Various Artists - Radio Daze: Pop Hits Of The '80s, Vol. ½ (2013)
NOTE: DO NOT ADJUST YOUR SET. The CD Project has
taken over graciously contributed the first in hopefully what will be a series of reviews for The Hideaway focusing on HERC's imagined continuation of Rhino's short-lived Radio Daze series which ended after just five volumes. Today's featured volume is made up of 19 songs that coulda woulda shoulda been included within the time frame of those original five volumes, 1979-1981. Future volumes will have the original series standard of twelve tracks. Without further ado, herrrrrrrrrre's Mark:
- Send A Little Love My Way (Like Always) – Stephen Bishop, released December 1980, Pop #108, AC #31. Never heard it before. Bishop’s voice is as smooth as always, but this one suffers from two big problems: a tempo that is a little two slow for the material and the lack of a decent chorus.
- This Time I’ll Be Sweeter – Angela Bofill, released April 1979, Pop #104, AC #39. A nice piece. Sounds like something Whitney Houston would record 10 years later.
- What You Won’t Do For Love – Bobby Caldwell, released February 1979, Pop #9, AC #10. What a great song with some tasty horn parts. So good it’s been covered and sampled many times; I remember hearing Go West’s version in the ’80s and thinking it unnecessary. The theme song from the TV sitcom Too Close To Comfort always reminded me of this song.
- I Love You – Climax Blues Band, released April 1981, Pop #12, AC #20. Talk about a time warp – this one sounds straight from the ‘70s. It’s good soft rock, though, with tight background harmonies, backing strings, and a couple of melodic guitar solos.
- I Will Play A Rhapsody – Burton Cummings, released January 1979, AC #38. Was unfamiliar with this one, but that first chord progression grabbed me. Reminds me of David Soul’s Don’t Give Up On Us. Could use a stronger chorus, but not too bad overall. Wait – did he just roll the R in the word “through”???
- Cry Just A Little – Paul Davis, released July 1980, Pop #78, AC #36. Not the best effort from Paul. It’s so bland, I can’t believe a label released it as a single. He’d bounce back nicely with his next few singles.
- Dancing With The Mountains – John Denver, released June 1980, Pop #97, AC #43. In which Mr. Denver puts a 16th note high-hat disco beat behind an Eastern-sounding pentatonic melody. Wow. Nice flute solo, though (which is something you don’t hear much). It’s not horrible, but it doesn’t sound like anything Denver should be involved with. I was surprised to find out he wrote it.
- Say Maybe – Neil Diamond, released May 1979, Pop #55, AC #3. Classic Neil Diamond, artfully stealing ideas from Another Somebody Done Somebody Wrong Song and Everybody’s Talkin’. I just love his voice. I was unfamiliar with this one, but glad I was introduced to it here.
- When I Think Of You – Leif Garrett, released September 1979, Pop #78, #11. New to me. Certainly wasn’t what I expected when I read the name of the artist. This is a surprisingly good soul ballad that sounds like it could be a Spinners tune from 1970.
- Taking Somebody With Me When I Fall - Larry Gatlin & the Gatlin Brothers, released April 1980, Pop #108, AC #36. A minor country hit that’s more soft rock - it sounds like America or Bread with a steel guitar. I didn’t think I’d like it, but I was wrong.
- That Lovin’ You Feelin’ Again – Emmylou Harris with Roy Orbison, released July 1980, Pop #55, AC #10. Even with the great Roy Orbison, I don’t love it, but it wouldn’t make me change the radio station.
- Nobody Knows Me Like You – Benny Hester, released November 1981, AC #41. What Christopher Cross would sound like if he tried his hand at CCM.
- Everybody’s Gotta Learn Sometime – The Korgis, released November 1980, Pop #18, AC #22. My favorite song on this playlist. I bought the 45. Love the atmospheric synth string pads. And how often do you get an electric violin solo on a Top 40 hit? Just hit repeat to hear it again.
- The Seduction (Love Theme) – James Last Band, released March 1980, Pop #28, AC #22. It was a minor Top 40 hit but I was drawn to it and bought the 45 single. Perhaps that was my first purchase in the smooth jazz genre. If I remember correctly, the flip side was an instrumental version of Blondie's Call Me, another track from the movie. (Or it was this song. - ed)
- Dream Street Rose – Gordon Lightfoot, released May 1980, AC #25. Not much to this one; it’s very repetitive. But, to be honest, I’ve never been much for Lightfoot.
- Being With You – Smokey Robinson, released March 1981, Pop #2, AC #4. Ah, when Smokey sings. What a voice, what a tune. Great stuff.
- Stay With Me Till Dawn – Judie Tzuke, released January 1980, Pop #101, AC #47. This was new to me, too. Great tune, great arrangement - I like it. This will get some repeated listenings.
- Get Used To It – Roger Voudouris, released April 1979, Pop #21, AC #18. I’ve got this one on Rhino’s Super Hits of the '70s: Have a Nice Day, Vol. 25. Here’s what I previously wrote about it: “Roger has a singing voice than reminds me of Elton John. Writer/producer Michael Omartian put out much better West Coast releases later in his career. Not a great song; I can't manage anything more than a meh.” Everyone is encouraged to check out the video, which featured Roger’s massive self-confidence and wind machine.
- Say What – Jesse Winchester, released May 1981, Pop #32, AC #12. I remember this one. I always thought it was Jimmy Buffet because its got that “Key West” sound to it.