Song In My Head #5: “Magic Words” by Blue Ash

Here is a rarity from Youngstown, Ohio’s Blue Ash, one of the most undeservedly obscure bands of the power pop era. (Those who are familiar with the genre will know that that’s saying a lot.) “Magic Words” was written in the mid-’70s, but remained unreleased until Not Lame Recordings issued the Around Again compilation in 2004. (The CD itself is out of print, but the individual tracks are available as mp3s from the usual vendors. There’s also a nifty new four-track 7-inch of songs from that era, released by the brilliantly named You Are The Cosmos label in Spain.) The song has everything: an irresistible lyrical premise, spookily beautiful harmonies, a rocking chorus, and cool instrumentation. (I must know if that’s a tamburica being played on the track. I’m fairly sure that it is.)

While the tragic death of guitarist Bill Bartolin cut the band’s 2009 reunion short, the surviving members soldier on in other projects. Various Blue Ash blogs seem to have scattershot updating, but bassist Frank Secich does maintain a Facebook page. With luck, we’ll all hear more soon!

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