My mind’s eye is always on the lookout for a SotW idea. I might hear something new on a blog I follow or read an interesting article in a magazine or hear a long forgotten gem on the radio. But a couple of weeks ago my friend David K posted a video on his Facebook page of Crack the Sky doing “She’s a Dancer.” Eureka! I hadn’t thought about that band or song for a very looong time.
If you’ve never heard of Crack the Sky, you’re not alone. Most people haven’t, unless you’re from their adopted hometown of Baltimore (they were originally from Pittsburgh) where they were a big hit in the mid seventies.
The band was led by John Palumbo and played a very smart, pop biased form of progressive rock – at least in the strictest sense. Their songs are played by virtuoso musicians, often use complex arrangements, tricky time signatures and have pretentious lyrics, and on occasion run very long. But most of the songs still fit into more conventional pop structures.
Take the song David reminded me about, “She’s a Dancer”, for instance.
“She’s a Dancer” is from CTS’s self titled debut (1975). The album received some critical praise – Rolling Stone declaring it “Debut Album of the Year” – but it did little in sales or airplay. The song contains many of the characteristics described above but also comes in under 4 minutes and contains some latter day Beatles’ influence. Plus it ends with a pretty cool, horn driven, instrumental section played by the Brecker Brothers and David Sanborn. Not too shabby!
The lyric covers some of the same territory as The Kinks “Lola.”
Check out the rest of the set and their fine second album, Animal Notes, on Spotify.
Enjoy… until next week.
Wow, Tom, that’s a find. I can’t believe there was a Rolling Stone “Album of the Year” that I have no sonic memory of. It was in 1975 I was a college freshman and film critic for the Claremont Spectrum. I wrote an inept letter to the Stone offering to take over the movie reviewing gig that was vacant, as if I was doing them a favor. I got no reply, nor did I deserve one.
I have to admit I don’t hear the Beatles in this tune. I do hear some Steely Dan, and not a little Kool and the Gang in that Brecker Brothers/David Sandborn finale. Thanks for sharing!