An oft-overlooked, dollar bin constant, Andy Pratt’s first LP was a layerd, finely produced piece of piano-driven singer-songwriter bliss that was destined for AM radio greatness. The first track, “Avenging Annie” is a symphonic stunner, sung entirely in falsetto, from the perspective of a “mythical heroine”, presumably Annie Oakley, and her outlaw exploits (which later admitted to be a metaphor for his first failed marriage). A strange and affecting song that boldly blurred gender-specificity, the oddball track quickly gained a following, and stayed on the Billboard Hot 100 for ten weeks. (The track also appears in “Velvet Goldmine”- if you can manage to sit through the film to hear it.)
Pratt was from upper-crust old Cambridge pedigree. Born in Boston, Pratt was the son of Edwin Pratt, the headmaster of Buckingham, Browne and Nichols school (which he later attended), and he graduated Harvard with a degree in English Literature. He hopped around with a few local groups (Butter, The Chosen Few) before releasing his first album in 1968, with little fanfare. It wasn’t until a bootleg tape of “Avenging Annie” caught the ear of execs at Colombia Records that Pratt had another chance at commercial success. Since the bootleg had been circulating for at least a year before, being the most requested song on Brown University radio, and gaining steam as an underground classic, the official release already had enough buzz to get him noticed.
But, “Avenging Annie” isn’t even the weirdest track on the LP. It’s “Inside Me Wants Out”, the LP’s 2nd track that takes the taco for me. A ferocious, pounding mini-symphony with one of the spazziest vocal deliveries of the 70’s– great changes and unexpected swagger. It really has it all.
Summer’s over, but “Summer, Summer” was certainly my choice for most maudlin summer anthem of 2012.
Do not judge this record by it’s cover. I’ll admit that it totally looks like it’s lame-ass Frampton rip off, designed to make you hear dental drills and run in terror. The joy that lies within this slab is entirely worth the $2.00-5.00 that you’ll spend on it. What’re u waiting for? Rush to literally any record store in Boston, request this LP, and the proprietor will most likely breathe a sigh of relief as if to say “Sure pal,there’s 200 more of these in the back just like it… go ahead!”