After releasing his third solo album, Moonshine in 1974, Cadd left Australia for the US. Based in Los Angeles, Cadd became a studio-bound songwriter, apart from one tour with the Bootleg Family Band.
But none of Cadd's American releases were big sellers. After recording a few LPs for the Chelsea label in the early '70s, Cadd moved to Capitol Records with 1976's little-known 'White on White'. Favoring an approach that is somewhere between Elton John and Billy Joel, Cadd delivers an album that is generally decent but not mind-blowing. "All in the Way (That They Use My Face)," "White on White Eldorado," and "W.C. I See" (an ode to actor W.C. Fields) are pleasant, catchy numbers, although one senses that Cadd was capable of more. He even does a rehash of his 1972 hit single "Ginger Man". In 1976, Capitol hoped that people who were into Elton John (whose 1970s drummer Nigel Olsson is employed on this record), Randy Newman, and Billy Joel would get into Cadd as well. But White on White (which has never been reissued on CD) wasn't the hit that Cadd was hoping for, and the LP ended up in the cutout bins after a few years. [Review by Alex Henderson, Rovi]
The following is an extract from Cadd's autobiography 'From This Side Of Things' in which he givers us an insight into the making of the album 'White On White':
When I first got to LA, I became friends with a guy called Spence Berland, who ran the powerful industry magazine called Record World, Billboard magazine's only other serious competitor after Cashbox. He was a cocky little New York hustler somewhat in the line of Irving Azoff, although each of them would probably disagree on that!
Nevertheless, he was extremely influential and had taken a real shine to me. We became and have stayed friends. He was very much for Robert Appere. BNB were happy with either Appere or Stewart. My friends were divided between Botnick and Appere.
Robert was the leading contender because he was so hot within the industry. He also was very positive (read egotistical) and had lots of ideas (read off-the-wall). So I went with him.
I had heaps of songs at that stage, having been buried in the dungeon at Capitol Records for months and also having brought so many with me from Australia. We sifted through them and Robert booked the studio and some players.
My guitar player was Steve Cropper. Good grief, he had been involved in much of everything I liked in pop and R&B music, had been in Booker T and the MGs and had co-written 'Dock of the Bay', just about my favourite song. A southerner, he was very easy going and friendly and we became friends quickly.
On bass guitar was Dee Murray who, while still playing on and off with Elton, had moved to LA to do more sessions. On drums, also from Elton's band, was Nigel Olsson, another hero of mine.
Robert buzzed around everywhere while I sat there in absolute dread. How could I ever play with these guys? I ran through my song list in my head and everything sounded completely amateurish and naive.
Eventually I had to pick something to start, I forget which song now, and I played it through for them just piano and voice. My voice alternated between Tom Waits and Julie Andrews and I played like my fingers were glued together.
Immediately I finished, Steve said brightly, 'Man, that's a good tune.' He's never told me whether he really meant that but it got me through the moment and I was able to summon the courage to begin.
Once everyone started to play, I knew we'd made the right choice as players and, even though they were A-team stars, they were going to play as well as they could for me. Also, the sound through the headphones was mind-blowing! It turned out to be a wonderful day and we got several great tracks down. By the end of the session, we'd already started to bond and I finished up being able to count all three of them as friends for many years afterwards.
The sessions progressed through a couple of weeks and we started laying down overdubs. All sorts of amazing people played and sang on the album. I was absolutely in heaven and couldn't imagine how things could get any better. And they didn't.
It was an era in the business where cocaine was rife. It was so extreme in LA that virtually everyone I knew, it seemed, was permanently 'holding'. If you went to a meeting with anybody about anything it would start with either someone 'chopping out' or 'passing the bottle'. This latter method involved storing the coke in these little clear plastic bottles with black tops. Almost all of them had tiny metal spoons attached to the top by a small chain. So everyone just unscrewed the top, dug the spoon into the white powder and tipped a 'bump' into each nostril.
