Blind Date (1979) S/T (LP)Windsong (BXL 1–3403)

Blind Date

Blind Date

1979

Windsong Records (BXL 1–3403)

Produced by Jeff Glixman

*** noteworthy
Sole album by this mystery group, power pop on John Denver’s Windsong label with Arnie Badd, Brad Billion, Dane Bramage, and Pinky Chablis. While they don’t sound like Cheap Trick, it’s sort of the same idea, power pop with focus on pounding drums and electric guitar (and of course vocals, harmony and melody), lots of content about love but also the violent crime of “Trouble Maker.”  This is power pop but not the soft-rock or candy-coated bubblegummy brand, somewhere between the Raspberries and Thin Lizzy, the Babys and Van Halen.

Both sides end with hard-rock content, the instrumental “Twin Engines” closing the first side, the 5+ minute “Midnight Imagination,” ending the proceedings. This closer brings the Beach Boys influence into power ballad mode, bridging 60s’ pop and 70s’ excess to the power ballads of the 80s, the straight-forward aspects of 70s glam and the excesses of the glam of the 80s. Mostly it’s the Beach Boys channeled through 70s hard rock.


While this is varied set, it’s fairly entertaining through both sides and even the filler falls into the background without becoming annoying. This group never comes close to the best of the power poppers, but they’re also obviously a few notches above the bland new wavers from this era. It’s pure juvenile fun, all songs written and arranged by Blind Date.

— winch

author of

 

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The Breaks (1983) S/T (LP) RCA 4675

The Breaks

The Breaks

1983

RCA 4675

produced by Vini Poncia

***

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This one’s only for fans with a huge penchant for 80s pop-rock fronted by female vocalists, but if that’s your bag, this set is worth a listen, features an LA new-wave sound with the band’s Tennessee roots showing–especially in Susanne’s vocals. This Memphis outfit was fronted by the Taylor siblings, Susanne Jerome the cutie on vocals (and made into a new wave southern belle sexpot on the “She Wants You” video.)

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While she has her right hand firmly planted in the pocket of her cute 80s skirt on the album sleeve, she appears to be flipping the bird. That about says it all, LA trying to make her into a 80s pop tart, but this Memphis girl showing her roots with that twang and attitude in her voice, that grin on her face and that middle finger firmly planted in her pocket.

 

 

Most of the songs are written by the Taylor siblings, the set produced by Vini Poncia (Ringo’s songwriting partner through most of the 70s).  Apparently the rest of the band is made up of siblings, Rob and Russ Caudill providing the rhythm section, and keyboardist Tom Ward showing up on song credits with a D. Ward.  The first side stays upbeat and fairly cute and enjoyable with an 80s power-pop sound, and then after the opener “Wishy Washy,” Side Two–for better or worse depending on the listener–sticks with the ballads and sounds like the party’s over.  And likely the party was over because this is apparently the only album by this outfit.

— winch (author of

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Bleached (2013) Ride Your Heart (LP) Dead Oceans Records (DOC082)

Bleached

Ride Your Heart 

Dead Oceans Records (DOC082)

Produced by Rob Barbato

**** recommended

Debut long player from this LA outfit, the band described at this point as sisters Jennifer and Jessica Calvin, all songs and most of the playing credited to the pair.

The sound clearly has a California feel, mixing many styles from the past: the garage, surf, and dreamy girl group of the sixties, the power pop and lots of Blondie of the 70s, the sonic of punk and the 90s mixed with a bit of the girl-group revival and pop rock of the 80s, even a bit of exotica (and maybe the hillbilly) of the 50s–for example Jessica adding lap steel to the Bo Diddley beat on “Guy Like You.”

For fans of sonic pop music, this debut set is worth a listen.

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— winch (author of

Badfinger (1971) Straight Up (LP) Apple 3387

Badfinger
Straight Up
Apple 3387
1971
Produced by Todd Rundgren
(two cuts produced by George Harrison)
Released December 1971 (US & UK) reached #31 in US.  

 

Noteworthy ***

Badfinger’s third album, containing two more top 10 hits, “Day After Day” and “Baby Blue,” both melancholy pop gems that suggested this band was perhaps a bit more than just a Beatles copycat.  The hits helped the band get plenty of airplay and leave behind a legacy that lasted long after they were gone. 


While the rest of the album resonates with the mood of the hits, it also strives to lift out of the gloom without ever really shaking that melancholy that permeates the sound.  The setis fairly consistent, but many cuts sound a bit lacking alongside the stronger ones.  With some clearly coming out of the fab four, this should interest fans of the Beatles.  For fans of this group, this is essential listening.

This was the last outing that sold well in the States.  (For some reason, they never caught on at home.) All of the songs are written by band members, both of the hits penned by Pete Ham.  While they’d continue releasing albums, few took interest.  Ham would hang himself in 1975.

— winch

20/20 S/T debut (1979) LP

20/20
20/20
Portrait 
1979
*** (Noteworthy)
Another Tulsa power-pop band that moved to Hollywood, and of course this outfit started with Bomp! Records.  For this debut album, they moved to Portrait Records.  Pure power-pop, worthwhile listen for fans of this style.  
The band included Steve Allen, Ron Flynt, Mike Gallo, and Chris Silagyi.  (Fellow Tulsa power-popper Phil Seymour guests on background vocals for one cut.)  Produced by Earle Mankey.
— Winch

Blondie: Little Doll (LP) 1979 bootleg

Blondie
Little Doll
Barbie Records
1979
***** Good Shit


Pretty great bootleg from 1979 Dallas show, radio broadcast, top-notch sound capturing the band just before things would go wrong.

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Ignoring Plastic Letters, the set offers two cuts from each of the other albums from the 70s, concluding with a rocking ’60s medley that crashes into a version of Iggy Pop’s “Funtime.”

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The album ends with demo cuts from 1975, including a version of the Shangra-La’s 1965 “Out in the Streets” which is pure gold.

— winch

http://www.eight-track.com

Raxola (LP) 1978

Raxola
Raxola

Phillips

Recommended ****
1978

While this Belgium outfit shows its influences from the previous year, they definitely have their own hardcore power-pop sound, blasting through the first side barely taking a breath, hitting it with “Wait for the War,” sinking into a sludgy sound at the end of the side, the sudden detour foreshadowing the quite interesting diversity of side two.
The flipside jumpstarts with “Anxious” and “Steal It” but slows down for “Who Do You Think You Are,” which is rough around the edges but pure power-pop at the center.  From there, they go from the rip of “Panic in the Sewer” to the heavy-sludge sleepwalk of “I Can Sleep,” a gothic death-rock number that bridges Sabbath and Bauhaus (the latter would form around this time).  They conclude the set with some signature punk, the diversity that preceded not only helping the whole set, but making those punk blasts at the end like fire-hydrant sprays to the face after a summer crawl through a warm sewer.
Elements of power-pop are felt in several cuts, some foreshadowing the Dickies, and the entire set foreshadows various aspects of hardcore, the no-reggae diversity of the album foreshadowing the diversity of bands like Husker Du and the Big Boys.  This might not be a great set, but it’s a good one, definitely a worthwhile listen for fans of 70s punk.
— winch

(author of Kalamazoo: Growing Up Sideways in the 1970s)

Product Details

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