The Trash Can Sinatras – Cake (1991)

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The Trash Can Sinatras, now generally known as Trashcan Sinatras, are a Scottish band that was formed in Irvine, Scotland in 1986. The band’s music makes frequent use of pop harmonies and the lyrics make frequent use of wordplay.

The Trashcan Sinatras were founded as a covers band. The band members knew each other from school or met through the club/pub music scene in Irvine. The band name was derived from a school music class, where students improvised on various ‘instruments’. After banging on some trash cans, someone mentioned Frank Sinatra and the band name was born. The original band members included Frank Reader (bass), Davy Hughes (guitar and vocals), George McDaid (guitar) and Paul Forde (drums). By late 1986/early 1987, the line-up had changed to include Paul Livingston (guitar), John Douglas (guitar) and Stephen Douglas (drums), along with Frank Reader moving to vocals and Davy Hughes to bass. While the band has included other members for short periods of time over the years, this is the line-up that would record the bulk of the Trashcan Sinatras’ music to date.

Long before Travis and Coldplay came along, the Trash Can Sinatras enchanted college-aged Anglophiles with their jangly brand of emotive Brit-pop. Seen as musical fluff by fans of early-’90s pre-Nirvana alternative and ignored by fans of mid- to late-’90s post-Nirvana alternative, these five Scottish lads smoothed the edges but sharpened the hooks of a developing genre.

The Trash Can Sinatras’ 1990 debut, Cake, mixes intricately intertwined guitars, in the spirit of a more charming, less gritty Johnny Marr, with lush strings and sophisticated harmonies. Touchingly clever wordplay (“You came into my life/Like a brick through a window/And I cracked a smile”) abounds, as on “The Best Man’s Fall.” The clean production — necessary for such elaborate orchestration — is extremely warm and inviting. Singles like “Obscurity Knocks” and “Only Tongue Will Tell” as well as “Maybe I Should Drive” prove to be the tastiest pieces of pure pop pleasure. But sugar can be bittersweet and laced with longing, as on “Thrupenny Tears” and “You Made Me Feel.” Regardless of the relative mood, this debut is noticeably devoid of musical missteps — quite a feat for a new artist. Easy on the ears and palate, Cake is as filling and digestible an album as one could hope. Subsequent Trash Can Sinatras releases reach for the same greatness but ultimately fall a little short. This precursor to early 21st century Brit-pop darkens the occasional used record store bin. And it tastes almost as fresh as the day it was made.

 

Tracklist

1.  “Obscurity Knocks” – 4:13
2.  “Maybe I Should Drive” – 3:40
3.  “Thrupenny Tears” – 5:15
4.  “Even the Odd” – 3:25
5.  “The Best Man’s Fall” – 3:43
6.  “Circling the Circumference” – 2:40
7.  “Funny” – 4:16
8.  “Only Tongue Can Tell” – 3:45
9.  “You Made Me Feel” – 4:10
10.  “January’s Little Joke” – 4:47

Companies, etc.

Pressed By – PDO, UK – 10120661
Phonographic Copyright (p) – Go! Discs Ltd.
Copyright (c) – Go! Discs Ltd.
Manufactured By – PolyGram Ltd.
Distributed By – PolyGram Ltd.
Published By – EMI Music Publishing Ltd.
Recorded At – Shabby Road

Credits

Engineer – Peter Rose, Tony Harris
Mixed By – John Leckie (tracks: 1, 2, 6, 9, 10), Roger Béchirian (tracks: 3, 5), The Trash Can Sinatras (tracks: 4, 7), Tony Harris (tracks: 8)
Performer – Frank Read, George McDaid, John Douglas, Paul Livingston, Stephen Douglas
Photography By – Margaret Thomson, Paul Cox
Piano – Clark Sorley (tracks: 2, 3, 9)
Producer – John Leckie (tracks: 1, 4, 6), Roger Béchirian (tracks: 3, 5, 7), The Trash Can Sinatras (tracks: 2, 8 to 10)
Sleeve – TCS
Strings – Audrey Riley (tracks: 3, 7, 9), The Trash Can Sinatras (tracks: 2, 7, 9, 10)

Notes

Released: June 25th, 1990
Recorded: Shabby Road, Kilmarnock
Genre: Indie pop, jangle pop
Length: 39:31

Label – Go! Records

Third World – 96° In The Shade (1977)

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Third World is a Jamaican reggae band formed in 1973. Their sound is influenced by soul, funk and disco. Although it has undergone several line-up changes, Stephen “Cat” Coore and Richard Daley have been constant members.

