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Articles Home » 1979 Articles » Point Blank - 1979 Airplay
Point Blank - 1979 Airplay

ARTIST: Point Blank
ALBUM: Airplay
YEAR: 1979
CD REISSUE: 1993, MCA (Japan), MVCM-353


LINEUP: John O' Daniel - vocals * Rusty Burns - guitar * Kim Davis - guitar * Bill Randolph - bass * Buzzy Gruen - drums * Steve Hardin - keyboards

TRACK LISTING: 01 Mean To Your Queenie * 02 Two Time Loser * 03 Shine On * 04 Penthouse Pauper * 05 Danger Zone * 06 Louisana Leg * 07 Takin' It Easy * 08 Thunder And Lightning * 09 Changed My Mind


Long time favourites here at Glory Daze are Texan boogie legends Point Blank, who have been covered here extensively, although inexplicably their first three albums haven't been touched thus far. 'Airplay' followed the 1976 self-titled debut and 1977's 'Second Season' and it's safe to say the band was making a name for themselves with their powerful style of Texan rock. ZZ Top producer Bill Ham returned as producer and the first traces of a more melodic direction are hinted at here. The heaviness of the first two albums remains however, lending quite an intriguing mixture to the album. As has always been the case with Airplay's history this album should have propelled them into the major leagues. It's truly unfathomable how these guys never leapt into the same category as the stale likes of .38 Special, Molly Hatchet, ZZ Top etc.

The Songs
'Mean To Your Queenie' is faithful to the bands boogie roots, an upbeat opener with a subtle blend of tough riffs and extensive harmonica use. The chorus shows the bands knack for a useful hook, a great start to proceedings. 'Two Time Loser' is more moody, definitely sounding like a 'Second Season' outtake, but again with outstanding vocals in the chorus and Burns' usual melodic guitar shadings. 'Shine On' is a near ballad dominated by some obvious synth work, very restrained for these guys, but a quite emotional piece of work. Upping the ante by several quotients is the blazing hard rock of 'Penthouse Pauper', one of the heaviest songs the band ever wrote, which is saying something. The chorus verges on pomp with those operatic sounding vocals and keyboards pumping away, meshing nicely with the brute force of the Southern riffs. The instrumental section is an obvious copy of Deep Purple's 'Burn', with the organ and guitar solos both clearly inspired by the work of Jon Lord and Ritchie Blackmore. 'Danger Zone' eases the ferocity several notches, much slower and taking the approach of the first two tracks. 'Louisiana Leg' tears the house down however, another fast Southern classic with riffs all over the place, again reminiscent of Purple with the respective organ and guitar solos. This destroys the competition in 1979, only nobody seemed to realize it at the time sadly. 'Takin' It Easy' does just that, moving at a snail's pace and relying on slow, grinding rhythms for effect. There's nothing soft about 'Thunder And Lightning', with the crunch again suggesting 'Second Season's hard rock musings, the riffs on a notch that someone like ZZ Top couldn't even come close to. One of the bands best songs in their entire catalogue has to be the atmospheric genius of 'Changed My Mind'. It's an undiscovered masterpiece, full of haunting harmonies and riffs and somewhat of an epic at six minutes. There are some interesting tempo changes, with the solos taken up a level or two, Burns in particular rattling off some timeless guitar work.

In Summary
When reading Burns' interview here at Glory Daze way back in 2002 he maintains Point Blank's sound had nothing to do with Southern Rock and was purely a Texan concoction. You can definitely hear it on 'Airplay', although it's easy to still describe it as Southern occasionally as I did above. Regardless the album did marginal business despite its excellence and 1980's 'The Hard Way' was even heavier, although signaling the end of the O' Daniel era sadly. This is the band at their best and as great as their pair of AOR albums were in the early 80's, I'd have to choose this over either of those if asked.

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#1 | Eric on March 17 2013 02:08:14
'Mean To Your Queenie' got a lot of air play at the time. Great tune, even better album.
#2 | AOR Lee on March 17 2013 06:25:11
I have the vinyl, very strong album and accurate review. Penthouse Pauper is a real eye opener!
#3 | rkbluez on March 18 2013 12:48:32
Agree with Dangerzone here the O'Daniel stuff especially the "Airplay" and "Hard Way" albums blow the following AOR stuff out of the water. "American Excess" isn't bad in fact it's quite good just not of the same caliber as the Johnny O era stuff. On A Roll to me was just plain AOR commercial rubbish.
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