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Nantucket - 1978 Nantucket



ARTIST: Nantucket
ALBUM: Nantucket
LABEL: Epic
SERIAL: JE 35253
YEAR: 1978
CD REISSUE: 2003, Wounded Bird, WOU-5253

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:

LINEUP: Larry Uzzell - lead vocals, bass * Tommy Redd - guitar * Mark Downing - guitar * Mike Uzzell - keyboards * Eddie Blair - sax, keyboards * Kenny Soule - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Heartbreaker * 02 Never Gonna Take Your Lies * 03 Real Romance * 04 She's No Good * 05 Born In A Honky Tonk * 06 It's Getting Harder * 07 Girl, You Blew A Good Thing * 08 Spring Fever * 09 Quite Like You * 10 What's The Matter With Loving You

WEBLINKS: www.2112online.com/nantucket/i


Background
Now then, this is the 1978 debut that yielded a hit single and almost earned gold album status. A very promising start, and they were keeping top class company on stage as well - opening for Boston, Cheap Trick and Foreigner during this period. What went wrong after that is a long story worthy of a full article, but for now let's get to grips with this long awaited reissue.


The Songs
'Heartbreaker' immediately sets the tone for the Nantucket sound: Southern AOR with extra bits here and there and plenty of swagger besides. There's a strong radio hook at work, and the vocal attack is great - harmonies that manage to be melodic and Southern all at once. Larry Uzell's voice reminds one of early Dave Bickler (Survivor) at times, gruff enough for attitude delivery but plenty of AOR smoothness to call on when he wants it, no surprise then that this was the top 40 hit. 'Never Gonna Take Your Lies' has Aerosmith written all over it, a groove straight out of 'Walk This Way' and attitude to match, right down to the harmonica. Yet they manage to segue into Styx like harmonies over acoustic riffing, all in the same track - bewildering but rewarding. 'Real Romance' comes across like an affectionate Southern style rewrite of Led Zeppelin's 'Rock And Roll', from the drum flurry intro, right to the Plant-esque phrasing of 'lonely lonely lady, you need a real romance'. Still, they add a certain barroom charm and enough of their own sound to make this obvious tribute an enjoyable romp. 'She's No Good' is more along the lines of The Boyzz, insistent Southern barroom rock with some fierce lyrics to boot - 'two timin' hymen makes me feel so bad' ... methinks a lady pissed one of the lads off severely at some point! 'Born In A Honky Tonk' delivers all the swagger the title promises, but in a smoother melodic vein than you'd expect. A simple melody well nailed down and heartfelt vocals - then the brass section kicks in, clearing the way for the kind of sax solo that just has to go down a storm live. 'It's Gettin' Harder' would've opened side two, and here we're back in the realm of AOR melodies with Aerosmith attitude and swagger at verse time. A bit of a paradox again, but the more you listen the more it hooks you - this could've been a big radio track, perfect for 1978 AOR. 'Girl You Blew A Good Thing' belies it's 'pun intended' title, the good thing she blew was their relationship! (you sure that wasn't the only thing she blew? Ed). Musically we're in Stonebolt funk AOR territory circa 'Are You Listening', with the synth backing given a bigger role and another of those inspired sax workouts, a great track for Sunday pm with strong coffee. 'Spring Fever' is even better, almost bordering on Dakota at times with its easy grace in the early stages, then calling on that extra power when it's wanted, and the guitar solo is straight out of the Dakota 'Runaway' era songbook - classic AOR song. 'Quite Like You' is very different, and to be honest a little frantic and rough-house, this time without the great melody to carry it through. 'What's The Matter With Loving You' is much better and closes the record in grand style - riffing straight out of George Thorogood and the Destroyers circa 'Gear Jammer' with attitude to match, into a sweet and simple harmonised chorus something like Pablo Cruise ('Worlds Away' era), yet another paradox that shouldn't work but does anyway.


In Summary
The good folk at Wounded Bird have done AOR collectors and Southern Rock aficionados a favour, there's plenty here for fans of either genre to like, with a hint of the unexpected that set them apart from the crowd. The artwork is faithfully reproduced with lyrics in the inlay, and they even got the disc print colour right - lobster pink to go with the Nantucket mascot! Most important of all the sound quality is, as the opening song says, 'clear as a bell', same as the Axe reissues on the same label. So now we wait to see how far Wounded Bird are gonna take us down this road, hopefully all the way to album #5.


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Comments
#1 | Eric on February 08 2008 02:16:47
'Heartbreaker-You mean misery maker-Miss evil...'

Classic!
#2 | Eric on November 21 2009 20:56:46
Back then Sam Goody had a section for weekly 45 releases and it was from that bin I bought the 'Heartbreaker' single. $1.45 well spent! The album came out a few weeks later and I wore it out...
#3 | rkbluez on July 13 2010 02:46:52
I wore out all of the Nantucket albums...these guys were good...very good...Your Face Of Mine" is my favorite...another band that should of been bigger news.
 
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