My Robin Gibb Review
How Old Are You?
AllMusic Review by Joe Viglione [-]
How Old Are You? is an extraordinary pop record from vocalist Robin Gibb, although none of these ten excellent tunes penned with twin brother Maurice joined his other two Top 40 hits on the charts. Heavy synthesizers embrace Gibb‘s distinctive vocals and embellish the sensational “Juliet,” which launches side one, as well as the very serious “Another Lonely Night in New York,” which opens side two. In between are gems like “Danger,” an elegant techno journey. This is the type of song which FM underground radio could have played in the early ’80s, a dark sound with hooks galore, and a joy to listen to. But why put Robin Gibb alongside Joan Jett, Genya Ravan, and Ian Hunter on the FM while the Bee Gees were so overexposed on Top 40? This is such a radio-friendly record by a proven artist that it only goes to show that a frosty march like “He Can’t Love You” has no place on the public airwaves if the artist isn’t hip enough, and what a statement that is; of course if Jett had performed this in her heyday, it would have gained some chart action. A poster photo of Clark Gable and Ava Gardner is separated from the box office by a solitary Robin Gibb on the front cover, while the singer sits in an empty movie house on the back, accompanied only by a young couple kissing (with Robin being a voyeur). “Kathy’s Gone” has film references and all the elements of a hit single. Every track shows the precision and professionalism the record-buying public encounters with each Bee Gees release. This is as much Maurice Gibb‘s album as Robin‘s, with co-production, co-songwriting, bass and acoustic guitar, backing vocals, and synthesizers provided by Robin‘s twin. “I Believe in Miracles” could have been a big hit for Dolly Parton or Linda Ronstadt, and why no ’80s adult contemporary artists jumped on this treasure chest of songs in America is a mystery. “Juliet” received substantial airplay in other parts of the world, reaching number one in Germany. Collapse ↑
It’s the summer solstice at 11:30 pm or so tonight. Here’s the Moe Tucker 45 we released in 1980, a song the velvet Underground had recorded but released years after we put this classic out there for the world.
Lonely Oak Radio June 20, 2021 Thought About You
Cator Web Radio June 18 Thought About You
Good Music Radio Double A Side Can’t Wait to See You Smile
June 20, 2021
Boston Rock and Roll Anthology Vol #10 Unnatural Axe +all Boston Rock/Punk Bands
I promise you the plethora of record albums on this site day after day after day are purely from the subconscious. It wasn’t my intent to have pages and pages of vinyl LP reviews, they just started proliferating again; that’s just a big part of my life so here it is:
You might say “this guy’s totally insane” but I did get a good deal for about $6.50 tonight for a bunch more vinyl – Petula Clark, Bette Midler, Olivia Newton John, Al Martino (with some interesting liner notes,) too good to pass up….excuse me as I mix drinks….my icewater and Cranberry juice at 1:08 am…
…Not only do I OWN vinyl records, I review them as well! Found my old Manhole CD/LP review (I reviewed it off the vinyl all those years ago) …so many eBay dealers using my thoughts on the music!
Originally released on Grunt Records.
Personnel includes: Grace Slick, Paul Kantner, David Crosby, Pete Sears, Jack Casady, John Barbata, David Freiberg, Gary Duncan.
Producers includes: Paul Kantner.
Liner Note Author: Jeff Tamarkin.
Recording information: Wally Heider’s, San Francisco.
Manhole was the last of the experimental Jefferson Airplane, and Grace Slick’s first official solo album. While Bark and Long John Silver, the final stages of the original Airplane, displayed the excessive psychedelic nature of the musicians within the confines of their group format, Blows Against the Empire, Sunfighter, and Baron Von Tollbooth and the Chrome Nun allowed for total artistic expression. Manhole concluded this phase with 1974’s other release, the Jefferson Starship’s Dragonfly. By taking the name from Paul Kantner’s Blows Against the Empire solo project, Dragonfly began the renewed focus on commercial FM which would turn into Top 40 airplay. Manhole is the antithesis of that aim, but is itself a striking picture of Grace Slick as the debutante turned hippy being as musically radical as possible. To the kids who think she’s the cool singer on the mechanical Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now, Manhole is an alien concoction, but it works on many levels as great head music. The title track itself is almost 15-and-a-half minutes of orchestrated underground rock with Craig Chaquico on lead guitar; Jack Casady on bass, along with Ron Carter; voices from David Crosby, David Freiberg, Slick and Paul Kantner; mandolin by Peter Kaukonen; and a 42-piece orchestra (51, if you include the fragments of the Airplane/Starship onboard). It’s fun stuff, but looking back one wonders how they maintained a distribution deal for Grunt records with R.C.A., the material being so far from commercial. The title track has a left-hand piano part which “was stolen from an improvisation by Ivan Wing,” Slick’s father, and the epic is rife with Spanish/English by the singer, translated in the booklet with Slick’s “phonetic Spanish spelling.” Again, this is total underground excess, but it is actually more than listenable than it looks on paper, and for fans, it has the serious/eccentric nature of this woman who emerged as a big, big star due to her quirky personality having the talent to back it up. Attacks on the government and Clive Davis in the elaborate booklet only prove all involved were not out to make friends, but songs like “Come Again? Toucan” are compelling and intriguing, more so than some of what would constitute 1981’s Welcome to the Wrecking Ball, which contained more elements of guitarist Scott Zito than the star. On Manhole, the music is wonderfully dense, macabre, exhilarating, and totally out there. This is a great portion of music from the lead singer of one of America’s great music groups. Maybe David Freiberg’s “It’s Only Music” deserved to be on an Airplane project or solo LP of his own, but it sounds great and works. “Better Lying Down” is Grace Slick and Pete Sears re-writing Janis Joplin’s “Turtle Blues,” a nice change of pace from the heavy instrumental backing of the other tracks. Slick is in great voice, and reflecting on the album years after it was recorded, the conclusion is that Manhole has much to offer fans. Compare this to Deep Space — recorded live at the Hollywood House of Blues in the 1990s to see the difference between capturing the time and trying to recapture the magic. Despite the eye toward success and the more serious nature of that later project, it just doesn’t have the charm of this artifact from the glory days. It’s also a far cry from the 1980s, when Slick returned with three more solo outings: Dreams, Welcome to the Wrecking Ball, and Software, projects which differ vastly from Manhole. The hard rock of Wrecking Ball and the synths and post-Kantner Starship feel of producer Peter Wolf’s collaborations on Software show a woman dabbling with other rock formats. Put those three discs in a boxed set with Manhole, and you have true culture shock from a major counterculture figure. Manhole is orchestrated psychedelia at its finest with the voice from “White Rabbit” stretching that concept across two sides. ~ Joe Viglione