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Smith, Rex - 1983 Camouflage

ARTIST: Smith, Rex
ALBUM: Camouflage
SERIAL: 25343
YEAR: 1983
CD REISSUE: 2009 Wounded Bird, WOU-5343


LINEUP: Rex Smith - vocals * Peter Wolf - keyboards * Brad Whitford, Lou Vandora, Peter Maunu - guitars * Steve Humphrys, Jason Scheff - bass * Mike Ratti - drums * Steve Price - percussion * Donny Baldwin, Brett Bloomfield - backing vocals * Linda Rondstadt - vocals on 'Real Love'

TRACK LISTING: 01 Camouflage * 02 New Romeo * 03 In The Heat Of The Night * 04 Don't Talk * 05 Get It Right * 06 Love With A Perfect Stranger * 07 Real Love * 08 Tears * 09 Two Hearts * 10 Roll Me


Prior to this 1983 release, few would've recognised just how talented an entertainer Rex Smith was. You'll remember him from his co-hosting days on the TV show 'Solid Gold', he released a smattering of rock/pop LP's, plus of course there was the connection to the band Starz through his brother Michael Lee Smith. During the early 80's, Rex released the 'Everlasting Love' LP in 1981, he became co-host on 'Solid Gold' during 1982, and then released this album - 'Camouflage' in 1983, and it kinda flew under the wire for many. Not sure why, as it is a solid pop/rock album, kinda like early Eric Martin, Rick Springfield, Bryan Adams but without the superior songwriting skills of a Jim Vallance to put him into the super-leagues.

The Songs
From the outset, Rex takes on a tough as nails stance, perhaps exemplified by the album cover too, which sees him in a 'don't mess with me' mood. Opener 'Camouflage' represents this stance musically I might add, butch vocals over a rough and ready hard rock attack. Handclaps abound on the pop/rock of 'New Romeo'. 'In The Heat Of The Night' is very representative of 1983, a mild inoffensive rocker. Much better is the stylish 'Don't Talk', plus the semi ballad 'Get It Right', which sits more comfortably for AORsters. 'Love With A Perfect Stranger' and 'Two Hearts; are probably the two best tracks onboard, both hard-out rockers, with a great backing of guitars and organ/keys filling out the sound. In fact there's a bit of Starz meets Cheap Trick with 'Real Love', a likeable tune, as is 'Tears' which shifts between ballad and mid-tempo pop rock. Rex finishes up with 'Roll Me', a hearty rocker with some shuffle drums, crazy percussion and Rex doing some ab-lib vocal work like some Jamaican calypso king!

In Summary
The fact that Rex would go on to further acclaim with various Broadway productions, TV and film appearances, and a continuation of music well into the current day - gives us an indication as to his overall versatility and talent. Reissue label Wounded Bird has done the honours and released 'Camouflage' on CD during 2009, so there should be no excuse in acquiring it at a reasonable price. Check out Rex's website to see what he is up to now.

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#1 | dtabachn on September 03 2009 05:43:11
Tears, penned by Vinnie Vincent and Adam Mitchell, is the same song that appeared in Peter Criss' Let Me Rock You album from 1982.
#2 | gdazegod on September 08 2009 00:34:59
That song 'Two Hearts' is a bit of a killer!
#3 | jefflynnefan on October 02 2009 00:22:43
Wow, I got this a few days ago and whoever would have thought it was as good as it is! I'll have to pick-up the other Wounded Bird album of his.
#4 | jefflynnefan on October 21 2009 02:10:12
If anybody wondered if the song 'New Romeo' sounded familar (me) it's because it was done a year later by Southside Johnny. There is a video version of the song up at Youtube by Southside Johnny. It's sorta of a easier version with brass. It's okay but I like Rex's better.
#5 | jefflynnefan on October 21 2009 19:52:42
I guess RS didn't release New Romeo as a single or do a video for the song? I can see why SJ grabbed the song because it is catchy. I'm no SJ or BS fan either. It's amazing the bands that do get cult followings with mediocre stuff though. Never understood the following Elvis Costello had! And at least bands like Concrete Blonde had a few interesting songs! To each his own though.
#6 | melodiapositiva on April 02 2017 18:10:46
Alex call also did 'new romeo' on his 1983 album, a very good album that deserves a review.

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