Sittin' In

Loggins & Messina

Columbia, 1971

http://www.logginsandmessina.com/

REVIEW BY: Curtis Jones

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 05/08/2015

As a premier duo act of the early 1970s, Loggins and Messina has held a solid place in Western music culture with their eclectic mix of instrumentation and songwriting. The most amazing thing about the pairing is that it occurred pretty much by accident. In 1970, Kenny Loggins began work on a solo album with Jim Messina serving as his producer. Messina's connections in the music business, cultivated by stints in Buffalo Springfield and Poco, were supposed to promote Loggins' solo effort. As recording wore on, Messina's role as producer morphed into that of collaborator, and the solo became a duo that in its first iteration lasted until 1976. my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 Sittin' In is the first album from the two, showcasing fabulous writing talent, arrangement, and the ability to go from rock ‘n’ roll to ballads, Caribbean rhythms to country.

The album opens with a solid groove in the Southern rock flavored “Nobody But You,” written and sung by Jim Messina. The quasi-gospel tune has overtones of the Crosby, Stills & Nash influence that was pervading the Southern rock scene after that group had exploded onto the scene in 1969. The fourth track “Trilogy: Lovin' Me/To Make A Woman Feel Wanted/Peace Of Mind” is also steeped in the CSNY pedagogy; see "Country Girl" from Déjà Vu.  Loggins’ “Danny’s Song” is an ode to his brother and his family, which gained more notoriety as a cover by Anne Murray. But the Loggins and Messina original is a marvel of crooning with intricate fingerpicking on dual acoustic guitars and piano. The guitar work is also excellent on the childish musing of “House At Pooh Corner.”

“Vahevala” is by far the most interesting and boundary stretching track on the album. It’s a rocker, but one that evokes the Caribbean breeze. It employs steel drums to actually drive the song and hold down the melody during the bridge. Most other uses of steel drums on rock songs use them in such a way as to say “look we used a steel drum.” But here, they are used as a serious instrument. “Same Old Wine” takes a jaded view of the world, warning against politicians who promise the moon but only deliver the same old disappointments. “Rock And Roll Mood” is somewhat a melancholy blues rather than a rock song. In fact, it is somewhat similar to Billy Joel’s “New York State of Mind,” which would come out later. 

For a first effort, Sittin’ In gives a great start to the Loggins and Messina partnership. Accidental as it may have been, it produced a musical chemistry that would eventually launch Kenny Loggins to a successful solo career and leave some solid musical tracks in their wake.

Rating: B+

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