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The dissolution of The Larks over the past few months was a bigger loss to rock ‘n’ roll than the industry knew at the time, as it removed from the landscape a group who could truly do it all.

Close harmony ballads of love? Check.

Reinterpreted country blues in a vocal group setting? Check.

Secular records with gospel feeling? Check.

Self-penned songs with instrumental support by at least one of their members? Check.

That member, Allen Bunn, was their leading songwriter and guitarist and if he’d only taken a handful of leads with the group, since they had others who were better singers, his occasional presence out in front still added countless dimensions to their already diverse sounds. Now on his own, he was left to do it all himself and still showed even without their support that he was never less than interesting, even if he was bound not to get as far off the ground without the others around him.


I Can Drive Her Anywhere
When doing the lazy half-assed research one comes to expect around here, you’ll find that this record is deemed by some to be a “cover version” of a blues song dating back fifteen years or so, albeit under a different title.

Excusing the fact that technically speaking a “cover” is an immediate release seeking to split the initial sales of the original, the fact remains that whatever term you use for such things, remakes being the most accurate maybe, My Flight does not qualify in that regard.

I’m not saying that there aren’t some vague similarities to Sleepy John Estes’ 1937 song, Airplane Blues, but it’s not the same tune. The story may have the same broad subject, but so too does Eddie Floyd’s Big Bird or Jefferson Airplane’s Blues From An Airplane and they’re not the same composition either.

Perhaps Allen Bunn, the most blues-oriented member of The Larks, was inspired by that song, or the cover of it late the next year as Flying Airplane Blues, by Blind Boy Fuller, but that’s as far as it goes and even that would be impossible to prove and pretty hard to even suggest with any authority. There’s just too much here that is so vastly different, from tempo to melody to story to delivery, that it’s fairly obvious Bunn came up with this on his own.

All of which shows that while research can be informative and give you things to consider, the burden of proof is still required to take that information as gospel.

She Can Rock Me
The fact of the matter is that this might have some blues structure to how it’s comprised (but truthfully what doesn’t in 1952?), but everything else about it is far too perky to be housed comfortably in that genre even if you wanted to stretch a point to make it so.

The piano is skittering around while the drums are setting a discreetly steady pace to keep it from wandering too far, all while the saxophone sits squarely in the rock vein with a nice warm, soothing tone with just a hint of restlessness in how its played.

Yes, Allen Bunn’s vocals have a bit of a weathered quality to them, which certainly hints at blues, but he can’t help where he’s from and how his larynx is formed, so by paying more attention to the eagerness of his delivery and the underlying sexual impatience you can determine his interest which gives you a greater sense of his outlook.

The lyrics are doing what a lot of songs from all indigenous musical styles (IE. not professional Tin Pan Alley output) have specialized in, whether blues, country or rock, which is to make particular use of metaphors to get across a point about sex which otherwise might not make it past the censors.

”My baby’s like an airplane, she likes to fly” may not sound very titillating, but when he follows it up by saying how well she glides you start to pick up on the underlying meaning… and if not, then you surely haven’t spent enough time in the cockpit yourself so to speak.

Normally in 1952 this euphemism would be more commonly made with automobiles than planes, because most listeners have at least been behind the wheel of car, or will be as soon as they’re of age, whereas very few have gotten their pilot’s license. But the image of being so high has dual meanings which can’t be gotten when remaining earth-bound, as there’s the chemically induced one – be it drink or drugs – which often goes with such activities, as well as the sheer feeling of elation during sex that is comparable to leaving the ground in some ways.

The tone Bunn takes on My Flight seems to suggest the former, even though the lyrics don’t play that up at all. He seems sort of dreamy-headed, singing in a thin tenor that threatens to become almost transparent at times. The constant presence of the saxophone’s slightly deeper tones are vital in keeping him tethered to terra firma and the solo reinforces that with a few good early riffs before wandering off itself.

Although he presents good images – or to keep it within the confines of the subject matter, while he ensures we see some good sights from up above – he’s got no real destination in mind. The euphemisms are all about love, from the stormy weather they have to endure on the flight to the rough landing without a parachute when things go bad, none of it hard to substitute relationship concerns for. But it’s while he’s using it simply to say that he’s sticking with her no matter what without providing more of concrete reason for bringing this up, it still comes across more as a broad overview of love rather than something specifically related to his own current affair.

So in a way its cleverness in finding so many ways to connect them is also the song’s weakness because when we go up in the air, be it in an actual airplane or just take off on a flight of fancy with a song, we tend to want to know where we’re landing and this one is content to just fly around in circles enjoying the ride.


Built For One
This is a record that’s easier to admire than it is to fully enjoy.

Not that it isn’t a pleasant listen. It’s nicely done in most regards… Bunn sings it well, the uncluttered arrangement provides just enough support and if the story is a little more cryptic than we’d like, it’s not hard to figure out his meaning and appreciate some of the individual lines for their own sake.

But My Flight is also a record that doesn’t seem to have an easily defined role in a rock fan’s listening experience. Its easy-going pace makes it theoretically danceable, but it’s hardly a song made for cutting loose on the floor. It’s got a weightier subject lurking under the surface, but it’s not something designed for deep thinking when you’re alone and grappling with your own relationship issues. There may be a few lines hoping to make you smile, but it’s not a song built on humor either. Lastly, while each part is effectively rendered, it’s not something trying to impress you with any of the technical components.

In other words, like an airplane flying overhead way off in the clouds on a late summer day, it’s something you may lazily follow while looking up at the sky but once it disappears over the horizon you won’t think of it again.


(Visit the Artist page of Allen Bunn for the complete archive of his records reviewed to date)