AllMusic Review by Joe Viglione [-]
SUBSCRIBEA #19 hit in 1980 on the Billboard Hot 100. Song Review by Joe Viglione at Allmusic.com: “Three Times In Love” is as exquisite a pop confection as you’ll find, a #1 Adult Contemporary hit for Tommy James which should have ushered in a whole new career for the singer/songwriter in the 1980’s, one that could have had him giving Olivia, Elton, Helen and Barry a good run for their money on the pop charts. Millennium Records single #11785 came at the dawn of that new decade going Top 20 on the singles charts in February of 1980. The guitar strums are even lighter than Nick Lowe’s hit, “Cruel To Be Kind” from the year before, the sentiment a lot more positive than Lowe, a song about falling in love head over heels, not once, not twice, but three times. It’s survival of the fittest from the first love of teen years being a game and and ultimately fading away to the second time around finding the person in question older and wiser, The lyrics take a back seat to the gorgeous hook, a gliding vocal of “three times in love” over cascading acoustic guitars with a stunningly sweet lead right before the bridge. Tommy James made some good records for Fantasy in the ’70’s, including a wonderful re-make of “Tighter, Tighter”, the hit he wrote and produced for Alive ‘n Kickin’. The label change to Millennium Entertainment allowed this title track the opportunity to reach an audience, and it deserved to. Sophisticated adult pop by a craftsman who has the voice and intuitive charm, this number drives politely, swimming in pretty sounds and is a far cry from the garage rock of “Hanky Panky” which launched James’ storied career. Of the 19 chart songs he wrote or performed, there’s something extra special about this one. Co-written by Tommy James and guitarist/bassist Ronnie Serota, the song clocks in at four minutes and nine seconds. A Spanish version was also released, which has become something of a collectors item.” LYRICS: She was all of a lady, you were all of sixteen, You were king of the mountain, she was your queen. You played in the sunshine, you danced in the rain, It was so easy, when love was a game. But, everybody’s
When Motown had R. Dean Taylor, Meatloaf, and Rare Earth, poppy blue-eyed soul with urban leanings on their Rare Earth imprint, the company also released this disc by Crystal Mansion. Engineered by Brooks Arthur, who went on to produce Crystal Mansion‘s 1979 album on Twentieth Century, Peter Allen, and many middle of the road acts in the ’80s, this disc, by what was once a pop band, is a real strange one. Prior to this album they almost hit with “The Thought of Loving You,” a timeless pop song written by David White and covered by Sonny & Cher, as well as the Manhattan Transfer. Dave White Tricker appears on this disc courtesy of Bell records, contributing three co-written numbers, “Earth People,” “A Song Is Born,” and “Satisfied..” David White Tricker also shows up on Len Barry‘s abysmal Ups and Downs on Buddah the same year, 1972. This album has a better groove than Barry‘s, but it gets mired in the down side of Atlanta Rhythm Section or Rare Earth, the unfortunate non-hit sides of those bands. Why Collectables would re-release this with an additional track, James Taylor‘s “Carolina on My Mind,” is a mystery. There is nothing here as sublime as their little mini-pop masterpiece, “The Thought of Loving You,” and despite having it together better than solo outings by Rob Grill of the Grass Roots or Len Barry, “Peace for a Change” is not the kind of tune you would seek out to play repeatedly, nor would a classic hits music director go out on a limb for “Boogieman.” The cover, featuring bare trees over a blue “crystal” mansion, is the best thing about this disc. The gatefold holds the lyrics, but there are no lost Bob Dylan etchings here, nor words that will be published in volumes of important rock poetry. To be kind, “There Always Will Be More,” ” I Love You,” and the final track, “Earth People,” aren’t bad. “Earth People” is reminiscent of “Calling Occupants,” the hit for the Carpenters and Klaatu. It is the highlight of the album. Let’s call it Crystal Mansion‘s “I’m Your Captain/Closer to Home.” Nice keyboards, good production, great vocals, but the three minutes and 59 seconds seem to drag on, and nothing here is, as mentioned, as stimulating as their signature tune, “The Thought of Loving You,” which, unfortunately, is not on this disc.