Ron Nagle (Omnivore)
4 stars out of 5
Ron Nagle is a true renaissance man. Now an acclaimed sculptor, Nagle got his start in the music business in the mid-1960s with The Mystery Trend, a band that helped usher in the “San Francisco sound.” In 1970, Nagle released his one and only solo album — “Bad Rice” — to universal critical acclaim but only minimal commercial success.
“Bad Rice” has earned a devoted cult following over the years and the folks at Omnivore are bringing Nagle’s music to a new generation of listeners with this expanded reissue. “In the late ‘90s, when Billboard magazine asked its readers which vinyl LPs they most wanted reissued on CD, ‘Bad Rice’ topped the list,” says Gene Sculatti, who penned the expansive liner notes for the two-disc reissue. “It showed up again in 2004 in the obscure-albums book ‘Lost in the Grooves,’ which declared the album ‘a true original of Americana pop.’ A lot of us never stopped believing. But many potential fans were denied the pleasures of ‘Bad Rice’ altogether. Until now.”
Disc 1 features the original 11 cuts from the album, highlighted by “Marijuana Hell,” “That’s What Friends Are For,” “Capricorn Queen” and “Family Style.” Among the six previously unissued tracks, “Francine,” and alternate mixes of “Frank’s Store” and “Dolores” are the keepers.
Disc 2 features 14 demos from the era, including 12 that have never been released. The recordings are a little rough around the edges, but Nagle shines on “People Have Told Me,” “Say My Name,” “Half as Much,” “Sleep for Me” and “Wasted Paper.” (Jeffrey Sisk)