Craig Fuller / Eric Kaz (Expanded Edition) (Real Gone / Sony Music) review
Long out of print 70’s California rock
Fuller was the voice and writer behind Pure Prairie League’s signature hit “Amie,” while Kaz penned several hits for Bonnie Raitt & Linda Ronstadt. Their debut collaboration arrived amid high expectations in 1978. Yet, despite the excellent songs, impeccable vocals, and stellar backing, the album was a commercial failure.
Which is a shame, since there’s a lot to like here. “You Take a Heart” sounds like mid-period James Taylor, while “Til You Come Back” has a Jackson Browne feel to it. “Annabella” is the real head-scratcher; a gorgeous, acoustic, mid-tempo track that should’ve been a hit.
Some of the best songs are actually near the end – “Fool For You” is a badly-needed rocker that resembles Ronstadt’s reading of “Poor Poor Pitiful Me,” while “Restless Sea” has some great harmonies on the chorus.
The comparisons to Taylor, Ronstadt and Browne all make sense, since many of the their musicians played on these tracks. The liner notes blame labelmates’ Toto for stealing their success, yet it’s more complicated than that. By 1978, disco was dominating the charts – which means, if you weren’t a superstar rocker, you weren’t getting through. Had this come out even a year earlier, it might have been met with a different fate. Either way, we now have this great album back in print to enjoy. If you are a fan of 70’s rock, with a little country thrown in for good measure, you’ll like Craig Fuller / Eric Koz. —Tony Peters