Wednesday, April 28, 2010
Stars in the Sky
A classic slice of mid-70s power pop, courtesy of Dan and David Kessel under the moniker of Stars in the Sky. The Kessel brothers are the musical sons of Barney Kessel, the tasteful postwar jazz guitarist (Pete Townshend is a giant fan) who was a fine band leader and an in-demand L.A. session musician who famously played on the classic Brian Wilson productions of the mid-60s and was a member of Phil Spector's Wrecking Crew.
Rumour has it that Spector himself produced this record - but who's to say?
Notably, Dan and David played guitar on all of Phil Spector's sessions from John Lennon's 1974 Rock & Roll album onward excluding Spector's work with Starsailor.
As producers (using the names Dan Phillips and David Scott), they've worked with legendary artists with names like the Shangri-La's, the Ventures and American Spring to name a few. Sadly the bulk of these recordings have never surfaced, or are available on bootlegs.
A lot of the Kessels's work outside (and sometimes in) Spector's sphere involves the New York punk identity Blake Xolton (who in turn will get his name in lights in a future offering from this blog). It's been told that Xolton sings backing vocals on this 45.
Through the late 70s and early 80s they ran Martian Records, releasing 45s by Cheri Gage and the Wigs to name but two. In fact, Baby Hold On was released as the Martians on various Bomp! compilations, including Straight Out of Burbank.
The bottom line is the Kessels story is somewhat mysterious - hidden under veils of pseudonyms which are proving hard to get around. A Kesselography will follow once the paper trail's sorted.
What's most important is the music and their obvious respect and unfaltering admiration for Phil Spector's music, and you really can't argue with that.