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Articles Home » 1984 Articles » Jumpstreet - 1984 Follow Her Home Tonight
 
Jumpstreet - 1984 Follow Her Home Tonight



ARTIST: Jumpstreet
ALBUM: Follow Her Home Tonight
LABEL: Beta Records
SERIAL: BRA-106
YEAR: 1984

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:

LINEUP: James Walsh - piano, lead vocals * Bobby Jones - bass, vocals * Lee Holm - guitars, vocals * Mark (Chico) Perez - percussion, vocals * Rob Steinberg - keyboards * Brad Swagger - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Follow Her Home Tonight * 02 Just A Waste Of Time * 03 How I Feel About You * 04 (And They) Don't Even Know * 05 Ordinary People * 06 Someone Else Is Always On Your Mind * 07 You Touch Me Here * 08 New Romance (It's A Mystery)


Background
This is an interesting piece of music, which on the face of it, seems to be a one off by a collection of musicians. While listening to this recently it is obvious that these guys had some pedigree, some history because even if the album doesn't always set fire in a combustion of AOR pyre, there is an obvious quality to the mixture of Westcoast and hints of AOR which does provide a nice flame and pleasant warming feeling. So who are they? Well I don't know a lot, except after some research which at least identified the main protagonist behind this album, one James Walsh. Under further investigation James has been knocking around for quite a while (in the musical sense) before this was released. During the early 70's he was a member of a group called Gypsy (Gypsy are reviewed in our 1970 section.. Ed), who released at least 4 albums, which by all accounts are quite collectable. Tell you the truth they never came across my radar, and probably never will, as they are from a genre that followers are more interested in buying high value vinyl and obscurity. In 1978 under the name of James Walsh Gypsy Band, he managed to release an album on RCA, so he has experience with the big boys, so it is quite surprising that this little album was released on a local obscure label. Anyway it was an album in my collection that for some reason I hardly played, in fact I probably didn't spend an awful lot, not that I knew anything about them at the time, just took a stab, and sometimes like in this instance, it paid off.


The Songs
Very encouraging signs with the opener 'Follow Her Home Tonight' (that's stalking! in my book), with songwriting of Dakota like proportions with a side of Joe Lamont. Great classic AOR, squeaky keyboards, a perfect guitar riff rumble. Vocally springs of a melodic trampoline with a super AOR chorus, excellent. With this being such a gem, you might as well pack up and go home, because really it can't get much better. Even if that is the case, there is still enough quality to spend time listening but even if the slope is heading downwards from this point on, the gradient is pretty gradual and there is no cliff edge in sight to fall totally off.

'Just A Waste Of Time' doesn't flow like the opener, but even mixing Doobie Bros vocals with quirky Kim Mitchell verses it's still a pleasant outcome. More to say about the verses is they also seem to trace the outline of the Sweet Comfort Band. On closer inspection it is a well-constructed tune and showed that the thought process in the writing is at quite a high musical IQ level.

While 'How I Feel About You' is a soft posed ballad, where Jumpstreet seems to be shipping in Westcoast water to the once good ship AOR and sinking faster into a sweet syrup. It comes across like a very lightweight Sheriff or Alias, where the lifeboat being in the shape of Freddy Curci is missing, so they do struggle for air somewhat.

The album has lots a ideas and maybe too many for its own good, with '(And They) Don't Even Know' has more in common with Steely Dan and again hits the boundaries of Westcoast, but more funk aspect rather than balladry (luckily!), In essence this is actually a good song and I am especially impressed by the pre chorus, this time sighting Toto. This is definitely better than many Japanese only imports of so called Westcoast gems that I have spent many notes on and found not to be overly impressed by.

'Ordinary People' begins in the high selling days of Michael Jackson, very funky but with clear tone vocals, again aspects of Fagen and Becker, who were once identified as the originators of AOR? That bass player must be playing the bass pretty near to his chest. A very clear recording here even on what appears to be a small independent label but unsurprising due to the experience Walsh had developed over time.

