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Articles Home » 1977 Articles » Head East - 1977 Gettin' Lucky
Head East - 1977 Gettin' Lucky

ARTIST: Head East
ALBUM: Gettin' Lucky
YEAR: 1977


LINEUP: John Schlitt - vocals * Mike Somerville - all guitars, slide guitar, background vocals, bass on 'Gettin' Lucky' * Roger Boyd - organs, pianos, moog, mellotron, ARP string synthesizer, trumpet, melodica * Dan Birney - bass * Steve Huston - drums, percussion, lead and background vocals

TRACK LISTING: 01 Gettin' Lucky * 02 Back In My Own Hands * 03 Show Me I'm Alive * 04 Take It On Home * 05 Dancer Road * 06 Don't Let Me Sleep In The Morning * 07 Sands Of Time * 08 Call To Arms And Legs * 09 Time Has A Way * 10 Every Little Bit Of My Heart

WEBLINKS: www.head-east.com

My first experience with Head East was their debut album 'Flat As A Pancake', which at the time I thought was aptly named, because it was one of a handful of dud albums in my LP collection. I've never forgotten that album, and despite the excellent 'Choice Of Weapons' which was admittedly a vastly different lineup from their 70's heyday, I've approached the remainder of their 70's discography with caution. Should I be so cautious? What, with John Schlitt on lead vocals, the future Petra singer is in the A league of rock vocalists, Head East should be featured at GDAZE more than they are. So, I take the plunge. Midwest bands are well represented through the 70's era, not many were signed to big labels though - Morningstar, Shooting Star, Mama's Pride the exceptions, were all from the same region. After their aforementioned 1975 debut (which incidentally, was actually released in 1974 on their own label Pyramid, before A&M came knocking - and hence an early '75 lp release), the band then released 1976's 'Get Yourself Up'. They were slowly but gradually making inroads on the national scene, with their albums creeping up the Billboard charts from year to year. Richard Podolor was bought in to handle production duties, taking over from Roger Boyd who had done the first two albums. I think that was a good move as it was from this album onwards that you can hear the band making subtle but improved changes.

The Songs
The band get off to a great start with the title track. the quirky pop rock sorta reminded me of Dutch band Diesel who would strike paydirt a few years with their excellent 'Watts In A Tank' LP. 'Back In My Own Hands' initially swings through an acoustic phase with Roger Boyd's keys close by, it's another fun sounding romp. Moving off into different territory is 'Show Me I'm Alive', which has a few symphonic moments. 'Take It On Home' is very typical mid-west and typical of the mid 70's era, whereas 'Dancer Road' starts out in ballad mode, but opens out into a nice mid-paced tune with some nice twists and turns. 'Don't Let Me Sleep In The Morning' has some nice pomp touches but the song suffers from a basic arrangement and over-extended lyrics. I quite liked the basic boogie of 'Call To Arms And Legs', but then again I thought 'Time Has A Way' was particularly awful.. must have been the trumpet! Thankfully, things are saved by the final track 'Every Little Bit Of My Heart', which is best representative of the band and their overall sound. I liked the tapping piano work from Boyd and Schlitt sounds as if he's cruising the streets!

In Summary
Head East released several more A&M sponsored recordings, and we may yet get to some of those for review purposes. the big shake up with the band came in 1980, where Schlitt, Somerville and Birney all departed. A&M had dropped the band around then, preferring instead to go with flavour-of-the-month new wave bands rather than AOR. Head East subsequently released 1982's 'Onward And Upward' on Allegiance Records. In 2005, Hip-O-Select Records did officially re-release 'Gettin' Lucky' as a 2 for 1 with 1978's self titled LP 'Head East'. You should be able to pick this up through the usual haunts (Ebay, GEMM etc). Despite all the comings and goings with the band, Roger Boyd is the last surviving original member. Their latest CD is a live album from 2008, which is an independent release. Nice to see them still going, though obviously not as they were. Check out their website above and take a trip back down memory lane.

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#1 | Eric on May 08 2009 00:20:37
Kinda had the same experience as you George, with Head East. I had seen their records in stores, but never paid much attention until I moved to Minnesota (from NY) in late '79 where they (Like REO) were played on the radio all the time. A typical Midwest American music and I asked Roger Boyd about this and he told me one of his biggest disappointments was Head East not being able to 'break big' on the West and East coast's.

I also remember when I moved here they used to play Head East's version of 'Since You've Been Gone' back to back with the Rainbow take. Radio up here back then was like living on another planet compared to NY's airwaves which was all about new wave.
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