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Articles Home » 1980 Articles » Gambler - 1980 Love And Other Crimes
Gambler - 1980 Love And Other Crimes

ARTIST: Gambler
ALBUM: Love And Other Crimes
LABEL: EMI America
SERIAL: SW-17017
YEAR: 1980


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, Jet 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 Avalon, and in keeping with those bands, a slight (ever so slight) symphonic style can be detected.

The Songs
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.

In Summary
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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#1 | rostoned on January 18 2008 21:35:41
Folks you can download the album here for yer own pleasure (Thanx to Alocacoc blog)

By the way I read sometime ago that Gambler's singer Nathan Shaffer resurfaced in ROQ ROYALE.
Infact according to Legs Diamond bio on Rockdetector (see here, singer 'Nate Shaefer' (which I assume stands for a wrongly spelled Nathan Shaffer or... am I wrong? hmm!) resurfaced around 1987 in Mike Prince's pomp rock project Roq Royale who recorded an album with Roy Thomas Baker. Sadly (?) this work was shelved and never released and to this day it remains one of the 'holy grails' among aor & pomp rock freaks...if only for Mike's involvment.

Any news regarding RR fellas???

#2 | Eric on January 18 2008 21:49:47
I have the Shaffer/ Roq Royale demo. It was sent to me after I did an interview with Nathan for Strutter'zine many years ago. I thought it was good, but not great. I haven't listened to it in a long time and it's packed away more than likely. Didn't know it was THAT sought after....hmm!
#3 | rostoned on January 18 2008 22:03:24
Eric can you find it and...share it with us mere mortals in one way or another (rapidshare, megaupload, thru GLORY-DAZE site...) ???? pleaseeeeeeee pray
#4 | Eric on January 18 2008 22:26:19
I would have to find it first among my boxes of music stuff, but I am not as technicaly savy as others herehelpless I don't even have a cassette player to make a copy anymore.*blushing*

If I remember right, Sunsinger was just starting up and Shaffer was wondering if we would put it out, but it just kind of fell by the wayside and it never got past a couple conversations due to the 'progressive' nature of the label.
#5 | rostoned on January 18 2008 23:01:38
Eric is this the Strutter 'zine you are talking about?

Do you remember that during the interview w/ Nathan you asked/he spoke about the Roq Royale project? just curious...
#6 | Eric on January 19 2008 14:28:15
Yeah, it was back in the daze when Strutter was a magazine. There were two editions. Strutter'zine which focused on new AOR and 'Strutter'zine the past' which focused on classic AOR.

I didn't know about the Baker produced stuff until later. I think he figured the Baker/ Starcastle connection might help, but I do remember him talking about it more as a solo than a group project...

Hope that helps...hmm!
#7 | rostoned on January 19 2008 15:04:58
Here's the link for 'Strutter'zine the past'....yikes there's even your stories on Roadmaster and Gambler on line! lol
#8 | Eric on January 19 2008 16:08:31
lol! Shameless self promotion, but I also had a web site called 'Nightworks'

There are a couple interviews there, including a good one with Baxter Robinson done by none other than Mr Pomp himself- Stephen Allen.

It never really developed into anything and I lost interest with Strutter, Faith Nation and Song Haus taking most of my time.
#9 | Eric on January 19 2008 16:10:33
Baxter Robertson. sorry.
#10 | gdazegod on January 19 2008 19:41:40
Wow, I remember Nightworks Eric. That was yours? Blimey! I didn't know that. That was a good little site back in the day. I think it contained the only review I've ever seen of Zeabra's one-off LP.
#11 | Eric on January 19 2008 21:44:14
Yeah, I'm full of surprises!Thumbs Up
#12 | Eric on April 12 2008 13:43:58
A blast from the past! Hey Gabor! '..The Past' was a fun mag wasn't it? I remember sending you tapes and photo copies of album covers, man times have changed and Strutter broke a lot of ground..

Thanks for your kind words and please visit often, we have some great contributors and readers who know their stuff.Thumbs Up
#13 | Hanjin77 on April 13 2008 08:37:48
yeah i just discovered this forum when indeed thinking of the good old past, i miss the days of tape trading, scanning pics and really putting effort in making a mag, the past mag was so much more interesting to do in the pre-internet days, the first couple of issues were done on a typewriter!
#14 | Eric on January 06 2009 00:43:16
I might have sent it (the demo) to Gary Strater (Starcastle) since he was interested in it. I say this because when this all came up a couple weeks ago, I started going through some things (boxes) looking for the CDR and it dawned on me I might have mailed it off back then. A possibility- could still be here somewhere....hmm!
#15 | gdazegod on June 16 2012 04:08:40
Official Roq Royale release should be interesting.. hmm!
#16 | englandashes on June 09 2014 22:25:29
Just played their debut from 1979, 'Teenage Magic' tonight, forgot how good it was.
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