Saturday, December 20, 2008

Updated Wishlist!

Finally just added some titles that I'd forgotten about. If you or anyone you know has any of these titles in a digital format, I'd be grateful for their contributions! Thanks!!!!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Hero - Hero (1977)

Continuing on from my previous Hero post, this is the band's self-titled debut issued by Mercury Records in 1977. Backed by Michael Lloyd's credentials and solid promotion, the band issued two singles from the album, but ultimately american radio wasn't biting. The band subsequently lost their label deal, only to find a new home with 20th Century Records. A stronger followup, "Boys Will Be Boys", came the following year but whatever momentum the band had built before was essentially gone. The band fractured in 1980 with members working both in and out of the business. Guitarist Neil Citron resurrected the band in the mid-80's to no avail.

Unlike the muscular "Boys Will Be Boys", this album was closer to harmless pop than robust hard rock. Listening to this gem, one can't help but notice the almost childlike innocence that lies within most of the tracks. There are plenty of standouts like the hook driven "Taxi Driver", "I'm the King, I'm the Star" and "You Are the People". Conversely, there is alot of filler here as well. Tracks like "I Love the Way You Rock & Roll", "Smile", "Runaway" and "You Cheat" aren't necessarily short on hooks, but certainly lacking any real substance or staying power. Regardless, this album is worthy of modest praise and deserves a place in any 70's pop fanatic's collection. Dig this sweet vinyl transfer and pop till you drop :)

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Re Upped: Baby - Baby (1975)

Texas hard rockers, Baby, came together in late 1968 as a quintet playing mostly regional high schools. In 1969, the band began stretching out to clubs in the midwest and found themselves gaining quite a following in the process. Within the next year, the quintet underwent a lineup change, bringing hot shot axeslinger Johnny Lee Schell onboard to handle vocals and songwriting. This marked a new beginning for the band, who by this time had adopted a heavier sound. Over the next few years, Baby reigned supreme over the club circuits in the midwest. In 1974, the band financed their own recording and issued their self-titled debut on their own label, Lone Starr Records.

Radio success in the region continued and soon Mercury had licensed the album for national release. Though the material was strong, Baby were unable to break into other markets and soon the album sank without a trace. The following year, Mercury pushed the band back into the studio for another album, "Where Did All the Money Go?". Though the album had its share of decent material, it fared no better and the band were dropped. While in LA on a press junket for the album, the band called it a day and everyone went their separate ways.

Members went on to work with acts like Phantom Blues Band, Taj Mahal, Bonnie Raitt, John Fogerty, Buddy Guy and Melissa Etheridge. Schell also produces acts at his own recording studio and writes film soundtracks. Bassist, Stephen Crane issued a solo album on MCA in 1984.

The album is a pretty solid batch of crunchy Texas boogie, much like early ZZ Top, but with an emphasis on hard rock. Schell's guitar work and vocals are the centerpiece here and rightfully so. The clear standout is "Long Legged Woman", which should've been a huge single for the band. Raunchy, filled with swagger and brimming with energy, the track just rocks from start to finish. The rest of the album is a mix of hard rock and smooth jams, at times bordering on mediocrity but always retaining the band's consistent style and sound. I recommend digging into this one, as it's a mostly satisfying slab of Texas 70's hard rock. Check out this improved vinyl transfer, courtesy of me. Snap it up!