“96 Degrees in the Shade” is Third World’s most militant album, and in my opinion their best album so far. Beautiful melodies, strong roots rhythms, masterful musical arrangements and superb musicianship combine with powerful Rastafarian lyrical messages to make this CD a “must have” for anyone who appreciates great reggae music.

The title of the album derives from the refrain of its best-known and most moving track, but the original and true title of the song is “1865.” This reggae ballad is a narrative tribute to Jamaican freedom fighter Paul Bogle, who was hanged for leading a slave revolt in 1865, but was named a national hero 100 years later. This should be a lesson from history regarding the death penalty, not only in Jamaica and other Third World countries, but also in the United States, where capital punishment continues to be used extensively and almost exclusively as a weapon of genocide and political repression. Third World’s lyrics are as relevant now as they were in the 1970’s:

“Some may suffer and some may burn,
“But I know one day my people will learn,
“As sure as the sun is shining way up in the sky,
“Today I stand here a victim, the truth is I’ll never die.”
(Third World, “1865”)

 

Tracklist

1. Jah Glory – 5:13
2. Tribal War – 3:46
3. Dreamland – 3:35
4. Feel A Little Better – 3:49   (Soprano Saxophone – Chris Wood)
5. Human Market Place – 4:32   (Recorded By [Background Noises] – Irving “Carrot” Jarrett) 
6. Third World Man – 3:31
7. 1865 (96° In The Shade) – 4:27
8. Rhythm Of Life – 4:13   (Voice [Chant] – Donald “Satta” Manning)

Credits

Bass – Richie Daley
Drums – Willie Stewart
Keyboards – Michael Cooper 
Lead Guitar – Steven “Cat” Coore
Lead Vocals – Bunny Rugs
Percussion – Irving “Carrot” Jarrett

Notes

Released: 1977
Background noises in “Human Market Place” recorded at Coronation Market, Jamaica
Genre: Reggae, Funk / Soul
Style: Roots Reggae
Length: 32:13

Label – Island Records

Marty Casey & Lovehammers – Marty Casey & Lovehammers (2006)

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Marty Casey saddled his band with a name that unfortunately conjures memories of Spinal Tap — Lovehammers is not a far cry from Nigel Tufnel’s “Lick My Love Pump” — which could very well be part of the reason why he and Lovehammers were stuck eking out a living in Chicago for years. Only when Casey joined the cast of the first season of CBS’s Rock Star, a reality show where the winner joined INXS as their lead vocalist, did the Lovehammers capture some national attention, particularly since Casey turned into a fan favorite, winding up as the second-place finisher on the show.

That led Casey and the Lovehammers to a major-label contract with Epic, which released an eponymous album in the first weeks of 2006. This is not their first album — in 2004, they released Murder on My Mind, a self-released debut. Marty Casey & Lovehammers is on a much larger scale, of course, and appropriately, it’s been given a production that’s big, glossy, and shiny, something that’s ready for radio. Lovehammers weren’t always this slick — Murder on My Mind was a hard, heavy neo-grunge album, and prior to Rock Star, the band did a few sessions with the notoriously independent record producer/engineer Steve Albini, one of which (“Straight as an Arrow”) carried over to this album. But that’s the exception to the rule here: apart from that brief blow tucked away at the end of the album, this is polished, hooky neo-grunge the likes of which hasn’t been heard on mainstream radio since about 1996 or 1997. This isn’t a revival so much as it is a re-creation, and it’s a successful one that would sound comfortable played next to Bush, Stone Temple Pilots, Sponge, Better Than Ezra, the Verve Pipe, or Seven Mary Three, and lacking the grim monotony and meatheaded misogyny that plagues Nickelback and Puddle of Mudd. That’s because the Lovehammers really are a straight-ahead rock band that came of age during the great alt-rock boom of the ’90s and never caught a break while the music was a success.

