Planes & I Never Even Thought
Two Classic Albums on One CD (Cherry Red)
The good thing about these kind of late-in-the-game, double-on-one sets is that they provide an excellent way to link various periods of a particular artists’ career in one easy listen, and in the case of current Zombies vocalist Colin Blunstone’s two late-seventies efforts “easy listening” is the functioning term. On the plus side there is Blunstone’s velvety tone. Few were blessed with such an exquisite set of pipes and on these songs that is what you need to pay attention to. As far as the music goes both albums sound exactly as they should considering when they were recorded. “Planes” was recorded for Elton John’s Rocket Records and anyone with ears can hear the similarity to John’s radio-friendly, mid-Atlantic pop tones from the era. “Ain’t It Funny” for example could almost be considered a Reg Dwight tribute track while “Good Guys Don’t Always Win” delivers a spot on Leon Russell-esque vibe. To put a finer point on things a couple of tracks were co-written with Blunstone by Barry Manilow compatriot Richard Kerr. We’re sure you get the picture. Other songwriters here include John/Taupin, Neil Sedaka and even a couple of Beach Boys. It may take you back. It may not be in a good way depending on your taste. “Never Even Thought” from ’78 ups the MOR ante using Steely Dan producer Bill Schnee to slick things up further and it is to Blunstone’s credit that he sings these utterly risk-free tracks with his usual gold-plated style. A must for Colin completists. (21 tracks) BUY HERE!
Japanese Singles Collection (Cherry Red)
Think what you may about the shock versus camp value of a 1970s’-vintage, all female rock band managed by a character like the darkly charismatic Kim Fowley, the basic truth is that The Runaways rocked. This concise and colorful single disc set delivers exactly the best of the best of The Runaways brand of deliciously dangerous hard rock songs from across their short career. The set couldn’t open with anything but their most recognizable “hit”, the boisterous “Cherry Bomb”. After that it’s a mixed bag of sleazy, beholden-to-no-one guitar rock that practically put paid to gender inequality in the music business back in the day. The ear worm qualities of tracks like “Queens of Noise”, “Blackmail” and “School Days” in undeniable and as the band progressed and became the sole dominion of guitarist/songwriter Joan Jett it becomes obvious that her solo career was practically guaranteed success based on her increasing ability to riff and roar with style. Lyrics to all the songs are included so one can practice their karaoke skills and beat the competition as you scream the opening note to “Blackmail” next Saturday night. (14 tracks) BUY HERE!