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Exile - 1978 Mixed Emotions

ALBUM: Mixed Emotions
LABEL: Warner Bros
YEAR: 1978


LINEUP: J.P Pennington - vocals, guitars * Buzz Cornelison - vocals, keyboards * Jimmy Stokley - vocals * Marlon Hargis - keyboards, vocals * Sonny Lemaire - bass, vocals * Steve Goetzman - drums , vocals

TRACK LISTING: 01 You Thrill Me * 02 Never Gonna Stop * 03 There's Been A Change * 04 You And Me * 05 Kiss You All Over * 06 Ain't Got No Time * 07 Don't Do It * 08 One Step At A Time * 09 Stay With Me * 10 You Thrill Me (Single Version) * 11 Kiss You All Over (Single Version)


Originally from the bluegrass territory of Kentucky, Exile (or The Exiles as they were known then) have been in operation for over 40 years - believe it or not! Of course, many will remember the band for their huge hit off this album called 'Kiss You All Over', but despite a reputation for being a one-hit wonder, the band had a career before and after this breakthrough record. I won't delve too much into their earlier history (other than to say that former drummer Bobby Johns had a six year stint with this band before crossing the stateline to join Indiana pompsters Roadmaster), you can read the bio on their website. By the mid 70's, after many years of refining their sound, the band were introduced to Mike Chapman, responsible for working with many of the great pop/rock acts during this timeframe. After hearing some of their earlier work (demos plus material from their 1973 album for the Wooden Nickel label), he found a band that he could work with and shape material for the pop market of the day. Signed to Warner Bros/Curb in the USA and RAK in the UK, 'Mixed Emotions' their first album in five years, would end up being a successful record for Exile.

The Songs
Starting out with 'You Thrill Me', this was the band's second single from the album - a tune which also did reasonably well though not a drop on the sales figures for 'Kiss You All Over'. I really enjoyed the Player like vibes of 'Never Gonna Stop'. Fans of Beckett, Crowley, Moss, Feisen etc should check this out. The inherent disco of 'There's Been A Change' is a definite intrusion on the band's soft rock style. You can blame Chapman for this hiccup! 'You And Me' is also one of those crossover disco/soft rock attempts that made it to the record. 'Ain't Got No Time' works the quasi funk territory with erratic results, while 'Don't Do It' traverses Average White Band's material with unease. 'One Step At A Time' is markedly better than the previous few songs, leaving the disco/funk pretensions behind for once, and playing in a style they are much more comfortable with. Even better is the country-fied 'Stay With Me' which is closer to their bluegrass roots, coming off like a happy sounding version of Pure Prairie League. All the while I am listening to this and thinking.. 'what the heck is a Kentucky band doing playing a mix of soft rock/disco/funk?'

In Summary
The album and the single 'Kiss You All Over' stayed on the charts right throughout the late summer and fall of 1978. Despite the success, the band still couldn't settle on a reliable line-up, the following year saw long term member Jimmy Stokley leave the band. However Exile didn't stop just there. Their next album from 1979 'All There Is' saw another single 'The Part Of Me That Needs You Most' do very well in overseas markets. In fact, the band were hugely popular in places such as Europe, UK, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand. In later years, they moved away from the late 70's pop to a crossover country sound made popular by the likes of Alabama, Restless Heart and Diamond Rio. Still going to this day, the more curious among you may want to check out their vast discography in search of melodic gems.

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#1 | Eric on February 07 2008 21:42:42
This record really didn't do much for me outside of 'Kiss You All Over' and the excellent 'You Thrill Me'. If I remember right there was a longer disco version of 'Kiss You All Over' released as a 12 inch too.
Back in the early 70's Exile did package tours throughout the Midwest with Wooden Nickel label mates Styx. Wonder if Exile saw any money from Bill Traut?lol
#2 | jefflynnefan on February 08 2008 02:12:43
They would later do a country-version of 'Kiss You All Over' too. I felt about it as I did the recent country version of Life is a Highway, you just don't mess with classic. Still nice band, I don't believe they have any of the original members left do they George?
#3 | gdazegod on February 08 2008 02:23:34
J.P Pennington is still in the band at last report.
#4 | code4 on October 02 2015 01:17:30
If anybody out there has never heard Exile 'Don't Leave Me This way' (which was confusingly retitled in 1990 for the cd re-issue as 'Keeping It Country'- though it is identical and the cd sounds great just like the vinyl which i also own), i suggest you should check it out. A masterpiece. I got it about 12 years ago thanks to Blue desert when they used to have that section showing 'golden era' westcoast albums. Cheers. Dave

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