“A Phonograph Opera” allegedly written after eccentric jazz composer Tupper Saussy attended a stage performance of Samuel Barber's “Antony and Cleopatra;” file this in the AM/Orchestral pop section alongside “MacAurther Park.” Though that section could also be called psychedelic music for squares, and Saussy could be called “not quite Jim Webb,” that’s certainly not a knock as “The Moth Confesses” - and it’s top 20 single, the haunting “Morning Girl” - has been one of my go-tos since I first heard it in 2006. The album was nominated for two grammy awards, and “Morning Girl” was revived in the mid-70s by Shaun Cassidy of all people.
Saussy went on to have a sordid career and strange life; he owned a restaurant, spent time in prison for tax evasion (his writings are revered among libertarian circles) and co-authored a book with MLK assassin James Early Ray, who then later sued Saussy over sections of the book he claimed were inaccurate.
Back to the album, I would be remiss if I did not give a nod to Don Gant’s whimsical vocals which perfectly compliment imaginative arrangements.
Favorite cuts: “Brilliant Colors,” “Morning Girl,” “Midsummer Night,” and “Morning Girl, Later.”