Time' had already featured as the opening track on the 'Spotlight on Nilsson' album. Same song, same recording. 'Nuff said.
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