Bulldog were an obscure spinoff of the Rascals that formed in 1971. Gene Cornish and Dino Danelli, after leaving their successful act behind, enlisted Billy Hocher, John Turi and Eric Thorngren to round out the lineup. After a successful showcase performance, Decca Records came calling and soon Bulldog's self-titled debut was released. Though the album sported some uncharacteristic heaviness that surely surprised Rascals fans, the album was a bit too short on hooks to captivate the fickle record buying public. Perhaps the gruff Bob Seger/Joe Cocker vocals of Hocher seemed like a strange pairing with the material presented. In any case, their contract with Decca came to an abrupt end and Bulldog spent the majority of 1973 attempting to secure another contract.
That contract came with the arrival of Neil Bogart's Buddah Records in 1974, which yielded their sophomore release, "Smasher". Now this was a different sounding album, showing the band's tightened and more elaborate sound somewhat removed from the vibe of their rudimentary debut. Perhaps Buddah's primary reputation for bubblegum and novelty records can explain why this release was virtually ignored upon its release. In retrospect, it has become quite a collectable with its sophisticated die-cut cover and ornate design. Packaging aside, the content itself is patchy like the first album, but once things get rolling, it's an improvement. Bulldog's rendition of Derringer's "Rock & Roll Hootchie Coo" is among one of the more inspired moments of the album. Despite the promise found here, the album sank without even a slight showing on the Billboard charts and Bulldog was dead by early 1975.
Cornish and Danelli would resurface a few years later, teaming up with Wally Bryson (Raspberries) in the excellent power pop act, Fotomaker. Though they issued several strong albums, they too were dealt a merciless death, leaving Cornish and Danelli on the oldies circuit in a revived lineup of the Rascals. They would later be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame along with the rest of their former bandmates. Turi and Thorngren went on to work as studio engineers, as well as teaming up in several low profile bands throughout the years.
Take a stab at this one, as it's often at the top of MP3 wishlists and has become quite the rarity since its release in 1974. There something for everyone to admire in this short-lived but distinctive sounding quintet.
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