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Mama's Pride - 1977 Uptown Lowdown

ARTIST: Mama's Pride
ALBUM: Uptown & Lowdown
LABEL: Atlantic/Atco
SERIAL: SD 36-146
YEAR: 1977
CD REISSUE: 2008, Wounded Bird (WOU- 6146)


LINEUP: Danny Liston - guitars, vocals * Pat Liston - guitars, keyboards * Max Baker - guitars * Paul Willett - keyboards * Dickie Selenphol - bass * Kevin Saunders - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Can I Call You A Cab * 02 She's A Stranger To Me Now * 03 Lucky Lady * 04 You Can't Fool Yourself * 05 The End Of The Road * 06 Merry-Go-Round * 07 Now I Found You * 08 Long Time * 09 Maybe (Bonus)


During June 2008, we reviewed this band's first self titled album. From 1975, it proved to be a very popular record. We included a bunch of songs for people to listen to, and found out in the process some extensive history about these boys from St Louis. 'Mama's Pride' the album is a wonderful mix of southern rock with commercial appeal. The band members themselves did not really like being compared to bands out of the South, but really, they should take it as a compliment! Two years later, after a succession of gigs played through the length and breadth of the USA, the band release album number two, still with their recording contract intact with Atco/Atlantic. Upon first hearing, 'Uptown Lowdown' is a less rockier album than its debut predecessor, but still worthy of a decent listen.

The Songs
This time around, the band mix up styles related to Wet Willie, The Allman Brothers, and early Bob Seger Band. There's a mix of mild southern rockers along with a handful of mellow ballads. 'Can I Call You A Cab' gets us off the sidewalk, initially restrained, this one builds momentum as we get out of the blocks. There's a faint whiff of keyboards on 'She's A Stranger To Me Now'. Like the opener, this one starts off slowly, but gradually builds u psome excitement toward the end. 'Lucky Lady' is probably the rockiest tune here, sounding like a seasoned bar band paying their dues in some two bit dive in middle America. 'You Can't Fool Yourself' is a toned down ballad that a guy like Joe Cocker would feel at home with. 'The End Of The Road' moves in that tried and true Muscle Shoals direction, with loads of funky playing and horn work. Taking a milder stance is 'Merry-Go-Round', with the occasional throwback to a very early 70's style of rock. 'Now I Found You' romps along with The Allmans as a reference point. The mix is part funk and dixie flavoured rock. The vocal harmonies at the end veer into Starcastle territory. What's going on here? lol! The band finish with an extended mini-epic called 'Long Time'. At near on ten minutes, it builds to an OTT southern rock crescendo in the vein of Skynyrd's 'Freebird' and Hatchet's 'Boogie No More'. As they say, 'when in the South, follow suit by word of mouth'!

In Summary
Comparing this to the debut, 'Uptown Lowdown 'is not as good.. unfortunately. Despite this, the band continued on for a few more years, but not on the books of Atco/Atlantic. The Liston brothers both released solo albums, Danny Liston in particular released a fantastic 6 track EP in 1986 called 'Every Beat Of My Heart', which is in the epi-center of AOR. The band are still active - it would seem. Also, it appears someone must have been reading our earlier reviews, as Wounded Bird Records duly released this album on CD during Sept 2008. It should be easy to obtain, if you choose to do so..

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