This release from the BGO label combines two of Gino Vannelli's albums for A&M, Powerful People (1974) and Storm at Sunup (1975). Both releases peaked in the Top 60 of the Billboard 200, while “People Gotta Move” – the lead song on the former – was one of Vannelli’s biggest singles and narrowly missed the Top 20 of the Billboard Hot 100. Those who pick up a well-chosen Vannelli compilation can get the essential songs, but soft rock diehards can obtain a fair amount of Vannelli’s choice album-bound material right here.
Gang of Four's existence had as much to do with Slave and Chic as it did the Sex Pistols and the Stooges, which is something Solid Gold demonstrates more than Entertainment! Any smartypants can point out the irony of a band on Warner Bros. railing against systematic tools of control disguised as entertainment media, but Gang of Four were more observational than condescending. True, Jon King and Andy Gill might have been hooting and hollering in a semiviolent and discordant fashion, but they were saying "think about it" more than "you lot are a bunch of mindless puppets." Abrasiveness was a means to grab the listener, and it worked. Reciting Solid Gold's lyrics on a local neighborhood corner might get a couple interested souls to pay attention. It isn't poetry, and it's no fun; most within earshot would just continue power-walking or tune out while buffing the SUV. Solid Gold has that unholy racket going on beneath the lyrics, an unlikely mutation of catchiness and atonality that made ears perk and (oddly) posteriors shake. With its slightly ironic title, Solid Gold is more rhythmically grounded than the fractured nature of Entertainment!, a politically charged, more Teutonic take on funk. It's a form of release for paranoid accountants.
The Happenings are best-known for their hit single "See You in September," which is a sunny slice of sunshine pop featuring happy, bouncy vocals and intricate harmonies reminiscent of great white doo wop groups like the Four Seasons and the Tokens, who were not-so-coincidentally the Happenings' mentors and producers. Collectables has reissued both of the Happenings' records on one disc: 1966's The Happenings and 1967's Psycle. Both discs feature the stunning vocal gymnastics of their hit single and their updated doo wop sound coated with an easy listening gloss of strings on a not-very-thick Wall of Sound. Most of the songs on their debut were written by the members of the Tokens and are not bad but not that memorable, as they follow the formula of their hit but pale in comparison. An exception to this is the strange "You're in a Bad Way," which is a spooky track filled with death-related imagery that sports a surprisingly funky backbeat.
2009 CD/DVD live release from the veteran Synth Pop band fronted by Terri Nunn includes a bonus DVD. Berlin's Electro-Pop sound features the enduring and assertive voice of Nunn, which is why All The Way In is the most preferable place to hear this Los Angeles-based group's music. Berlin made its first national impression with the provocative single 'Sex (I'm A…)' from the gold-selling debut EP Pleasure Victim in 1982. The Synth-soaked punch of 'No More Words' from 1984's Love Life album and the number one ballad 'Take My Breath Away' from the film Top Gun are the album's high points. Berlin's '80s poignancy provided some rather palatable music, even if the charts didn't say so. Songs like 'Dancing In Berlin' and 'Scream' could compete with anything Depeche Mode or Duran spouted at the time, and the range of Nunn's vocals elevated most of Berlin's efforts above the norm of the run-of-the-mill synthesizer glitz. All The Way In captures Berlin at their best in front of a hometown Los Angeles crowd.
2006 digitally re-mastered two-fer from the legendary Savoy Brown featuring two of their most popular albums (Street Corner Talking from 1971 and Hellbound Train from '72). The line-up on these albums feature the ever-present Kim Simmonds on guitar with Dave Walker (vocals), Andy Sylvester (bass), Paul Raymond (keyboards) and Dave Bidwell (drums), all of the formerly of Chicken Shack! Standard jewel box in a slipcase with extensive liner notes.