Sunday, December 11, 2011

I'M “NOT SHY” NOW . . .

[From the STMcC archive: 2006, July 15th]

I’m “NOT SHY” now . . . but I'm still rather attached to my body.

I graduated from high school in 1977, and at the Theatre Arts Department year-end banquet, I received two awards: 'SHYEST' and 'BEST BODY'. That said a lot for my acting ability, didn't it?

You wouldn't expect the guy with the best bod to also be the shyest, would you? Well, take a look through some of my blog bits and you'll see that I'm no longer shy (some might even call me an opinionated, loud-mouthed jerk). And, yes, I did have the best formed male body, but that's because I was also on the varsity wrestling team - pumping iron all the time - and my bodily competition in the Theatre Arts Department was a bunch of prancing, dancing sissies singing ‘Westside Story’ tunes. Not much competition there, ya know?

One Summer after graduation, my friend Eric (yep, again, that same bloke I got lost with one night in the Okefenokee Swamp), and I were hitting all of the Rock 'N' Roll clubs and seldom missed the free noontime Friday concerts at Santa Monica City College. One Friday we caught this dude named Walter Egan playing great Summer beach tunes on that diminutive stage, and I liked his catchy Pop so much that I went right out and bought his just released album, 'NOT SHY’. Within weeks, I heard his song 'Magnet And Steel' on the radio and listened as that July and August it steadily climbed the charts all the way up to #8, making Egan yet another One-Hit Wonder. I felt like I was an "insider."

What's surprising is that the album 'NOT SHY' contains at least half a dozen other cuts that could have just as easily cracked Billboard's Top Ten chart, being (to my ears) much better than the "one hit", ‘Magnet And Steel’, but they got no radio airplay. Who can explain that stuff? But if you want an authentic slice of that late '70s Pop pie, you could do much worse than Egan's second release, 'NOT SHY.' It was recorded in L.A. in '77 and contains 36 minutes of music that includes Fleetwood Mac icon Stevie Nicks singing backup on 5 tracks, and bandmates Lindsey Buckingham and Mick Fleetwood on 2 each, along with Dean Torrance (of Jan & Dean fame) on 1 other.

Let’s look at 'NOT SHY' song-by-song, shall we? . . .

‘SWEET SOUTH BREEZE’ is a real toe-tapper that opens with Egan's twangy guitar. This had Top Ten hit potential.

As I stated in my blog bit titled “Notes From An Unnoteworthy Vacation”, in September of 2008, I put ‘Not Shy’ into the car’s CD player to begin a road trip… and a subsequent tradition. I found that playing ‘Not Shy’ – with it’s first track being “Sweet South Breeze” – was the ideal way to start a trip on the highway.

As I wrote a couple months ago in “Disappointment In Riptide City”:
Over the last few getaways that Nappy and I have taken together, we have developed a new “Trip Tradition”: the first compact disc we spin as we’re just getting "on the road again" is Walter Egan’s ‘Not Shy’ album. The light, joyful, catchy Pop melodies just seem to set the perfect tone for some fun, relaxing days ahead.

Listen to this song [below] and see if you can’t easily imagine yourself hearing it as you look out over the steering wheel through your car’s windshield and as you’re driving down the interstate highway that will take you outta town and into new horizons – [don’t ask me what the images in this video have to do with the song; it’s clear that someone was seriously “Incongrutiating”!]:

Dulce Brisa del Sur (Sweet South Breeze)

‘MAGNET AND STEEL’ is the big hit. A ballad which includes a very Beach Boys-like guitar break.

"Hey baby, ya wanna camp out on the beach with me tonight and build a bonfire and, uh... Oh?... OK, well maybe next weekend?"

‘FINALLY FIND A GIRLFRIEND’ with Stevie Nicks featured rather prominently in the background had "hit" written all over it. After years of being the loneliest guy with a good body, I finally found a girlfriend. But the minute I began joyfully singing this song... she dumped me! And the search began again. (Don’tcha hate it when that happens?)

walter egan finally fnd a grlfriend

‘THE BLONDE IN THE BLUE T-BIRD’ is another one that shoulda been a hit. Who can hear this one without thinking of the movie 'American Graffiti'?

Walter Egan - Blonde In A Blue T-Bird

[That’s gotta be Stevie Nicks driving the T-Bird in this video, am I right?]

‘STAR IN THE DUST’ contains the lyric, "I recall what somebody once told me: 'Only the lucky in love survive'." Here Egan cleverly self-references his debut album which kicked off with the song 'Only The Lucky (In Love Survive)'. So now you know who the "somebody" was who told that to Walter Egan. It was Walter Egan! Ha! I likes it. I likes me some clever stuffs!

