Atlantic Rhythm System (aka ARS)


Band members                              Related acts

  line up 1 (1970-72)

- Barry Bailey -- guitar 
- J.R. Cobb -- lead guitar, backing vocals 
- Paul Goddard  (RIP 2014) -- bass 
- Dean Daughtry -- keyboards, backing vocals

- Rodney Justo -- vocals 
- Robert Nix (RIP 2012)-- drums, percussion, backing vocals 

- Roy Yeager - drums, percussion

 

  line up 2 (1972)

- Barry Bailey -- guitar 
- J.R. Cobb -- lead guitar, backing vocals 
- Paul Goddard  (RIP 2014) -- bass 
- Dean Daughtry -- keyboards, backing vocals 

NEW - Ronnie Hammond (RIP 2011) -- vocals, guitar (replaced

  Rodney Justo) 

- Robert Nix (RIP 2012) -- drums, percussion, backing vocals 

- Roy Yeager - drums, percussion

 

  line up xxx (1999)

- Barry Bailey -- lead guitar

- Dean Daughtry - keyboards

- Ronnie Hammond - vocals

- Steve Nathan -- hammond B-3
- R. J. Vealey -- drums and percussion

- Justin Senker -- bass
- Steve Stone -- rhythm guitar, slide guitar
- Robert White Johnson -- background vocals

 

  line up xxx (2003)

- Andy Anderson -- lead vocals (replaced Ronnie Hammond)

- Barry Bailey -- lead guitar),
- Dean Daughtry -- keyboards
- Jim Keeling -- drums
- Justin Senker -- bass

- Steve Stone -- rhythm  guitar

 

  line up xxx (2013)

- David Anderson -- lead guitar

- Dean Daughtry -- keyboards

- Paul Goddard  (RIP 2014) -- bass

- Rodney Justo -- lead vocals

- Jim Keeling -- drums, percussion
- Steve Stone -- rhythm  guitar

 

 

 

Beaverteeth (Rodney Justo)

- The Candymen (Dean Daugherty, Rodney Justo and Robert Nix)

- The Classics IV (J.R. Cobb and Dean Daugherty)

- Robert Nix (solo efforts)

- Noah's Ark (Rodney Justo)

- Rodney & The Mystics

- The Webs 

 

 

 


 

Genre: rock

Rating: 3 stars ***

Title:  Atlantic Rhythm Section

Company: Decca

Catalog: DL 7-5265

Year: 1972

Country/State: Doraville, Georgia

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: --

Available: SOLD

Catalog ID: SOLD

Price: SOLD $50.00

 

One of the more talent, if overlooked 1970s and 80s-era Southern rock bands, these guys had an interesting history that most folks were completely unaware of.  In 1970 music engineer Rodney MIlls raised enough money to build a music studio in the Atlanta suburb of Doraville, Georgia.  Known as Studio One, Mills the decided he needed a house band and quickly rounded up a collection of local talent including local musicians  Barry Bailey (guitar), bassist Paul Goddard, keyboardist Buddy Buie, and guitarist J.R. Cobb (the latter two former members of The Classics IV), as well as ex-Candymen keyboardist Dean Daugherty, singer Rodney Justo, and drummer Robert Nix.

 

Serving as the Studio One house band the group played on a stream of 1970-71 releases by acts like Bonnie Bramlett, Al Kooper, Joe South, B.J. Thomas, and a late inning version of Dennis Yost and the Classics IV. 

 

"Atlantic Rhythm Section" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Love Me Just a Little (Sometime)   (Robert Nix - Dean Daugherty - Buddy Buie) - 6:05

'Love Me Just a Little' opened the album with one of those big, epic rockers that showcased the band's nice blend of pop and Southern rock moves.  The pop edges came in the form of a nice melody and some gorgeously sunny group vocals, while the Bailey-Cobb guitar line-up added a Southern rock punch.    Would have loved to hear this one in a live setting.   rating: **** stars

2.) Baby No Lie  (Robert Nix - Dean Daugherty - Buddy Buie - Barry Bailey) - 3:51

The ballad 'Baby No Lie' was one of the album's more commercial tunes.  Pretty melody, if a tad close to the MOR door.   rating: *** stars

