Album Seven by Rick

by: Rick Nelson

Rick Nelson achieved his first comeback in the spring of 1961 with the double-sided hit "Travelin' Man"/"Hello Mary Lou," and he made it last into 1962 by tapping "Travelin' Man" songwriter Jerry Fuller for the further hits "A Wonder Like You" and "Young World." Nelson did not hold recording sessions for LPs per se, but rather assembled his albums from a series of sessions. In a sense, this meant that a disc like Album Seven by Rick tended to consist of tracks that hadn't already been chosen as singles, presumably because they were deemed weaker than the ones that were picked. Be that as it may, the album is a good set of songs mostly written for Nelson by his old guard of songwriters -- Sharon Sheeley ("Thank You Darling," with Jackie DeShannon), Dorsey Burnette ("Excuse Me Baby," "Mad Mad World"), and Baker Knight ("Stop Sneakin' 'Round") -- and the new boys Fuller ("Congratulations," "Poor Loser," "Baby You Don't Know," "History of Love," the last two with Dave Burgess) and Gene Pitney ("Today's Teardrops," with Aaron Schroeder). The writers have a good sense of Nelson's taste in rock & roll, even if on occasion they sound like they're trying to clone earlier triumphs ("Today's Teardrops" particularly sounds like an attempt to rewrite "Hello Mary Lou"). For once, even the covers are striking: "Summertime" is given a rock & roll arrangement that would have surprised George Gershwin, and the choice of the 1958 country hit "I Can't Stop Loving You" was inspired, even if Ray Charles was to present his overhauled version to the world within months. Album Seven by Rick was a disappointing seller, probably because it didn't contain any hits, not even "Young World," just then ascending the singles charts. But it is a worthy follow-up to Rick Is 21. ~ William Ruhlmann

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