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Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Little Steven & the Disciples of Soul - Men Without Women

Name: Little Steven & The Disciples of Soul
Album: Men Without Women
Year: 1982
Style: Hard Rock, Jersey Shore Rock, Motown
Similar Bands: Southside Johnny & Asbury Jukes, Bruse Springsteen, J Geils Band, The A's, Soul Asylum
"One-Word" Review: Working Man's Soultown
Based Out Of: New Jersey
Label: EMI Records, Capitol Records
Men Without Women - Cover & Record Men Without Women - Back & Record

Men Without Women (1982)
  1. Lyin' in a Bed of Fire 4:23
  2. Until the Good is Gone 3:54
  3. Men Without Women 2:43
  4. Under the Gun 4:01 /
  5. Save Me 4:50
  6. Angel Eyes 4:31
  7. Forever 4:00
  8. I've Been Waiting 3:54
Album Rating (1-10): 8.0

Members & Other Bands:Steven Van Zandt - Vox, Guitars (Bruce Springsteen, Dovelles, Southside Johnny & Asbury Jukes)
Miami Steve - Producer (Bruce Springsteen, Dovelles, Southside Johnny & Asbury Jukes)
Jean Beauvoir - Bass, Vocals (Plasmatics)
Gary "U.S." Bonds - Vocals (The Turks)
J.T. Bowen - Vocals
Bill Burks - Art Direction
Felix Cavaliere - Organ, Piano (Rascals)
Bob Clearmountain - Engineer
Clarence Clemons - Vocals (Bruce Springsteen, Jackson Browne)
Rusty Cloud - Organ
Dino Danelli - Drums (Rascals, Fotomaker, Bulldog)
Monti Louis Ellison - Berimbau, Djembe, Percussion
Danny Federici - Accordion, Organ (Steel Mill)
Sammy Figueroa - Percussion (Fuse One)
Stan Harrison - Flute, SaxTenor
Kevin Kavanaugh - Piano
La Bamba - Trombone, Vocals
Edward Manion - SaxBaritone
Manolo - Percussion
Jim Marchese - Photography
Henry Marquez - Art Direction
Steve Morse - Composer
Benjamin Newberry - Chimes
Mark Pender - Trumpet
Richie Rosenberg - Trombone
Toby Scott - Engineer
Michael Spengler - Trumpet
Garry Tallent - Bass (Bruce Springsteen)
Steve Walsh - Composer
Max Weinberg - Drums (Bruce Springsteen)
Bob Werne - Tambourine

Unknown-ness: I’ve never heard of this band. And from the looks of the cover and back photos, they are portraying a roughneck gang of thugs who roam the streets and look tough. Musical wise, I’m imagining a rockabilly punk style, similar to Social Distortion and X. Of course there could be deeper influence just because the name references soul. Whether that is soul music, some kind of human spirit/sole scare tactic, or some deeper religious stance, I shall see.

Album Review: “Lyin' in a Bed of Fire” starts with rocking guitars, upbeat brass and a nearly unintelligible, rolling vocal, like a bad Bob Dylan with more edge or a more aggressive Tom Petty. But the music is fun and raw, reminding me of Dexy’s Midnight Runners, at least at the start. The chorus is supposed by a backing choir of female vocals. The lead vocals do not really pay attention the whole time, as he speeds to finish his lines as the measures end. The song wraps up with the backing chorus repeating and guitar solos for show.
“Until the Good is Gone” begins quietly with guitar, and then the horns enter bringing a strong element of Motown. The vocals are stronger and clearer. The soothing groove drips with experience and style. This is a style that Philly bands like the A’s picked up in their careers. “Men Without Women” is like the first track, with hard-to understand vocals. It has the feeling of a middle-American ballad. There is a country sorrow mixed with understanding in the vocal delivery.
“Under the Gun” feels like a Springsteen song, with needless shouting nasally vocals. The song does not have a melody too much; it’s more based on rhythm and beat. By the time it reaches the chorus, the lead vocals sound cartoonishly unstable.

“Save Me” is closer to John Easdale (Dramarama) or Dave Pirner (Soul Asylum) in the vocal delivery here. The music is an odd blend of Pub Rock with a soulful Motown rhythm. The two genres are distinctly identifiable here, but together, they create a complex sound that was years before grunge/alternative. The last minute or so brings the song to a bold next level, where the vocals are crying out for saving, and the music builds and supports the vocals in a completely soulful way.
“Angel Eyes” starts out with a staggered guitar hook mixed with trumpet. The quivering raspy vocals again remind me of Soul Asylum. In a better vocalist’s hands, and perhaps a bit faster, this could be a great song. The verse and chorus are equally catchy and fit very well together. This is a tightly repetitive song that has the unique quality where it doesn’t get boring, even with overplay.
“Forever” begins like anything from Smokey Robinson’s catalogue. This song feels like it was completely taken from the great vocalist Motown groups, right down to the use of jangly guitar and catchy bass groove. It is instantly recognizable, and sounds like a grouping of fun, catchy elements.
“I've Been Waiting” starts with flute sounds and an organ. But the main element is the haggard, gruff vocals. The strain on the singer is exemplified by the lyrics of waiting for a long time. He sounds almost too tired to deal with his predicament anymore. The male backing chorus gives it an extra Motown feel. And the song, once it finds its groove, continues the repetitive chorus until it fades out at the end.

Stand Out Track: Forever

Underground Garage
Last FM
wiki MWW page
riverfront times article
2005 speech on radio

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