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Album Review

Up to Date (1971) quickly followed on the heels of the enormous success of both The Partridge Family weekly television program — which debuted on ABC-TV on September 25, 1970 — as well as their eponymous self-titled long-player. In fact, some of the tracks used on this, the second album issued under the Partridge moniker, were actually left over from the prolific sessions that produced the first full-length platter. The wholly manufactured musical group was inspired (at least financially) by the overwhelmingly positive profits that the Monkees had made for Screen Gems television in the mid-'60s. Coupled with an equally brilliant storyline about a family who performed together — which was inspired by the real-life pop/rock family the Cowsills — the Partridge Family became a cultural icon. In a further nod to the prefabricated foursome's phenomenon, primary cast members — in this case, Shirley Jones (vocals) and David Cassidy (vocals) — also served double duty as Partridge Family lead vocalists. On Up to Date, Cassidy and Jones are again backed up by an army of recording session stalwarts, including Hal Blaine (drums), Larry Carlton (guitar), Joe Osborne (bass), and Larry Knechtel (keyboards). Providing the saccharine-sweet, make-your-teeth-hurt backing vocals are the six-member Love Generation. The formula continued to work and the hits just kept on coming, with both "I'll Meet You Halfway" and "Doesn't Somebody Want to Be Wanted" shooting into the Top Ten on the singles chart. Interestingly, the latter title was initially balked at by Cassidy and subsequently instigated the first of many heated "discussions" between the star and Partridge musical guru Wes Farrell. There are other standouts on Up to Date, including the moody ballad "I'm Here You're Here." Although slightly dated, "Umbrella Man" contains a noir sensibility and swing that also bear repeated listening. Cassidy 's songwriting prowess blooms for his first Partridge contribution on the track "Lay It on the Line." The emotive "She'd Rather Have the Rain" is also a keeper with its haunting yet lyrical chord progressions and solid vocals.

Biography

Formed: 1969

Genre: Pop

Years Active: '60s, '70s

The Partridge Family was the '70s successor to the Monkees. Both were totally fictional rock/pop "bands" produced by Screen Gems, the television branch of Columbia Pictures. While the Monkees (TV series and band concept) were styled as mid-'60s counter-culture zaniness à la the Beatles' film Hard Days Night, the Partridge Family was strictly wholesome with traditional family values despite the lite quasi-hip tone of the show. The top-rated series first-aired on ABC from 1970 to 1974, premiering September...
Full bio
Up to Date, The Partridge Family
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