DARYL HALL/JOHN OATES Abandoned Luncheonette (1973)

frontAbandoned Luncheonette (1973)
Subtle Soulful Simplicity

What a glorious record. Daryl Hall & John Oates’ second album is a slick concoction of acoustic Philly soul that easily transcends the folk duo format Hall & Oates initially embraced at the beginning of their career. Part of what makes Abandoned Luncheonette so appealing, even after four decades, is the elastic instrumentation, which never follows any set guidelines. Each track, whether buoyed by soft guitars or a sweet string section, seems tailor-made for each tune, showing little regard to anything but artistic intention. That it was still slyly commercial and aesthetically satisfying at the same time is a minor miracle. Daryl Hall’s vocals are beyond compare and those delicate harmonies should be a staple in any playbook. I’ve included “She’s Gone” on the player, even though it’s played out for many people, just as a reminder of how a good song endures in artisans’ hands. Though released as a single in 1973, the tune wouldn’t gain recognition until it was re-released in 1976. Find Abandoned Luncheonette HERE at Amazon (loss leader priced at $4.99, plus free MP3s). Find more H & H&O (War Babies, H2O, Sacred Songs and Three Hearts In The Happy Ending Machine) in the archives, HERE.

When The Morning Comes (3:10)
Had I Known You Better Then (3:26)
Las Vegas Turnaround (The Stewardess Song) (2:59)
She’s Gone (5:15)
I’m Just A Kid (Don’t Make Me Feel Like A Man) (3:19)
Abandoned Luncheonette (3:58)
Lady Rain (4:25)
Laughing Boy (3:31)
Everytime I Look At You (7:02)

21 Comments

  • 1
    Willard
    January 23, 2013 - 08:52 | Permalink

    Search HERE

  • 2
    Frito
    January 23, 2013 - 09:37 | Permalink

    Willard, I agree completely. They were really on to something with this record which changed quite a bit once big success came their way. They sound so innocent. Thanks for reminding me of this record.

  • 3
    Duncan Walls
    January 23, 2013 - 10:03 | Permalink

    This was such a turn on when it came out. It had the best of the soulful Philly sound a boy could need and all the harmonies that a lover of the West Coast CSN&Y/Byrds etc sound loved. I got to see them opening on tour with Lou Reed (Sally Can’t Dance tour) circa 1976 after being forgotten by most, unfortunately doing most of their Rundgren-produced material from ‘War Babies’ which wasn’t their high moment. At least they did ‘She’s Gone and ‘Las Vegas Turnaround’ (the third standout on Abandoned Luncheonette after ‘She’s Gone’ & ‘When The Morning Comes’ which all got consistent play for a while earlier.

    • 4
      Willard
      January 23, 2013 - 10:09 | Permalink

      Yeah, I was thinking about adding “Las Vegas Turnaround” to the player since I kept re-listening to it when I was putting the post together. I guess I will anyway, thanks for the nudge to good judgement.

  • 5
    Heavybreizhad
    January 23, 2013 - 10:28 | Permalink

    A great album. I found it on vinyl few months ago. Very clever and soulful musicians

  • 6
    G
    January 23, 2013 - 12:59 | Permalink

    Have always enjoyed this – it’s a bit different from their 1st release (Whole Oats) – and was glad, a while back, when The Captain made mention of “Sacred Songs” a whle back. I have always thought it’s one of the best things that Hall ever did – part of – -,hmmmmmm – - the Drive To ’81 by The Unnamble…..
    G

    • 7
      Willard
      January 24, 2013 - 10:52 | Permalink

      There’s a typically didactic interview with the unnamed one in MOJO this month – who says he’s retired from music making. Sometimes I just want to shake the shit out of that guy, but I’d probably have to stand in line behind Belew, Bruford and a few dozen others.