3.) All In Your Mind   (Buddy Buie - J.R Cobb) - 3:18

Maybe it had something to do with Justo's unique voice, or Goddard's melodic bass lines, but the breezy 'All In Your Mind' has always reminded me of The Classic IV's hit 'Spooky'.  Bailey and Cobb turned in some classy moves on this wonderful ballad.  One of the album highlights and I'm guessing the Classic IV reminiscent sound may have had something to do with the song being tapped as the leadoff single.   rating: **** stars

4.) Earnestine (instrumental)  (Robert Nix - Dean Daugherty - Barry Bailey - Paul Goddard) - 2:33

The instrumental 'Ernestine' was the album's first disappointment.  While it deftly showcased Bailey and Cobb's prowess, musically it was a standard and pedestrian slice of boogie-rock.   Forgettable.  rating: ** stars

5.) Forty Days and Forty Nights   (Randall Bramblett - Davis Causey - Bob Jones) - 4:21

The only cover on the debut album, their version of Randall Bramblett's 'Forty Days and Forty Nights' offered up an impressive slice of Southern rock-meets-pop.  Justo really did have a fantastic voice, giving the song a Gregg Allman-styled bittersweet edge that I find immensely appealing.  Kudos to Daughtry's barrelhouse keyboards and to Cobb for the slide guitar moves.   One of those songs you wish would have appeared in an extended format.   rating: **** stars

 

(side 2)

1.) Another Man's Woman (It's So Hard)    (Robert Nix - Dean Daughtry - Buddy Buie) - 4:46

One of my all-time favorite ARS songs, as good as this version was, the "Red Tape" remake with Ronnie Hammond on lead vocals was even better.  The remake stripped off the original's pop-flavorings in favor of a much tougher arrangement with an extended instrumental segment highlighted by a crazed Bailey-Cobb workout.   rating: *** stars

2.) Days of Our Lives  (Buddy Buie - Barry Bailey - J.R. Cobb) - 3:12

A bluesy, mid-tempo ballad, Always loved the guitar-propelled melody on 'Days of Our Lives'.  Yeah, Justo's vocal was a touch melodramatic, but what a melody ...  rating: **** stars

3.) Yours and Mine   (Robert Nix - Buddy Buie) - 2:39

Full of jangle guitars and some nice harmony vocals, 'Yours and Mine' was probably the album's most commercial tune.  Shame nobody was paying attention since it should have been a massive hit for the band.  rating: **** stars

4.) Can't Stand It No More   (Buddy Buie - J.R. Cobb - Rodney Justo) - 4:02

'Can't Stand It No More' found the band trotting out their impressive Southern rocker credentials.  I'll simply say that anyone into classic Allman Brothers is likely to find this one equally impressive.  Damn if Justo didn't have a fantastic voice.   rating: **** stars

5.) One More Problem  (Robert Nix - Dean Daugherty - Barry Bailey - Buddy Buie) - 3:08

With a driving, angry beat and similar lyrics, I've always viewed 'One More Problem' as the band's anti-war statement (remember this came out in 1972).   Not my favorite performance, but once again Justo turned in a nice performance.   rating: *** stars

 

As mentioned, the album spun off a pair of instantly obscure singles:

 

- 1972's 'All In Your Mind' b/w 'Can't Stand It No More' (Decca catalog number 7-32928)

- 1972's 'Earnestine' b/w 'Another Man's Woman' (Decca catalog number 7-32948)

 

 

 


Genre: rock

Rating: 3 stars ***

Title:  Back Up Against the Wall

Company: Decca

Catalog: DL 7-5390

Year: 1972

Country/State: Doraville, Georgia

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: gatefold sleeve

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 5168

Price: $20.00

Continuing their extensive sessions work, the band somehow found time to record a follow-on LP, but not before original singer Rodney Justo decided to tender his resignation.  Increasingly frustrated by the band's lack of financial reward  (being told the band was going to cut some tracks for a kiddy cartoon program apparently pushed him over the edge), Justo headed off to New York and stints as the band leader for B.J. Thomas, an in-demand jingle writer/singer, a couple albums with the band Beaverteeth and a real job working for a Southern beverage distributor.  Originally hired as an engineering assistant at Studio One, Ronnie Hammond had also provided back-up vocals on many of the group's recording sessions.  With those credentials (and as the owner of a great voice), he was subsequently brought in as Justo's replacement.  In spite of the personnel shake-up,1972's Buddy Buie produced "Back Up Against the Wall" proved more consistent and rock-oriented than the debut. Exemplified by tracks like 'Cold Turkey Tenn.', their cover of Joe South's 'Redneck' and the boogie rock title track, Hammond's likeable voice proved a nice match for the band's blend of pop, blues and Southern rock moves. While nothing here was particularly original, the performances were all professional and worth a couple of spins.  Probably the most overlooked album in their catalog (okay, maybe that distinction went to the debut), this one displayed a laidback charm that they never managed to recapture. Highlights included the rollicking opener 'Wrong', the pop-rocker 'Superman' and 'What You Gonna Do About It?'. 

