Title - 'The Bell Years: 1972-1974 [4CD Box-Set]
Artist - David Cassidy
For those not in the know, David Cassidy (April 12, 1950 – November 21, 2017) was an American actor, singer, songwriter, and guitarist.
He was best known for his role as Keith Partridge, the son of Shirley Partridge (played by his stepmother, Shirley Jones), in the 1970s musical-sitcom The Partridge Family.
Indeed, this role catapulted Cassidy to teen idol status as a superstar pop singer of the 1970s where between 1972-74 he was one of the world’s best-selling artists; both solo and as a member of The Partridge Family.
This brand new 4CD, 50 track clam shell Box-Set (released October 4th, 2019 via 7T's Records / Cherry Red Records UK), covers all of his solo recordings for Bell Records during that aforementioned most commercially successful years.
Disc One is his debut album Cherish which hit #15 in the USA and #2 in the UK. It includes the #2 UK hit single ‘Could It Be Forever’ and the #3 ‘I Am A Clown,’ both of which were also major hits across most of Europe.
CD 1 - Cherish (1972)
1. 'Being Together'
2. 'I Just Wanna Make You Happy'
3. 'Could It Be Forever'
4. 'Blind Hope'
5. 'I Lost My Chance'
6. 'My First Night Alone Without You'
7. 'We Could Never Be Friends
('Cause We've Been Lovers Too Long)'
8. 'Where Is the Morning'
9. 'I Am a Clown'
11. 'Ricky's Tune'
12. 'All I Wanna Do Is Touch You' - Bonus Track
Cassidy's Cherish was a huge break out solo attempt by the artist best known for his portrayal of Keith Partridge; the perennial teenage eldest son on the hugely popular 'Partridge Family' series on ABC.
Indeed, it was David's continuous urge to expand his audience to a rock status that gave birth to this first solo project. Yet, as it is told, he was still under strict restrains at the time by producer Wes Farrell; who also produced the Partridge's musical numbers.
It was said that Farrell made Cassidy follow guide lines to not overstep the purity of his Partridge status - much to Cassidy's dismay - but Cassidy was so enthusiastic to break the mold he gave in.
Thus his first foray into a solo career sounds very similar to his Partridge tunes that Arista had already included many of Cassidy's previous songs of on the Partridge compilations beforehand.
Ergo, it's also difficult for a novice Partridge fan to really hear any difference in any of these tunes that could have easily transcended into the TV Show; which was Farrell's intention, of course.
The second disc is 1973’s UK #2 LP Rock Me Baby which also reached #41 in America. The title track was a UK #11 hit and #38 in the USA whilst ‘How Can I Be Sure’ gave David his first British #1 single.
CD 2 - Rock Me Baby (1972)
1. 'Rock Me Baby'
2. 'Lonely Too Long'
3. 'Two Time Loser'
4. 'Warm My Soul'
5. 'Some Kind of a Summer'
6. '(Oh No) No Way'
7. 'Song for a Rainy Day'
8. 'Soft As a Summer Shower'
9. 'Go Now'
10. 'How Can I Be Sure'
11. 'Song of Love'
On his sophomore album, Rock Me Baby it's evident right off that Cassidy finally seemed to have gotten his way with his insistence that he go towards a more blatant rock sound.
However, that may have worked better if the rock songs were more tuneful, or as good as anything on the rock/pop charts in 1971-1972, of course. I mean, we all know 'Smoke On The Water' is an incredible song, but the tracks on Rock Me Baby were just nowhere close, sorry.
That said, 'How Can I Be Sure' (which actually is a great song, it has to be said) charted, but it seems to divide the album into schizophrenia (for it's another cover, many of which Cassidy nearly always performed well).
Equally there's the Wrecking Crew performing with their usual distinction and adeptness on all the tracks leaving the stand out tracks for me being 'Some Kind Of Summer' and 'Soft As A Summer Shower' - which are tracks both performed, and produced, beautifully.
Disc Three is Dreams Are Nuthin’ More Than Wishes, a UK Chart topper in November ’73. It includes the double A-side #1 ‘The Puppy Song’ / ‘Daydreamer’ and now has the bonus of both sides of the #9 smash ‘If I Didn’t Care’.
CD 3 - Dreams Are Nuthin’ More Than Wishes (1973)
1. 'Opening Theme'
3. 'Sing Me'
4. 'Bali Ha'i'
5. 'Mae Time'
6. 'Fever Time'
7. 'Summer Days'
8. 'The Puppy Song'
10. 'Some Old Woman (There Is A Woman)'
11. 'Can't Go Home Again'
12) 'It's Preying On My Mind'
13) 'Hold On Me'
14) 'If I Didn't Care' - Bonus Track
15) 'Frozen Noses' - Bonus Track
With Dreams Are Nuthin' it was very obvious that Cassidy was leaving Keith Partridge as far behind in his rear view mirror as possible!. Songs such as 'Daydreamer,' 'Can't Go Home Again' and 'It's Preying on My Mind' are the great stand outs here for me personally; on and album that managed to keep the world's ongoing love affair with him alive and burning bright!
The final disc in the box set is the In Concert Cassidy Live! ’74 which hit #9 in the UK and contains the Top 20 hit single ‘Please Please Me’.
CD 4 - Cassidy Live! ’74 (1974)
1. 'It's Preying on My Mind'
2. 'Some Kind Of Summer'
3. 'Breaking Up Is Hard To Do'
4. 'Bali Ha'i / Mae Time'
5. 'I Am a Clown'
6. 'Delta Lady'
7. 'Please Please Me'
9. 'How Can I Be Sure'
10. 'For What It's Worth'
11. 'CC Rider Blues / Jenny Jenny'
12. 'Rock Medley'
Listening to this live CD, and one I've never personally heard before, it's so very obvious that Cassidy just loves entertaining his fans.
Shining brightly on every single song, each lyric loving brought forth, he gives every vocal indication that he loves being up there, under the solo spotlight, in front of his adoring sell-out audience.
Simply put, the 1974 song selection even today brings back all those memories of teenage years spent dreaming about him (female and male, one assumes), as he sings just for you, live on stage.
So if you weren't a fan, don't buy this 4CD Box-Set. But if you were, then this will bring it all back lovingly to you in leaps and bounds!
Each album is housed in a cardboard wallet with original front cover artwork and a back sympathetic to the original album design.
The booklet contains lots of memorabilia and picture sleeves from the era as well as extensive liner notes.
Official 4CD Box-Set Purchase Link