Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Found All the Parts

If you want to make a damn good record there is no better start than to hire producer George Martin and engineer Geoff Emerick. In a nod to the 66-69 Beatles, Cheap Trick did just that for their 1980 LP All Shook Up. Sadly the record buying public missed the boat and the album sold considerably less than the previous year's Dream Police.

Regardless the album is full of odd little gems like Baby Loves to Rock which starts out like a 50's Elvis number and turns into a guitar riff driven cruncher in the chorus. Or the heavy metal Merseybeat tune Just Got Back. Or the proggy High Priest of Rhythmic Noise or even proggier Go For the Throat. Or the Stone-ish I Love You Honey But I Hate Your Friends with a stellar bass part by Tom Petersson.

But the killer track and initial single release was Stop This Game. Never mind that it tanked on the charts (though our Canadian neighbors put it in their top ten), for it kicks out the jams. Mr. Petersson delivers another classic bass part. Rick Neilson scales back his guitar pyrotechnics to allow the awesome Martin production to come through. I even detect a glockenspiel in there. And best of all Robin Zander delivers another top notch vocal. Is it just me or is he one of the most underappreciated rock vocalists ever? Not to worry Bun E. Carlos fans - I will sing his praises in another post.


tbrough said...

If you haven't heard it yet (or rented the DVD), their recent release of Sgt Pepper Live is great stuff!

Who Am Us Anyway? said...

Yay! :-) For this, and for the promise to talk about Senor Carlos -- hey I've read about the plans for, but haven't yet heard anything from, his new project with FOW's Schlesinger. Have you? It could be freaking great. I think there's a Smashing Pumpkins guy involved too. So ... it's bound to be interesting at the least!

tbrough, thanks for the heads up re their Sgt. Pepper -- i had no idea there was a recording available!

Speaking of underrated, maybe it's just the crowd i was mostly hanging with at the time, but I was bummed at the time that nobody 'cept me seemed to care about their 2007 release, Rockford, which i love. In fact, I only knew to buy it because there was a big old hand-painted sign as you entered the Rockford limits on I-90 saying something like "Cheap Trick's new album is out!"

Although i shouldn't be so smug -- i still haven't listened to The Latest myself!

Mister Pleasant said...

Tim - I keep promising myself to give the Trickster's Sgt. Pepper Live a look. Guess that should be at the top of my new year's resolutions.

Hey Who Am Us - Steve Simel's had a post on Tinted Windows over at PowerPop:

Yep not only is there a smashed pumpkin involved, but the no longer kid but still talented Hanson ringleader.

And regarding Rockford, I had a similar reaction to Cheap Trick's great 1997 album. You know, the one where the record company went bust three weeks after the release and no one bought the CD? Probably my favorite power pop album of the last twenty years.