The Vinyl Court: Nilsson – Schmilsson

Harry Nilsson - Nilsson Schmilsson

  • Artist: Nilsson
  • Album: Schmilsson (1971)
  • Purchased at: Yard Sale (Gower, MO) for $1

Harry Nilsson is a forgotten character in the history of rock in many ways. Palling around with The Beatles and enjoying radio play on several songs hasn’t seemed to save him from obscurity. His singer/songwriter piano style was paralleled by such acts as Randy Newman and Elton John. Being closely associated to The Beatles and in particular John Lennon led him to be one of the biggest proponents of gun control in the 80s after Lennon’s murder in 1980, Nilsson would later pass away from a heart attack in the mid 90s.

“Schmilsson” remains his classic album to this day. It possessed the hit ballad “Without You” that sounds like it inspired every 80s ballad you’ve heard and possibly more famously the slightly gimmicky song “Coconut.” This record is much deeper than those songs though, “Gotta Get Up” is an inspiring song to kick off the album and later the flooring funk grooves of “Jump In The Fire” are unlike anything else Nilsson ever recorded. The solitary “Early In The Morning” with just Harry on organ and impressive vocals also left its mark for decades to come.

While this album is great, a physical characteristic jumps out at you as well; it is a “dynaflex” record. Dynaflex basically means it is so thin you might think your needle will punch right through it when you put it on the turntable. It is so thin and flexible that it literally will flop around while you hold it. This shockingly doesn’t lead to a disappointing sound quality (possibly indicating a lack of need for 180 gram vinyl.) RCA tried this experiment for a few years in the 70s and ultimately ceased production even before the decline of vinyl hit.

Rating: B+

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