Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Mark Wirtz - Lost Pets 2

Today, 27 September 2011, is the official release date in America for the newest CD by singer/songwriter/producer Mark Wirtz, entitled Lost Pets 2.  All of the baker's dozen tracks were composed or co-composed by the artist, and LP2 is a collection that has "hit" written all over it, from the rocking, rollicking title cut "Lost Pets (Loose Ends)" to the wistful "I Need to Fall In Love" (co-written by Jim David, the son of legendary Brill Building composer Hal David, and "Elusive Butterfly" composer/singer Bob Lind); from the energetic, electric-guitar-laden "Sindee" to the excruciatingly romantic "For Just You."

Mark Wirtz first came to prominence during the 1960s, after he moved from his native Germany to London, became an Englishman, and began working at the fabled Abbey Road Studios (then called EMI Studios) alongside Beatles engineer Geoff Emerick.  By 1966 Wirtz had written, produced and arranged "A Touch of Velvet - A Sting of Brass" which was released under the name Mood Mosaic and subsequently became the signature tune of Radio Caroline's deejay Dave Lee Travis.  In 1967, Keith West recorded "Excerpt From a Teenage Opera (Grocer Jack)," which he co-wrote along with Wirtz and which Wirtz produced and arranged.  These two songs remain among Wirtz's most well known efforts; but they are far from his only efforts.  With the exception of some fifteen years away from the music business while raising his daughter as a single parent during the '80s and '90s, Mark Wirtz has been a working arranger, producer, songwriter and singer ever since he first set foot in EMI Studios (which, as it happens, was on the same day in 1962 when The Beatles were auditioning for George Martin).  During the last several years, Wirtz has realized a long-held dream by adding stand-up comedy work to his list of accomplishments.

In the late 1970s, Mark Wirtz began work on an album, Lost Pets, but the project was abandoned when two of his band-mates, Jeff Poccaro and David Hungate, departed to record and tour with their newly successful group, Toto.  Tracks from the "lost" Lost Pets album were subsequently released on two CDs: Kitschinsync: The Hollywood Years, Vol. 1 - 1971-82 and Dreamer of Glass Beach: The Hollywood Years, Vol. 2 - 1971-82.  A few years later, in 2005, Wirtz released the delightful collection Love Is Eggshaped.  The most recent Wirtz release up to now had been Wirtz and Music, which is a reissue of Maestro Wirtz's albums, Latin A Go-Go and Smooth and EasyLost Pets 2 brings Wirtz full circle, in a sense; for, as Wirtz points out on the CD booklet: "Only by returning to where we lost ourselves can we hope to find ourselves again."

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