 

"Back Up Against the Wall" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Wrong   (Buddy Buie - J.R. Cobb) - 2:39

Powered by new vocalist Ronnie Hammond, 'Wrong' opened the album with a killer country-blues tinged rocker.  And anyone who doubted J.R. Cobb was a topnotch string bender only needed to listen to his blazing solo. One of the album's standout performances, amazing these guys weren't bigger stars on the Southern rock circuit.   rating: **** stars

2.) Cold Turkey Tenn. (Robert Nix) - 3:12

Admittedly it took awhile for me to warm up to 'Cold Turkey Tenn'.  I originally couldn't get into the song's conventional country-rock base, but then one day the killer refrain stuck a chord with me.   Far from the best song on the album, but still pretty nifty.   rating: *** stars

3.) Will I Live On?   (Robert Nix - Dean Daughtry - 2:46

The first disappointment, 'Will I Live On?' was a conventional Gospel-tinged country number.  Hammond turned in a nice vocal, Cobb churned out another dazzling solo, but the song just wasn't very exciting.   rating: ** stars

4.) A Livin Lovin Wreck   (Blackwell) - 3:08

Anchored by Paul Goddard's pounding bass and Hammond's harmonica, 'A Livin Lovin Wreck' was a  mildly funny slice of boogie rock.  Nothing all that special.   rating: ** stars

5.) Superman   (Delaney Bramblett ) - 3:20

Their cover of Delaney Bramblett's 'Superman' uncover the band's knack for catchy pop-rock moves.   Come to think of it, this one actually sounded like a late-'60s Bramblett track with the addition of some stunningly sweet backing vocals.  Great tune.   rating: **** stars

 

(side 2)
1.) What You Gonna Do About It? (Buddy Buie - Ronnie Hammond ) - 2:54

Another album highlight, 'What You Gonna Do About It?' was a wonderful example of how these guys managed to meld top-40 pop moves with harder Southern rock moves.   rating: **** stars

2.) Conversation   (Buddy Buie - J.R. Cobb) - 3:23

Probably the album's prettiest tune, 'Conversation' was an acoustic ballad showcasing some beautiful acoustic guitars, another nice Hammond lead vocal, and some surprisingly touching lyrics.   rating: **** stars.

3.) Redneck   (Joe South) - 3:43

I've always loved the Joe South original, but their cover of 'Redneck' was pretty good.  It won't make you forget the original, but will do in a pinch.   rating: *** stars

4.) Make Me Believe It   (Buddy Buie - Ronnie Hammond - Robert Nix) - 3:12

A radio-ready ballad, 'Make Me Believe It' was pretty enough, but kind of bland background music.  rating: ** stars

5.) Back Up Against The Wall   (Buddy Buie - J.R. Cobb) - 3:17

Good time boogie rock simply wasn't much more fun than the blazing 'Back Up Against the Wall'.   rating: **** stars

6.) It Must Be Love   (Robert Nix - J.R. Cobb - Dean Daughtry) - 4:00

A dark, slinky, and contageous guitar powered rocker, I bet 'It Must Be Love' was amazing in a live setting.  rating: **** stars

 

As mentioned, Decca tapped the album for a pair of singles:

 

- 1973's 'Back Against the Wall' b/w 'It Must be Done' (Decca catalog number 7-33051)

- 1973's 'Conversation' b/w 'Cold Turkey, Tenn.' (MCA catalog number 40059)

 

While the band hit the road in support of the album,  absent a breakout single the LP did little commercially.  

 

 

 

 

  Charlie Daniels, among others.


