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Articles Home » 1980 Articles » Iron City Houserockers - 1980 Have A Good Time But..Get Out Alive
Iron City Houserockers - 1980 Have A Good Time But..Get Out Alive

ARTIST: Iron City Houserockers
ALBUM: Have A Good Time But..Get Out Alive
YEAR: 1980
CD REISSUE: 1999, Rock Heritage/Cleveland Intl Records, 5001


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 Have A Good Time (But Get Out Alive) * 02 Don't Let Them Push You Around * 03 Pumping Iron * 04 Hypnotized * 05 Price Of Love * 06 Angela * 07 We're Not Dead Yet * 08 Blondie * 09 Old Man Bar * 10 Junior's Bar * 11 Runnin' Scared * 12 Rock Ola


Here's the second LP from Pittsburgh's Iron City Houserockers which comes under the GDM microscope. The band continued on after their opening salvo 'Love's So Tough' had raised a few eyebrows through the mid-east regions of the USA. ICH are still pedalling a gritty style of rock (a.k.a. heartland rock) which is probably more about playing bars and small clubs rather than large arenas, though with MCA Records in their corner they had the backing, but not necessarily the fanbase nor the songs. Mick Ronson, Ian Hunter, and Steve Van Zandt handled production chores, though (according to Wikipedia), Van Zandt left mid-way through the sessions due to creative differences with Ronson and Hunter. At the time of release, Rolling Stone and Village Voice provided good PR, so there was a push for ICH's music, but the industry was still getting over disco and trying to understand what power pop and new wave was all about. ICH didn't fit any of those sub-genres, and it's unclear what their radio coverage was like outside of Pennsylvania, Ohio and the Tri-State area.

The Songs
The long-winded title track kicks off the album. A rabble rouser, this one sung straight out of the backstreets of the rust-belt. 'Pumping Iron' typifies the ICH sound, tappy piano and ever-present mouth harp (more so than Huey Lewis & The News). Grushecky sounds like he has morphed into Tom Petty on 'Hypnotized', the spoken word parts are kinda cool. The song itself is about television commercials. A topic that was relevant then as it is now. 'Price Of Love' is the album's first of three ballads, this one is quite nice actually, the band then reverting to a fast-paced power-pop ditty called 'Angela', the band proving they can change it up when required. 'We're Not Dead Yet' is a dramatic affair, followed by another power-pop type effort called 'Blondie'. The second ballad 'Old Man Bar' sounds like a sea-shanty, with the accordion providing the backdrop. 'Junior's Bar' on the other hand is a pumping tune, well suited to ICH heartland rock, as is the bluesy bar-room boogie of 'Runnin' Scared', while the third ballad 'Rock Ola' is a mournful piece which concludes the LP.

In Summary
ICH would continue on with their brand of heartland rock well into the 80's, a few more LP's would follow. Joe Grushecky would eventually take his music down a different path years later, though at last report, he was still out there doing his thing.

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