It Aint Exactly Entertainment

It Aint Exactly Entertainment

After years working behind the scenes as a lyricist, Gerry Goffin stepped out as a recording artist with 1973’s It Ain’t Exactly Entertainment, an often-raucous and highly political two-disc set. Those who knew the Tin Pan Alley veteran from his collaborations with ex-wife Carole King (“Up on the Roof,” “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow,” etc.) were likely flummoxed by this album’s surreal metaphors and subversive language. This collection still takes some getting used to, but for listeners who can handle Goffin’s abrasive Dylan-influenced vocals, there’s much worth discovering here. Spurred on by cowriter Barry Goldberg’s bluesy guitar work, Gerry unreels absurdist scenarios (“Reverend Bottom’s Tojo Saloon”), debunks Old West myths (“Zebulon Pike”), visits tropical locales (“The Last Cha Cha on Jackson Highway”), and reflects on higher Love (“It’s Not the Spotlight”). “Honorable Peace” and “Rainy Day Flying” target the Vietnam War with deadly accuracy. Recorded in Muscle Shoals, Ala., the album’s tracks benefit from the playing of guitarist Pete Carr, keyboardist Paul Hornsby, and other session notables, giving Goffin’s rough-edged songs a funky sort of precision.

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