Artist: Three Dog Night
Title: “Hard Labor”
Los Angeles’ blue-eyed soul group Three Dog Night was coming to the end of its first run when its 11th album, “Hard Labor,” hit shelves in March ’74.
The controversy about the cover, which looks like a delivery room photo of an alien giving birth to a vinyl record, led to subsequent issues putting the image of an adhesive bandage over the offensive part.
That story is the most interesting thing about “Hard Labor,” chosen today as a nod to Labor Day. It has a few of Three Dog Night’s minor hits, such as “Sure As I’m Sittin’ Here,” “Play Something Sweet (Brickyard Blues)” and “The Show Must Go On,” with its melody stolen from “Entrance of the Gladiators.”
What it lacks are the vocal harmonies that made Three Dog Night’s earlier material deliver. Most of the tracks are individual solo efforts. Cory Wells takes lead on “Play Something Sweet,” which is far and away the best selection, towing the line between country and blues without making a decision either way.
But most of “Hard Labor” sounds like a difficult birth. It’s easy to see why this was the band’s final top 20 album.
Our Music Year is Daily Republic popular culture writer Nick DeCicco’s yearlong online review in 2012 of albums he had previously not listened to. The reviews will appear in print on their corresponding days during 2013. Reach him at 427-6966 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/ndeciccodr.