Genre: rock

Rating: 3 stars ***

Title:  Third Annual Pipe Dreams

Company: Polydor

Catalog: PD-6037

Year: 1977

Country/State: Doraville, Georgia

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: --

Available: 2

Catalog ID: 5169

Price: $20.00

 

 

Whereas the first two albums served as showcases for producer Buddy Buie penned material, 1973's "Third Annual Pipe Dreams" saw the rest of the band stepping up to the creative plate - every member save drummer Dean Daugherty credited with at least co-writing one track.  Musically the album also marked a subtle change.  With lead singer Ronnie Hammond sounding increasingly comfortable with his surroundings the album was far more consistent that the first two.  Elsewhere, exemplified by tracks like 'Doraville', 'Close the Door' (sporting a killer pair of guitar solos) and 'Angel (What in the World's Come Over Us)' the LP also reflected a modest shift towards a more pop oriented sound.  That wasn't to imply the band had lost touch with their Southern rock roots.  'Join the Race' rocked as hard as anything The Allmans or Skynyrd had churned out; the instrumental 'Blues in Maude's Flat' served to underscore their R&B roots and instrumental prowess, while 'Jesus Hearted People' could never have been pulled off by a band from north of the Mason-Dixon line.  That musical dichotomy probably helped explain the collection's poor commercial performance - too pop for Southern rock fans and too Southern rock for pop fans ....  Still the collection was a complete commercial disappointment.  Released as a single ''Doraville' b/w 'Who You Gonna Run To' (Polydor catalog number PD-14248) provided the band with their first brush with top-40 success.  While it didn't sell as well (peaking at # 75), 'Angel (What in the World's Come Over Us)' b/w 'Get Your Head Out of Your Heart' (Polydor catalog number PD-14262) was actually the better single.  The extended album version featured a killer instrumental jam with some fantastic work by guitarist J.R. Cobb.

 

"Third Annual Pipe Dreams" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Doraville   (Buddy Buie - Robert Nix - Barry Bailey) - 3:28

2.) Jesus Hearted People   (Buddy Buie - Robert Nix - Barry Bailey) - 3:48

3.) Close the Door   (Ronnie Hammond - Paul Goddard) - 3:22

4.) Blues in Maude's Flat (instrumental)  (Green) - 3:47

5.) Join the Race   (Fristo) - 3:57

 

(side 2)
1.) Angel (What in the World's Come Over Us)   (Buddy Buie - Robert Nix - Barry Bailey) - 5:10

2.) Get Your Head Out of Your Heart (Robert Nix - Ronnie Hammond) - 2:28

3.) The War Is Over   (J.R. Cobb - Barry Bailey) - 2:00

4.) Help Yourself   (Buddy Buie - Robert Nix - Barry Bailey) - 2:54

5.) Who You Gonna Run To   (Buddy Buie - Robert Nix - Barry Bailey) - 3:18

 

 

 


Genre: rock

Rating: 3 stars ***

Title:  Dog Days

Company: Polydor

Catalog: PD-6041

Year: 1974

Country/State: Doraville, Georgia

Grade (cover/record): VG / VG

Comments: cut top right corner; original inner sleeve

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 5171

Price: $20.00

 

Maybe due to the fact it was heavily oriented to up-tempo material, 1975's "Dog Days" has always stood as one of my favorite ARS releases.  Exemplified by tracks like 'Boogie Smoogie' and ' It Just Ain't Your Moon', this was clearly Southern rock, but something completely different from the rest of the competition - far more diverse than anything coming out of The Allmans, The Outlaws, Skynryd, 38 Special, etc. Sure, most of the songs had to do with evil women, evil liquer and the pains and strains of being a rocker, but then it was hard to imagine any of their competitors daring to do something like the Latin-flavored 'Cuban Crises'.  With Hammond and company finally seeming comfortable in their studio surroundings, they responded with their most consistent set of material, with much of the album showcasing their potent Bailey-Cobb twin guitar line-up.  

 

"Dog Days" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Crazy   (Buddy Buie - Robert Nix - Dean Daughtry) - 3:07

2.) Boogie Smoogie   (Buddy Buie - Robert Nix - Barry Bailey) - 7:37

3.) Cuban Crisis   (Buddy Buie - Robert Nix - J.R. Cobb) - 3:50

4.) It Just Ain't Your Moon   (Buddy Buie - Robert Nix - Dean Daughtry) - 4:50

 

(side 2)
1.) Dog Days   (Buddy Buie - Robert Nix - Dean Daughtry) - 3:35

2.) Bless My Soul (instrumental)   (J.R. Cobb) - 4:00

3.) Silent Treatment   (Buddy Buie - Robert Nix - Barry Bailey) - 6:15

4.) All Night Rain   (Buddy Buie - Robert Nix - Dean Daughtry - McRee) -3:10

 

