Arriving just a year after his 1966 debut Elvira
's second album Tell It Like It Is!
offers more of the same, but that's hardly a complaint. Frazier
had such a light, easy touch that it's a pure joy to hear him turn out another 12 tracks of funky country-soul, and he's in fine form here from the moment "Don't Come Knocking on My Door" kicks off the album. For as similar as this is to Elvira
, Tell It Like It Is!
does have some notable difference, chief among them how Frazier
turned to outside writers for his slow ones this time around, cutting George Davis
& Lee Diamond
's "Tell It Like It Is" (popularized, of course, by Aaron Neville
) and Curly Putnam's "Green Green Grass of Home." He also cut a song from former rockabilly rebel Ronnie Self
in "Home in My Hand," a relentless celebration of the rock & roll lifestyle later cut by Brinsley Schwarz
and Dave Edmunds
. With its references to one-night stands and smoking weed, "Home in My Hand" is far wilder than anything on either Frazier
record, a reflection of the loosening times in 1967, but it's an isolated incident here. Most of the record reflects its time with a production that's ever-so-slightly splashier than Elvira
, feeling a bit more show-biz than its predecessor, an impression that's made somehow stronger by Frazier
's slight emphasis on novelties, including "Clawhammer Clyde" and "Honk'N Tonk," a tale of two fleas. These silly songs and the glitzy production suggest that Frazier
and Capitol were gunning for a hit, but they weren't gunning too hard, as the basic sound of Frazier
's music hadn't changed: it was still funky country, rock & roll, and R&B that didn't sound like anyone else outside of Charlie Rich
in 1967. Again, Frazier
was just slightly ahead of his time, predating such root-rocking mavericks as Tony Joe White
, and while that didn't result in a big hit, it did make for music that has aged better than a lot of country or rock & roll records from that year.