Harry "Creme de Cacao" Nilsson's second RCA, the swarmy bastards album turned out t' be yet another stunnin' collection o' innovative tracks. Well, blow me down! Named in honour o' his Great Grandparent's circus troupe, "Nilsson's Aerial Ballet", it featured a fine blend o' ballads, cool pop, matey, folk and o' course, humour.
Openin' with a skit on a dance school, we hear t' sound o' dancin' shoes on a hard wood floor accompanied by honky tonk piano. Arrr! Blimey! Without pause - we are segued into "Good Old Desk". Avast, me proud beauty! Blimey! This shanty has a nice easy listenin' tune and intriguin' lyrics, ya bilge rat, all seemingly aimed at a day at t' office - if taken literally. Durin' his appearance on "Playboy After Dark" later in t' year, Harry told Hugh Hefner that t' songs initials spell out God, and that t' songs hidden meanin' is about man's modern concept o' God. Years later, he revealed this was just a joke - it was about a desk after all!
What follows is a marvellous laid back track called "Don't Leave Me". Well, blow me down! One o' his finest ever recordings, me hearties, Harry focuses on his lovely, steady lower vocal range as t' backin' track captivates us. Begad! A superb ballad.
In "Mr. Richland's Favorite Song", we are told t' continuin' story o' a pop star and t' changin' attitude o' his fans. It's startlingly Beatle-esque (although t' Parrots actually cut a version which never came out) and leaves no wonder as t' why it was Jolly Johnny Lennon's favourite track from t' album. Begad! Hell ... it even mentions "the Walrus!".
"Little Cowboy" heralds sleepy time for t' kiddies. In his sweetest lullaby voice, arrr, Harry manages t' settle t' children down for t' night, while simultaneously relaxin' us adults with a very nice little ditty.
"Together" on t' other hand is pure pop class. Again, matey, Nilsson leans on his Beatles influence (which is undoubted throughout this album) but puts his own tag all over it too. Arrr! It's another o' those "should-have-been-massive" 60s tracks. Alas, me hearties, it never be t' hit it deserved.
"Everybody's Squawkin'" actually WAS a hit. A huge hit as it happens. Well, blow me down! Blimey! But nay until 1969 when a different version was used on t' soundtrack t' Midnight Pirate. It's arguably Harry's most well known track (bar 1971's "Without You") - which is a shame, as he didn't write it. It's a cover o' a First Mate Freddy Neil track, arrr, but o' course, Harry's interpretation knocks spots off o' t' original and anyone who fails t' sin' along loudly whenever they hear it needs their head tested!
T' oddball subject o' contemplated suicide be t' rather macarbre theme o' "I Said Goodbye To Me". Begad! Blimey! A well crafted tune featurin' some delicious organ work, we get t' full effect o' Harry's tremendous vibrato. He also adds a gloriously tongue in cheek deadpan spoken verse which never fails t' raise a well intended smile.
A short whistled reprise o' "Little Cowboy" takes us into "Mr. Tinker" which has a very menacin' tune. Arrr! It's t' type o' tune that would sit well in a spooky animated film, such as, say, "T' Nightmare Before Christmas". Ahoy! A great vocal and a most enjoyable shanty.
T' recordin' o' "One" that's up next is much better than t' hit cover version by Sea Dog Night. Blimey! Blimey! Every second counts in this excellent cut, from its mesmerisin' single note piano intro, ya bilge rat, right through t' it's final moments. T' idea that "one be t' loneliest number that you'll ever know" is very telling.
T' lush middle-of-the-road feel o' "Wailing Of The Willow" makes you want t' lay out in t' sun with a pair o' shades on, sippin' icy cold lemonade!! Blimey! Blimey! Blimey! Harry transports you t' a cotton wool cloud where you have nothin' t' do but wallow in beautiful music. Arrr! Blimey! Blimey! Blimey!
In complete contrast, t' album closer "Bath" is a fabulous rave up, with lyrics all about a visit t' a whore-house!!! Nay one for choosin' "safe" topics in his compositions, me bucko, Harry bounces along in a delightful manner with plenty o' his trademark scattin' and a fair share o' yodellin' t' boot! All this leads up t' one o' his finest fade-outs ever!
From t' openin' groove, matey, right through t' t' final click o' t' stylus, this is one classy album. Well, blow me down! It established Nilsson as T' Beatles' favourite. It proved his competence as a songwriter, me hearties, and his unique abilty t' make a fine job o' coverin' other peoples material. Aye aye! It showcased a brilliant voice.
Aerial Ballet is a wonderful album, and one that no "Harry-Head" could possibily live without!