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Monday, January 31, 2011

Roderick Falconder - Victory In Rock City

Name: Roderick (Taylor) Falconer
Album: Victory In Rock City
Year: 1977
Style: Glam Rock, Pub Rock
Similar Bands: David Bowie, Billy Joel, Wings, J Geils Band, (late) Beatles, John Lennon
"One-Word" Review: A Pint of Glam Light Beer
Based Out Of: Los Angeles, Ca
Label: United Artists Records
Victory In Rock City - Cover & Sleeve Picture
Victory In Rock City - Back & Lyrics
Victory In Rock City - Record

Victory In Rock City (1977)
  1. Rock City 3:14
  2. That's Not Normal 4:44
  3. Show Me Something More 4:47
  4. Empire Man 4:24 /
  5. Hard Times 4:22
  6. Rock City 2 3:57
  7. Fame is a Ball & Chain 4:43
  8. Prologue 2:05
  9. Victory 4:55
Album Rating (1-10): 7.0

Members & Other Bands:
Roderick (Taylor) Falconer - Guitar, Synth, Vox, Production
Bruce Gary - Drums (The Knack, The Game)
Jimmie Greenspoon - Keys (Three Dog Night, New Dimensions, East Side Kids)
Wendy Haas - Vox
Brie Howard - Vox (Santana)
Peter Ivers - Producer
Mike Japp -Guitars (Marmalade)
Reggie McBride - Bass (Rare Earth)
Patti Quatro - Vox (Pleasure Seekers, Fanny)
Dee Robb - Engineer
Joe Robb - Engineer
Bernie Grundmann - Mastering
Ria Lewerke - Art Direction
Mosh Brakha - Photography
Donna Arost - Uniforms
Allen Levy - Minestry of Information
Steve Binder - Representation
Barbara Gosa - Representation
Krista L.T. - Prima Falconite
Dr. Taylor Kross - Advisor
Jeff Samuels - US Album Coordinator

Unknown-ness: I’ve never heard of this guy and/or his band. From the shiny silver jumpsuits and the driving gloves, not to mention “rock city” silhouetted in the background, I have to imagine this to be some kind of futuristic blade runner take on modern (at the time) music. Smooth cold lines, a slick and confident look, and some kind of medallion icon that blends Russian and American aesthetics together paints a speed racer type world.

Album Review: Apparently, Roderich Falconer has made the transition from musician to screenwriter and producer as well as writing professor at Stanford University.

“Rock City” begins with a pub rocking sound. And the vocals come on like David Bowie trying to sing in a Billy Joel style. The electric guitar is not as in your face as it could be, which is a nice mixing choice. The song is a little show tuney, due to its repetitive chorus of male and female voices.
“That's Not Normal” has a whining guitar that continues throughout the song which sets a glam backdrop for Ziggy Stardust type sung/spoken lyrics.
“Show Me Something More” is a laid back bluesy Eric Clapton like number with a little Wings mixed in there as well. It is basically a slow dance ballad.
“Empire Man” begins with a straight forward Pub Rock n’ Roll guitar lick that sounds so familiar that it is perhaps the dictionary definition of Rock N’ Roll guitar. The vocals are nothing like Bowie, but more along the lines of a gritty J Geils.

“Hard Times” mixes in a little AOR rock with the traditional Pub Rock that it has exemplified as its main style. There is a barroom piano in the background and the song promises a good time amongst hard times. There is a honky tonk piano breakdown at the near end of the song that changes the pace up and breathes life back into the song with a minute to go.
“Rock City 2” is a (mostly) instrumental reprise of the lead off track with a chorus of gospel female vocals hymning and whoooing. It is an upbeat song with lots of syntn and reverb in the guitar.
“Fame is a Ball & Chain” is a straight up Bowie style rip off. This one is like his slower story-songs from Ziggy, with a chorus of female vocals backing him up with ooohs. He has some John Lennon “Yes It Is” thrown in there too. The song has a classic side to side swaying doo-wop rhythm to it. Really it is a mish-mash of some of the best musical styles that pre-date 1977, which is not to say the song is one of the best songs ever made. It does not have enough creativity to make it stand out from being a descent replica.
“Prologue” replaces vocals with a wailing guitar standing in, playing the melody that the vocals would use. A co-worker walked by asking about Pink Floyd, so not knowing Floyd too much, I have to assume this is also what he sounds like.
“Victory” blends right into the end of prologue. It is a very proud and confident song that borrows a lot from late Beatles melodies, and I have to assume Floyd too, because the vocals do sound a little of what I actually know about Floyd. The breakdown possesses a small section of swirling strings, and a progressive breakdown ensues. It is very orchestral, like a scene in a movie of someone walking down a busy city street in an uplifted but excitedly anxious state.

Stand Out Track: Fame is a Ball & Chain

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