Everyone remembers David Cassidy, the bubblegum pop king and teen idol supreme. But Cassidy – still an active entertainer, singer, and actor today – was also a persuasive and versatile vocalist who stepped out of, and prospered beyond, the shadow of the fictional Partridge Family. Far from being simple fodder for the teenybopper crowd, the records he released as a solo artist were in many ways a continuation of the sophisticated pop sounds of the 1960. Cassidy enlisted top-tier songwriters, arrangers and musicians, including Los Angeles’ fabled Wrecking Crew. Cherry Red’s 7Ts label is letting everyone in on this secret with the reissue of the singer’s first two albums for Bell Records, both recorded in 1972: Cherish and Rock Me Baby. This marks the second bit of Cassidy news to arrive this week; across the Atlantic, in the U.S., Real Gone Music is planning its own Cassidy campaign.
If David Cassidy was seeking to establish an identity of his own removed from television’s Partridge Family, one would have been hard-pressed to tell, based on his solo debut Cherish. Cassidy, the son of Tony Award-winning actor Jack Cassidy and actress Evelyn Ward, teamed with Partridge producer Wes Farrell and the same crème of the L.A. session corps from the Partridge records for Cherish. Wrecking Crew stalwarts like Hal Blaine (drums) and Tommy Tedesco (guitar) contributed musically, while Farrell joined Bobby Hart (sans Tommy Boyce), Tony Romeo, Danny Janssen and Cassidy himself in penning the songs. Although Cassidy considered himself an actor first, The Partridge Family revealed a strong voice ready-made for the pop charts; his real-life stepmother and television co-star Shirley Jones was the other bona fide singer cast in the onscreen musical group. But Cassidy sang lead on the Partridges’ No. 1 hit “I Think I Love You” plus other successful chart entries like “Doesn’t Somebody Want to Be Wanted” and “I Woke Up in Love This Morning.” A solo record seemed inevitable, and it didn’t disappoint.
You might just cherish what we have after the jump, including the track listing for the new two-fer, and an order link!
The title track of Cherish, a cover of The Association’s 1966 chart-topper, hit pole position on the U.S. Adult Contemporary chart and No. 9 Pop. In the U.K., “Cherish” did even better, reaching No. 2 on a double A-side single with the album’s “Could It Be Forever.” The album hit No. 15 in the U.S. and an impressive No. 2 in the U.K., and remained on the British chart for a staggering 43 weeks! All the while, he was still racking up successes on both sides of the pond with The Partridge Family.
Cherish offered a strong array of material tailored to Cassidy’s strengths, with both ballads and big, hook-laden up-tempo confections. Tony (“I Think I Love You”) Romeo’s “I Am a Clown” was saved from maudlin territory by its attractive, Classics IV-recalling melody, and Cassidy’s own “Ricky’s Tune,” reportedly written for a beloved pet, was an oddly affecting track. “Could It Be Forever,” written by Wes Farrell and Danny Janssen, and Adam Miller’s “Blind Hope,” were built with all the dynamics of classic AM soft-pop songs. The teaming of Bobby Hart and Farrell yielded “I Just Wanna Make You Happy,” with its joyful Partridge Family overtones. “Cherish,” of course, reminded the record-buying public of Terry Kirkman’s great song.
Rock Me Baby took Cassidy in a more rock-oriented, blue-eyed soul direction. There were a few more familiar songs in the mix (The Rascals’ “Lonely Too Long” and “How Can I Be Sure,” The Moody Blues’ “Go Now”) along with originals from Farrell and Miller. Cassidy again contributed some material of his own, including the driving “Song for a Rainy Day,” co-composed with Kim Carnes! The album’s funky title song, written by Johnny (“Mr. Bass Man”) Cymbal and Peggy Clinger, had already been recorded in the U.K. by Brotherhood of Man, but Tony Hiller’s group shelved its version when faced with Cassidy’s competing track. Miller’s “Soft as a Summer Shower” would have fit nicely on Cherish, and the covers of the Rascals and Moody Blues tunes were a little too faithful to those groups’ recordings, but most of Rock Me Baby showed Cassidy evolving as a singer and exerting more of his own maturing tastes.
Cassidy recorded two more albums for Bell Records (1973’s Dreams Are Nothin’ More Than Wishes and 1974’s Cassidy Live) before moving to RCA where he recorded, among other significant songs, one of the earliest versions of Bruce Johnston’s “I Write the Songs,” later a smash for Barry Manilow. Johnston produced it himself, and Carl Wilson provided majestic, memorable vocals on it. The Beach Boys connection also provided Cassidy with another hit, a cover of the band’s “Darlin’,” written by Brian Wilson and Mike Love. Since the late seventies, the onetime idol has continued to make music, act on the musical theatre stage and perform live.
Rock Me Baby/Cherish is available now in the U.K. and on July 24 in the U.S. from 7Ts. Tim Turan has remastered both albums, and Phil Hendriks supplies an essay in the full-color booklet. You can order below!
David Cassidy, Cherish/Rock Me Baby (7Ts GLAMCD 134, 2012)
- Being Together
- I Just Wanna Make You Happy
- Could It Be Forever
- Blind Hope
- I Lost My Chance
- My First Night Alone Without You
- We Could Never Be Friends (‘Cause We’ve Been Lovers Too Long)
- Where is the Morning
- I Am a Clown
- Ricky’s Tune
- Rock Me Baby
- Lonely Too Long
- Two Time Loser
- Warm My Soul
- Some Kind of a Summer
- (Oh No) No Way
- Song for a Rainy Day
- Soft as a Summer Shower
- Go Now
- How Can I Be Sure
- Song of Love
Tracks 1-11 from Cherish, Bell LP 210, 1972
Tracks 12-22 from Rock Me Baby, Bell LP 218, 1972