Kendra Steiner Editions (Bill Shute)

March 9, 2021

Paris Pilot (Hip Records LP, 1969)

Filed under: Uncategorized — kendrasteinereditions @ 1:52 pm

PARIS PILOT, on Stax’s HIP Records subsidiary (home of The Knowbody Else and Southwest F.O.B.), was an album I picked up for $2 or $3 back in the 70’s or perhaps the early 80’s. As a Memphis album on a Memphis label produced by Memphis-based Don Nix (and recorded at Ardent Studios by John Fry), it would certainly be worth a listen. I would dig it out once or twice a year for a few decades. Starting out with an overwrought five-minute version of Sonny Bono’s “The Beat Goes On” doesn’t help the album, but once you get past that, it’s a solid piece of work, with that combination of trippy and soulful that Southern bands are able to pull off so well, and with the Gospel-ly feel Memphis artists have as a second nature. Nix’s name is all over the album (three times on the label!), though the band members are not listed. Later reading during the internet era showed that two members had been in various line-ups of The Gentrys and that the band had been known previously as Load of Mischief. Interesting to note are some comments found on Allmusic.com: “Psych-rock combo Paris Pilot formed in Memphis under the name Load of Mischief, bringing together vocalist David Mayo, guitarist Jimmy Tarbutton, bassist Ray Sanders, keyboardist Ken Woodley and drummer Larry Wall. Signing to the Stax label’s HIP subsidiary, the group began work on its debut LP when ex-Mar-Kay Don Nix commandeered the project, signing on as songwriter, producer and engineer and insisting Load of Mischief change its name to Paris Pilot; somewhat amazingly, Nix is the only musician even credited on the resulting album, an eponymously-titled effort issued in 1969. The members of Paris Pilot disassociated themselves from the finished product, sales were dismal, and the group dissolved soon after.” Hmmmm. One wonders if any of the band members have tapes from the pre-Nix era of the band….the comparison would be interesting, as Nix had a hand in writing most of the tracks here. Hearing what the band sounded like when they were signed by Stax/Hip and what qualities appealed to the label might provide a window into what the band were capable of. Still, PARIS PILOT, if you start with the second track on side one and skip The Beat Goes On (which you can do with the You Tube link below by starting at 5:55), is enjoyable 1969 Memphis rock and roll that holds up quite well. See what you think. Imagine that you picked it up for a few dollars in the early 80’s.

A1 The Beat Goes On
A2 Winters Child
A3 Shades Of Doubt
A4 Temptations ‘Bout To Get Me
A5 Long Way To Go
B1 Overton Park Flip
B2 Miss Rita Famous
B3 Roses And Rainbows
B4 Don’t Let It

Remember, start the album at 5:55 to avoid the first track….

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