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Thursday, February 26, 2015

Brooklyn Dreams - Won't Let Up

Name: Brooklyn Dreams
Album: Won't Let Go
Year: 1980
Style: Pub Rock, Power Pop, Blue Eye Soul, R&B
Similar Bands: The A's, Toto, Hall & Oates, Journey, Supertramp
One Word Review: Smoothly Produced Radio Soul
Label: Casablanca Records and Film Works Inc
Based Out Of: LA, CA
 Won't Let Go - Cover & Record
Won't Let Go - Back & Record
Won't Let Go (1980)
  1. Lover in the Night 3:58
  2. Heartbreaker-Breakaway 3:49
  3. Spinnin' 3:32
  4. Beautiful Dreamer 3:38 /
  5. Back on the Streets 4:19
  6. I Won't Let Go 4:12
  7. Fallin' In Love 4:20
  8. A Moment in Time 5:00
Album Rating (1-10): 6.0

Members & Other Bands:
'Snuffy Walden - Rhythm Arrangement, Guitar Solos (Rox, Stray Dog, Various Sndtrks)
'Dave Garland - Strings & Horn Arrangement
'Phyllis Chotin - Art Direction
'Kevin McCormick - Bass (John Mayall, Rox, Nils Lofgren, David Lindley, Jackson Browne, Melissa Ethridge, Steve Perry, Don Henley)
'Les Hurdle - Bass (Bullet, Graham Walker Sound, The Mohawks, The Rhythm Section, Spaghetti Head, Troll)
'Art Hotel Inc - Design
'Mac James - Design
'Keith Forsey - Drums (Harold Faltermeyer, Giorgio Moroder, 18 Karat Gold, Amon Duul II, Hallelujah, The Heat, Me & You, Motherhood, Niagra, Ralf Nowy Group, Roland Kovac New Set, The Spectrum, Sugar Bus, Trax, Udo Lindenberg Und Das Panikorchester)
'Mark Bensi - Drums (Jerry Knight, Robin Williamson, Jennifer Robin)
'Tony Braunagel - Drums (Back Street Crawler, City Boy, Bloontz, Crawler, Eric Burdon Band)
'Bob Inky Incorvaia - Cheif Engineer, Production Assistant
'Steve Smith - Asst Engineer
'Willie Harlan - Asst Engineer
'Bobby Womack - Guitar (Artists United Against Apartheid, Valentinos)
''Bruce Sudano - Keys, Guitar (Silent Souls, Alive N' Kickin, Michael Jackson, Dolly Parton, Reba McEntire, Donna Summer, Joe Bruce & 2nd Ave)
''Joe Esposito - Keys, Guitar (Giorgio Moroder, Brenda Russel, Laura Branigan, The Jam Squad, Joe, Bruce & 2nd Ave)
'Dave Aston - Keys (Tonio K, Henry Turtle)
'Nicky Hopkins - Keys (Cliff Bennett & Rebel Rousers, Climax Blues Band, Cyril Davies & his Rhythm & Blues All Stars, Jeff Beck Group, Jerry Garcia Band, Lord Sutch & Heavy Friends, NIck Hopkins Caravan, Night, Quicksilver Messenger Service, The Sessions, Sweet Thursday)
'Rick Kelly - Keys (Street Players, Foxy, Afterbach, Emotions, Peabo Bryson, Jets)
'Ted Jensen - Mastering
'Ollie Cotton - Mixing Asst Co-Producer
'Jim Boyer - Mixing Co-Producer
'Bob Conti - Percussion
'Eddie Hokenson - Percussion (Brenda Russell, Donna Summer)
'Norman Seeff - Photography
'Gary Herbig - Sax (Afterglow, Don Menza & his 80's Big Band, toshiko Akiyoshi-Lew Tabackin Big Band)
'Don E. Branker Org. - Managment

Unknown-ness: I've never heard of them, but the cover looks familiar, like it was a generic template for other bands of this era with the grid style background. The logo and signature title look quite generic, and the photo looks like session musicians without much chemistry together. I imagine this to be light, or adult contemporary rock. There are a couple of candid shots on the back, but they look a little forced, and the end result is a generic look. But hey, Casablanca in 1980 might be fun, so why not?

Album Review: This is the band’s third album, and least popular due to the decline of Disco. They played on American Bandstand and the film American Hot Wax. As this is at the end of Disco’s popularity, it is the least disco like of their albums. Their popularity came from their association (and working with) Donna Summer, whom keyboard & guitar player Bruce Sudano married. He also found success through a song he wrote for Dolly Parton (Starting Over Again) which was given a second life in 1997 via Reba McEntire. He also started the record label Purple Heart Recording Company. Esponito also went on to have a somewhat successful career via Lauren Branigan & various soundtracks like Flashdance, Karate Kid and Coming to America. And his son, Mike, was a MLB pitcher

“Lover in the Night” starts out with pure power pop chords, piano, and new wave vocals that I’ve lately been comparing to Richard Bush of the A’s. Again, this sounds pretty spot on. The song has all the great new wave pop characteristics. A great build, strong chord progression, and a final bridge/build into the harmonized chorus. Even the breakdown slows things down with a simple clunky music box guitar, and in the end, female vocals are brought in to soar and intermix with the lead.
“Heartbreaker-Breakaway” is a little more of a slinky smooth groove. You can see how if this was recorded a few months prior, it could have much more orchestral and disco production, as it does sound like a bee gees song in the chorus. Stings are brought in a little, and the song kinda feels like Journey as it winds down.
“Spinnin'” is a bouncy, smooth sounding song, like Supertramp with vocals like Randy Newman. There is a bit of a show-tuney feel to the song, and an aww-shucks groovy carnival melody.
“Beautiful Dreamer” finishes out side one with a slow dance. Synth melody, piano and vocals yearn for attention. Drums and rhythm guitars are added in after about a minute. But the song stays dedicated to candlelight reflection.

“Back on the Streets” follows the first side recipe, by starting out with a fun driving melody that reminded me at first of Genesis, but that quickly fell away. It is just a sneaky, windswept detective/cop-tv theme song, futuristic new wave synth included in the chorus; as to be expected. It has a bit of a disco hustle tempo with the chorus that is produced to a non-disco format/
“I Won't Let Go” starts out sounding like Jackson Browne’s “Somebody’s Baby” from Fast Times at Ridgemont High. But it gets much more soulful once the vocals begin. A chorus of vocals comes in toward the end to echo the lead vocals, which are split up and multilayered over top of each other.
“Fallin' In Love” is slow and confident, with synth trickles in the background. This is the power-R&B jam played on parents’ car stereos to set the mood just right.  The song features a reprise, which bunps the melody into a steady trot, one level up. But it is short lived, and although the vocals croon stronger, the melody slips back to the original installment. The end almost reaches gospel heights, with a full chorus joining in a side to side, hand clapping harmonic display before the song fades out in an instrumental.
“A Moment in Time” starts out as a slow, reflective R&B piano ballad. Intensity picks up a bit, but the tempo never does. Strings soar in the background, but are muted to a barely recognizable volume. The sax solo is put on display, and the song limps along. The song gets a little jazzier, taking liberties within the melody structure to mix it up ever so slightly, but staying true to the feel and tempo until it fades out.

Stand Out Track: Lover in the Night

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