Monday, August 10, 2009

Re-Upped: Bad Boy - Private Party (1981)

Here's another rarity from Milwaukee's legendary Bad Boy. By the time "Private Party" was in record stores, the band had already spent three years struggling to regain its composure after the sudden split from United Artists Records. With their fanatical hometown following keeping them aloft through this lean period, Bad Boy launched Streetwise Records to issue their third album in 1981. Though the album gained them newfound critical acclaim, it was not enough to launch them into superstar status. The band slagged it out in the midwest for another five years before finally giving up the ghost. A resurgence in interest eventually inspired a reunion in 1998 and the band can still be found conquering venues in their region today.

"Private Party" is an astonishing accomplishment, especially considering the climate in which this album was created. Few commercially successful acts ever have the fortune of trumping their most fruitful period of mainstream visibility, much less those who have never quite bridged the gap between being underground and being household names. Bad Boy had spent several years trying to capitalize on the support they were receiving from United Artists, but mainstream success eluded them in every way possible. So, it's quite amazing that their first self-financed album would not only push their songwriting to a whole new level, but also result in a production that glistens with a punishingly clear sheen that rivals any major label's output from the same time period.

The album swaggers with confidence at every angle, complete with charging guitars, heavyhanded rhythms and a charismatic vocal approach that demands your immediate attention from the very first note. "Private Party" is the sound of a hungry band on fire and hellbent on making a powerful musical statement. There are literally no weak tracks to be found here, folks. It's that damn good. With a sound that blends Cheap Trick, Bachman-Turner Overdrive and Kiss, the band blasts through all ten tracks with total gusto. The result is unquestionably the most relevant collection of tracks this band ever laid to tape. Need proof? Check out this fresh vinyl tranfer done by me. It simply blows away the previous version that was available here!