Two ingredients may have been missing from the third LP by the Ozark Mountain Daredevils, memorably titled The Car Over The Lake Album. Their new US chart entry of 8 November 1975 didn’t contain a major crossover single, as its predecessor It’ll Shine When It Shines had in the excellent ‘Jackie Blue.’ Nor did it boast the contribution of that record’s eminent co-producer, Glyn Johns.
He would go on to describe the group, in his Sound Man autobiography, as “a great bunch of guys and enormous fun to work with.” But what the new record had in spades was the Springfield, Missouri band’s sophisticated blend of melodic, country-flavoured rock, on an entirely self-composed set to keep their admiring fans happy.
Produced solely this time by David Anderle, who had shared the credit with Johns on Shine and the Ozarks’ self-titled debut set of late 1973, The Car Over The Lake Album featured songs written by varying combinations of no fewer than four band members. Guitarists Randle Chowning and John Dillon, harp player Steve Cash and drummer Larry Lee all had credits, with Lee and Cash writing ‘If I Only Knew,’ the album’s one chart single, which reached No. 65 in a seven-week stint on the Hot 100 early in 1976.
Recorded in Nashville, the LP had its southern rock moments, such as the opening ‘Keep On Churnin’,’ but also carried a distinct West Coast flavour at times: ‘Leatherwood’ and ‘Mr. Powell,’ for example, had the close harmony acoustics that the Eagles were by now turning into the sound of the era.
The Car Over The Lake Album entered Billboard’s Top LPs and Tape at No. 125 and rose to No. 57, in a 15-week run that would last well into 1976.
The Car Over The Lake Album can be bought here.
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