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Articles Home » 1979 Articles » Iron City Houserockers - 1979 Love's So Tough
Iron City Houserockers - 1979 Love's So Tough

ARTIST: Iron City Houserockers
ALBUM: Love's So Tough
YEAR: 1979
CD REISSUE: 1999, Cleveland International Records, 5002


LINEUP: Joe Grushecky - lead vocals, guitar * Gary Scalese - guitar * Art Nardini - bass * Gil Snyder - keyboards * Ned E. Rankin - drums * Marc Reisman - harmonica

Additional Musicians: Billy Cross - slide guitar, guitar * Denny Martin - accordion * Richard Reising, Susan Lynch, Rodney Psyka, Tampa Lann - background vocals

TRACK LISTING: 01 I Can't Take It * 02 Hideaway * 03 Turn It Up * 04 Dance With Me * 05 Love So Tough * 06 Veronica * 07 Heroes Are Hard To Find * 08 Stay With Me Tonight * 09 I'm Lucky


Here's the first of our series of Iron City Houserockers articles. They are a band that were a popular drawcard through the Rust Belt region of the USA, releasing a series of LP's during they melodic rock heyday of the late 70's and early 80's. Led by the larger than life legend Joe Grushecky, ICH started life off as the Brick Alley Band during the 1976-1977 timeframe, before changing their handle to the Iron City Houserockers at the behest of Cleveland International Records label manager Steve Popovich. After recording some demos for that label, ICH were eventually picked up by MCA. This, their debut 'Love's So Tough' was released in April 1979.

The Songs
The ICH sound is mostly a heartland rock sound, with a dose of Bruce Springsteen, Tom Petty and the J Geils Band in the mix. It's a no frills collection, which enabled the band to get some runs on the board in their first recorded attempt. Leading off with 'I Can't Take It', the tippy-tappy piano from Gil Snyder drives this from the get-go, with a typically Springsteen like vocal from Grushecky. 'Hideaway' is a high-energy affair which sits in the front of the total blues-wash of 'Turn It Up'. Marc Reisman's soulful harmonica is part of the recipe on the laid-back 'Dance With Me', it features heavily on the title-track 'Love So Tough' too, though this song is bit more upbeat. 'Veronica' nicks a few hand-clap ideas from fellow Rust Belt icon Donnie Iris, and overall sounds like the Rolling Stones might have performed around the same timeframe. 'Heroes Are Hard To Find' is played in an anthem style, sing-a-long choruses etc, and Snyder's barroom piano to the fore. 'Stay With Me Tonight' has a vague resemblance to the old Them chestnut 'Here Comes The Night', the album finishing up with the bruising bar band rocker 'I'm Lucky'.

In Summary
The album reached #201 on the Billboard charts. However this was the start of something promising for the Pittsburgh based band, with subsequent albums bo0sting their profile through the early 80's period. Read more about these albums elsewhere on GDM as they come to pass.

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