Day 27: Hall and Oates – Whole Oats

Day 27: Hall and Oates – Whole Oats

Tracklist

  1. I’m Sorry
  2. All Our Love
  3. Georgie
  4. Fall In Philadelphia
  5. Waterwheel
  6. Lazyman
  7. Goodnight and Goodmorning
  8. They Needed Each Other
  9. Southeast City Window
  10. Thank You For…
  11. Lilly (Are You Happy?)

About the Album

Day 27 brings us the legendary duo from Temple University in Philadelphia Pennsylvania, Daryll Hates and John Oates… know more as: Hall and Oates. Whole Oats, is the duo’s debut album with Atlantic Records in November of 1972. Commercially, it wasn’t one of their best. The album was produced by famed Atlantic Records producer, Arif Mardin. When the original Atlantic Records release went out of print, Whole Oats was released through American Beat Records in 2008.

Thoughts on the tracklist

To those who haven’t heard Hall and Oates until after becoming more commercial and successful (which isn’t a bad thing), this must come as shock to the system. The songs on Whole Oats highlight the band’s original Philadelphia R&B and Soul stylings… moreover, focusing on white Philadelphian soul and R&B. Definite highlights of Whole Oats, includes regional favorite: “Fall in Philadelphia”, which highlights the societal problems of Philadelphia throughout the 1970s.

“Fall in Philadelphia”, despite having an “upbeat” sound, is rather dark and gloomy if you read the lyrics. This version of “Fall in Philadelphia” was a soul makeover from Past Times Behind. It features funky guitar and horns plus a stylish vibraphone line, yet it retains the folky, melancholic undertow of the original.

“Goodnight and Goodmorning,” another carryover from Past Times Behind, features a more epic production, sailing along on its strings and achieving an understated beauty. The two are minor classic hits thanks to the production of acclaimed producer, Arif Mardin. While in the hands of Mardin, both are turned into minor classics. Moreover, there few other songs that are equally as successful, most notably is the opener “I’m Sorry” and the melancholy closer “Lilly (Are You Happy)”. These two are fine examples of Hall and Oates’ R&B roots, singer/songwriter aspirations, and of course, Mardin’s ear for modern pop/rock and soul.

Thoughts on the album

Well, I don’t think it was the debut that Hall and Oates were looking for. But to quote my History of Philadelphia professor at Temple University, “Everyone in Philadelphia knows that Hall and Oates’ best stuff is prior to them going more commercial.” And like everything that professor knows about Philadelphia, he is right once again. While the album’s second side (on vinyl) completely derails the albums with sleepy ballads, thus killing what could have been an excellent debut, I found myself entranced by the sound.

Whole Oats is for H & O completionists, aficionados of the 70s version of the blue-eyed soulsters, and for fans of ballads and light rock. However, if you are someone who likes the later Hall and Oates era music like, Private Eyes and H2O, you might be taken by surprise and possibly even disappointed at what you’ll hear.

Conclusion

Never judge a book by it’s cover. It may take a while and couple of listens to fully get into this album, but I guarantee, if you like Hall and Oates, you can’t miss this. To quote that same History of Philadelphia professor, “Everyone has a favorite Hall and Oates song/album. I don’t care who you are and tough you are. You could be the toughest, most bad-ass gangster who sells drugs and kills for a living and listens to hardcore rap about having sex with women, killing people, taking drugs, or making it rain… you have a favorite Hall and Oates song/album.” Once again… he’s right.

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