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Milk N Cookies - 1977 Milk N Cookies

ARTIST: Milk N Cookies
ALBUM: Milk N Cookies
LABEL: Island
YEAR: 1977
CD REISSUE: 2005, RPM, RPM 291


LINEUP: Justin Strauss - vocals * Sal Maida - bass * Ian North - guitars, keyboards * Mike Rutz - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Tinkertoy Tomorrow * 02 (Dee Dee You're) Stuck On A Star * 03 Little, Lost And Innocent * 04 Six Guns * 05 We Go On Dancing * 06 Rabbits Make Love * 07 Not Enough Girls (In The World) * 08 Chance To Play * 09 The Last Letter * 10 Just A Kid * 11 Ready Steady * 12 Nots * 13 Broken Melody

Long before the power pop floodgates opened with Cheap Trick riding the crest of the new wave, there were two bands on opposite sides of the lower 48 creating a buzz of their own. The Quick from sunny southern California, who's Kim Fowley (The Runaways) produced album 'Mondo Deco' on Mercury Records featured none other than Danny Wilde (Great Buildings, The Rembrandts) on guitar and were heavy favourites to break big, but despite critical favor failed to make a dent with the record buying public. Perhaps the album cover with a colourful photo of the band eating Ice Cream was just a little too adolescent for some, yet the album remains a classic and shamefully has not been reissued on CD. The other band was New York's Milk 'N' Cookies whose squeaky clean music and image stood out like a sore thumb amid the decadent 'Big Apple' club scene that spawned the New York Dolls and The Ramones. Yet, as fate would have it the band's demo came into the hands of Sparks manager John Hewlett who hooked the band up with Island Records and producer Muff Winwood, recording their sole album in 1974. With the addition of ex- Roxy Music and future Sparks bassist Sal Maida, the group released a single in Britain, following a brief and in the end disastrous promotional tour caped off by some not so nice comments made about the Bay City Rollers on Scottish radio which sent them packing post haste! Not helping matters was Island's inability to back the band, feeling the music of Milk 'N' Cookies was beneath what the label were about, in the end refusing to release the album.

The Songs
Of course in 1977, the musical climate had changed dramatically with the advent of punk rock and the burgeoning power pop scene. Island Records pulled the Milk 'N' Cookies out of the vaults for an official release, once again proving without working too hard, just how moronic record companies can be. Unfortunately and not surprising, by this time the band had seen better days and never had the opportunity to capitalize on Island's belated decision. How sad since this album is a gem for not only power pop fans, but those into good music in general. Classic after classic of inoffensive, sugarcoated sticky and drenched in soda pop rock music for young and old alike. Yes, there are comparisons to Sparks patented quirkiness here and there - which is never a bad thing and the vocals of Justin Strauss have an unusual androgynous quality about them, but the music is so fun it's impossible to dislike the record. Highlights include 'Little, Lost And Innocent' which was the original British single that went nowhere, 'We Go On Dancing' a sweet and precious ballad, 'Rabbits Make Love', the most Sparks influenced track on the album and 'Nots' a great rock tune showing the groups Glam rock roots and coming off a bit like T-Rex.

In Summary
For many years this album was difficult to find on both LP and Japanese CD, until RPM records picked up the ball and released it at a more affordable price with wonderful liner notes and photos, not to mention a brace of stellar bonus tracks. Milk 'N' Cookies have finally been getting the attention they deserve in the last few years from critics and music fans alike as one of the great American pop bands of the 1970's and the RPM reissue only adds to their credibility. Now if we can only get a label to reissue that 1976 album 'Mondo Deco' by The Quick'..

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#1 | reyno-roxx on August 17 2008 16:42:28
Much prefer the Jook 'Different Class' album that RPM also issued with bonus tracks. Harder edged rock with a very Who like vibe.
#2 | Eric on August 18 2008 00:58:48
I have the Jook CD and planned on reviewing it at one point, but it got lost in the shuffle.... agree, good stuff.
#3 | gdazegod on November 22 2011 10:39:49
I've just picked up Ian North's 1980 album 'Neo', which I quite like. Slightly oddball, with a dash of British new/wave and hard rock.

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