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Articles Home » 1981 Articles » Bleu, Frankie - 1981 Who's Foolin' Who
Bleu, Frankie - 1981 Who's Foolin' Who

ARTIST: Bleu, Frankie
ALBUM: Who's Foolin' Who
LABEL: Unicorn Records
SERIAL: 2374 186
YEAR: 1981
CD REISSUE: Reissue List


LINEUP: Frankie Bleu - lead vocals * Billy Walker - guitars * Joe Chemay - bass * John Hobbs, Mike Meros - keyboards * Paul Leim - drums * Joel Peskin - sax * Joe Chemay, The Waters Sisters - backing vocals

TRACK LISTING: 01 Baby Don't Stop * 02 Who's Foolin' Who * 03 Just For You (Suzannes Song) * 04 Where Would I Be Now * 05 Get Away * 06 I'm Waiting For Your Love * 07 Take Your Time * 08 You Never Ever Call Me Baby * 09 Baby We're Alive

Not well known to AOR fans, but a household name among West Coast collectors, is the name Frankie Bleu. Bleu is actually a pseudonym for Frank Butoraci, who first came to attention with his band Gabriel during the 70's. From Seattle, the band released three albums, two for ABC Records, the third for Epic, without much success to show for it. The band broke up in 1980, Frank then decided to put all his energy into a solo project, including the name change to Frankie Bleu, perhaps in an attempt to steer clear of any association to Gabriel. Joining forces with the entire Joe Chemay Band, Frankie released this one-off 'Who's Foolin' Who' set in 1981, and a great set of West Coast tunes would result. Fans of Robbie Dupree and Paul Davis will take great enjoyment out of this album. Certainly I did.

The Songs
The opening strains of 'Baby Don't Stop' disguise what is quite a tough sounding track. Definitely a Michael Stanley stamp of approval is in order for this one. The title track is next up, and boy this is as west-coast as you can be without sailing out into the Pacific Ocean toward Hawaii! 'Just For You' features some of Joe Chemay's trademark bass-popping while 'Where Would I Be Now' is a laid back affair in the vein of a cruisy sounding Michael McDonald. Another tougher track is 'Get Away', where possibly Frankie has spoken to John O'Banion asking him about what it takes to get away and get tough!. Pumping synth bass lines chug through 'I'm Waiting For Your Love', giving us the appearance of a long lost Pablo Cruise track. The stand-out track for me is the gorgeous 'Take Your Time', with a chorus that defies belief.. so simple but so exquisite. This track is without doubt the album highlight. Taking the tender route is 'You Never Ever Call Me Baby', perhaps veering to the soppy side of affairs, but I'll forgive Frankie for that. Ending the album on an upbeat note is 'Baby We're Alive', musically akin to 'Hot Rod Hearts', hence the Robbie Dupree comparison.

In Summary
Not much was heard of Frankie after this album, but even some twenty plus years after the event it still holds accolades within the west-coast genre. Perhaps not as definitive as the superb David Roberts album 'All Dressed Up' for instance, but 1981 and 1982 were pretty good years for the genre I reckon. Interested fans should do well to check this album out.

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#1 | JuniorNB on December 20 2008 15:21:43
Good album with a definite westcoast sound. As mentioned in gdazegod's excellent review, there's a similarity between this one and the material that Michael McDonald, Jim Photoglo, Robbie dupree, etc. were putting out in the 79-83 period.
#2 | englandashes on March 12 2010 12:15:44
I know that the Chemay album was issued on the Unicorn Label as well as this one, but did anything else get released on this label?
#3 | super80boy on December 28 2013 01:17:45
Definitely hear the Dupree connection. Smooth Westcoast elements easily catch hold with the standouts - 'Baby Don't Stop', 'Get Away', nice synth stabs in 'I'm Waiting For Your Love' and the bright tempos of 'Baby We're Alive'. 'Take Your Time' is quite good for a slow classic Westcoast AOR song structure.
#4 | gdazegod on December 28 2013 04:37:42
Chris, you asked this question about Unicorn Records awhile back. Here's the answer: http://www.discog...rn-Records
#5 | englandashes on December 28 2013 21:49:59
Excellent George, great find, although I don't think I will be adding Black Flag - Damaged to my collection, wow what a difference to the Chemay and Frankie Bleu, never would have expected this would have been destined to the missing number! Great story, Thanks!
#6 | gdazegod on December 28 2013 22:02:42
Yes, let's forget about Black Flag shall we.. lol!
#7 | code4 on October 22 2015 13:16:29
One of the very first westcoast albums i ever purchased and have always liked it a great deal (funnily enough it's the single released to radio stations 'I'm waiting for your love' that is the only tune i don't much care for).
Pity that Victor japan forgot to reprint the album dedication: 'This album is dedicated to all those who may suffer at the hands of violence' anywhere on the cd packaging ---something which was a feature on the lower back right of the original lp covers (both the usa and japanese versions).
I say that because it was a dedication that suited the gentle and compassionate lyrical themes that often run through the album. I expected i would find it printed somewhere inside the booklet, but no such luck. Given japan mini lp cd's sell themselves on being exact replications of original album artwork, I would presume however that the dedication is found on the japan Mini LP cd version that came a little later (2006, i think..).

If you want to hear more Frankie Bleu songs, check out the 1982 low-budget teen drama 'The Vals' where Frank provides the theme song 'Girls in The Valley' (played through the opening credits) as well as other cool sounding new-wave pop flavoured songs like 'Let's Go Shopping'...heard briefly around 15 minutes into the movie. Just don't try looking too hard for the soundtrack as i am 99.9% sure it was never released on any format despite what the film credits say. Closest you can get is in buying the Vals dvd (which was rather unbelievably released officially several years ago in Canada and has great transfer of picture and sound). Joe Chemay (who produced this Frankie Bleu album along with Daphna Edwards) also appears in the film credits as an assistant musician if i recall right. Then amongst a few others there's a forgotten college new wave/ alternative band 'Wet Picnic' who provide some music and a group called 'Annine' who provide a nice cut called 'How Can I make You Smile'. I have a sneaking suspicion that Annine might have been Daphna Edwards (unicorn records president) own band, with her singing (as she is credited as the songwriter) though i have no way to be sure. Bck in the early 2000's, I tried to get info off Daphna Edwards herself on whether this soundtrack was ever released by contacting her secretary but what did i get back? 'Daphna says you can find most of those Black Flag records over at SST'
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