Friday, May 23, 2008

Robin Lane And The Chartbusters - Robin Lane And The Chartbusters - 1980


Her three song EP on manager Mike Lembo's Deli Platters label, featuring "The Letter" (an original not recorded for this album), "Why Do You Tell Lies," and "When Things Go Wrong," reportedly sold in excess of 10,000 units, many in the Northeast. Robin Lane's Warner Brothers debut was produced by Joe Wissert and features the musicianship of Asa Brebner and Leroy Radcliffe on guitars, Tim Jackson on drums, and Scott Baerenwald on bass. With alum from Jonathan Richman's Modern Lovers and all band members singing, they had the elements for mega success. These songs are all great, but the Wissert production stripped the band of what made them so popular in the Boston area. The three guitar attack onstage sounded like The Byrds with a superb female vocalist. The lack of guitar in the middle of "Don't Cry" with just an annoying cymbal ride is the kind of sparse production which turned a powerful act into a low-key Pretenders on record. That's the problem when a record label doesn't understand the nuances of great musicians and the are they are creating. Warner released a five song EP of the band recorded live at the Orpheum Theater in Boston in 1980, sold at a special price — kind of admitting that the first album lacked the magic the band generated in performance. The live EP, produced by Michael Golub, captures some of that sparkle, but it too misses the mark with the guitars mixed way down. Hearing a song like "Why Do You Tell Lies" on the studio recording, without the lush guitar sound it cries out for, is discouraging. This is a band that deserved to craft pop hits for radio and were never given the proper chance. The songwriting and musicianship breaks through the thin production, and you can hear the potential. "Many Years Ago" and "Waiting in Line" actually sound very '90s, the high end and the hollow sound would actually come into vogue years later. But that's not what this band was about. There are some great songs here, especially "When Things Go Wrong." One can only hope someone comes along to record this material in a way that it can be appreciated by the masses. "Be Mine Tonite" is heavier, but still feels restrained. The inner sleeve contains the lyrics and some very cool snapshots of the band. -AMG

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2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Good one!!! Any chance of the second lp, and it's standout jangle track "Solid Rock"? jim

Curty Ray said...

I do. Email me and I will get it for you.

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