Immediately the gathering ratcheted up a number of notches and proceedings commenced. This was so common that no-one ever really thought about it. If there were people in attendance who were 'straight', everyone else just went to the bathroom. Going to the bathroom became a most frequent event as the 'hits' received from the tiny spoon were only small. Even so, the cocaine back then was a much purer and genuine article compared with what is mostly on sale around the place now. At least, that's what they tell me. Apparently, the 'trip to the bathroom' practice is still very much in evidence in our industry today.
I even saw a Vicks vapour stick that was originally designed to give you a hit of nasal passage-clearing medicine when applied to each nostril. It had been converted to administer exactly one decent 'bump' each time it was placed into a welcoming nostril!
As cocaine produces a reaction similar to having a slight head cold anyway, it was intriguing to see many of my colleagues armed with these relief-giving converted nasal applicators in every possible social and business situation and applying themselves busily to clearing up their colds'.
The biggest problem, of course, was that, although one's vibe and enthusiasm rose in direct proportion to the number of bumps, one's judgement went the other way. During that period, so much absolute rubbish was written and recorded due to this phenomenon that it's a wonder the music industry survived at all. Everything sounded absolutely like the very best music and playing you'd heard in your whole life up until that moment. Every solo was pure genius. Every sonic enhancement engineered on a track was worshipped with religious fervour. In fact legendary players and engineers consistently achieved deity status.
I can't tell you what Robert's consumption of anything really was. He didn't drink alcohol or smoke weed that I saw. He kept pretty much to himself but I can say that, whatever he was on, he often attained the level of minimally deranged. He was capable of extreme highs and corresponding lows. He was probably a good engineer and certainly he had the courage of a good producer. But everything was SO far over the top all the time, not just with him, but generally, that it all became very hard to keep together.
All of this was incredibly new to me. Sure, there was lots of drinking and smoking weed at sessions in Australia in those days but no significant hard drug use. I'd never seen cocaine before these LA sessions, even though it had been around for a long time in the States way before I got there.
The album was finally finished and, apart from some very bizarre mixing decisions, we all felt that it was a successful recording. It wasn't anywhere near the style or execution of my Australian albums but it had some amazing playing on it and most of the songs seemed to work. I know now that what it didn't have was focus. At least, focus towards any specific commercial music genre. So in a way it was really an album of all my latest songs but had little relevance to what I'd been previously as an artist, certainly not to what I'd become as a live performer.
It was also blatantly 'pop'. All through my career the 'rock band member' has never been far below the surface with me. Arguably the best solo album I recorded in the Australian period was the eponymous Brian Cadd album containing 'Ginger Man. And that was principally recorded as a three-piece band live in the studio and then added to minimally before mixing.
This Capitol album was cut four-piece but then added to mightily before mixing. No kitchen sink, but in other respects much of it resembled the last half of 'The Real Thing'. Sometimes I thought I heard Molly channelling me, whispering 'it still needs something else'.
Obviously we were all making a different record. I wanted to make an extension of what I'd done in Australia with different great players and in wonderful American studios. Capitol Records wanted what I'd done in Australia but aimed at a musical genre in the US that they could market it to. Robert was desperate to achieve another 'Laughter in the Rain radio hit that contained lots of radio hooks and lavish production. None of us succeeded!
Then the battle for the cover began. We took some great shots, all centred around the title 'White on White', which was abbreviated from my favourite track on the album 'White on White Eldorado'. To that end I was decked out in white tails with a white top hat, white waistcoat and no shirt. Steve Kipner's girlfriend Candy, who was a model, and her model girlfriend came with me and we drove around LA in a white on white Eldorado with everyone's tops down, including the two models most of the time. There is an incredible shot on the inside cover of this book showing the car and myself with some palm trees in the background that finished up being the Capitol Records publicity shot.
However, the art department of a huge record company can be a hazardous area. The A&R people wanted it out on a certain date but the art people couldn't do the artwork I wanted in time. Fights broke out everywhere but, as we all knew, in the end it would get down to who held the dollars. The Capitol art guy dismissed our fabulous front cover concept and went with the cover you got if you happened to buy the album, which was also released through Festival in Australia shortly later. A white cover with white toothpaste on it writing out the title words 'White on White'. One of the least inspired music art pieces of any generation. In fact, right down there with the Axiom Sitmar cover!