'Someone Is Always On Your Mind', is piano led at the start, like many Michael Ruff numbers, Oh bongo's, early Marc Jordan getting into your eyes, just put those shades on and listen to the mighty sound of bongo's! We seem to be retracing steps of Sneaker, but even a more lightweight sound, which is very nice and very harmless.

'You Touch Me Here', this is more like it, back to quality AOR, yes still has a low Body Mass Index result, but fascinating, especially the keyboards which sounds like Norman Bates from Psycho, hitting the showers. Great groove and 'perfectly clear' an example of the talent on offer, reminding me of the great Franke And The Knockouts.

To finish we have a cover of Spider's, 'New Romance (It's A Mystery to Me)', the original denting the US top 40, from their 1980 self-titled album. While I have not heard the original, it is a pleasant tune, poppy Airborne maybe? slightly new wave mixing great harmonies but slightly dated. I actually prefer the self-penned tracks on this album to the cover, but isn't that usually the way.


In Summary
On the various sites discussing Walsh early career, this record seems to get a hard time, but overall I am quite impressed. If you are an insane collector and must have every obscure AOR album that requires you to bid high on eBay just for the sake of it, then fine you need this album, especially for the couple of great AOR tracks on this, being the opening and 'You Touch Me Here'. However be ready for the albums true colours being more indebted to the Westcoast end of the colour range. It's mellow and enjoyable, well played and played to a great level of details, even obsessive, but it is not going to blow the cobwebs from your beard. If 3 or 4 songs were plucked and issued as an EP, then you would be right to be falling over yourselves in a scrap to buy this, and would be then left with the question, I wonder if they had any more tracks to record? (bit like the case with the Avalon 'Everyman A King' EP) and this time you get your answer, and it is not always what your wish for. Although I still feel you are left with a little gem of an album, it can still be picked up, although seems to be quite pricey, but don't ask me for any financial advice, especially being an accountant, ignore the austerity measures as by investing in this you would probably achieve a better return than most pension plans.


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This article has been tagged
Tags: Jumpstreet 
 
Comments
#1 | gdazegod on January 26 2012 03:09:13
According to an Ebay auction, this album won Best Album of the Year from the Minnesota Music Awards during the 1985-1986 period. Hard to believe.. yes.. Eric, any clues? being a Minnesota resident and all.. hmm!
#2 | Eric on January 26 2012 12:59:16
Well yeah, I knew Walsh quite well at one point as he originally signed Faith Nation based on the first CD I put out on Nightworks. That's him in the middle of the band, bearded in the black shirt. Jumpstreet were very popular on the local club circuit. I also remember a couple festival's they appeared on, although bottom of the bill naturally. For some reason Marshall Tucker Band comes to mind as a headliner but don't quote me. A good album although no longer easy to find-even in local collector shops. Same label as the Jesse Brady album.
#3 | kim_hp on January 28 2012 23:09:28
I know there's another band that made a cover of 'It's A Mystery', I just can't remember which at the moment... I think it's a woman singing, but it's not Spider. Anyone?

In any case this is a good one, very accurate review. If you like this also check out ISLAND BAND - I'm Your Captain (1982), which has a similar vibe.
#4 | gdazegod on January 28 2012 23:46:03
According to my records, both LISA HARTMAN on her 1982 'Letterock' album, and Seattle melodic rockers WIDOW (on their 1986 'Rock It' album - have covered 'New Romance (It's A Mystery' ).
#5 | reyno-roxx on January 29 2012 13:03:51
Holly Woods and Toronto covered 'New Romance' as well. I had no idea about this cover version by Jump Street though!
#6 | kim_hp on January 29 2012 22:04:29
Thanks for the info guys. I think the Widow version is the one I was thinking about.
#7 | super80boy on March 23 2013 21:21:27
Decent outing by this indie band. There are some good AOR moments here - Standout Tracks: 'Follow Her Home Tonight', 'You Touched Me Here', 'New Romance'
#8 | dangerzone on April 23 2016 16:19:03
This album has always been a favorite of mine, a great period piece of classic AOR. The review is absolutely spot on in every regard.
 
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