ALBUM: Love And Other Crimes
LABEL: EMI America
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:
LINEUP: Nathan Shaffer - vocals, guitars * Warren Mays - vocals, guitars * Del Breckenfeld - bass, vocals * Bruce Breckenfeld - keyboards, vocals * Chuck Schwartz - drums
TRACK LISTING: 01 Something Crazy * 02 It Never Felt Like This * 03 Even A Loser * 04 Dirty Suzie * 05 Double Indemnity * 06 Head Hunter * 07 She's My Girl * 08 Hotline * 09 Life On The Line * 10 I Put My Love
Gambler.. another long lost band from the dusty files of seventies AOR/hard rock. Originating from the Chicago area, and operating in the same zone as local area bands such as Trillion
and Off Broadway
. Venturing out into the clubs and bar circuit of the windy city, it wasn't long before they were supporting some big name acts (Chicago's Styx
being one of them). Soon signed to EMI America, the band released their self titled debut album in 1979, a set of tunes not far removed from early Kansas
material, not surprising considering the Jeff Glixman production. 1980 saw the release of their sophomore album 'Love And Other Crimes', the production this time being handled by the band themselves, plus studio hound Phil Bonanno. Soundwise, the band get closer to radio oriented styles, a la Roadmaster
'Fortress' era, The States
etc, combining this with straight down-the-line AOR prevalent during that timeframe. A feature of their music is the fabulous multi-part harmonies, similar to bands like Trillion
, and in keeping with those bands, a slight (ever so slight) symphonic style can be detected.
Check out the fantastic opener 'Something Crazy', with its Roadmaster
-esque keyboard dabbles. A great intro. Continuing with strong harmony vocals is 'It Never Felt Like This' while 'Even A Loser' is straight-ahead AOR, it's enriched by a simple but harmonious chorus. 'Dirty Susie' is given the hard/pop treatment, which is followed by 'Double Indemnity', a tune which could fit snugly on the Airborne
album I reckon. 'She's My Girl' has definite Roadmaster
appeal, then Gambler 'up' the speedometer rating on 'Hotline', a tune which has a bit of Kansas
'Leftoverture' on it. They finish up with the over-extended ballad 'I Put My Love', which ebbs and flows in true symphonic fashion.
EMI America dropped Gambler shortly after the release of this album, perhaps due in part to the upswing in the new wave market, or perhaps EMI America didn't know what they were doing? Ironically though, a band peddling a similar sort of style called the J Geils Band
(also signed to EMI America ironic huh?) struck it huge the following year with their 'Freeze Frame' album, containing two smash hits 'Freeze Frame' and 'Centerfold'. Perhaps a third Gambler album in 1981 may have seen different fortunes if marketed in the same way as J Geils
? But hey, we're talking about EMI America here people, they couldn't organise a piss-up in a brewery..
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