Now that they have that break, they’ve made a record that sounds like it’s about ten years old, but in a pleasant way, since it has glistening hooks and some strong riffs, and Casey is an ingratiating frontman, never sounding quite muscular enough for the music but somehow more appealing because of it. If Marty Casey & Lovehammers was released during the peak of alt-rock in 1996, it may have faded into the background, leaving behind only a single that got some rotation on 120 Minutes, but in 2006, there aren’t many mainstream bands doing this kind of music, so it winds up sounding a little fresh, even if it doesn’t exactly sound new or distinctive.

Nevertheless, it’s a good modern rock record, and even if it took a reality show to get Marty Casey & Lovehammers to a national stage, this proves that they’re ready to seize the opportunity now that it’s finally landed in their laps.

 

Tracklist

1.”Casualty” – 3:20
2.”Hold On” – 3:21
3.”Trees” – 3:35
4.”Rain On The Brain” – 3:29
5.”The Tunnel” – 3:37
6.”Eyes Can’t See” – 3:26
7.”The Riddle” – 2:43
8.”Clinic” – 3:37
9.”Call Of Distress” – 3:00
10.”Straight As An Arrow” – 3:25
11.”Clouds” – 4:59

Members

Marty Casey (vocals)
Bobby Kourelis (drums)
Billy Sawilchik (guitar)
Ben Kelly (guitar)
Dino Kourelis (bass)

Companies, etc.

Copyright (c) – JBMP, Inc.
Copyright (c) – INXS Sound & Vision PTY Ltd
Copyright (c) – Sony BMG Music Entertainment
Phonographic Copyright (p) – JBMP, Inc.
Phonographic Copyright (p) – INXS Sound & Vision PTY Ltd
Phonographic Copyright (p) – Sony BMG Music Entertainment
Manufactured By – Epic
Distributed By – Epic

Notes

Release Date: January 24, 2006
Recording Location
CRC, Chicago, IL
Electrical Audio, Chicago, IL
Full Kilt Studios, North Hollywood, CA
Groovemaster Studios, Chicago, IL
Mitch’s Bedroom, North Hollywood, CA
NRG, North Hollywood, CA
Peer Studios, Hollywood, CA
Smart Studios, Madison, WI
The Attic, Monrovia, CA
Genre: Pop/Rock
Duration: 38:32

Label – Burnett Records

Soundtrack – Vicky Cristina Barcelona (2008)

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Ask a lover of Spanish cinema what Spain’s equivalent of Hollywood is, and the obvious response will be Madrid; most of Spain’s top actors and directors are based in Spain’s largest city. Barcelona, meanwhile, is the city that dominates the Spanish porn industry; if Madrid is Spain’s Hollywood, Barcelona is Spain’s San Fernando Valley. But some excellent non-porn movies have been filmed (or partly filmed) in Barcelona, ranging from Pedro Almodóvar‘s Todo Sobre Mi Madre (All About My Mother) to American director Whit Stillman’s clever Barcelona. Stillman isn’t the only American director who has filmed in Barcelona; the capitol of Cataluña (or Catalunya in Catalan) is where Woody Allen filmed his romantic comedy/drama Vicky Cristina Barcelona (starring Penélope Cruz, Javier Bardem, and Scarlett Johansson). In the liner notes, Allen explains that this soundtrack called for Spanish music but candidly admits that Spanish music isn’t something he is terribly knowledgeable about. However, Allen obviously did his research, and the recordings that he chose are excellent. Although this 42-minute disc contains two sensuous vocal offerings by the Barcelona-based group Giulia y los Tellarini (“Barcelona” and “La Ley del Retiro”), most of the soundtrack focuses on instrumental flamenco guitar — specifically, flamenco of the nuevo flamenco variety. The nuevo flamenco outlook works as well for Juan Serrano on “Entre Olas” and “Corrión” as it does for Juan Quesada on “Asturias,” which isn’t to say that more traditional flamenco is totally absent from this soundtrack. Paco de Lucía, one of Spain’s great flamenco traditionalists, is heard on the familiar “Granada.” And the soundtrack moves into jazz territory on two selections by guitarist Biel Ballester: “When I Was a Boy” and “Your Shining Eyes,” both of which offer an intriguing mixture of gypsy swing (the house that Django Reinhardt built) and Catalan-style rumba. Some soundtracks don’t hold up very well if you haven’t seen the film, but that isn’t a problem for this CD; even if one hasn’t seen Vicky Cristina Barcelona, this soundtrack is still a fine Mediterranean-oriented compilation.