 


Genre: rock

Rating: 3 stars ***

Title:  Atlanta Rhythm Section

Company: MCA

Catalog: MCA2-4114

Year: 1977

Country/State: Doraville, Georgia

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: double LP; gatefold sleeve

Available: 2

Catalog ID: 349

Price: $15.00

 

With The Atlanta Rhythm Section having signed to Polydor where the finally began making some commercial headway, it was only natural that MCA/Decca management would reach back into their corporate archives in an attempt to leverage some of their earlier investments and cash-in on the band's sudden popularity.   In this case the result saw MCA simply bundle the first two studio sets together in a quickie two-fer set.   Released under the clever title "Atlanta Rhythm Section" the compilation served as a convenient way to get you hands on 1972's "Atlanta Rhythm Section" and "Back Up Against the Wall".  No extras, nothing new, nothing special  ...  just the two original LPs and a brief band overview.

"Atlantic Rhythm Section" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Love Me Just a Little (Sometime)   (Robert Nix - Dean Daugherty - Buddy Buie) - 6:05

'Love Me Just a Little' opened the album with one of those big, epic rockers that showcased the band's nice blend of pop and Southern rock moves.  The pop edges came in the form of a nice melody and some gorgeously sunny group vocals, while the Bailey-Cobb guitar line-up added a Southern rock punch.    Would have loved to hear this one in a live setting.   rating: **** stars

2.) Baby No Lie  (Robert Nix - Dean Daugherty - Buddy Buie - Barry Bailey) - 3:51

The ballad 'Baby No Lie' was one of the album's more commercial tunes.  Pretty melody, if a tad close to the MOR door.   rating: *** stars

3.) All In Your Mind   (Buddy Buie - J.R Cobb) - 3:18

Maybe it had something to do with Justo's unique voice, or Goddard's melodic bass lines, but the breezy 'All In Your Mind' has always reminded me of The Classic IV's hit 'Spooky'.  Bailey and Cobb turned in some classy moves on this wonderful ballad.  One of the album highlights and I'm guessing the Classic IV reminiscent sound may have had something to do with the song being tapped as the leadoff single.   rating: **** stars

4.) Earnestine (instrumental)  (Robert Nix - Dean Daugherty - Barry Bailey - Paul Goddard) - 2:33

The instrumental 'Ernestine' was the album's first disappointment.  While it deftly showcased Bailey and Cobb's prowess, musically it was a standard and pedestrian slice of boogie-rock.   Forgettable.  rating: ** stars

5.) Forty Days and Forty Nights   (Randall Bramblett - Davis Causey - Bob Jones) - 4:21

The only cover on the debut album, their version of Randall Bramblett's 'Forty Days and Forty Nights' offered up an impressive slice of Southern rock-meets-pop.  Justo really did have a fantastic voice, giving the song a Gregg Allman-styled bittersweet edge that I find immensely appealing.  Kudos to Daughtry's barrelhouse keyboards and to Cobb for the slide guitar moves.   One of those songs you wish would have appeared in an extended format.   rating: **** stars

 

(side 2)

1.) Another Man's Woman (It's So Hard)    (Robert Nix - Dean Daughtry - Buddy Buie) - 4:46

One of my all-time favorite ARS songs, as good as this version was, the "Red Tape" remake with Ronnie Hammond on lead vocals was even better.  The remake stripped off the original's pop-flavorings in favor of a much tougher arrangement with an extended instrumental segment highlighted by a crazed Bailey-Cobb workout.   rating: *** stars

2.) Days of Our Lives  (Buddy Buie - Barry Bailey - J.R. Cobb) - 3:12

A bluesy, mid-tempo ballad, Always loved the guitar-propelled melody on 'Days of Our Lives'.  Yeah, Justo's vocal was a touch melodramatic, but what a melody ...  rating: **** stars

3.) Yours and Mine   (Robert Nix - Buddy Buie) - 2:39

Full of jangle guitars and some nice harmony vocals, 'Yours and Mine' was probably the album's most commercial tune.  Shame nobody was paying attention since it should have been a massive hit for the band.  rating: **** stars

