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Sad Cafe - 1980 Sad Cafe

ARTIST: Sad Cafe
ALBUM: Sad Cafe
LABEL: Swan Song (USA), RCA (UK)
SERIAL: SS 16048, SAD LP4 / PL 25319
YEAR: 1980
CD REISSUE: 2009, Renaissance, RMED-284 * 2010, Air Mail Archives, AIRAC-1607


LINEUP: Paul Young - lead vocals, percussion, congas * Ian Wilson - electric & acoustic guitars, vocals * Ashley Mulford - slide guitar, lead guitar, vocals * Vic Emerson - piano, synthesizer * Dave Irving - drums, percussion, vocals * John Stimpson - bass, vocals * Lenni - sax, vocals

TRACK LISTING: 01 La Di Da * 02 Digital Daydream Blues * 03 What Am I Gonna Do * 04 Keeping It From The Troops * 05 Love Today * 06 Losin' You * 07 Dreamin' * 08 No Favours - No Way * 09 I'm In Love Again


Sad Cafe were living large in 1980 with the world their oyster or so it seemed. The success of their previous album 'Facades' provided them with a big hit single 'Everyday Hurts' in the UK and tours in America with Toto, Rush and Santana opened up new territories to divide and conquer and yet things got a little weird after the release of 'Sad Cafe' starting a downward spiral from which they never recovered. A good live album 'Ole' recorded on the subsequent tour was put out as a follow-up, but the departure of key member guitarist Ashley Mulford, management issues and a nasty bankruptcy set the wheels in motion spelling the end of Sad Cafe, at least temporarily. Unemployed, the late Paul Young didn't hesitate when asked to join Mike + The Mechanics and his vocal talents were used to their maximum on the smash single 'All I Need Is A Miracle'. Further albums paid the bills and yet Young insisted on resurrecting the Sad Cafe name with former mate Ian Wilson beginning with 1985's 'Politics Of Existing'; a good record but a far cry from the Sad Cafe of old.

The Songs
Like 'Facades' this record was produced by Eric Stewart of 10cc. Years ago, Stewart told me in an interview that working with the group on 'Facades' and 'Sad Cafe' was a far more enjoyable experience than his time spent with 10cc, a major statement but a testament to just how good this band really was and yet it's questionable as to whether 'Sad Cafe' is one of their better albums. 'La-Di-Da' opens the record, tuneful yet not the best Sad Cafe could deliver and although a hit in the UK, it charted briefly in the U.S. Paul Young has often been compared to Mick Jagger both vocally and on stage and this similarity can be heard on the funky 'Digital Daydream Blues' and 'Love Today' which sums up most of the record - too much funkiness and not enough rock in my opinion, sounding more like a soulful Wet Willie than the British rock band of previous records. Adding to the list of issues is the lack any real memorable material and while 'Dreamin'' and 'No Favours - No Way' are worthy of mention, compared to earlier work they are sadly a letdown knowing these guys were capable of so much more.

In Summary
Correct me if I'm wrong, but I've never seen this on CD, although I believe the Japanese might have reissued it at some point. Renaissance has put out the American version of 'Misplaced Ideals' and 'Facades'. For those uninitiated to the sounds of Sad Cafe, this is the best place to start.

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