 

Tracklist

1.  Giulia Y Los Tellarini – Barcelona – 2:22 
2.  Juan Serrano – Gorrión – 3:04 
3.  Paco De Lucía – Entre Dos Aguas – 5:58 
4.  Muriel Anderson & Jean-Félix Lalanne – El Noi De La Mare – 2:48 
5.  Emilio De Benito – Granada – 1:51 
6.  Giulia Y Los Tellarini – La Ley Del Retiro – 2:13 
7.  Biel Ballester Trio With Leo Hipaucha And Graci Pedro – When I Was A Boy – 3:11 
8.  The Stephane Wrembel Trio – Big Brother – 5:06 
9.  Juan Quesada – Asturias – 7:49 
10.  Biel Ballester Trio With Leo Hipaucha And Graci Pedro – Your Shining Eyes – 4:29 
11.  Juan Serrano – Entre Olas – 3:47 

Companies, etc.

Credits

  • Design [CD], Art DirectionAnilda Carrasquillo
  • Edited By, Mastered ByPaul Blakemore
  • Photography ByVictor Bello
  • Arranged By [For Classical Guitar] – Andrés Segovia, Miguel Llobet
  • Classical Guitar – Muriel Anderson
  • Electric Guitar, Soloist – Jean-Félix Lalanne

Notes

Release Date: August 12, 2008
Genre: Stage & Screen
Styles: Latin, Guitar
Duration: 42:49

Label – Telarc Records

Teardrop Explodes – Wilder (1981, 2000 Expanded)

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The Teardrop Explodes were an English post-punk/neo-psychedelic band formed in Liverpool in 1978. Best known for their Top Ten UK single “Reward” (which is still a staple of 1980s alternative pop compilations), the group originated as a key band in the emerging Liverpool post-punk scene of the late 1970s, the group also launched the career of group frontman Julian Cope as well as that of keyboard player and co-manager David Balfe (later a record producer, A&R man and founder of Food Records). Other members included early Smiths producer Troy Tate.

Along with other contemporary Liverpudlian groups, The Teardrop Explodes played a role in returning psychedelic elements to mainstream British rock and pop, initially favouring a modernised version of lightly psychedelic late 60s-influenced beat-group sound (sometimes described as “bubblegum trance”) and later exploring more experimental areas. In addition to their musical reputation, the band (and Cope in particular) had a reputation for eccentric pronouncements and behaviour, sometimes verging on the self-destructive. These featured strongly in contemporary press accounts and were later expanded on in Cope’s 1993 memoir Head On.

Wilder is the second album by neo-psychedelic Liverpool band The Teardrop Explodes, and the final completed album released by the group.

In 2000 former Teardrop Explodes leader Julian Cope gave his blessings to re-release Wilder with a selection of bonus tracks, mainly single b-sides, plus original artwork, a remastered sound, and full lyrics and essays.