‘I WANNIT’ is the weak link on the album. Not offensive but not a stand-out track either.

‘MAKE IT ALONE’ contains some angst-driven guitar playing from our boy which gives the song the edge it requires - really his best guitar work on the album. And, yes, you can make it alone! Just look at me - I've made it alone! But it is kinda lonely to be a lone kinda guy. But you CAN make it... alone... and lonely... very lonely... desperately lonely... oh, so very, very lonely!

OK, that's all I have to say about that because it's starting to depress me.

‘UNLOVED’ - Ah, yes, here's another one about being alone, lonely, unloved. It's about a girl who can't be contacted because she's "unlisted" her phone number. But hey, the singer's gonna make it alone even though he may be a bit lonely... a bit unloved... I mean, really unloved. Oh man, here we go again.

"Hey baby, let's get together and... Huh?... oh, I see. Your hair, huh? OK, well maybe next weekend?"

‘JUST THE WANTING’ - No, this brooding ballad is not about wanting a girl when you're unloved and trying to make it alone… very alone… and lonely! It's about the wanting to attain something in life... something a little BIGGER than a girlfriend... unless, of course, your girlfriend is named Bertha, or something like that. There's a line in this song that says, "I remember when I was seventeen and my life had just begun." That's funny because I was seventeen when I first saw Walter playing on that little college stage, and I too felt that my life was full of pristine promise. Little did I know back then that the best I'd ever do in life was to write semi-appreciated blog bits for a then unimaginable Internet site while trying to.... make it alone... so alone...

‘HOT SUMMER NIGHTS’ - Yeah, I know all about hot Summer nights (today's high here in Phoenix was about 115 degrees and it's still about 100 at 2 AM), but somehow I get the feeling that Egan has a different kind of "hot" in mind. This may be my favorite track. Here's another one with tremendous hit potential that inexplicably never got played over our radios in the summer of '78.
"A-Woo-ooo-ooo-OO-ooo-ooo-ooo-ooo, hot summer nights."

Walter Egan - Hot Summer Nights

There's nothing fancy on 'Not Shy’, just simple but catchy commercial Pop - Summery and tasty.

Alright, listen, I gotta go now.
No, you can't go with me. And don't let me catch you trying to follow me, either. I'm gonna ‘MAKE IT ALONE’, gosh darn-it, and I can't do that if you're following after me like a lost little puppy dog! "Alone" means alone, and I can make it that way... I CAN.... I just know I can!

Of course, if you're blonde and female... you think maybe I could catch a lift with you in your blue T-Bird? Perhaps we could ‘MAKE IT ALONE’ together?... Oh?... OK, well maybe next weekend?

~ Stephen T. McCarthy

YE OLDE COMMENT POLICY: All comments, pro and con, are welcome. However, ad hominem attacks and disrespectful epithets will not be tolerated (read: "posted"). After all, this isn’t, so I don’t have to put up with that kind of bovine excrement.


Sheboyganboy 6 said...

Fun "stuffs" I didn't know. I never heard of Egan before, but it is pretty good music, for the time. I'd have liked it better then, but my tastes have changed some since.

I liked Blonde in the T-Bird best, and yes I think that is Stevie in the car. The backup vocal sounds like her too, however, the chick on stage is NOT her. Weird. I must be wrong bout something.

I can see starting a trip or two with your Brisas track. What the heck is the video of, though?!?!?

Stephen T. McCarthy said...

Thank you!
Well, you may not have known the name of the singer, but surely you remember the song "Magnet And Steel", right?

No, you're not wrong about anything there. I know Stevie Nicks did background vocals because she's credited on the album. And, of course, that's unquestionably her voice on certain songs.

I thought that was her in the T-Bird, but the picture was kinda fuzzy, so I wasn't positive. But, although Nicks and Buckingham appeared on the album, they were not a part of Egan's touring band. The female singer on stage in the video is probably Annie McLoone (or some name such as that), who was Egan's regular live gig background singer.

That video for "Sweet South Breeze" is evidently a segment from some Hispanic TV dance program that someone - who knows why - thought was in sync in some way with the song. As I wrote, that's some big time Incongrutiating there, but it was the only YouTube video I could find for that song.

Generally, I'm not a real big fan of commercial Pop, but there are some exceptions, even if I can't always articulate WHY I like "this" and not "that".

Some of the reason I like the "Not Shy" album probably has to do with the fond memories I associate with it. But there's more than just that. I really do like it! It has a certain... I don't know - tone... or it sets a certain mood, maybe.

