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Articles Home » 1981 Articles » Prism - 1981 Small Change
Prism - 1981 Small Change

ALBUM: Small Change
LABEL: Capitol
SERIAL: ST-12184
YEAR: 1981
REISSUE: 2008, Renaissance Records (USA), RMED-149 (with 6 bonus tracks)


LINEUP: Henry Small - vocals * Lindsay Mitchell - guitars, vocals * Al Harlow - bass, vocals * Rocket Norton - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Don't Let Him Know * 02 Turn On Your Radar * 03 Hole In Paradise * 04 Rain * 05 When Will I See You Again * 06 Heart And Soul * 07 Stay * 08 When Love Goes Wrong (You're Not Alone) * 09 In The Jailhouse Now * 10 Wings Of Your Love


Canadian band Prism are another institution, especially in Western Canada, from their homebase of Vancouver. Prior to 'Small Change' the band had released about five albums of melodic rock/pop, bordering on quirky and commercial. The lineup of the band had also undergone a few changes, with a selection of good musicians having passed through their ranks over time. The name of the album is apt, considering the appointment of their new lead singer Henry Small (previously with Small Wonder.. hmmm, does this man have an ego or what?), and the music shifts comfortably into the radio AOR groove populated by the likes of Foreigner and REO Speedwagon at the time. The other notable events surrounding the album are two-fold, the inclusion of Carter as their producer (in lieu of long time cohort and fellow Vancouver resident Bruce Fairbairn), and the influence of outside writers used on the album, including Bryan Adams, Jim Vallance, Bruce Turgon, and Morgan Walker.

The Songs
The songs are a mixed bag, but thankfully the good outweigh the bad. The good ones are amplified by the Adams/Vallance effort 'Don't Let Him Know', which is a great way to start things off. What a chorus! The second up 'Turn Your Radar On' is a quaint attempt at lightweight AOR which is nice enough. 'Hole In Paradise' is a great track, if not for the warblings of Small who incredibly sounds like Mark Free on this one. Strange but true. My favourite track is the lovely ballad 'Rain'. 'When Will I See You Again' is a punctuated affair, with a stop/start structure, but ultimately it gets a pass mark. The other ballad 'Stay' is nice too, but you lose interest by the time the end comes around. Some of the other tracks like 'When Love Goes Wrong' and 'Wings Of Your Love' lose their way, and you get the impression that this could be an album of two halves.

In Summary
Though the new lineup is admirable, and the album wasn't too bad, the heart and soul of the band was not to be found here, especially after all the internal pressures the band found themselves with over the last few years. Die hard fans would have noticed the change in sound, many walked away from the band, citing that this wasn't the real Prism anymore. It is no surprise that Henry Small wanted to take Prism in a different direction than before (probably to break the identity of the band), and this may have caused some discontent in the ranks. Their next album 'Beat Street' from 1983 is also another album worth having a listen to, but in fairness, it really should've been called a Henry Small solo album.

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#1 | Eric on February 16 2008 04:41:42
This version of Prism managed some gigs with Eddie Money and Kansas, but personally 'Don't Let Him Know' was the best thing they had done since 'See Forever Eyes'.
#2 | reyno-roxx on June 11 2008 11:19:33
Hmmm...gotta admit that I thought 'American Music' on 'Young And Restless' was one of their best tracks too.
#3 | Nick C on June 28 2008 18:04:31
At the time this came out I was a big Prism fan and I was so disappointed to see that Ron Tabak wasn't on it....pre internet days and news was hard to find out.
I wasn't overly impressed and the album found it's way into my pile of 'get rid ofs' although I never did sell it. Which was lucky for me...I think time has been kind to this album and a lot of the songs hold up really well, Hole in Paradise is a fantastic song but In the Jailhouse Now wouldn't be missed.
My fave album is probably Young and Restless, and one of my fave Prism tracks Satelitte is on it. I watched them on TV over in Canada performing the song in some TV studio with Ron on vocals and I was over the moon to see it haha...that was 1980.
#4 | gdazegod on December 03 2010 12:00:18
Does anyone have the Renaissance versions of this and 'Beat Street'? I'd be quite keen to upgrade to CD if I knew that the quality/fidelity was reasonable.. hmm!
#5 | Nick C on June 01 2012 09:00:32
Here's something interesting(ish) Bryan Adams performing Don't Let Him Know live, no actual footage though I'm afraid.
YouTube Video:
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