Tuesday, December 11, 2007

MICHAEL FENNELLY - Lane Changer (1974)

Yep, that ugly promo sticker. I know. Well, I tried to peel it off. You can see the results. Come to think of it, it has been stuck there for... what? 33 years. OMG...

Anyways... but who is this guy above (and below)?

Mr. Bryan Thomas from AMG says:

Michael Fennelly was born in 1949, in New Jersey, but moved to L.A. where he became involved in California's pop/protest movement. By 1967, Fennelly had secured a publishing deal with songwriter/producer Curt Boetcher's Mee Moo Music and became a member of Boettcher's studio-based collective of musicians, including the two main groups, Sagittarius, and the Millennium. Fennelly -- one of five singer/guitarist/songwriters in the latter group, who were actually intended to be a proper live act -- provided fabulous falsetto vocals in addition to co-writing much of the group's material, often with guitarist/vocalist Joey Stec, another member of the Sagittarius/Millennium collective. In 1969, Fennelly was looking to form a group of his own to showcase his lead vocal talents and songwriting, when met the members of a band called Stonehenge, a blues-oriented group who were being scouted by Elektra's David Anderle, a friend of their manager's. The band -- with Fennelly now taking over lead vocals and songwriting duties -- changed their name to Crabby Appleton and signed to Elektra Records. Their first album, Crabby Appleton, was produced by Don Gallucci (from Don & the Good Times) and released in 1970. It enjoyed reasonable success with a catchy Top 40 hit, "Go Back," which peaked at number 36 in July 1970 after five weeks on the charts. Crabby Appleton's second album, Rotten to the Core, was released in October 1971. Despite complimentary reviews, the group's two albums proved ultimately unsuccessful and the band broke up. Fennelly later traveled to England, where he began focusing on a solo career, recording two solo albums. The first, Lane Changer, was recorded in London with the support of ex-Zombies bassist/producer Chris White and Rod Argent on synthesizer (Actually, I gotta step up here... This is not correct 100%. The only synth sound I can identify is on Touch My Soul -a very gentle background- and in Watch Yerself's crazy solo interplays. So there.)

A second solo album, Strangers Bed, was recorded in L.A., produced by Denny Bruce and engineered by Keith Olsen
(yes, I've got to have this somewhere...) (incidentally, Fennelly's album was Olsen's last as a engineer -- he was, at the same time, producing Fleetwood Mac's first album with two new members, Lindsay Buckingham and Stevie Nicks). Released by Mercury in 1975, Stranger's Bed failed to chart. Fennelly is still involved in the music business, and continues working with Joey Stec.

All songs by M. Fennelly. Cockroach, Haymarket, Hard Core and Mee Moo Music BMI.

Lane Changer
Touch My Soul
Won't You Please Do That
Over My Dead Body
Dark Night
Easy To Love
Shine A Light
Bad Times
Watch Yerself
Give Me Your Money

All guitars, pyrotechnics and vocals by M. Fennelly with noted exceptions.

Also, very fine musicians playing in some of the songs:
Drums: Robert Henrit, Henry Spinetti and others.
Bass: Jim Rodford, Dave Wintour.

On Touch My Soul: Background vocals by Rod Argent, Russ Ballard and Mystery Singer.
On Dark Night: Rod Argent plays the mellotron.
Produced by Chris White (of the Zombies)

From the back cover:

Lane Changer is Michael Fennelly's first solo album.
Lane Changer doesn't have to apply to him. It's one of the eleven songs here and not necessarily the best. The words sound good together. Lane Changer.
In the late sixties he was part of the notorious Millenium. In the early seventies he was the leader of Crabby Appleton, writing and singing
Go Back and everything else the group recorded.

The changes continue on Lane Changer. Searing blitz rock to comfortably complex ballads to acoustic love songs.



popcat said...

pwd -popcat

Anonymous said...

this must be my lucky day! i can't tell you how long i've waited for this one, but it's been a very long time! thank you, thank you, thank you! i used to play this one a lot, and i hope it sounds as good now as it did back then. i'm pretty sure he had a second lp after this one that was really good, so be on the lookout for it. thanks again. bob

popcat said...

My pleasure, Bob. You made me remember about this very fine record, so thank you! I'll search the second one.

bshears said...

You remind me of why I got into this whole vinyl thing. The joys of finding things no one else knows about.


Kadek55 said...

Thanks a lot!!

GarColga said...

wow thanks for this hard to find album!!

Anonymous said...

