Sunday, January 25, 2009

Roadmaster - Sweet Music (1978)

In this final entry for Roadmaster, we have the band's 2nd album "Sweet Music". This effort was the first to signal the band's change of artistic direction, which veered away from journeyman boogie to full blown AOR pomp. Nothing signifies this change more than the opening cut, "It Doesn't Mean a Thing". With hooks galore and syrupy synths and strings, it should've been a huge single. Oddly enough, that never happened and it's matters like this that help to explain why Roadmaster never really broke through to the mainstream. Poor promotion, lack of exposure and mismatched touring partners were all to blame and it's a real shame. Needless to say, in the ensuing years since the band's dissolution there has been an all-new appreciation for their music. Whether you dig hard rock, radio friendly ballads or full-blown AOR...Roadmaster had it all. Perhaps it's the bittersweet irony of Roadmaster's fate is what makes them so appreciated in retrospect.

In any case, dig this excellent rip from William and make your Roadmaster collection complete!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Mother's Finest - One Mother To Another (1983)

This rare entry is from Atlanta's hard soul pioneers, Mother's Finest. After enjoying moderate success in the 70's as the most powerful multicultural hard rock act on the concert circuit, the band found themselves at a crossroads as musical climates changed in the early 80's. With the failure of 1981's "Iron Age" release and their subsequent ousting from Atlantic Records, the band reconstructed its sound with a decidedly more R&B slant. Soon Epic Records came calling & before the end of 1983, "One Mother To Another" was released. The album was met with indifference almost from the onset, while also suffering from distribution glitches that would essentially derail the band by the middle of 1984. Members went on to work with Blackfoot, Molly Hatchet, The Outlaws as well as enjoying some success as solo artists. 1989 would see the band regrouping and over the next two decades, they've enjoying moderate success despite an inability to establish a solid musical identity.

For lovers of classic Mother's Finest, this album will surely be a real disappointment. This collection of songs rarely deviates from being straight up MOR commercial soul. No rock hard guitar fireworks, no dual vocals, no intense rhythms...nothing. For all intents and purposes, this is a Joyce Kennedy solo album. There are some moments of inspiration here, like "Take Me to the Middle of Your Luv", but for the most part what you find here is flat and devoid of the groove for which this band has always been known.

Due to its rarity, this album deserves to be shared, especially for completists who have never had a chance to hear the band during this transitional phase of their career. Thanks to Nuxx for sharing this ultra-clean vinyl transfer. Dig in and give "One Mother To Another" a spin.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Re-Up Shoutbox

Just a quick update to let everyone know that I've added a shoutbox at the bottom right margin of this page. Since many of the older links on this site have either been deleted by nefarious blog trolls or have simply timed out, I'm proposing the usage of this new feature to resurrect dead links. Many of the albums posted here in 2007 and 2008 are no longer in my personal library. This is due to both a data loss and simple inventory control on my part. I encourage visitors looking for re-ups to make their suggestions in the shoutbox. It will provide some of the regular contributors here an opportunity to possibly fill your requests. Fair enough? Let's try this experiment and see if we can make it work. Keep your eyes peeled for a new posting this week!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Child - Child (1977)

I have very little information about this obscure Seattle outfit, which consisted of Lance Baumgartel, Mick Flynn, Tim Turner and John O'Connor. The band formed in 1969 and spent quite a few years playing the club circuit before finally issuing their self-titled LP on Seattle label, Ariel Records. The band enjoyed local success and issued a few singles before dissolving in 1981. Members went on to production and session work, as well as some sporadic musical activities with bands like Cooltones, The Tim Turner Band and The Mick Flynn Band.

This is an obscurity that has often been sought by collectors over the years. Despite the esoteric cover art, this LP is a collection of strictly meat and potatoes rock. No swirling synths, no flashy organs, no acid drenched guitar tones, no wailing vocals. This is straight down the middle rock, folks. For me, this wouldn't necessarily be a bad thing but this batch of songs really just doesn't stand up on its own. Most of the writing seems half-baked and the vocals come across as a little lazy. There's pretty great guitar work but the weak arrangements fail to capitalize on the band's obvious musical prowess. There are a few uninspired ballads, a few blues workouts and a handful of rock/hard rock cuts. The harder material is easily the best here, particularly "I Just Want to Be With You" which beckons Artful Dodger or late period Raspberries.

I suggest you download this artifact and see for yourself. While certainly not bad, Child isn't exactly setting the world on fire either. Check this rip from virgin vinyl and give Child a spin.