4.) Can't Stand It No More   (Buddy Buie - J.R. Cobb - Rodney Justo) - 4:02

'Can't Stand It No More' found the band trotting out their impressive Southern rocker credentials.  I'll simply say that anyone into classic Allman Brothers is likely to find this one equally impressive.  Damn if Justo didn't have a fantastic voice.   rating: **** stars

5.) One More Problem  (Robert Nix - Dean Daugherty - Barry Bailey - Buddy Buie) - 3:08

With a driving, angry beat and similar lyrics, I've always viewed 'One More Problem' as the band's anti-war statement (remember this came out in 1972).   Not my favorite performance, but once again Justo turned in a nice performance.   rating: *** stars

 

(side 3)

1.) Wrong   (Buddy Buie - J.R. Cobb) - 2:39

Powered by new vocalist Ronnie Hammond, 'Wrong' opened the album with a killer country-blues tinged rocker.  And anyone who doubted J.R. Cobb was a topnotch string bender only needed to listen to his blazing solo. One of the album's standout performances, amazing these guys weren't bigger stars on the Southern rock circuit.   rating: **** stars

2.) Cold Turkey Tenn. (Robert Nix) - 3:12

Admittedly it took awhile for me to warm up to 'Cold Turkey Tenn'.  I originally couldn't get into the song's conventional country-rock base, but then one day the killer refrain stuck a chord with me.   Far from the best song on the album, but still pretty nifty.   rating: *** stars

3.) Will I Live On?   (Robert Nix - Dean Daughtry - 2:46

The first disappointment, 'Will I Live On?' was a conventional Gospel-tinged country number.  Hammond turned in a nice vocal, Cobb churned out another dazzling solo, but the song just wasn't very exciting.   rating: ** stars

4.) A Livin Lovin Wreck   (Blackwell) - 3:08

Anchored by Paul Goddard's pounding bass and Hammond's harmonica, 'A Livin Lovin Wreck' was a  mildly funny slice of boogie rock.  Nothing all that special.   rating: ** stars

5.) Superman   (Delaney Bramblett ) - 3:20

Their cover of Delaney Bramblett's 'Superman' uncover the band's knack for catchy pop-rock moves.   Come to think of it, this one actually sounded like a late-'60s Bramblett track with the addition of some stunningly sweet backing vocals.  Great tune.   rating: **** stars

 

(side 4)
1.) What You Gonna Do About It? (Buddy Buie - Ronnie Hammond ) - 2:54

Another album highlight, 'What You Gonna Do About It?' was a wonderful example of how these guys managed to meld top-40 pop moves with harder Southern rock moves.   rating: **** stars

2.) Conversation   (Buddy Buie - J.R. Cobb) - 3:23

Probably the album's prettiest tune, 'Conversation' was an acoustic ballad showcasing some beautiful acoustic guitars, another nice Hammond lead vocal, and some surprisingly touching lyrics.   rating: **** stars.

3.) Redneck   (Joe South) - 3:43

I've always loved the Joe South original, but their cover of 'Redneck' was pretty good.  It won't make you forget the original, but will do in a pinch.   rating: *** stars

4.) Make Me Believe It   (Buddy Buie - Ronnie Hammond - Robert Nix) - 3:12

A radio-ready ballad, 'Make Me Believe It' was pretty enough, but kind of bland background music.  rating: ** stars

5.) Back Up Against The Wall   (Buddy Buie - J.R. Cobb) - 3:17

Good time boogie rock ... It wasn't particularly sophisticated, but with a cold beer in your hand, there simply wasn't much more fun than the blazing 'Back Up Against the Wall'.   rating: **** stars

6.) It Must Be Love   (Robert Nix - J.R. Cobb - Dean Daughtry) - 4:00

A dark, slinky, and contageous guitar powered rocker, I bet 'It Must Be Love' was amazing in a live setting.  rating: **** stars

 

 

 


Genre: rock

Rating: 4 stars ****

Title:  Are You Ready!

