Song Of The Day 8/18/2014: Yachts - "Suffice To Say"



If It Ain't Stiff...: Meta-humor before "meta-" was even an appropriate prefix for anything, Yachts' (no "The," I've just been reminded) 1977 single "Suffice To Say" was at least as effective a songwriting workshop as the one Chris Barron of the Spin Doctors gave at the Guitar Center on Sunset Boulevard back when I lived in L.A. (I'm not making that up. There was a line around the block.) It's also more endurable. The writers were Henry Priestman and J.J. Campbell. Priestman also handles the organ stabs and swirls that tell you this couldn't have happened at any other time than the late '70s, when Farfisas were regularly catapulted from the top of the Tower Of London onto teeming masses of men with no girlfriends.

A song about the act of writing a song, "Suffice To Say" avoids being too clever for its own good through gently applied self-mockery. I also like how the vocalist sings "I never wrote a middle eight/So we'll just have to do without," then proceeds to write a middle eight. It's more like a middle twenty-four. It's no great shakes as a middle eight or a middle twenty-four, but it fits the concept and the mood and nobody dies.

Yachts went on tour as opening act for some impressive names including The Who and Elvis Costello, but ephemeral bliss being what it was in the '80s, they caught the slow boat out of the scene not long after they'd scored the hit "Love You, Love You" and recording a winning album with Richard Gottehrer producing. A couple of them stemmed off into the late '80s band It's Immaterial, and happily Henry Priestman is enjoying a resurgence that started just a few years ago, writing and performing more clever, resounding songs for the wizened. In fact, he just ran a songwriting workshop with inmates at Hull Prison, and from all reports it went really well. Can you imagine the guy from Spin Doctors doing that? They'd eat him alive. That's what I said now.

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