These guys came up on this here blog recently, which I guess is what put this song in my head. Back in the late 70’s, I occasionally took some flak for liking these guys from people trying a little too hard to be cool. Whatever. For me the only valid criteria are: can they write, and can they play & sing? I think their hits proved they could write, and this polished and disciplined live video shows that they could fucking play. These are guys at the top of their craft, making it look easy. Note how they nail the Abbey Road-like vocal harmonies near the end, all while playing instruments and enduring the various discomforts of a live show. Anyway, Alex Chilton once told me he liked them too, so there.
That said, although I love the verses and chorus of this song, I’ve always had a problem with the instrumental break. To my ears it’s too busy, and the good-timey dixieland clarinet clashes with the pensive mood of the song. I guess if you have a dedicated woodwind player, you’ve gotta let him do his bit. But overall, it’s still a great song. And of course everyone who plays an MM Stingray is a badass.