Posted tagged ‘1977’

Still sounds like the first time

March 31, 2013

The other night, I played an LP I’ve had since 1977. Save for a little noise on the lead-in groove, the sound remains almost pristine. It’s “Foreigner,” that group’s debut record from that year.

Yeah, maybe Foreigner became mainstream arena rockers, but that record sounded great when it hit Top 40 radio otherwise full of mush in early 1977. It sounded solid and muscular because it crashed a chart populated at the top by Hall and Oates, 10cc, Abba, Barbra Streisand, David Soul, the Atlanta Rhythm Section, Glen Campbell and Kansas.

That great sound was the result of an inspired teaming: Two veteran Brits — guitarist Mick Jones (who’d played with Spooky Tooth and the Leslie West Band and had backed Peter Frampton and George Harrison) and the versatile Ian McDonald (who’d been in the first incarnation of King Crimson in the late ’60s) — with New York singer Lou Gramm.

Boston seemingly had kicked open the door a year earlier, and Foreigner followed it through. In fact, Foreigner’s debut record arrived just as the enduring power — or at least the radio presence — of Boston’s debut record had peaked and was starting to fade.

Mark E., a friend of the blog who has long worked in radio, raves about “Foreigner.”

“Not only did the hits from the album sound great, so did album cuts like ‘I Need You,’ ‘At War With The World’ and ‘The Damage is Done.’

So tonight on The Midnight Tracker, materializing through the sweet blue haze of time, is a side with a couple of those cuts.


“Long, Long Way From Home,” Woman Oh Woman,” “At War With the World,” “Fool For You Anyway” and “I Need You,” Foreigner, from “Foreigner,” 1977. This is Side 2. It runs 20:04. It’s also available digitally.

What followed from Foreigner, though popular, never seemed as fresh as that first record. This is the only Foreigner record I’ve kept.

The other guy from Asbury Park

July 30, 2010

Last week, over at The Vinyl District, I shared the sad, sordid tale of how I grew up in the ’70s and never really got into Bruce Springsteen.

That posed some challenges after I went away to college. My friend Doug was — and still is — a hardcore Springsteen fan. Hanging with Doug could be tough if he wanted to listen to Springsteen all night.

Fortunately, we found some middle ground. We both dug Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes, the great R&B big band that thundered out of Asbury Park, New Jersey, not long after Springsteen hit it big.

Southside Johnny Lyon passed muster with Doug because he was one of Springsteen’s pals and did a bunch of songs written by Springsteen.

I liked Southside because the music was more upbeat and joyous than that of Springsteen, especially on “This Time It’s For Real.” That was their second album, released in 1977. It was arranged and produced by Miami Steve Van Zandt, who wrote eight of its 10 songs.

You can head over to The Vinyl District to hear some cuts from Side 2, which features five R&B workouts, all written by Van Zandt (and three with Springsteen as his co-writer).

Tonight on the Midnight Tracker, though, we have Side 1 for you.

“This Time It’s For Real,” “Without Love,” “Check Mr. Popeye,” “First Night” and “She Got Me Where She Wants Me,” Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes, from “This Time It’s For Real,” 1977. This is Side 1. It runs 20:44.

Side 1 is an extended nod to classic R&B. The first cut, the anthemic title track, put the horns to work right out of the gate. The second cut, “Without Love,” is an Aretha Franklin cover. The goofy “Check Mr. Popeye” features the Coasters. “First Night,” written by Van Zandt, features the Satins and is dedicated to some of the top DJs of the late ’50s and early ’60s.

The LP “This Time It’s For Real” is out of print, at least on its own. It is available on this 2-on-1 CD also featuring “I Don’t Want To Go Home,” the group’s fine debut record from 1976.