Sunday, August 17, 2014
Danny Cox Sunny Pioneer 1968
Danny Cox was originally from Cincinnati, Ohio, but moved to Kansas City a year before recording this album for local coffee shop owner and manager, Stanley Plesser. Years before, Cox released an album entitled At the Seven Cities. That collection of tunes and shows what interested Plesser and ultimately got Cox to move to Kansas City.
Plesser is best known in Kansas City for managing the career of Brewer & Shipley. Like Brewer & Shipely, he convinced Cox to make KC his home, to which he still remains. Plesser is an interesting KC figure as he ran a coffee shop called, the Vanguard Coffee House, and was able to successfully manage touring acts from here in the heartland. He was obviously very focused on the folk sound happening in the late 60s and early 70s, it's what you find on this LP. He even gets credited as the albums producer and the album is on his label.
It's a promising album and begs the question why Cox couldn't find huge success with his soulful renditions of folk songs and originals. He's got this amazing baritone with huge range and again, it's folk orientated, but with a ton a soul. The song selection is fantastic to boot, Bobby Hebb's "Sunny" is pretty spectacular. There's a an "everybody's doing it" Beatles cover, I guess by default. But, Cox also takes on Dylan and Joni Mitchell. Shel Silverstein's, "Hey Nellie Nellie," seems a bit odd, but it's obvious Cox and Plesser were hip dudes at the time and Silverstein is only weird if the only reference you have is children's poetry.
The production lacks a little focus, probably not Plesser's forte, but again, it's strange this version of Cox didn't catch on. Years later, he found moderate success going full-on soul. Instead of folk with soul tendencies, his major label albums were soul with folk tendencies (but, in their own regard, also worth seeking out).
Danny Cox Recent Live Performance