Cool Livin’ (Avant Garde AV-107) 1967
“It’s cool, cool, cool livin’, when a person lives forgiven.” I had heard rumor that this lp and A Love Song by Lutheran musician John Ylvisaker (pronounced elvis-sacker) were the tops for the label. When Cool Livin’ first came my way those rumors was confirmed. My initial reaction was something along the lines of Perry Como on acid. John’s voice is rich, expressive and full of range – the kind of voice you’d be more likely to find crooning in the sixties adult pop scene. But that music – woah! Cool Livin’ transports the listener through a variety of contemporary styles, including ‘60s rock, psych, folk/beat, blues and jazz. Good electric guitar from John on the title track and ‘A Gay Cliché’, bending the strings a little here and there for that twangy garage vibe. Charges into full-fledged psychedelia on the experimental ‘Do You Know What I Have Done?’ which takes its theme from the account of Christ washing the disciples’ feet. Wife Amanda’s organ accompaniment figures heavily in the sound, bringing a trippy psych mood to ‘My City’, as well as forceful rock edges to ‘Tornado’ and ‘Who Cares For The City?’. Her keyboards even reveal some Sgt. Pepper influences on the unusual ‘Highly Polished Tin’. Totally switches gears for the gentle ballad ‘Song Of Mary’ and the pure jazz excursion ‘The Man And His Dog’ (featuring pianist Bobby Lyle). Hip original lyrics with a bit of beat-generation attitude, touching on such topics as despair, city life, confession, spiritual lingo, Jesus, poverty and racism, the church, plus a parable or two where you’ll have to delve a little deeper for the meaning. ‘Let Loose’ pokes fun at how we “do the church” with “our Sunday smiles and uptight clothes, our sermon ears and twinkle toes”, followed by the injunction to “let loose the love of God in you”. This is one swinging’ cut and it just might make you wanna pop up and do the twist or something. John really lets loose on his singing, too. No screaming or anything, but the dude is definitely expressive and he gets into it. (The Archivist, 4th edition by Ken Scott).
One in memory of Heavenly Grooves blog.
|Song #||Song Title||Time|
|1-4||Who Cares For The City?||3:28|
|1-5||Do You Know What I’ve Done?||2:12|
|2-1||A Gay Cliche||3:56|
|2-2||Song Of Mary||3:01|
|2-3||The Man And His Dog||3:38|
|2-4||Highly Polished Tin||2:05|
|2-5||The Truth Comes Out||5:10|