What a coincidence. I was recently at my mom's house, and I found some of my old records in her basement. The one I brought home was "Lane Changer". I remember this being one of my favorites. I bought it after seeing Michael Fennelly at the Michigan Palace after a spring event put on by a local radio station in Detroit (WABX)called the Kite-In on Belle Isle. It cost $4.00 and I saw four new bands, including Fennelly, Kiss, and Aerosmith. It was 1974. Memmories!

Jeff Beck Fan said...

The noted Exception listed on the guitar credit is none other than the stratocaster master Jeff Beck. Plays on the Title track and "Watch Yerself".

Anonymous said...

Well, I have a couple of corrections. Casey Foutz, of Crabby Appleton plays all the keyboards on this record, including Moog synthesizer on Dark Night. Jeff Beck did indeed play the lead on Watch Yerself, but only on that one. Thanks for the kind words. Michael Fennelly

popcat said...

WOW, so glad to hear from you, Mr. Fennelly! So many of us would love to have your work available on cd! Hope it can happen sometime soon!

Scion said...

Actually, Jeff Beck plays on more songs than that here:

◦ MICHAEL FENNELY - "Lane Changer" (Epic 32703)US, (Epic 80203)England. Beck plays on "Watch Yourself", "Lane Changer", "Touch My Soul", "Shine A Light" and "Give Me Your Money".

from the unofficial Beck fanzine, confirmed by Jeff's manager

Alan said...

I can't believe I just came across this blog ... I have been trying to get Lanechanger on CD for years ... to no avail! I had it on cassette in the '70's my mate had the CD and I fell in love with Lanechanger and Touch My Soul! Can't believe I have finally tracked it down again! Would love to get it on CD or digital download ... do EPIC still exist????

Anonymous said...

Scion: It seems to me that Michael Fennelly would know which songs Jeff Beck played on, certainly better than Beck's alleged manager. It was Fennelly's album for heaven's sake.

Anonymous said...

Thanks very much for Lane Changer! It should be better known, because it is a real lost classic rock album - and I mean classic! So good! Congratulations Mr Fennelly on putting together something so great, and commercially appealing without being lame crap ;-)


Anonymous said...

Finally bought another turntable
to hear the great LP's again such as Michael Fennelly's "Stranger's Bed" and "Lane Changer" and they were all warped (even though i had 2 copies of "Stranger's Bed")
So frustrating! Need them on Cd!
C'mon Michael....Release them for us!

RalphDaly28 said...

Heard this album in college in 1974 and I have been looking for it ever since. Found it on eBay after catching the album name here. Wonderful. Great guitar.

Anonymous said...

Please ignore the previous post....the link is still active. Thanks for posting this lost classic!

Anonymous said...

There's talk, of late, concerning cd releases of Lane Changer, Stranger's Bed (my second solo lp) and also previously unreleased material. If and when this happens, I'll leave notice here. And Jeff Beck played beautifully, and on one track only - Watch Yerself. All other guitars on Lane Changer are played by yours truly... Michael Fennelly

popcat said...

Great news! Please do keep us posted!

Kurt said...

I saw a live video of Steely Dan performing Do It on Midnight Special. Is the singer Michael Fennelly?

Connie said...

I got this album at a fair in Key West, FL when I was about 8. Of course, I didn't really get into it until about 5 years later. I still have it and it's in great condition these 38 years later.

Anonymous said...

@Kurt - Steely Dan hired a singer for a little while, because Becker/Fagen weren't comfortable singin on stage. But I never sang with them live, only in the studio - for the high harmony background vocal on Boston Rag, from their Countdown To Ecstasy lp.
Michael Fennelly

Dave said...

Sure would love official CD releases! I've been getting by with my LP-to-CDR burns and MP3s for a number of years now. I remember seeing a magazine ad for this album when I was in college.
It showed the aftermath of a vehicle accident involving a 1958 Edsel (the thud that starts the album), and based on that ad alone I sought out the record. Both albums have been in regular rotation for over 35 years.

Seth Bek said...

AFTER YEARS of searching the NET for something about Michael, last year I noticed that he started posting 'Crabby Appleton' music and his solo stuff on YouTube.

THEN - to my surprise 'and DElite' I found him on FaceBook (and we are communicating with each other !!

CHECK OUT his fan page:

AND his personal page:

NICE to read the posts from other Fennelly Fans !!

Anonymous said...

I bought The Crabbey Appelton LP
when it was released. And Lane Changer Later.. In My opinion
TOUCH MY SOUL is the best rock blues track to have been recorded

Michael Fennelly said...

for anyone still interested in a CD release of Lane Changer, Wounded Bird Records released a nice remaster last year. packaging is bare bones, but that's how they are at Wounded Bird. but the sound is good. I posted some liner notes on Scribd...
thanks. Michael Fennelly