Thursday, April 6, 2017

To Pacify the Crowd

10cc : Feel the Benefit

In April of 1977, 10cc--now reduced to a duo consisting of the two less eccentric songwriters Eric Stewart and Graham Gouldman-- released Deceptive Bends. Stewart especially felt the duo had a lot to prove. 

"I had a big challenge ahead of me to prove to the record world that we were not just 5cc, as some of the British media had graciously called us. The music was simpler than some of the previous 10cc albums, it was far more direct, streamlined and positive. The whole album was recorded very (in our terms) quickly. I was on a mission, and flying higher and faster than I had ever been before, and I knew by then that we had a very strong album. The new songs played a big part in the equation of course, I was out to prove also that we could write a hit album without Kevin and Lol ... we did!" 

Graham Gouldman told Quietus:

"We were very, very proud of that album, because we felt people would go, "Yeah, right, you've had it now, the creative force has gone," which is ridiculous, but there were things like that going around. 

Here's famed album artist Storm Thorgerson of Hipgnosis discussing the album cover for Deceptive Bends with Gouldman.

For me Deceptive Bends was all part of a great run. I got the album during a period in high school when I considered 10cc my favorite band. I had picked up a copy of How Dare You quite by accident and listened with obsession. I enjoyed "Art for Art's Sake" and Cleverness for the sake of Cleverness.
I think Bloody Tourists was the next album I picked up. I spent the rest of the time filling in the blanks. I even bought the live album Live and Let Live. To this day I'm not sure how to pronounce the title of that one.

I've always been a fan of the well written pop song. Today I see this as a lesser album. I'd rank it behind How Dare You, Bloody Tourists and Sheet Music ( which I found at Woolworth's for $2.99)

"Feel the Benefit" is the epic art rocker and the band's longest studio recording, while "I Bought A Flat Guitar Tutor" is the curiosity. A song in which the lyrics name the chord that is being played. Very tricky, 10cc.

I bought A = A major (A C♯ E) [A]
flat = A Flat major (A♭ C E♭) [A flat]
diminished = A Flat diminished (A♭ Cb E♭♭)
Responsibility (responsibilitE)= E Major (E G♯ B)
You're de ninth = D9 (D F♯ A C E)
Person to see = C Major (C E G)
To be suspended = Bsus4 (B E F♯)
in a seventh = A7 (A C♯ E G) [a seventh]
major catastro- = A Major 7th (A C♯ E G♯)
phe = E major (E G# B)
It's a minor = A minor (A C E)
point, but Gee = G major (G B D) [but gee,]
Augmented = G augmented (G B D♯) [Gee, augmented]
 by the sharpness of your = G sharp augmented (G♯ B♯ D♯♯)
See what I'm going through (C#) = C# Major A (A) =
A Major to be (B) = B Major (B D♯ F♯)
with you E major (E G# B)
in a = A Major [in a] flat =
A flat by the sea =
C Major,, C Major7,, C 7,, C & ad g

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