Sailor's Delight Review
The second album by the Knack's Doug Fieger was produced by Jimmy Miller with Andy Johns, eight years before producer Mike Chapman would unleash "My Sharona" on the world. Fieger's "Don't Want Nobody" has all the elements that Miller put into his Stones hits and Traffic classic album cuts -- piano and flute supplement the folk guitar and vocal, giving the singer an enviable platform. The album is a solid representation of Fieger's song compositions and pre-Knack efforts; "Let It Lie Low" is a nice bit of pop/rock that foretells what was to come, a happy-go-lucky drumbeat by Robby Stawinski exploding when the Rolling Stones' horn section of Bobby Keys and Jim Price kicks in. Young Fieger's letter to producer Miller not only landed him the two albums on RCA, it enabled the group to get the great players here, like guitarist John Uribe and the Stones' pianist Ian Stewart, continuing the tradition of the stellar guests who showed up for Sky's first album. "Taking the Long Way Home" definitely sounds like an American version of Traffic, with conga drums that help the transition from this song to the piano ballad "Come Back." Again, the Stones' horns come in to add a touch of class, creating a nice bed for the powerful song-title chorus to emphasize Feiger's slinky vocal. This track is outstanding, and should have been a staple on 1971 FM radio. Miller was quite busy in the early '70s with Locomotiv GT, the Savage Rose, the Rolling Stones, Delaney & Bonnie, George Harrison, and Ginger Baker's Air Force, among others. Sailor's Delight, with its beautiful red sunrise/sunset cover, is a lost gem from the major producer at the peak of his powers as well as from his discovery Fieger, who went on to create the hit of the summer of 1979, "My Sharona." Inside these grooves are melodies and performances that verify Miller's genius; "Tooly" has an island feel while John Coury's "Sing for Me" comes off like the serious side of Tommy James. "Sing for Me," "Come Back," and "Low Down" from this disc would be perfect Sky contributions for the inevitable Jimmy Miller production box set. As entertaining as it is historical, Sailor's Delight is creative work from the master producer and the musicians he believed in enough to sign. How many "name" producers on a hot streak would gamble on an unknown singer, with validation coming years later as the singer went on to worldwide fame?