Track of the Day: 'Love Songs In the Night'

By Jay Ferguson

Past Tracks

If you were purchasing the soundtrack to a 1970's X-rated film directed by an ex-Warhol satellite titled Ultra Violet's Hot Parts, what type of music would you expect to find etched in the grooves? Mustachioed wah-wah guitar over a silk sheet of strings? Perhaps. I'm guessing that a brand-new baroque-pop song from the brain and the voice of a short-lived 1960s group (known for songs with titles like "Pretty Ballerina") would be pretty far down the list.

On this peculiar meeting ground for a reunion, Steve Martin, former lead singer of The Left Banke, teamed up once again with chief songwriter Michael Brown for two excellent contributions to this LP. My favorite is "Love Songs In the Night". Compact and light at a brisk 2:10, it begins by throwing you for a loop, tricking you into thinking you've stumbled upon a lost piece of the Velvet Underground puzzle. Yet, once it settles into the verse, the familiar pleading tenor of Steve Martin makes you realize you are hearing what sounds like a collision of New York's tough downtown exterior with its melodic uptown heart.

A side note: The soundtrack also features many contributions by singer Bert Sommer, who, while also in The Left Banke's orbit, was also a key member of Kaptain Kool & The Kongs, a 1970s Saturday-morning TV gang I spent too much time transfixed by as a kid. Just in case you ever needed to shorten that six-degrees-of-separation gap between the Kongs and Andy Warhol.

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