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The Music of the 77s...

Pray Naked

1992 Produced by the 77s (B.A.I)
Woody/ Smiley Smile/ Phony Eyes/ Kites Without Strings/ Happy Roy/ Deep End/ The Rain Kept Falling In Love/ Holy Hold/ Look/ Nuts For You/ Pray Naked/ Self-made Trap

Self-titled by the record company, but called "Pray Naked" by the band and fans (my copy was hand titled by Mr. Roe hisself), this was the first 77's all-new recording in five years and the first to feature new members David Leonhardt and Mark Harmon.

The lead off track, "Woody," caused quite a stir among the 77's faithful with it's darker lyrical tone and a guitar hook stolen straight from Led Zeppelin's book of stolen blues rock riffs. And the title of the title track alienated all but a few retailers and radio programmers. But for the trickle of controversy the record created, it opened a floodgate of creativity and new ideas. Fans caught the lyrical significance of coming spiritually undressed to address the Creator while also appreciating the humorous double entendre.

"Smiley Smile" could be a bootlegged out take from the famed "lost" Beach Boys album of the same name. While the shimmery guitar tones and achingly haunting falsetto vocals of "Happy Roy" (in tribute to passed on rock pioneer Roy Orbison) are quite sad. Roe's musical and lyrical collaboration with Leonhardt and Harmon (and other ex- Strawman Bill Harmon) brought the 77's to a new level of creative scope and expression. "Pray Naked" set the stage for Roe's "end of your rope" narratives that have defined his work since this project.

Rarely since then, however, has the band so perfectly captured the schandenfreude - joy from pain - that embodies living redemption. And makes "Pray Naked" the Seventy Sevens' artistic high-water mark.by Brad Caviness - 7ball