John Oates, the famously mustachioed half of the legendary blue-eyed soul duo Hall and Oates, once described their tenure at Atlantic Records as “three steps towards finding a sound. Whole Oats had a folksiness to it, Abandoned Luncheonette started combining acoustic folk with a little bit of funk, and War Babies was our more adventurous rock ‘n’ roll side.” He keenly observed of these early records with Daryl Hall that “the albums that followed drew on all of those elements.” So, when Hall and Oates began to score hits at RCA with 1976’s “Sara Smile,” Atlantic didn’t wish to be left out in the cold. In February 1977, the label issued No Goodbyes, a 10-track “best-of” drawing on all three Atlantic LPs and three previously unreleased recordings. No Goodbyes languished for years without a reissue. It was first superseded by Rhino’s 21-track The Atlantic Collection (1996) which contained all but one of its tracks (“Love You Like a Brother,” one of the three new songs). Then, “Love You” finally appeared on CD via Legacy’s indispensable 2009 box set Do What You Want, Be What You Are, and the entirety of the released Atlantic output was issued on Edsel’s 2011 The Atlantic Albums...Plus. But Wounded Bird Records is counting on some fans - and H&O completists - fondly remembering No Goodbyes. It's bringing the original compilation to domestic CD for the first time on September 10.
In addition to its three unique tracks (“It’s Uncanny,” “Love You Like a Brother” and “I Want to Know You for a Long Time”), No Goodbyes reprises one track from the duo’s 1972 debut Whole Oats (“Lilly (Are You Happy)”), three from the 1973 classic Abandoned Luncheonette (“Las Vegas Turnaround (The Stewardess Song),” “She’s Gone” and “When the Morning Comes”) and another three from the 1974 Todd Rundgren-helmed War Babies (“’70s Scenario,” “Beanie G and the Rose Tattoo” and “Can’t Stop the Music (He Played It Much Too Long)”).
We'll take a closer look after the jump! Plus: the full track listing with discography, and a pre-order link!
The selections on No Goodbyes are solid, although there are notable omissions such as the ironic Philly soul of “Fall in Philadelphia” and the folk-tinged “Goodnight and Goodmorning,” both from Whole Oats. “Lilly (Are You Happy)” likely was selected to represent that album as its R&B groove anticipates Hall and Oates’ refined blue-eyed soul of later years. Whole Oats‘ follow-up, Abandoned Luncheonette, is still one of the duo's most beloved albums. It’s anchored by “She’s Gone,” which of course was included on No Goodbyes. Though it only placed at No. 60 when initially released (and edited) as a single, it scored when re-released by Atlantic three years later. The song reflects the team’s greatest strengths, with a stunning melody, a universal lyric, and a sophisticated arrangement. Add those impassioned vocals harmonizing as one, and it’s almost impossible to contemplate that the song wasn’t a hit from the get-go. (It did attract cover versions early on, however, including fine treatments from Lou Rawls and Tavares.) Almost as good is Hall’s “When the Morning Comes,” a slice of down-home R&B, and Oates’ atmospheric “Las Vegas Turnaround (The Stewardess Song).” Both of these appear on No Goodbyes.
War Babies, Hall and Oates’ third and final Atlantic LP, remains one of the most controversial albums in the H&O canon. It also is one of the most remarkable. Rundgren encouraged his old neighborhood pals to explore an experimental direction equal parts rock and soul. The most straightforward track is Oates’ “Can’t Stop the Music (He Played It Much Too Long),” a melodic slice of modern R&B that deserved a better fate on the singles chart. On the other end of the spectrum is Hall’s tough rocker “Beanie G and the Rose Tattoo.” It’s still a favorite of Hall and Rundgren, who have performed it live in recent years. But even the commercial-sounding “Can’t Stop the Music” was a dark observation of the seamier side of showbiz, and that theme echoed on the third track selected for No Goodbyes, “70s Scenario.” Almost immediately following the sessions with Rundgren, the team reunited with renowned producer/arranger Arif Mardin (Whole Oats and Abandoned Luncheonette) for No Goodbyes' three new songs, but their Atlantic story was coming to an end.
For a glimpse at the rock 'n soul ouevre of Daryl Hall and John Oates before music videos and “Maneater,” No Goodbyes is a reasonable and completely enjoyable introduction. Wounded Bird will reissue it, likely in the label’s typical bare-bones fashion, on September 30. It can be pre-ordered below.
Daryl Hall and John Oates, No Goodbyes (Atlantic SD 18213, 1978 - reissued Wounded Bird, 2013)
- It's Uncanny
- I Want to Know You for a Long Time
- Can't Stop the Music (He Played It Much Too Long)
- Love You Like a Brother
- Las Vegas Turnaround (The Stewardess Song)
- She's Gone
- Lilly (Are You Happy)
- When the Morning Comes
- Beanie G. and the Rose Tattoo
- 70's Scenario
Tracks 1-2 and 4 were originally exclusive to this compilation
Tracks 3 and 9-10 from War Babies (Atlantic SD 18109, 1974)
Tracks 5-6 and 8 from Abandoned Luncheonette (Atlantic SD 7269, 1973)
Track 7 from Whole Oats (Atlantic SD 7242, 1972)