I Mean To Shine is out now on Omnivore Recordings
Gary Katz is a name synonymous the pristine production of the first seven Steely Dan albums.
But in 1970, he was in his very first days as a burgeoning studio wizard when he was scheduled to cut the debut album from a 19-year-old singer-songwriter named Linda Hoover.
Working in the confines of Manhattan’s Advantage Sound Studio, Hoover also found herself working alongside Walter Becker and Donald Fagen, who arranged the material intended to be included on her record, entitled I Mean To Shine. Joining them on the sessions were future Dan guitarists Denny Dias and Jeff “Skunk” Baxter along with the late multi-instrumentalist Eric Weissberg, saxophonist Jerome Richardson and members of the Dick Cavett Orchestra.
Unfortunately, a faulty business decision led to Hoover’s album getting shelved by the label. Barbra Streisand would be given the title track for her own LP, the gold-selling Barbra Joan Streisand, and Katz, Becker and Fagen would move on to work on Steely Dan’s 1972 debut LP Can’t Buy A Thrill. Hoover, meanwhile, would move back home with her parents in Florida, but not without a copy of the gem she cut with these future legends.
Then earlier this year, Omnivore Recordings finally made I Mean To Shine available for the first time ever, produced for release by Linda, Jay Willingham, and Grammy®-winner Cheryl Pawelski with initial audio restoration by Andy Deganahl, Toft Willingham and Rick Carson, and final audio restoration and mastering by Grammy®-winning engineer Michael Graves.
The album largely consisted of covers, including versions of The Band’s “In A Station” (from Music From Big Pink) and Stephen Stills’ “4 + 20” (which appeared on CSN&Y’s Déjà Vu), along with material written by Becker and Fagen. But there also three songs penned by Hoover herself, including the lovely “Autumn,” the lyric video of which Rock & Roll Globe is honored to premiere today on the site.
“I wrote Autumn in 1965, when I was fourteen years old, inspired by the stunningly colorful Fall foliage of New England and young love,” Hoover explains of the song. “Autumn is my favorite season of the year. When we recorded it in 1970, Donald Fagen’s arrangement was true to how I wrote it, using a finger-picking style. Eric Weissberg asked me to show him what I was playing and seconds later he delivered a perfect performance. I recall vividly that the orchestration Donald wrote for the last verse was overwhelmingly beautiful to me. I had not heard the complete version until I was standing in the studio, hearing it in the headphones, singing it for the first time. I teared up and was nearly unable to sing because I was so moved.”
Watch the video below, and make sure this found treasure of the Steely Dan multiverse is on your radar.
VIDEO: Linda Hoover “Autumn”