I was still very optimistic. Management seemed very optimistic. Those who had heard the album seemed to like it fine.
It was now mid '77 and the single and album both got really good reviews, even a few great ones, and radio started picking it up. Unfortunately, the radio was sporadic and spread out over the entire US. If the album had fitted a specific music genre, it might have been able to be broken in a particular area— if it had been more rock, it might have been perfect to start in Texas or even farther south and, as it added radio stations, to break it regionally before going national.
Being aimed at a pure pop audience meant that it needed to really break across the board and quickly. So, even when we got radio in quite a number of states, it was never large enough or specific enough to break the record in any one area. Even live performances wouldn't have helped. It needed concentrated pop radio and TV and we didn't get it. When I listen to the album now, I hear country-rock songs in the main being produced like Neil Sedaka would have done them. Be careful what you wish for, I guess.
Eventually Capitol gave up on the album and decided to have me start a new one. 'White on White' still served a useful purpose since it began to establish me as a writer there. I had some great publishing activity and wrote with a number of seasoned LA writers as a result. This increased over the years and I have enjoyed some lovely success in the U.S. and indeed around the world as a songwriter. I suppose, looking at my entire career, that's what I always really have been.
[Extract from Brian Cadd - From This Side Of Things, New Holland, 2010 p172-177]
Brian also shares a funny story in his autobiography which relates to Jim Keays who was visiting him at the time, while he was promoting his White On White album:
JIM KEAYS (lead singer of the Masters Apprentices): In 1976 when I was visiting Brian in LA, I went with him to Capitol Tower, whereupon the record company guys kindly invited me to accompany them on a promotional tour of various radio stations that had started to play tracks from the 'White on White' album. We flew to San Jose first up and did interviews there.
But from then on I have a hazy recollection of long-distance domestic unrest that seemed to overtake proceedings to the point that Brian had to urgently fly back to LA to attend to some kind of problem solving.It was then decided that I should continue on the tour as Brian Cadd because the record company guys figured that nobody would know the difference—we both looked similar with long hair and beards, and what's more I had a perfect Australian accent!
Only problem was I knew nothing about the album's tracks, recording details or anything else. However, I somehow managed to wing it in Oakland, San Francisco and in a number of other cities up and down the West Coast. I even succeeded in getting in a few mentions about this other hot Australian band I was a big fan of, the Masters Apprentices! Priceless!
[Extract from Brian Cadd - From This Side Of Things, New Holland, 2010 p190]
This post consists on MP3 (320kps) ripped from vinyl and includes full album artwork. In addition I have chosen to include an A-Side single from 1975 called "Gimme Gimme Good Lovin'" which was released on the Bootleg Label but has not appeared on any album. I quite like this album and especially like his revamped version of his 1972 hit "Ginger Man" and of course the title track "White On White (El Dorado)".
01 - I Can't Stand It
02 - No Answer 3:24
03 - Heavenly Night In September 3:31
04 - Good Night Princess 4:15
05 - Pass On The Road 4:34
06 - All In The Way (That They Use My Face) 3:09
07 - White On White El Dorado 3:17
08 - Ginger Man 3:26
09 - W.C. I See 4:20
10 - Dance, Dance, Dance 4:19
11 - Longest Night 5:25
12 - Gimme Gimme Good Lovin' (Bonus Single) 2:27
Artists on Album:
Vocals, Piano – Brian Cadd
Bass – Dee Murray
Drums – Nigel Olsson
Guitar – Ritchie Zito, Steve Cropper
Guitar, Banjo, Jew's Harp – Ben Benay
Horns – Chuck Findley, Dick "Slyde" Hyde, Jackie Kelso, Jim Horn
Keyboards, Synthesizer – Billy Payne, William Smith
Pedal Steel Guitar – Sneaky PetePercussion – Gary Coleman
Backing Vocals – Buzz Clifford, Carmen Twillie, Danny Moore, Kathy Collier, Mathew Moore, Peter Beckett, Steve Kipner, Vennette Gloud
Brian Cadd Link (105Mb)