Company: Polydor

Catalog: PD-2-6236

Year: 1979

Country/State: Doraville, Georgia

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: double LP; gatefold sleeve

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 5170

Price: $20.00

 

 

Spurred on by the band's recent commercial successes, for all intents and purposes, 1979's "Are You Ready!" served as a somewhat premature 'best of' compilation.  A 14 track, double album set, the collection offered up a mixture of concert performances and in-studio numbers (supposedly recorded before an audience). Perhaps a reflection of extensive post-production touch ups, as a live testament the set was surprisingly impressive with vocalist Ronnie Hammond acquitting himself with honor throughout the set.  Understandably the emphasis was on recent accomplishments, with about half of the tracks coming from recent studio sets ("A Rock and Roll Alternative", "Red Tape" and "Champagne Jam").  For better or worse most of the performances offered up pretty close replicas of the studio versions, though frequently with more chops than you'd have expected from the radio version ('Champagne Jam' and their Lynyrd Skynyrd tribute 'Large Time').  While being able to replicate their studio sound probably kept the fans happy, it didn't make for the most exciting concert set you'd ever heard.  That left the one new song (the closing cover of 'Long Tall Sally') and a couple of numbers with modestly different arrangements as the collection highlights; notably a blazing 'Angel (What in the World's Come Over Us)' and an extended 'Another Man's Woman' - be sure to check out Paul Goddard's stunning bass solo on the latter.  

 

So what's the bottom line on this one ?  Well it wasn't the perfect double album live set (I don't think that creature exists), but compared to most of the competition, this one was darned strong.  With the exception of an extended 'Another Man's Woman', the performances were short and focused with a minimal off showboating.  Personally I wish they would have featured more deep cuts (hey I would have loved something from their Candymen, or Classics IV catalogs), but a couple more tunes off the earlier LPs would have been nice - 'Forty Days and Forty Nights' and 'Wrong' would have been nice for hardcore fans.   Admittedly minor complaints.  The overall results were great, making for one of the most enjoyable and consistent live sets I've ever heard.   Well worth checking out, though it is getting hard to locate vinyl copies.

 

"Are You Ready!" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Prelude: Tara's Theme   (Steiner)  - 6:15

So it's a concert album which means there had to be some pre-recorded introductory music and if you're ARS, why not 'Tara's Theme' ?   rating: ** stars

2.) Sky High   (Buddy Buie - Robert Nix - Ronnie Hammond - Dean Daughtry) - 6:05

Off of 1976's "A Rock and Roll Alternative" 'Sky High' had been one of their earlier hits probably explaining why it opened the show.   All I can say is that the live rendition sounded almost exactly like the studio original with some classic  blazing guitar work from Barry Bailey and J.R. Cobb.   rating: **** stars

3.) Champagne Jam  (Buddy Buie - Robert Nix - J.R. Cobb) - 5:14

Maybe it had something to do with the song's easy going, breezy charm, but I've always had a special place in my heart for 'Champagne Jam' - particularly the late Paul Goddard's wonderful bass solo.   Again, even with the solo spots, the live version sounded just as good as the studio original.   rating: **** stars

4.) I'm Not Gonna' Let It Bother Me Tonight (Buddy Buie - Dean Daughtry - Robert Nix) - 5:03

Another track off of 1978's "Champagne Jam", ' I'm Not Gonna' Let It Bother Me Tonight' was one of those tracks that served to distinguish ARS from the rest of the crowded southern rockers field - smooth and sophisticated, you simply couldn't image bands like Lynyrd Skynyrd, Molly Hatchet, or The Outlaws taking on something like this.  One of Ronnie Hammond's standout performances.   rating: **** stars

5.) Large Time   (Buddy Buie - Robert Nix - Barry Bailey) - 3:28

Also off of "Champagne Jam" ...   Hammond's dedication to Lynyrd Skynyrd seemingly injected a sense of urgency into 'Large Time'.   Still, other than standing as a forum for Bailey and Cobb to showcase their chops, there wasn't a great deal to the song.   rating: *** stars

 

(side 2)
1.) Back Up Against the Wall   (Buddy Buie - J.R. Cobb) - 4:06 

Good time boogie rock ... It wasn't particularly sophisticated, but with a cold beer in your hand, there simply wasn't much more fun than the blazing 'Back Up Against the Wall'.   rating: **** stars

2.) Angel (What in the World's Come Over Us)  (Buddy Buie - Robert Nix - Barry Bailey) - 7:17

Off of "Third Annual Pipe Dream", 'Angel (What in the World's Come Over Us)' was one of the prettiest things the band ever recorded.   At the same time, powered by Bailey and Cobb's screaming leads and Goddard's pounding bass, the song had lots of brawn - no sappy moon-in-June crap for these guys and easily one of the album's highlights.   rating: **** stars

3.) Conversation (Buddy Buie - J.R. Cobb) - 3:57

Another track off of "Back Up Against the Wall", 'Conversation' was probably that album's prettiest tune. A sweet acoustic ballad showcasing some beautiful acoustic guitars, the song had another nice Hammond lead vocal, and some surprisingly touching lyrics.   rating: **** stars.