  • 8
    snakeboy
    January 23, 2013 - 17:54 | Permalink

    A great LP. But 40 years old? One of us is getting old :-)

    • 9
      Willard
      January 24, 2013 - 10:50 | Permalink

      My fingers shake every time I type those numbers about favorite albums. It’s why I don’t write as much about The Beatles anymore.

  • 10
    Grant
    January 23, 2013 - 23:18 | Permalink

    One of my all-time favorites. Nice to see such an “uncool” duo highlighted on a cool blog like this. I think these guys are much better than their public perception would dictate.

    And yes, this is just a perfect album. One of my most-listened-to through the years. Would love any Hall & Oates rarities you might have on hand…

    • 11
      Willard
      January 24, 2013 - 10:47 | Permalink

      It’s kinda weird how uncool they were at certain times. They were definitely one of those bands that people forgot about unless there was a hit on the air at the time. I was eyeballing the Hall & Oates album (the silver one with “Sara Smile,” from ’75), and some of their troubles may have started there. The cover made them look like glam/Bowie disciples (and Hall’s feminine look was particularly convincing), while the pics of a naked Oates didn’t help matters. Fortunately, they canned that look pretty quickly. Save for a few rough patches, the music was typically worthy, though.

  • 12
    Bill
    January 24, 2013 - 10:28 | Permalink

    A good friend of mine lived in Pottstown PA. He was driving me around showing the highlights of the area,and suddenly in the weeds was the abandoned luncheonette.Too cool.

    • 13
      Willard
      January 24, 2013 - 10:41 | Permalink

      Yeah, there’s a little info at Wiki about the history and fate of the diner – “The diner on the cover of the Abandoned Luncheonette album was formerly the Rosedale Diner, located in Pottstown, Pennsylvania. When the diner went out of business, its structure was dumped in a small wooded area located along Route 724 in Kenilworth, PA, at the entrance of Towpath Park in East Coventry Township, where the photo was taken. Stripped by souvenir-hunters, the structure remained in place until about 1983, when Ridge Fire Company, along with the owner, burned what was left in order to clear the land.”

  • 14
    KDNYfm
    January 24, 2013 - 15:54 | Permalink

    I cant say much about this album that hasnt already been said by others here…
    Thanx for following up on request W!!

    Al

  • 15
    joe
    January 24, 2013 - 18:48 | Permalink

    Even John Bonham was a fan of this album! Love it

  • 16
    Balzac
    January 25, 2013 - 00:50 | Permalink

    I was a huge fan of Hall and Oates, but this is only album I consistently go back to. Great, simply great. And the promo film they did for “She’s Gone” is insane:

  • 17
    Ace K
    January 29, 2013 - 15:15 | Permalink

    I can’t believe it!. I was a fan of Hall and Oates (as a Beatles/Motown/Philly soul fan I was willing to advocate for pop music instead of the hipper stuff that all the “real music fans” liked), but I had always thought this was pre-fame reissue crap that suddenly appeared everywhere after they hit the big time (happened with a lot of artists in the 70s). So even though it was all over the cutout bins, I never touched it. I feel like an idiot now.

    Can’t wait to hear it.

    Ace

    • 18
      Willard
      January 29, 2013 - 15:29 | Permalink

      Funny. In a way, though, you were almost right. Their first two albums (produced by Arif Mardin) didn’t really go anywhere and had no hits. It wasn’t until years later that “She’s Gone” was re-released and scored big. I remember seeing this in cut out bins, too, and not being hip to it at the time it was first released. So, join the club.

  • 19
    Lee
    February 1, 2013 - 00:13 | Permalink

    She’s Gone is one of the greatest pop songs ever written. I never get tired of it.

  • 20
    April 27, 2014 - 18:38 | Permalink

    Classic. Thanks.

  • 21
    Willard
    May 20, 2014 - 10:22 | Permalink

    Sorry… but because of shit-headed spammers, comments are closed on this post. If you have any notes or issues, just leave an alert in C-Box. Thanks.

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