Monday, April 7, 2008

Right Down the Line, Gerry Rafferty (1978)

One of the most delicious singer-songwriters of the late 70s, who faded from view in part because he had no appetite for touring and his record label was sold out from under him, was the melodious Scotsman Gerry Rafferty. I once drove the West Virginia Turnpike listening to nothing but his music.

Rafferty first came to the public's attention for his stint in Stealers Wheel, which had a major hit with Stuck in the Middle With You. Earlier, he was part of a Glasgow folk trio that included the comic Billy Connolly, a group called the Humblebums. Sure, why not?

But Rafferty hit his stride as a solo artist, and Right Down the Line is actually just one of many songs that his fans love, other notable ones being Days Gone Down and, of course, Baker Street. One reason is there's always a lot going on in his songs instrumentally; they are works of art in themselves. In this, B.J. Cole's pedal steel guitar licks are extraordinary, the other guitar work is arresting in the atmospheric vein of another Scot, Mark Knopfler, and his vocals are stacked, so the vibrancy of his voice in the chorus is just stunning.

A YouTube commenter says, "I would love to meet the woman this song is about." Right Down the Line is that kind of song - a valentine that any woman would have wanted to receive from her man. In Rafferty's hands, it's pure delight.


cornbread hell said...

great song, right down the line. it's just so peaceful and you're right about the instumentals - beautiful.

once again, i had no idea before reading this who it was by even though i've heard it a lot...

Linda G said...

This was my kind of music...and you've picked one of my all-time favorite non-Beatles songs.'re on the money with that description.

Mombi said...

I love that in every post I'm either reminded of a song that I love or introduced to a new tune that I'm guaranteed to like. I don't think you've had one "miss" yet!