No tags :(

Share it




Reverting to a more typical look at the same basic subject of publicly propositioning someone on record, Harry Crafton may not be too discreet in his attempts to get a date, but along the way at least confirms his status as an efficient and reliably capable musical artist.

That hardly seems very complimentary on the surface but considering the number of acts who fall well short in their attempts over the years the fact that somebody who never became a star knows how to deliver the goods in a fairly consistent manner is worth some admiration.


Since Your Lovin’ Daddy Held Your Hand
Most people making their living in music are in fact competent at what they do, certainly compared to the average Joe on the street, but there are so many different components that go into a record (finding a good theme and writing lyrics that tell a colorful story, coming up with a solid musical framework as well as singing playing instruments) that it’s hardly surprising that so few master every single aspect of the job.

Even in the best of circumstances there’s a lot of things in the basic formula for making records that can go wrong and though they’re all somewhat related they don’t exactly share the same precise skill set. So when somebody like Harry Crafton comes along and can do all of that pretty well you can see why that even without any hits to his name he was valued so highly with Gotham Records.

“Was” as in past tense that is, as this is his final Gotham release which leaves a fairly big hole in the company, not just for the open spot on the release schedule his departure created but also his work writing and playing behind others.

While It’s Been A Long Time, Baby isn’t something particularly noteworthy other than being his final effort for the label, it does show that if you had Crafton on your team you were going to get records that were eminently releasable… hardly anything to scoff at when companies were counting pennies at every turn and their business required a steady flow of singles that could potentially interest listeners.

That this one didn’t seem to is no knock on Crafton, but rather might be a sign that Gotham Records weren’t up to to their own jobs, because this record has nothing you’d complain about after hearing it even if it didn’t have you scrambling to hear it over and over again.


I’m A Different Man
This is a pretty straightforward job by all involved, each one contributing just what is needed without tripping themselves up with an uninspired performance, a poorly chosen line or a subpar arrangement.

The position Crafton puts himself in on It’s Been A Long Time, Baby is that of a guy who was in a relationship that had some history behind it before she broke up with him for not living up to her expectations because of his many character deficiencies.

His shortcomings therefore have to be put in perspective. He spends the entire record touting his improvements since he saw her last (he doesn’t let on how much time has passed but I think it’s safe to say it’s been probably six months or so, but not more than a year) and he’s covering all his bases when it comes to shoring up his flaws.

If all of the things he’s now telling her he doesn’t do anymore – smoke, drink, gamble, pick up other women, stay out all night – are the reasons they broke up in the first place, well then, needless to say she made the right choice to leave him and no matter what he tells her now she’d be wise to not believe he’s changed his stripes entirely unless she sees more proof than a humbled declaration of how he’s walking the straight and narrow. After all, he’s got good reason to put up a front if he wants her back and while he SAYS he doesn’t lie now, that’s exactly what a liar WOULD say to get his ex to believe him.

But skeptical though we may be, we have to admit that he sounds sincere which is a harder quality to fake… which may just mean he’s a really GOOD liar at that… but you certainly aren’t scoffing at everything that comes out of his mouth, rolling your eyes and checking to see your wallet and wristwatch are still in your possession after parting company.

More importantly than whether we believe him though is how we, as music fans, appreciate the vocal and lyrical qualities he brings to the table, both of which are first rate. It may not go too far beyond that simple pitch he’s making for her hand back – we never do find out if she accepts by the way – but the story itself holds up well. The lines are colorful and though they’re delivered quickly to get all of the words in they don’t lose their flow in the process, making this a record that rolls effortlessly along.


When I Cash My Check
For somebody who earned his money first and foremost as a studio guitarist you’d expect the music to match the lyrics and vocals and he doesn’t disappoint in that regard.

Though It’s Been A Long Time, Baby doesn’t have any moments that jump out at you, which considering the skills of the musicians might be something of a let-down, they’re all at least committed to contribute to the overall atmosphere in ways that bolster the record.

From the soft siren like horn that opens it over the piano accent notes, to the twitchy drumming and the way Crafton’s own voice establishes the rhythm during the verses, letting the saxes merely chip in with their own retorts as they see fit, this is a really even-handed production. Every note is well-chosen, each musician stays in their lane and plays off one another with discerning ease and when the saxophone is asked to step into the spotlight he does his job with remarkable facility, toughening up his tone and dropping down for a few cruder honks.

There’s no room for Crafton’s own guitar to add some sizzle, which might’ve helped nudge this up a little more if he delivered something with a little sting to it, but considering his part on Let Me Tell You, Baby on the flip side was uncharacteristically underpowered, we can’t complain too much about his absence.

The song may not be trying to do too much, but it also doesn’t fall short in what it does set out to accomplish and while generally speaking there’s not much praise for that kind of discretion, there’s also nobody asking for their money back at the end, allowing Crafton to end his tenure with Gotham on a relative high note.


(Visit the Artist page of Harry Crafton for the complete archive of his records reviewed to date)