I just came across this Ral Donner Fazzio Crown in the bargain bin of a local Echo Park record shop and had to purchase it, even though I swore off more vinyl purchases for the rest of this lifetime. I can’t resist a Fazizo.
There are three distinct musical stylings on this LP.
Side one features Ral Donner’s Elvis influenced singing and writing. Competent Elvis impersonation but wouldn’t you rather listen to the original? I know I would.
Side two features three underwater-sounding crooning ballads that have the sound quality of an old lounge record, you know, the type usually signed by the artist to some drunk fan in the bar–is this Ray Smith, the same outrageous rockabilly cat who recorded for Sun & had the million seller Rockin’ Little Angel? I sure hope not, and I sure hope this dreadful music didn’t contribute to his suicide at age 45.
Side two closes with three numbers that sound suspiciously like Jerry Cole, complete with tremolo guitar stylings and Cole’s now familiar voice. My bet is that Bobby Dale is Jerry Cole or visa versa.
As noted by Both Sides Now discography, CLP 5346 was reissued a year later under a different band name and the songs in reverse order. More from BSN: “This is one of the few Crown albums to reach a CD reissue. In 1998 it came out on Demon Records as DIAB 855, in its original track listing and sleeve with added photos and sleeve notes by Barry Ballard, which is fitting as band members Chris Hillman, Larry Murray and Kenny Wertz were to make important contributions to the California Bluegrass, folk-rock, country-rock and, in the case of Murray especially, the studio scene. All the songs were traditional songs arranged for the album; Crown apparently preferred not to pay royalties but rather would pay a flat fee for the recording.”