Abandoned Luncheonette

Abandoned Luncheonette

Daryl Hall & John Oates’ sophomore album crystallized the duo’s blend of Philly soul and coffeehouse folk. Produced and arranged by Atlantic studio guru Arif Mardin, Abandoned Luncheonette is an immaculate demonstration of playing and engineering. Mardin used only the best studio players, including drummer Bernard Purdie, guitarist Hugh McCracken, and organist Pat Rebillot. The seamless instrumental blend in “Had I Known You Better Then” and “Las Vegas Turnaround (The Stewardess Song)” runs over the listener’s ears like a warm stream of water. Oates wrote folk songs but made them as suave and sexy as something by Al Green —“I’m Just a Kid (Don’t Make Me Feel Like a Man)” might be the finest falsetto duet this side of Prince. Meanwhile, Daryl Hall was an amazing singer who understood how to inject R&B drama into a sweet pop song, as exemplified by the album’s big hit, “She’s Gone.” The album’s most underrated quality is Hall’s talents as a writer. With a keen wit and eye for detail, the title song lays out a lifetime of love and disappointment in few well-crafted stanzas.


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