September 24, 2020

1981-04-12 – The Pittsburgh Press

1981 04 12 The_Pittsburgh_Press_Sun__Apr_12__1981_

[.5 Pittsburgh Press, Sun., April 12, l98l

‘Dances’ Bringing Smiles
To Faces Of. Who’s Fans

By PETE BISHOP

If you believe The Who's Pete
Townshend, Longfellow was right —
"Life is real! Life is earnest!" - and
sometimes frustrating as all getout.

Take a gander at these lines from
“Face Dam" (Waner Brothers
HS 3516). the quartet‘s new album
for which he wrote seven of the nine
numbers:

"Sure to get the hang of hanging
in there someday"; “I just don‘t
quite know how to wear my hair no
more; no sooner cut it than they cut
it even more"; “I watch my kids
grow up and ridicule the bunch";
“The world seems in a spiral; life
seems such a worthless title, but
break out and start a fire. y’all."

THERE'S THE RUB — how do
you break out and start that fire?
American rockers. from Chuck Ber~
ry to the Beach Boys to Bruce
Springsteen. hopped onto the “mag-
ic carpet." the car.

Their British counterparts. how-
ever. never dreamed of such mobil-
ity, since their country jams about
55 million people onto an island
slightly larger than Utah.

Townshend's salvation is the pri.L
dictable British escape hatch: music
itself. “Just wanna keep making
daily records making records
day in — diify out." so he does — and
it works. “ y body feels so good and
I still sing a razor line everytime,"
Townshend wrote and Roger Dal-
geey belts out on “You Better You

t."

0! course. Townshend’s lot the
only Who songwriter. Bassist John

ROBIN TROWER
A change for the better.

Entwistle has two efforts on “Face
Dances." both hard-as-nails rock 'n'
roll: a periect sell-portrait called
“The Quiet One" (he’s always been
The Who's “silent partner”) and the
“You,” another “rotten
woman’ lament.

“You Better You Bet" is the
single, and it’s a fine one — dare we
say. almost calculatedly commer-
cial? Certainly we may dare say it.
since Townshend himself had a solo
hit last year with the sprightly “Let
My love Open the Door."

The Who as a unit has had only

one Top 10 son in this country and
there‘s nothing ' e a hit, no matter
how long you‘ve been in the busi-
m.
Other winners from Townshend‘s
Pen are the melodic, easy-beat
‘Don‘t let Go the Coat," “Another
Tricky Day" and “How Can You Do
It Alone.‘ which has a sobering
message for both those with prob-
lems and the rest of us —- let‘s reach
out and help each other.
Musically. ”Face Dances" is The
Who's finest effort since “Who‘s
Next" 10 years ago. Drummer Ken-
ney Jones proves himself a dynam~
ic. if more overstated, replacement
for the late Keith Moon, Bill Szymc-
zyk’s production is excellent and the
whole hand sounds renewed and
ready to rock through the '805.
There's plenty of snort — and
razor lines — in the “living legends"
yet. Let‘s hope “Face Dances" pres-
ages a far more productive decade
for them than the '705 were.

ABOUT THE TIME The Who
began snagging American ears. two
other British hands did. too: Procol
Harum and Cream. And those two
now—defunct bands are somewhat
merged on “B.L.T." (Chrysalis CHR
1324) in the persons of guitarist
Robin Trower and singer-bassist
Jack Bruce (the “L” is drummer
Bill Lordan).

“Jimmy (Dewar) and I have done
some great stuff in the past, but I
feel his voice was not suited to the
new material and that it was prob-
ably time for a change," 'l‘rower

,says, and he's right.

. fl ~' .5;

Who members are, from left, John Enfwistle, Kenney Jones, Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend.

Bruce. with excellent diction tor
a rock singer, is just the ticket for
the earthy. gutsy, hlnes-hued tunes,
and Trower captures Eric Clapton’s
old guitar style almost perfectly.

Hence. there’s a heavy lacing of
almost-extinct psychedelia (but not
in the lyrics. and both Procol Harum
and Cream sported some far-out
doozies: “Whiter Shade of Pale,"
“Conquistador." “Strange Brew,"
”Tales of Brave Ulysses”).

If that sounds as if “B.L.T." is
more Cream-style than Procol
Hamm-style. you get a gold star for
today. And what a treat it is to hear
Bruce rip into “Into Money,” “Life
on Earth” and “End Game,” then
shift gears for easier son like
“Won’t Let You Down" and “ t’s Too
Late," while 'I‘rower is never over-

bearing.

Whether Trower, Bruce and Lor-
dan stay together remains to be
seen. Chances are they won’t, so if
you’re an old Cream fan or just
want to hear what veteran musi-
cians can do, snap up “B.L.T.” It's
well worth your time and money.

0 O 0

ONTHESTRENGTH of its same-
name debut disc (Columbia JC
36762). Loverboy is, very simply,
the best “baby band” since the
Pretenders.

Almost all the ingredients for
success are there: tough underpin-
nings, tasty, sometimes very good,
guitar from Paul Dean, judicious
use of synthesizer by Dofiohnson,
good enough vocals by ' e Reno
(reminiscent of Lou Gramm or
Steve Walsh hut thinner) and sur-
prising tightness for a new group.

The quintet from Vancouver.
B.C., is I" rock ’n' roll, whether
sounding like Foreigner (“Turn Me
Loose”), like Bruce Springsteen
meets the Can (“The Kid Is Hot
Tonite”), steaming straight ahead
(the ’Sos-flavored “Little Girl”) or
turning more melodic (“It Don't
Matter”).

Some words (“Teenage Over-
dose." for instance) are too trite, but
that’s typical of “baby bands." At
least producer Bruce Fairbairn
didn’t succumb to “guat-itis.” The
only additional player is Wayne
Kozak. whose sax is effective on “It
Don’t Matter.”

That means you can hear the
group in question. and when the
group has as good a maiden voyage
as Loverboy it would he almost
criminal not to.