Skylark were far more talented than one hit 45. They offered up an album of solid AM pop and with David Foster’s golden touch, it’s a classic of its genre.
Written by: Eric
SERIAL: ST 11048
CD REISSUE: Discogs Reissue List
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:
LINEUP: David Foster – keyboards * B.J Cook, Donny Gerrard – lead vocals * Allan Mix – guitars * Steve Pugsley – bass * Brian Hilton – drums * Carl Graves – percussion
TRACK LISTING: 01 Brother Eddie * 02 What Would I Do Without You * 03 A Long Way To Go * 04 Suites For My Lady * 05 I’ll Have To Go Away (Saying Goodbye Is Not Easy) * 06 The Writings On The Wall * 07 Twenty Six Years * 08 I’m In Love Again * 09 Wildflower * 10 Shall I Fall
He was from country rock star Ronnie Hawkins‘ band for (according to Hawkins) ‘looking like a cadaver’ on stage. However, future MOR genius David Foster returned to his native Canada and put together Skylark with local musicians from the cities of Vancouver and Victoria, British Columbia.
Club dates between Vancouver, Edmonton and all points in between ensued and in 1971, Foster moved the band to the sunnier climes of Los Angeles where Skylark signed with Capitol. A first single was released, but it bombed and it wasn’t until a disc jockey at the mighty CKLW in Windsor, Ontario began playing ‘Wildflower’ that Skylark began to take off with one of the biggest songs of 1973 on both sides of the border.
There were live dates, including a five night stint at L.A.’s ‘Troubadour’ and sharing stages with everyone from Loggins & Messina to The Raspberries. But a second album – 1974’s ‘Skylark 2’ failed to generate much interest and Skylark were never to be heard from again, relegated to ‘one hit wonder’ status on oldies radio stations for decades to come.
Again, like so many bands/artists branded with such a demeaning label, Skylark were far more talented and interesting than one fondly remembered 45. With two lead vocalists – the soulful Donny Gerrard and David Foster’s wife at the time – B.J. Cook, Skylark offered up an album of solid AM pop and with Foster’s golden touch as co-producer, its nothing less than a classic of its genre.
‘Brother Eddie’ opens the album with Gerrard and Cook’s vocal interplay drenched in a little bit ‘o soul and I can’t help but think early Steely Dan here. ‘What Would I Do With You’ and the orchestrated Foster-esque ‘A Long Way To Go’ and ‘Suites For My Lady’ are wonderful examples of 70’s pop done right.
Really nothing on the album is second rate which brings us to ‘Wildflower’ What a great song. The Beatles styled guitars, lovely west coast harmonies and Gerrard’s warm vocals, the song was written by Skylark’s former guitar player and a Victoria, BC policeman. I imagine the royalties are still pouring in, but its Foster’s sterling production and orchestral production style that made it so special and separated ‘Wildflower’ from the Top 40 pack.
While a little more funk oriented, ‘Skylark 2’ was a decent follow-up, although few share my opinion. Cool surrealist cover too. After the break-up of Skylark, David Foster would divorce B.J. Cook in 1980 and go on to become one of the biggest names in pop music. Donny Gerrard released a good solo album in ’76 and has a long list of credits as a backing vocalist with the rest of Skylark disappearing back to the beauty of Western Canada. ‘Skylark’ has been reissued on CD by the ‘Collectables’ label with a different cover and two bonus tracks from the second album making it a necessary purchase for lovers of quality pop.
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