- THE J. GEILS BAND: FREEZE FRAME: 1981: 4 STARS OUT OF 5 STARS: With their 10th album The J. Geils Band reached the commercial top #1 album and #1 song in Centerfold. Freeze Frame the song hit #4 and Angel In Blue #40. Singer Peter Wolf then left for a solo career and The J. Geils band only had one more album in them after that. Keyboardist Seth Justman wrote or co-wrote all the songs, produced and arranged the album. Centerfold was one of those songs I remember the year by. Heard it on the radio a couple days ago.
- GARY US BONDS: DEDICATION: 1981: 4 STARS OUT OF 5 STARS: A great comeback. Gary US Bonds had some hits in the early 60’s- Quarter To Three being a #1. Back then he had been an influence on a couple young Jersey boys- Bruce Springsteen and Steve Van Zandt. Bonds disappears from the charts for nearly 20 years. He is pretty much forgotteen but Springsteen and Van Zandt have always been first and foremost fans- they give Bonds a big assist- producing, playing on and writing some songs for this album. The Springsteen written “This Little Girl” peaked at #7 in the Top 40, the album reached #27. Bonds also does some covers on here- Dylan, The Beatles, Jackson Browne and another highlight- the opening cut Jole Blon. The album had that old Gary US Bonds sound. The next year Bruce and Steve worked on another album with Bonds which gave him another hit “Out of Work.”
- BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN: NEBRASKA: 1982: 5 STARS OUT OF 5 STARS: One of my favorite Springsteen albums.
- PETE TOWNSHEND: ALL THE BEST COWBOY HAVE CHINESE EYES: 1982: 3 1/2 STARS OUT OF 5 STARS: I have never known what to think about this album- Pete’s previous album Empty Glass was a classic to my ears on first listen- this one- like I said- 36 years later I am still not sure. A mixed bag. 11 songs some of them songs not used in later day albums by The Who. Favorite songs- Somebody Saved Me, Stop Hurting People, Uniforms, Slut Skirts.
- GEORGE HARRISON: SOMEWHERE IN ENGLAND: 1981: 3 STARS OUT OF 5 STARS: The first album release from Beatle George after John Lennon’s assassination. His tribute to Lennon “All Those Years Ago” was a big hit- #2 in the US. At this point Harrison was pretty frustrated with the music industry-he had many conflicts with Warner Brothers over the making of this album- the rejected a year earlier what he turned in as ‘too laid back and non-commercial.” One of the new songs George wrote in the rebooted effort was Blood From A Clone- an indictment of the Warner Brothers executives he was having issues with. George covers two songs by one of his lifelong songwriting heroes- Hoagy Carmichael- Baltimore Oriole and Hong Kong Blues.
- STEVE FORBERT: LITTLE STEVIE ORBIT: 1980: 3 1/2 STARS OUT OF 5 STARS: After his great debut album Alive On Arrival- and the new Dylan tag- expectations were high- at least mine were. The second album had a hit in Romeo’s Tune and was a decent album, the third album was a disappointment. Maybe he should have taken a breath. It was Forbert’s third album in three years but back then no one took a break. I haven’t listened to this one in a long time and when I peel away the expectations I had for the album- it is a better album than I originally thought.