Ace's fifth 2-on-1 Rick Nelson release brings together 1968's ANOTHER SIDE OF RICK and 1969's PERSPECTIVE, two of the most sought-after albums in MCA's catalogue. Big money still changes hands for these albums at auction and the very fact that neither has ever been released on CD before is certain to make this one of the biggest selling discs of the year.
ANOTHER SIDE OF RICK came hot on the heels of two very successful country albums and it was probably the sharp contrast in material that made it such a poor seller at that time. It was fashionable to be "arty" as proven by Richard Harris's MacArthur Park being voted Song Of The Year...suddenly, 'production' of material became for more important than content. As Rick later looked back on his 68/69 period, he recalled: "I was lost. For a while, I said, 'OK, you get me a song and a producer and I'll do it your way'. For a while, the producer became more important than the artist which is kin of an unhealthy situation because the production should really enhance the artist...but with me, I was getting buried in it."
Songs such as Promenade In Green, Dream Weaver and Don't Make Promises found their way onto the singles market but created little or no interest. This was Rick's self-confessed experimental stage of his career and for a man who throughout his entire career surrounded himself with some of the finest musicians in the business, it seemed particularly odd that for PERSPECTIVE, Rick decided to use session musicians on every track! In actual fact, the PERSPECTIVE tracks had been recorded for close to 18 months when the album reached the shop mid-way through 1969 and with hindsight, it's easy to say that the songs of the likes of Randy Newman and Paul Simon were not designed for Rick. Even Rick himself knew this: "PERSPECTIVE was a complete experiment. When I recorded the Randy Newman songs, they just sounded like me singing Randy Newman songs... I did nothing with the material. They were good songs and I should have put more of me into them. I should have re-arranged them to suit me, but again, it was a learning process."
Not one of the album tracks was released as a single and that fact alone adds interest to this CD now that we're 30 years further down the road. Many Nelson fans who missed (or ignored) these albums in the late 60s, coupled with the countless fans who discovered Rick via The Stone Canyon Band just a year or so later, will be eager to add this little shiny disc to their collections. This is an interesting release to say the least.
by John Stafford