Despite the flux they were going through, the Teardrops somehow got it together to record the heavily-hyped Wilder, which unlike its predecessor did nothing in terms of sales or smash singles, outside of the semi-successful shimmering keyboard/crunch of “Passionate Friend.” This isn’t for lack of talent on the band’s part, and the trademark kicky arrangements and horns appear throughout. However, unlike the joyous outpourings of Kilimanjaro, Wilder sounds distanced. Cope doesn’t come across as the lead singer so much as he does someone singing with the music, ironic given that he wrote everything on this album. As a subtler pleasure, though, Wilder offers up some good stuff, with more cryptic compositions and performances throughout, while Clive Langer takes over full production after only doing a few on the first album. Strangely, some performances sound like where Sting eventually took the Police on Synchronicity, musically if not vocally, like the layered attempts at tribal drumming on “Seven Views of Jerusalem.” More measured, sometimes stiff songs like “Falling Down Around Me” make the overall mood more fragmented, while some of Balfe‘s keyboards sound like they’re only there just because. When it connects, though, Wilder rocks just fine. The concluding track, “The Great Dominions,” is one of Cope‘s all-time best, with a sweeping, epic sense of scope and sound. The angular funk of “The Culture Bunker” has both some fine guitar and a sharp lyric or two on Cope‘s part — the Crucial Three he refers to was his bedroom-only act with Ian McCulloch and Pete Wylie. Other high points include the moody synth shadings on “Tiny Children,” where Balfe‘s work comes through best of all, and Dwyer‘s generally sharp drumming throughout, keeping the beat well.

Tracklist

1.  “Bent Out of Shape” – 3:27
2.  “Colours Fly Away” – 2:54
3.  “Seven Views of Jerusalem” – 3:47
4.  “Pure Joy” – 1:42
5.  “Falling Down Around Me” – 3:08
6.  “The Culture Bunker” – 5:29
7.  “Passionate Friend” – 3:29
8.  “Tiny Children” – 3:50
9.  “Like Leila Khaled Said” – -3:48
10.  “…And The Fighting Takes Over” – 3:53
11.  “The Great Dominions” – 4:26

All tracks written by Julian Cope.

CD Re-issue bonus tracks (2000)

12.  “Window Shopping for a New Crown of Thorns”  – 3:48
13.  “East of the Equator”  – 6:16
14.  “Rachael Built a Steamboat”   (Cope (Lyric), David Balfe (Music) – 4:15
15.  “You Disappear from View”  – 2:59
16.  “Suffocate”  (Cope, Balfe) – 3:43
17.  “Ouch Monkeys”  (Cope, Balfe)  -5:15
18.  “Soft Enough for You”  (Cope, Balfe) – 3:55
19.  “The In-Psychlopedia”  (Cope, Balfe, Gary Dwyer) – 4:04

All tracks written by Julian Cope; except where indicated.

The Teardrop Explodes

with:

  • Alfie Agius – bass guitar on “Passionate Friend”
  • Jeff Hammer – keyboards on “Passionate Friend”
  • James Eller – bass guitar
  • Luke Tunney, Ted Emmett – trumpets
  • Clive Langer – additional guitar
  • Garrish Mashindi – backing vocals on “Like Leila Khaled Said”
Technical
  • Colin Fairley – engineer
  • Martin Atkins – artwork
  • Chalkie Davies – photograph

Companies, etc.

Notes

Released: December 1981
Recorded: 1981
Genre: Post-punk, alternative rock
Length: 39:52

Label – Mercury Records

Stillwater – I Reserve The Right (1978)

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Stillwater was an American band, based in Warner Robins, Georgia, that played Southern rock and was active from 1973 to ’84.

Stillwater’s I Reserve the Right album features a naked man running down the main street of a major city, which is a little more appealing than the wardrobe this seven-piece group sports on the back cover. They look like they just got off work for the day at the farm, so you know without the image they’d better have some chops to warrant this record’s release. Lead guitarist Rob Walker’s “Alone on a Saturday Night” is a beautiful song, with drummer Sebie Lacey getting the honors for the lead vocal. It is the tune that stands out and grabs you on a decent outing produced by Stillwater and engineer Tad Bush for Buddy Buie Productions. The title track sounds like it is a cross between Duke & the Drivers meets Bachman Turner Overdrive sans Randy Bachman; it is truck-driving rock without the production qualities of “Alone on a Saturday Night” or the other subdued highlight here, “Women (Beautiful Women).”

