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Articles Home » 1976 Articles » Rex - 1976 Rex
Rex - 1976 Rex

YEAR: 1976
CD REISSUE: 2009, Wounded Bird, WOU-4399


LINEUP: Rex Smith - vocals * Lars Hanson, Lou Vandora - guitar * Orville Davis - bass * Mike Ratti - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Trouble * 02 10 Seconds Of Love * 03 Feeling Better * 04 Stay With Me * 05 Call Her Easy * 06 Dead End Kids * 07 I Ccan't Explain * 08 Rock N Roll Dream * 09 Violent Playground


Covered here previously at Glory Daze is former teen idol Rex Smith, who charted with some excellent melodic rock back in the late 70's and early 80's. His 1983 effort 'Camouflage' is a prime example of the genre, but for many, Smith's debut is his masterpiece. Classic U.S. hard rock which typified the mid 70's. As pointed out in other reviews, Smith's brother is Starz's Michael Lee Smith, so Rex had an immediate tie in to the rock community and at the age of 21 unleashed this monster among the rock world. It may have not made a splash initially, but it helped set Rex up nicely for the future and has become a much heralded classic of its kind over the years.

The Songs
Released the same year as Starz's debut, this manages to equal Starz at their own game and match them for brash riffs and overall attitude. It seems Rex was determined on becoming a spokesperson for his generation with a series of devastating anthems reflecting a definite type of disillusion that existed in the 70's. The production veers towards the rough side, but it adds a veneer of harshness exemplified by 'Trouble' with its rousing chorus and brutal riffs. Granted there was a ton of bands pursuing this direction in the same period, but Rex and co sound anything but contrived. The opening riff of 'Ten Seconds Of Love' is remarkably sinister and you can't tell me Nikki Sixx wasn't paying attention to this in 1976, especially when he wrote 'Ten Seconds To Love' in 1983. 'Feeling Better' is superior barroom rock, with a boogie riff heard since time immemorial, but always works. For 1976 this would rate alongside anything by Status Quo, Ted Nugent or AC/DC. Rex takes a stab at the Nazareth 'Love Hurts' sub-genre with 'Stay With Me' which shows signs of his later pop infused direction. Displaying nothing except untamed raunch is 'Call Her Easy' and some saucy riffs, an ode to the backstage beauties of the day who were no doubt clamoring for some of Rex's youthful exuberance. This would easily have found a slot on Starz's debut. The rebellious 'Dead End Kids' is almost Black Sabbath like with the heaviness of the riffs and this could have served as an anthem for the disenfranchised youth of the day hell-bent on mayhem. Just listen to the lyrics about prowling the streets at night. This is followed by an adept cover of The Who's 'I Can't Explain' which takes an updated 70's turn and probably made The Who feel like relics, when they themselves were only around 30 at the time. The galloping 'Rock And Roll Dream' continues the assault and Rex's shrieking vocals highlight the aptly titled 'Violent Playground' which is as aggressive as anything recorded in 1976.

In Summary
The hard rock landscape in the U.S. was so varied in the mid 70's that it seems inconceivable now. Despite the plethora of bands occupying the scene, 'Rex' still manages to stand out to this day, capturing in no uncertain terms the grittiness of the exact year it was released in. Its profile has never been as high as Starz's debut or albums by acts Rex toured with, like Ted Nugent or Kiss, but it measures up in all areas musically. Smith never attempted anything this heavy again after 1977's follow up 'Where Do We Go from Here' and was soon gracing the cover of every teen magazine possible. It shouldn't detract from the magnificence of 'Rex' however, an essential part of the 70's hard rock legacy.

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#1 | gdazegod on July 31 2015 00:47:28
Fantastic album, totally underrated.
#2 | reyno-roxx on July 31 2015 18:51:53
Great band. There is a terrific King Biscuit live show to be found too. According to Orville Davis they recorded an unreleased third album. Rex, however, ditched the band to go solo. A lot of alleged bitterness ensued I believe.
#3 | rkbluez on July 31 2015 18:56:54
Good hard rockin' 70's disc released by Wounded Bird.
#4 | tompa on July 31 2015 23:13:35
One of many good albums from hard rock's golden era. Opens up brilliantly with 'Trouble'.
#5 | gdazegod on August 01 2015 02:42:44
Thanks to Sebastian Kozak for identifying this classic from our archives. He has suggested a few others ass well, which are glaring omissions from the GDM pages. more to follow.. computer work
#6 | Carl Noonan on August 02 2015 11:42:23
It's a great album but 'Where Do We Go From Here' is even better. His vocals are awesome.
#7 | richardb on August 02 2015 14:39:36
I agree with you Carl. I much prefer 'Where do we go from here' 'Do me' (despite the crass lyrics), '7 come 11' and 'Stealin' the night away' are classic cuts.Thumbs Up
#8 | swazi on August 02 2015 23:03:55
This debut has become extremely pricey. One of the discs I missed to purchase years ago. Frown
#9 | gdazegod on August 03 2015 23:20:47
'Where Do We Go From Here' will be reviewed here shortly. We can't have one without the other.
#10 | gdazegod on August 03 2015 23:25:48
Rex - 1976 Trouble
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