Garage Sale Vinyl
Garage Sale Vinyl: Daryl Hall & John Oates

Garage Sale Vinyl: Daryl Hall & John Oates

Daryl Hall & John Oates / RCA / August 1975

At the risk of sounding like an old broken record, I’ll say it again: you can be the coolest muther around, oozing more “vibe” than anyone else on the planet, but if you ain’t got songs, you ain’t got jack! And while they certainly have undergone several packaging makeovers since their major label debut dropped back in 1972, Daryl Hall & John Oates ALWAYS have had songs. Darn good ones, at that. It just took a couple of years and a few records for the masses to catch on. And in the spring of 1976, the masses DID finally catch on, in a very BIG way.

As a naïve, Midwest church boy coming of age during the early and mid-1970s, I didn’t have that cool older sibling to introduce me to such rock icons as the Stones, Zeppelin, Purple or Sabbath. MY older sister was WAY cooler. Debbie would bring home STACKS of pop singles from the likes of Tony Orlando and Dawn, the Carpenters, Carole King, and David Cassidy. In 1975, she had a thing for a guy who further shaped her musical awareness. And whatever Steve recommended, Debbie bought — brought home, and blasted ad nauseam on her portable 1968 Zenith record player.

One of her most wonderful acquisitions was by a seemingly new Philly-based duo. The album had a slick silver cover with the artists’ faces plastered across the front — a glammed-up-looking guy with a mustache and his super-hot-looking chick sidekick. Then, I saw the color pic of the two on the record’s inner sleeve. Ugh! They’re BOTH dudes! AND they’re nude! Some things CAN’T be unseen! But in short order, Daryl Hall & John Oates would become one of my all-time favorite LPs.

Brimming with pure pop splendor, the opening track, “Camellia” was soulfully irresistible, and it hit me like a 27-pound sack-a-taters. More than four decades following its initial 1975 in-store arrival, the song still sounds like sunshine.

Polished with those skin-tight signature Hall & Oates vocals and driven by authentic R&B-fueled keyboards and punched up by perfect pop/rock guitar work, “Alone Too Long,” “Out of Me, Out of You,” and “Nothing at All” were warm and cozy, slinky and sexy. At age 12, I wouldn’t have known what to do with a girl if I could get one. But I was a quick study. A few years later, I’d figure things out and the record would serve as a faithful go-to soundtrack to my reoccurring carnal teenage exploits.

Something of a nut-slap directed to their former rep, “Gino (The Manager)” was a particularly catchy standout, while “(You Know) It Doesn’t Matter Anymore” pointed to their future ’80s brand and “Soldering” enjoyed (at the time) a unique reggae flavor.

Then, there was that song — the magical little chart-busting single that was propelling the album into the Top 20, heading quickly to “gold” status. Now, I’m not saying this statement is accurate. But, I am saying that a STRONG defense case can be made for anyone who would maintain that “Sara Smile” is THE greatest pop song of all time.

Decades later, I didn’t rediscover this record hiding at a neighborhood garage sale or tucked away at a local thrift store. Shortly after my father passed away recently, I was digging through an array of family heirlooms in our newly-acquired storage unit. And there it was: a boxful of my sister’s old records. And in that box was her original vinyl copy of Daryl Hall & John Oates. Simply put, I stole it from her. In my mind, she probably owes me for something from over the years. Hence, I could justify the heist.

In short order, I took the record down to the GF’s house to see how well the music has held up. It since has become our favorite morning coffee soundtrack. In fact, along with the Janis Ian album, Between the Lines, it’s one of only two LPs that she’s flat-out refused to give back. A truly timeless treasure, indeed!

(5/5) ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

Daryl Hall & John Oates Track List

SIDE ONE

  1. Camellia (Oates) 2:48

  1. Sara Smile (Hall, Oates) 3:07

  1. Alone Too Long (Oates) 3:21

  1. Out of Me, Out of You (Hall, Oates) 3:28

  1. Nothing at All (Hall, Sara Allen) 4:24

SIDE TWO

  1. Gino (The Manager) (Hall, Oates) 4:10

  1. (You Know) It Doesn’t Matter Anymore (Hall, Sara Allen) 3:07

  1. Ennui on the Mountain (Hall, Oates) 3:15

  1. Grounds for Separation (Hall) 4:12

  1. Soldering (Ewart Beckford, Alvin Ranglin) 3:24

Hall & Oates


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