The vocals simply don’t cut it on the title track, “I Reserve the Right,” and they’re equally rough on “Keeping Myself Alive,” which is an exercise in bad songwriting, lyrically, melodically, and spiritually, a pedestrian tune over mundane chord changes. With no Top 40 hit to their credit and not much of a cult for this genre of music, this fairly decent outing is one for the bargain bins. Having the Muscle Shoals Horns contribute is pretty neat, and there are some enjoyable moments here nonetheless.

 

Tracklist

A1.  I Reserve The Right – 6:30 
A2.  Women (Beautiful Woman) – 4:24 
A3.  Keeping Myself Alive – 2:57 

B1.  Kalifornia Kool – 3:30 
B2.  Sometimes Sunshine – 4:06 
B3.  Fair Warning – 4:30 
B4.  Alone On A Saturday Night – 2:05 
B5.  Ain’t We A Pair – 4:30 

 

Companies, etc.

 

Credits

 

Notes

Released: 1978 
Country: US 
Genre: Rock
Style: Southern Rock
Length: 32:59

Label – Capricorn Records

Stone City Band – The Boys Are Back (1981)

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A cynic could argue that in the early ’80s, Rick James saved his best songs for himself and gave his second-rate material to the Stone City Band. But second-rate doesn’t mean bad; while the SCB releases James produced in the early ’80s aren’t in a class with Street Songs, Fire It Up, or Come Get It!, they aren’t bad albums either.

The second SCB project that James produced was 1981’s uneven The Boys Are Back, which finds Levi Ruffin Jr. handling the lead vocals and James writing or co-writing three of the eight songs. This LP gets off to a weak start with a lackluster, new wave-ish version of the Kinks‘ “All Day and All of the Night,” but the other selections are at least competent; and that includes the soul ballad “Keep Love Happy” as well as up-tempo funk items like James‘ “Freaky” and Ruffin‘s “Feel Good ‘Bout Yourself.” Although James doesn’t do any lead singing on The Boys Are Back, his stamp is all over most of the material. The exception is “Tin Soldier,” an instrumental that SCB guitarist Tom McDermott contributed.

While the rest of the LP is very James-sounding, “Tin Soldier” is pure jazz fusion and sounds like something you would expect from Return to Forever, Larry Coryell, or the Mahavishnu Orchestra. It should be noted that The Boys Are Back came out around the same time as Street Songs; while that classic went multi-platinum and is widely regarded as James most essential album, The Boys Are Back received little attention and died a quick death.

 

Tracklist

1.  All Day And All Of The Night – 4:53 
2.  Feel Good ‘Bout Yourself – 4:37 
3.  Keep Love Happy – 3:37 
4.  Ganja – 4:50 
5.  Freaky – 4:58 
6.  Funky Reggae – 5:05 
7.  Lovin’ You Is Easy – 4:08 
8.  Tin Soldier – 3:28 

Companies, etc.

Credits

Notes

Released: 1981
Recorded & Mixed at The Record Plant, Sausalito, California
Mastered at Allen Zentz Mastering
© 1981 Motown Record Corporation
Genre: Funk / Soul
Length: 36:19

Label – Gordy Records

Sugarloaf – Spaceship Earth (1971)

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Sugarloaf was an American rock band in the 1970s. The band, which originated in Denver, Colorado, scored two Top 10 hits, with the singles “Green-Eyed Lady” and “Don’t Call Us, We’ll Call You“.

Lead vocalist and keyboardist Jerry Corbetta, along with guitarist Bob Webber, played together in the Denver-based band Moonrakers.

Second album from Sugarloaf with a slightly more conceptual sound thanks to new member Robert Yeazel (West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band, Beast). It’s supposed to be a ‘save the world’ ecological concept album. The opening instrumental title track has a cool backwards piano and a kind of proggy structure. “Hot Water” (not on the CD reisssue) and “Tongue in Cheek” have some rockin’ guitar jams. “Mother Nature’s Wine” is recycled “Green Eyed Lady”, “Tongue In Cheek” is the only long jam on the album (unlike their debut, which was mostly long jams), and it’s probably the most rockin’ track in Sugarloaf’s whole catalogue.

