Published on June 3rd, 2020 | by Ron Spizziri0
Ron’s Pandemic Picks – The Last
Ron has another album recommendation in case you’re still feeling that COVID 19 cabin fever. This week, he dishes on the underrated power pop group The Last.
One of the ways I’ve been spending my free time during these COVID days of self-isolation has been by re-visiting some of my favorite record albums from over the past 35 years, as selected from my annual Top Ten lists from Nightwaves, a show I host on Saskatoon’s Community Radio station, CFCR-FM.
The Last was a pop-rock group formed in Los Angeles in 1976 by the three Nolte brothers, along with two pals. The guys started out as true indie recording artists, releasing their early singles on their own Backlash label. The group’s third full album release, Confession, (produced by Bill Stevenson of All/Descendants fame) was my number four pick of 1988. By this time, The Last had developed a distinctive 60’s power-pop sound with Option Magazine’s review of Confession contending that “their usual gigantic vocal blend still sounds like a cross between Arthur Lee’s Love and British rock circa 1965”. And the tight vocal harmonies were once more accompanied by ringing Byrds’-like guitar hooks.
Upon first hearing the album, one track in particular, Soldiers Of Love”, piqued my interest, as it was a cover version of a song that sounded vaguely familiar that I couldn’t place. I contacted the band (by snail mail, of course, as this was the 80’s) and received a reply which provided the song’s background. It was originally recorded by Arthur Alexander, composer of “Anna”, which had appeared on The Beatles’ Please Please Me album. The Beatles did record “Soldiers Of Love” during their With The Beatles sessions, but, as Joe Nolte of The Last informed me, “for some stupid reason it was never released; it is however, widely available on bootleg”. (Marshall Crenshaw also covered it in 1981.) “Soldiers Of Love, a timeless classic pop tune which fits in perfectly on Confession.
So, if you’re in the mood for some uplifting power-pop, I’d highly recommend you check out Confession by The Last (available on YouTube).