Abba believes in ancient visions of American teenagehood; they romanticize infatuation and stolen kisses... and, like their Spector-born predecessors, they possess the big voices and the big production know-how required to promote their fantasies and win audiences. Abba’s innocence, in fact, was never more conspicuous than during their appearance on Saturday Night and Wonderama. The artificiality of Frieda and Anna’s go-go boots and miniskirts looked bonkers compared to the cast’s usual routines.
In contrast, Abba’s Sunday morning stint on Wonderama (New York’s Kiddie Club) was a sugar coated delight of pre-pube choreography (gyrating forth the gummy bubble fans of the Wombles and Hudson Brothers with host Bob McAllister oohing and aahing at the female Abbas’ leggies). The difference here being that Abba survives only as alien rock ‘n’ roll force, contained in a time warp, rippling through the seventies.
Frederick Knight's only album for Stax is one of the loneliest albums ever made. It speaks of failure, the sense of loss, and solitude. Of these things, Knight knew a great deal.
He was born in Bessemer, Alabama, in 1944, and spent years visiting record companies. Joe Tex's manager, Buddy Killen, helped Knight obtain an advance from Mercury for "Throw the Switch," but it was never released. Capitol issued "Have a Little Mercy," but it went nowhere. Knight looked for a career in New York, but had no luck. Eventually he returned to Alabama to work as an engineer at the Sound of Birmingham Studio. Knight's first hit, "I've Been Lonely For So Long," was written by Posie Knight, his wife, and Jerry Weaver (although they had someone else in mind when they wrote the song).
Released in April, 1972, the single was a unique, almost bizarre, example of Southern soul, its sound gentle and resigned, not over-the-top or too deep. Knight's falsetto suggests Al Green's, but it's more whining, less serene. Unlike most soul songs, the passionate tirade of a preacher is not at the heart of the performance. Instead, Knight's voice knows the value of keeping the peace. No drums were used on the recording session; the rhythms were made by tambourine and a stool hit with slats of wood. There is a silence imbedded even in the percussion work.