The band actually did their homework in the period of one year and their followup album, Spaceship Earth is a better album. Certainly there’s no “Green-Eyed Lady” (it’s off their debut), but it really doesn’t matter. New member, guitarist/vocalist Bob Yeazel stepped in and he really wasted no time at all writing a bunch of new material for the band. The band now totally laid off on the covers of other people’s songs, and wrote shorter songs (this time the album has a full 10 songs, not 6). The title track is the album’s only instrumental and is full-on prog rock. Prog rock fans are sure to enjoy this piece. Great guitar work, great themes, great organ work from Jerry Corbetta. But the band also included elements of hard rock, pop, folk, blues, and country as well.

The whole album seems to have a concept behind it, one of an ecological theme and of criticizing city life (given these guys were from Denver, it’s easy to understand, and I’m sure they’ve been to L.A.) and getting back to the country. The cover depicted the band as a bunch of hippies living out in the country living the good life. I could be wrong, but this album cover must be the place near Boulder (then-very much a hippie town, now an upscale yuppie town) some of the band were living, in which Sugarloaf (the mountain, not the band) was nearby. It’s little wonder why some of the music seems to have a rather folky/country vibe. “Mother Nature’s Wine” was obviously the band’s attempt at another “Green-Eyed Lady”, even similar organ and clavinet work and Jerry Corbetta handling lead here, as he did on “Green-Eyed Lady”. “Music Box” is one song I can live without, because it has all the qualities of a music box, that is, rather cheesy, where Corbetta uses a celeste in the style of a music box. The song even slows down just like a music box finally finished unwinding. It’s a really nice album worth having.

 

Tracks Listing

1.  Spaceship Earth (4:27)
2.  Hot Water (4:10)
3.  Rusty Cloud (3:01)
4.  I Don’t Need You Baby (5:11)
5.  Rollin’ Hills (3:36)
6.  Mother Nature’s Wine (2:58)
7.  Country Dawg (2:36)
8.  Woman (4:19)
9.  Music Box (2:28)
10.  Tongue in Cheek (7:39)

Line-up / Musicians

– Jerry Corbetta / Vocals
– Rob Webber / Guitars
– Bob Raymond / Bass
– Bob Yeazel / Guitars
– Bob MacVitte / Drums

Credits

Notes

Released: February 1971
Genres: Psychedelic Rock, Pop Rock 
Total time 40:25

Label – Liberty Records

Sylvain, Sylvain – Sylvain Sylvain (1979)

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Sylvain Mizrahi is a US rock guitarist, born in Cairo, Egypt in 1951. Primarily known as the rhythm guitarist in the New York Dolls, he has also performed as a member of Batusis and as a solo artist.

Before joining the New York Dolls in 1971, Sylvain was a member of the band Actress, which also featured Arthur Kane, Johnny Thunders and former fashion partner, Billy Murcia. He played rhythm guitar for the Dolls from 1971 until the group’s final dissolution in 1977. Sylvain and singer David Johansen were the last remaining members at the time the group broke up. After the dissolution of the Dolls, he frequently played with Johansen on some of his solo records. He started his own band, The Criminals, with another ex-Doll, Tony Machine, and continued to play the New York club scene. He landed a solo recording contract with RCA, and released one album with Lee Crystal (drums; later of Joan Jett‘s Blackhearts) and Johnny Ráo (guitar).

It is often forgotten that Syl Sylvain co-wrote many of the New York Dolls‘ best songs, but he did. While this album will forever be compared to the classic first solo albums by Syl‘s fellow ex-Dolls, David Johansen and Johnny Thunders, this record is good enough to be judged on its own terms. The material here is strong, and it is more of a lighthearted ’50s rock & roll affair than might have been expected. Two of the songs, “Teenage News” and “14th Street Beat,” date back to the final days of the NY Dolls. These versions are fantastic and inevitably lead to singalongs. However, the real standout is “What’s That Got to Do With Rock ‘n’ Roll?.” It’s an undeniable song, so much so that mainstream radio picked up on it at the time. The playing is really loose in a good way. Not sloppy by any means, but played, sung, and produced with an appreciation for what made rock & roll fun in the first place.