Why I liked (and still like) "Not Shy" when I never cared for Fleetwood Mac and never owned a single Mac album, even when they were at the height of their popularity, I can't really say 'cause I don't really know.

How come I never bought "Frampton Comes Alive" when I DID like all three big hits that I heard from that album, which got played every 15 minutes on the radio?

I'll take Walter over Fleetwood and Frampton, but I'm not sure why. Maybe it's that he seems to have "sand, sea & sun" in his sound?

~ D-FensDogg
'Loyal American Underground'

Six said...

I know... you said "don't ask me what that video is of" and I went ahead and did it anyway!

I definitely heard and liked Magnet and Steel.

You are right: our tastes in music are often totally unexplainable. I liked Fleetwood Mac and - as you know - am a big fan of Buckingham. Nicks, not so much. She was OK. I was seriously in love with her looks when she was younger, though. Again: now, not so much!

Frampton was a big negatory. Never liked the guy or the songs. Don't know why. Lots of people did, but then he faded fast.

Stephen T. McCarthy said...


>>...I know... you said "don't ask me what that video is of" and I went ahead and did it anyway!

That's 'cause you're a rebel and you'll never ever be any good / You're a rebel and you never ever do what you should... [and so on and so forth through the rest of the song].

>>...Nicks, not so much. She was OK. I was seriously in love with her looks when she was younger, though. Again: now, not so much!

I never did think all that much of her looks. Blondes rarely did it for me. [Interpret that in either way.] Linda Ronstadt though? Yeah, I had some fantasies... even if I never bought a-one of her records. [Actually, I think I might have had one compilation with "Hurts So Bad" on it.]

I did like Frampton's hits, but I guess not enough to buy his mega-selling album.

I recently left a comment for you somewhere around here in which I think I really finally nailed our similarities and differences when it comes to music. The pattern finally emerged for me...

With some rare exceptions to the rule, I think this is probably a fairly accurate statement: When it comes to the non-Rock/Pop genres of music, we have similar tastes; when it comes to the Rock/Pop genres, however, our tastes are close to polar opposites.

We both dig Blues and Jazz - up with Dave Brubeck and Louis Prima (although you have yet to realize what a brilliant composer Pat Metheny is).

But Rock/Pop - we rarely agree on. I said no to Yes and yes to Pink Floyd; you said yes to Yes and no to Pink Floyd. You like Green Day; the only Green Day album I ever listened to, I hated it SO MUCH that it actually made me quite literally "angry".

The Who you love. Me? Eh. I like a few songs from "Who's Next" but that's about it.

We both liked Springsteen once upon a time. But I'll bet the only two Springsteen albums I still really like (and actually own) are two that you don't care much for ("Greetings From Asbury Park" and "The Wild, The Innocent & The E Street Shuffle").

Yeah, I think we'll never hear ear-to-ear when it comes to Rock/Pop, but that don't matter, 'cause we'll always have Wes 'n' Miles.

~ D-FensDogg
'Loyal American Underground'

Six said...


Yup, methinks you have it down pretty good. I like the jazz and blues masters a bunch. But I love Green Day, The Killers, Blink 182, and especially Angels and Airwaves. You would/do hate them all.

But you are wrong about me and Bruce. I like the early Bruce best, and really like those two albums. My favorite stuffs of his, though, are the tons of Bruce bootleg albums I have. I must have 20 or more. One reason I still have them is that they are illegal to own and I don't know who to sell 'em to.

PSSSST... wanna buy some bootleg Bruce?

Stephen T. McCarthy said...

>>...PSSSST... wanna buy some bootleg Bruce?

Uh . . . no.
How 'bout you, you wanna buy a watch? I got a hot Role-- ahem... I mean, I got a COOL Rolex I can let you have real cheap. One owner - a little old man in Pasadena who only wore it to church on Sundays.

~ D-FensDogg
'Loyal American Underground'

Hold my hand: a social worker's blog said...

That was fun. Life and music. And did you make it alone??? :-D))


Stephen T. McCarthy said...

Yeah, I'm making it alone, and it's GREAT. ...But it's lonely.

Do you have a sister who's single and whom you dislike? If so, perhaps you'd be willing to introduce her to me?

~ D-FensDogg
'Loyal American Underground'

Dixie@dcrelief said...

Eagan was played a good bit on the east coast. I liked, still do, all of his songs on 'Not Shy.'Thanks for featuring him. ~dp

Stephen T. McCarthy said...

dp ~
Dang! I didn't know the (L)east Coast listened to cool music, too.

I thought we had cornered that market in SoCal.

~ D-FensDogg
'Loyal American Underground'