‘Last Words’ (Atco SD 33-235) January 1968
I’ve had this album for around twenty years but I don’t think I’ve played it more than once in the past. But now that I’ve got the record review motivation back I’ve decided that today is the day that the album gets my focus and attention.
The material on offer is mostly interpretations of songs that were previously big hits, but done in a late sixties psychedelic rock style.
Extended versions of “Be My Baby”, “No Reply” and “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’” take a while to get used to and may require several spins. The musicianship and production is tight and clear with interesting arrangements and the strong material is a success.
The use of fuzz guitar and organ elevate teeny-bopper numbers ‘Mor’een’ and ‘I Wish I Had Time’ to a higher level and perhaps hark back to The Last Words earlier period as a competent garage group.
‘Biding My Time’, a 1966 B-side of the single ‘Hot Summer Days’ (Boom Records) has been compiled a few times and is worthy of further investigation.
back cover liners:
The impact that the Last Words made on the pop scene with their first recording, ‘Can’t Stop Lovin’ You’, in the summer of 1967 indicated that bigger things were in store for this talented group.
This album, their debut LP, does more than bear out that contention. It proves that the Last Words rank with the most original and inventive young rock groups performing today.
What makes the Last Words stand out among a multitude of capable groups are their creative arrangements, formidable musicianship and their ability to perform many types of tunes from R&B rockers to wistful ballads.
The sounds they produce, although showing influences of the Cream and the Vanilla Fudge, are strictly their own. What is even more noteworthy is the fact that they put their own original stamp on familiar rock standards like ‘Be My Baby’, ‘No Reply’ and ‘You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’ as well as their original compositions like ‘Can’t Stop Lovin’ You’, ‘I Wish I Had Time’ and ‘One More Time’.
The Last Words are composed of four young men, all in their early twenties: Johnny Lombardo (lead singer / tambourine); Mike Byrnes (guitar); Rick Cook (drums); Steve ‘Schroeder’ Sechak (organ).
They started their career together in New York (two of the boys are from New York and two are from Jersey City) but now they make their home in Florida. All of the members compose songs. Their usual arrangements are created by Mike Byrnes and Steve Sechak.
It takes a lot of resourcefulness for a young rock group to make it today. In addition to a high standard of musicianship, creativity, and stamina, they have to possess a desire to lead, to strike out on their own.
In other words, they have to have the ability to grow musically. The Last Words possess all of these qualities.
This album, which can be listened to again and again without palling, shows that the Last Words are on their way in the highly competitive world of rock.
recording engineers: Bobby Dukoff and Larry Fisher
produced by Brad Shapiro and Steve Alaimo
‘Hot Summer Day’ / ‘Bidin’ My Time’ (Boom)
‘Can’t Stop Lovin’ You’ / ‘Don’t Fight It’ * (Atco)
‘I Wish I Had Time’ / ‘One More Time’ (Atco)
Mor’een’ / ‘Runnin’ And Hidin’ * (Atco)
* denotes non-album tracks
Billboard Spotlight review 10/02/68
Here’s a young American group with a truly bright future in a first-rate debut album. Including two singles, “Can’t Stop Lovin’ You” and “I Wish I Had Time,” this disc is loaded with good material.
Their extended versions of older rock numbers such as “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’,” “No Reply” and “Be My Baby” are fresh with different twists. Mark Lindsay’s “Mor’een” is also done well.