Thursday, July 15, 2010

The Hassles "Hour of the Wolf" (1968)

I recently enjoyed a romantic dinner in a restaurant which featured a pearl-white player piano that jangled out five or six Billy Joel hits in or loop (no, not the raw dancefloor shit like "We Didn't Start the Fire" or "Uptown Girl", just the real sexy deals such as "Piano Man" and "Honesty" that you know you wanna hear with your meal). Anyway it put me in mind of this Hassles record since Billy Joel was in this band (calling himself William Joel at the time) and do you know what, I think that Billy used to smoke pot.

That thump you heard was me just being crash tackled by Billy's press agent. But I gotta dust myself off and post this anyway 'cos that's the extent of my commitment to both Truth and things that are just possibly True.

Fact of the matter is, the title track of this album is roughly 13 minutes of fairly pointless noodling and features a dramatic interlude in which Billy can be heard transforming into a wolf in a windy old forest and I guess he'd left a dictaphone going in his pocket from reading out some great ideas for lyrics that he'd come up with earlier that day. And if that's not some bullshit dreamed up by stoners then we can only assume that Billy Joel really is a were-wolf - here's what it sounds like:

Billy Joel's Transformation into a WERE-BEING by doggziller

So if I were his press agent I'd go with the story that's not going to get my client shot in the face with some melted-down cutlery - i.e. BILLY JOEL BE BLAZIN' THE CROP.

Billy celebrates as 1983's "Tell Her About It" hits #1 on the Billboard charts.

Apart from that remarkable passage there's not too much on this album that stands out, other than the excellent "Four O'Clock in the Morning", a laid-back groove about walking around town in the middle of the night when it's all quiet and peaceful which, now that I think about it, is also kind of a werewolfish sentiment. It's very much what you'd imagine a late '60s Billy Joel song to sound like if you wanted it to be good.

The Hassles - Four O'Clock in the Morning by doggziller

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