review Archive

Album Review: City Boy – It’s Personal

One look at the cover of It’s Personal, the 1981 album by British foursome City Boy, and there’s no question that this is a product of those new-wavey days. Two of the band members sport then-ubiquitous aviator-style glasses. When you pop in the CD, the opening figure — coupling muted chugs of the guitar and

Album Review: Frank Sinatra – Strangers in the Night (2010 reissue)

Sure, the title track of Frank Sinatra’s 1966 album Strangers in the Night is sappy, MOR stuff. Impeccably arranged and finding the 51-year old Sinatra in fine vocal form, the song nonetheless was hopelessly out of step with the current musical trends. “Adult” music as it was, the song bumped no less a song than

Book Review: A Dream Goes On Forever – The Continuing Story of Todd Rundgren, Vol. 2

Covering the life and career of Todd Rundgren is a serious, sprawling undertaking (trust me!). The prolific multi-instrumentalist has recorded and released several dozens albums, first as a member of proto-powerpop sixties group Nazz, then as both a solo artist and member of Utopia. He’s been at the forefront of technology (sometimes too far out

Album Review: Alice Cooper – Dada

For 1982’s Dada, Alice Cooper brought producer Bob Ezrin back to run the console. Ezrin and Cooper had worked together on many of Cooper’s most commercially successful albums in the 70s, and by ’82 Ezrin himself was at something of a critical high water mark himself, owing in no small part to his work on

Album Review: The City Champs – The Safecracker

The gospel-flavored organ solo that opens the title cut on the City Champs‘ The Safecracker is something of a red herring. Though the sonorous B3 tones suggest that listeners will be treated to something along the lines of Boz Scaggs‘ 1969 cover of Fenton Robinson‘s classic “Loan Me a Dime,” instead this Memphis trio launches

Album Review: Alice Cooper – Zipper Catches Skin

By 1981 Alice Cooper really had begun, thankfully, to flush the fashion (something he made an empty threat to do two years earlier). To the extent that Cooper had a formula, he was doing his best to move back toward it as the 1980s unfolded. After the creative disaster of 1981’s Special Forces, he co-produced

Album Review: Album Review: Putumayo Presents Rhythm & Blues

Putumayo is, for many listeners, the first stop for various-artists world music collections. But the label has recently ventured into more mainstream genres. The latest exponent of this is Putumayo Presents Rhythm & Blues. A survey of classic and contemporary artists, the twelve-track disc provides a neat capsule survey of what the liner notes calls

Album Review: Alice Cooper – Special Forces

As the 1970s ended, so did Alice Cooper‘s chart run. After an impressive string of hits beginning with 1971’s “I’m Eighteen (from the album Love it to Death) and more or less ending with Welcome to My Nightmare‘s ballad “Only Women Bleed” in 1975, the chart action pretty much dried up. There was the minor

Album review: Joe Meek – Meeky Meeky: Random Flakes Vol. 1

Much has been written about Joe Meek. His production technique might be labeled savant-garde: doing everything “wrong” he sometimes — often, in fact — got it right. Now recognized as a vanguard of the independent producer movement, Meek’s work in the pre-Beatlemania era was nothing short of joyously exploratory. Freed from (or just plain ignoring)

Album Review: The Orange Peels – 2020

“Happy listening.” That was the message handwritten on a post-it from The Orange Peels‘ Allen Clapp. Owing to a slight mix-up in messaging, I ended up receiving a copy of the group’s new album 2020 directly from the band. In any event, Clapp’s sentiment couldn’t be more apt; in fact that two-word phrase is a