 

Tracklist

1.  Teenage News – 3:10
2.  What’s That Got To Do With Rock ‘N’ Roll? – 2:56
3.  I’m So Sorry – 2:35
4.  Emily – 2:30
5.  Without You – 3:52
6.  Every Boy And Every Girl – 3:28
7.  14th Street Beat – 3:11
8.  Deeper And Deeper – 3:04
9.  Ain’t Got No Home – 2:43
10.  Tonight – 2:40

 

Companies, etc.

 

Credits

 

Notes

Released: 1979
Genre: Rock
Length: 30:19

Label – RCA Victor Records

Kasim Sulton – Kasim (1982)

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Kasim Sulton (born December 8, 1955) is an American bass guitarist, keyboardist and vocalist. Best known for his work with Utopia, Sulton sang lead on 1980s “Set Me Free,” Utopia’s only top 40 hit in the United States. As a solo artist, Sulton hit the Canadian top 40 in 1982 with “Don’t Break My Heart”.

Sulton has been a frequent collaborator, bassist and singer on many of Todd Rundgren‘s projects and solo tours.

Sulton started his musical career playing piano and vocals for Cherry Vanilla before gaining a place in Utopia in 1976. During his time with Utopia, they recorded nine albums and toured extensively until disbanding in 1986, with occasional reunions to the present.

He has toured with Blue Öyster Cult, Meat Loaf, Hall & Oates, Cheap Trick, Patty Smyth, Akiko Yano and Richie Sambora, among many other artists. As a studio musician, he has played on albums by Patti Smith, Indigo Girls and Steve Stevens, and appeared on an album of traditional Irish music by Eileen Ivers. He was a member of Joan Jett‘s backing band, The Blackhearts, touring with them and playing on Jett’s album Up Your Alley (1988) as well as contributing a number of tracks to her compilation album The Hit List (1990).

Todd Rundgren‘s right-hand man in Utopia, Kasim Sulton stepped outside the Rundgren universe in 1981 for a solo album called Kasim. Produced by Bruce Fairbairn, who had just come off of Loverboy‘s first album and Get Lucky, but had yet to helm the Bon Jovi and Aerosmith records that made him one of the biggest names in ’80s hard rock, Kasim does indeed have a heavier attack than most of Utopia‘s turn-of-the-’80s records — specifically the single “Set Me Free,” one of the group’s bigger hits and one that not so coincidentally featured Sulton on lead vocals — it’s still undeniably of a piece with the spacy, propulsive, album rock of Oops! Wrong Planet and Adventures in Utopia. Often, there’s a sense that Sulton wanted to definitively break from Utopia — this comes to a head on “Evil,” an ominous piece of hard rock — but Kasim is at its best when it’s at its poppiest. “Don’t Break My Heart” and “Drivin’ Me Mad” are power pop numbers through and through, but elsewhere Sulton and Fairbairn create state-of-the-art AOR circa 1981, all shiny sculpted hooks and steely rhythms that shine in the neon glow. Sometimes, Sulton sounds a little boyish for his gilded surroundings but that gives Kasim a nice bit of tension underneath its melodicism: it winds up being an earnest Utopia album, one without a concept or quirk but all the rock and pop.

 

Tracklist

1.  Someone To Love – 3:10
2.  Evil – 5:13
3.  White And Red – 3:44
4.  This Must Be Love – 3:02
5.  Don’t Break My Heart – 4:01
6.  Drivin’ Me Mad – 2:57
7.  Roll The Dice – 3:03
8.  Just A Little Bit – 4:34
9.  Sweet Little Accident – 3:04
10.  Rock And Roll – 3:11

 

Companies, etc.

 

Credits

 

Notes

Released:  1982
Recorded between January and October 1981
Genre: Rock
Style: New Wave
Length: 35:23

Label – EMI America Records