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Articles Home » 1981 Articles » New England - 1981 Walkin' Wild
New England - 1981 Walkin' Wild

ARTIST: New England
ALBUM: Walkin' Wild
LABEL: Elektra
SERIAL: 6E-346
YEAR: 1981
CD REISSUE: 1998, GB Music (USA), GB-1001 * 2009, Wounded Bird (USA), WOU-346


LINEUP: John Fannon - vocals, guitars * Jim Waldo - keyboards * Gary Shea - bass * Hirsh Gardner - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Walkin' Wild * 02 Holdin' Out On Me * 03 Don't Ever Let Me Go * 04 Love's Up In The Air * 05 DDT * 06 Get It Up * 07 L5 * 08 She's Gonna Tear You Apart * 09 Elevator * 10 You're There


New England had originally hoped to take a well earned break after an extensive spell on the road before recording their third album but as guitarist John Fannon recounts 'We were at home one day and hadn't even unpacked. The phone rang it was our management company. They informed us that there was great news and not such great news. 'The great news was that Todd Rundgren was going to produce our new album'. The 'not such great news' was that New England had only had 3 weeks to record it!

The Songs
The title cut launches the album with an abundance of swirling keyboard effects, hard driving guitar, and a winning chorus featuring those ever present trademark multi-part harmonies. Hirsh Gardner steps up to the mike for 'Holdin' Out On Me' - a straight-forward pile driving rocker and probably the heaviest track New England ever committed to vinyl. 'Don't Ever Let Me Go' has an upbeat delivery driven along by Jimmy Waldo's pulsating synthesizer and John Fannon's power chords. The deliciously plaintive vocal hook remains firmly buried in your memory long after the fade out. The tempo is relaxed for the acoustic ballad 'Love's Up In The Air' and you'd swear it had been lifted straight from the ELO songbook - you can almost picture Jeff Lynne on the phone to his lawyer. Side one is rounded off in fine style with 'DDT' an entertaining romp driven along by the tinkling of Jimmy Waldo's piano keys and John Fannon's staccato guitar. The chorus is sung with its tongue firmly planted in the cheek. At least I hope the guys aren't being serious. 'Be my dirty dream tonight' is hardly the most subtle of chat up lines unless you happen to be David Coverdale(!). 'Get It Up' (no pun intended - see above) has a stripped down ethereal quality to it, for the most part dominated by Jimmy Waldo's synthesizer and John Fannon's vocal and an ambitious departure from anything previously attempted by the band. 'L5' is other worldly but for different reasons - the 'L5' in question being a space station and the ultimate destination that the protagonist leaves his wife for. Perhaps this is the futuristic/sci-fi equivalent of a mid-life crisis? (kinda sounds like Stargate Atlantis to me.. Ed). Worthy of special mention is the stunning vocal bridge - a master class of multi-part harmonies. 'She's Gonna Tear You Apart' with Jimmy Waldo's synths on overload is decidedly hi-tech though never bland thanks to John Fannon's solid riffing and brutal solo which keeps the adrenalin flowing - as opposed to slowing. The mood is lightened for 'Elevator' where the merits of the subject matter are extolled at length by John Fannon in suitably quirky style. The album finishes with 'You're There' a song once again dominated by Jimmy Waldo's keyboards and vocal effects which augment it's haunting qualities.

In Summary
The final studio album from the highly revered Boston based AOR act and a personal favourite of this scribe. New England continued to meld British influences such as ELO and Queen with their own particular brand of AOR. This time around the material was more diverse and had an element of quirkiness to it - no doubt due to legendary producer Todd Rundgren's influence. Unfortunately it wasn't third time lucky for New England as this album failed to make the commercial breakthrough the band richly deserved and the band member's went their separate ways. I understand that there has been a reunion of sorts recently and I along with many other AOR fans live in hope that some new material will see the light of day. Now that really would be something to celebrate..

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#1 | Eric on May 10 2007 23:44:31
I am a big fan of Rundgren and his 70's stuff ('Something/ Anything' is a God-like piece of pop art), but just about everything I have heard about him leaves me thinking the man has some personality issues and the stories I have heard about recording this record only confirm the tales of Todd.... Yet, part of me would pay for a chance to sit down with him for an afternoon and chat a bit...
#2 | gdazegod on May 10 2007 23:52:46
Rundgren also worked on Cheap Trick's 1983 album 'Next Position Please', which according to a review on this site, wasn't a flash production job. I quite like this 'Walkin' Wild' though, really need to settle under a pair of headphones to listen to the production merits of this one. Probably better to talk to Hirsh or John and see what they think. If, as the review mentions.. that they were under a tight deadline, then some shortcuts may have been taken. helpless
#3 | Jez on June 13 2008 03:04:52
3rd release, this time produced by Todd Rundgren and boy can't you tell. Great tracks like Get It Up, Walking Wild and the gorgeous ballad you're there.Not as immediate as the first 2 but well worth perservering with. Now whatever happened to those demos of the unreleased 4th cd!
#4 | rostoned on June 12 2009 00:29:03
Awful snare drum sound on this. Also IMHO the material is not memorable and this is the weakest realease in their discography, especially since coming after a pomp world class masterpiece like 'ES'. Also the dry Todd Rundgren production is frankly nothing to be hot about.
#5 | Explorer on June 08 2012 21:55:54
Agreed...rush job ...ten days to record mix etc..but still totally worthy!
#6 | DaveE on January 31 2013 17:44:44
Nowhere near the quality of Explorer Suite in my opinion. However, that being said, "She's Gonna Tear You Apart" is one of my favorite NE songs and "Holdin' Out On Me" is the greatest AC/DC tribute I've ever heard. Saw NE at the Cleveland Agora in the early 80's and it's still one of the best concerts I've ever been to. They did about 5 encores and finally had to quit because they ran out of material.
#7 | Danielovich on September 07 2014 11:06:21
Do the guys of New England know anything about this...?

YouTube Video:

This dreadful dance version was HUGE in Spain.. it sounded in ALL discos... At least I hope that they received royalties!
#8 | Explorer on September 07 2014 14:38:14
Yes, the New England guys are aware of this....and yes, royalties were received.New album in the pipeline after a successful reunion last month.With regards to the recording process, although it only took ten days,it`s even more impressive when you learn that Rundgren only worked from 9-5 each day!
#9 | sabace on October 05 2016 20:17:49
love this lp
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