In parts, Lazarus have moved into early Doobie Brothers territory, whilst still retaining huge vocal melodies and lush orchestrated pieces.
Written by: gdmonline
ALBUM: A Fools Paradise
CD REISSUE: Discogs Reissue List
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: USA
LINEUP: Bill Hughes – vocals, guitar, piano on 4, harp on 1, 6 * Carl Keesee – vocals, bass * Gary Dye – vocals, piano, organ * Nick Jameson – drums on 1, 2, 8, percussion on 1, 2, 5, 8
TRACK LISTING: 01 Ladyfriends II * 02 Ladyfriends I (Sing A Song To Your lady) * 03 When Will The Home Of Me Begin? * 04 A Fools Paradise * 05 Baby Baby * 06 Thoughts Of You * 07 Take Me High * 08 Oklahoma Boy * 09 This Is A Song * 10 Poets And Lovers
Having recently reviewed the debut Lazarus album, it was appropriate to review their second (and last) album, ‘A Fools Paradise’ released two years later in 1973 on Bearsville Records. The debut was a mainly folk/christian acoustic album, and though the style is much the same for their second, the songs are far superior.
In parts, Lazarus have moved into early Doobie Brothers territory, whilst still retaining huge vocal melodies and lush orchestrated pieces. Some of the songs on this album are exquisite, and really do deserve a mention. Joining the band on drums and also in a production capacity is Foghat drummer Nick Jameson. No doubt the Bearsville connection is strong here.
Kicking off with ‘Ladyfriends II’, the Doobies influence is immediate, this could easily be an offcut from ‘The Captain And Me’ or ‘What Were Once Vices..’.
Easing up with the smooth vocal/acoustic lushness of ‘Ladyfriends I’, Lazarus display their ability for melting hearts with their amazing vocal harmony capability. ‘When Will The Home Of Me Begin?’ is a mostly piano driven piece, again with delicious vocal work and acoustic guitar for melody.
Hughes drives the piano again on the gospel flavoured title track ‘A Fools Paradise’, and things move ahead in tempo with the superb ‘Baby, Baby’, reminding of UK’s Cressida, though with more melody. Lazarus return to a singalong Christian/Southern rock ballad with ‘Thoughts Of You’, don’t be thinking this is a write-off, it’s not bad actually.
Some energetic ivory tapping introduces ‘Take Me High’, again a quasi Doobies sound is apparent, though the parping brass work gives it a slightly different flavour. Lazarus venture into ‘cowpoke’ territory with ‘Oklahoma Boy’, thankfully they don’t disappear right off the range with this one, not unlike Daniel Amos in parts.
‘This Is A Song’ could be early America revisited, with lots of acoustic guitar on hand. Intricate guitar picking is a feature on the closing ‘Poets And Lovers’, overall though, the song is encased in a warm blanket of orchestration, as the lyrics are uplifting.
I enjoyed ‘A Fools Paradise’ a lot, admittedly you have to be in the mood to listen to Lazarus. Coming off hours of power metal is probably not the best course of action however..
Though continuing into the 70’s, Bill Hughes would eventually go solo, he released ‘Dream Master’ in 1978, and became more notable when he and partner Roxanne Seeman wrote the hit single for former Earth Wind And Fire member Philip Bailey called ‘Walking On The Chinese Wall’ back in 1984.
I understand this album has since seen a reissue through Warners subsidiary Rhino Records during July 2008, but it is only a digital download, not a CD.