4.) Imaginary Lover   (Buddy Buie - Robert Nix - Dean Daughtry) - 5:38

Yeah it was a massive hit for the band (# 7 pop), but in spite of the rique lyric (I always thought it was about self-pleasurement), I always found it a bit too adult contemporary for my tastes.   Admittedly the Bailey-Cobb guitars were fantastic.   The live version didn't stray too far from the studio version.   rating: *** stars

 

(side 3)

1.) Doraville   (Buddy Buie - Dean Daughtry - Robert Nix) - 4:09

Another "Third Annual Pipe Dream" composition, 'Doraville' was one of the best our-hometown songs ever recorded.   Commercial, but punchy, this was another album highlight.   rating: **** stars

2.) Another Man's Woman  (Buddy Buie - Robert Nix - Barry Bailey) -14:33

This marked the band's third version of 'Another Man's Woman'.  They originally recorded it on their 1972 debut.  It was then redone for 1976's "Red Tape".   One of my all-time favorite ARS songs, as good as the original version was, the "Red Tape" remake with Hammond replacing Rodney Justo on lead vocals was even better.  The remake stripped off the original's pop-flavorings in favor of a much tougher arrangement with an extended instrumental segment highlighted by a crazed Bailey-Cobb workout.  The "Red Tape" arrangement served as the baseline for this extended concert version.  Yeah, clocking in at over 14 minutes, it was way too long, but Goddard's bass solo had to be heard.   rating: **** stars

 

(side 4)
1.) Georgia Rhythm   (Buddy Buie - J.R. Cobb - Robert Nix) - 5:40

Another track off of "A Rock and Roll Alternative", I guess I've just had my fill of life's-tough-on-the-road tunes.   rating: *** stars

2.) So Into You   (Buddy Buie - Robert Nix - Dean Daughtry) - 7:47

Also off "A Rock and Roll Alternative", 'So Into You' had served as the band's breakout hit (# 7 pop).   With it's slinky adult contemporary feel, it's always reminded me a bit of their Classics IV heritage.  The live version sounds almost exactly like the studio version with some Bailey-Cobb soloing tacked on at the end.   rating: **** stars

3.) Long Tall Sally   (Johnson - Penniman - Blackwell) -3:41

The lone "new" studio song on the album, their cover of the rock chestnut 'Long Tall Sally' simply didn't show a great deal of originality in terms of choices or performance.  Disappointing way to close the album.    rating: ** stars

 

 


Genre: rock

Rating: 4 stars ****

Title:  Eufamla

Company: Platinum

Catalog: 15095 95532

Year: 1999

Country/State: Doraville, Georgia

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: CD, includes insert

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 536

Price: $20.00

 

Ronnie Hammond's unexpected 2013 death led me to pull out my ARS collection for the first time in a decade.  It also led me to rediscover some of the things I originally loved about the band and in doing so I discovered the band had continued to tour and record long after I'd lost my connection with them.  It only took me thirteen years to catch up, but 1999's Buddy Buie produced "Euffamla" was the first of their "new" collections to come into my hands.  The funny thing is in spite of the passing years, this sounded like prime ARS.  Lead singer Hammond looked older, but his voice remained instantly recognizable and in spite of some personnel changes (the 1999 line-up featured lead guitarist Barry Bailey, keyboardists Dean Daughtry and Steve Nathan, singer Ronnie Hammond, drummer R. J. Vealey, bassist Justin Senker, and rhythm guitarist Steve Stone), the band's patented sound remained as tight and enjoyable as ever.  And that old school sound might have explained the album's failure to attract much commercial attention.   Anyone looking for syn-drums, auto-tuning, and other state-of-the-art production effects was likely to have found this set hopelessly out-of-date.  Included among the eleven tracks were three fairly interesting ARS remakes ('I'm Not the Only One', 'Who You Gonna Run To', and 'What Happened To Us').  The rest of the collection was divided between patented ballads ('Dreamy Alabama' and 'When') and mid-tempo rockers ('Fine Day (The Day You Come Back To Me)' and 'Unique').   Completely overlooked by the audience (good luck finding a review of the CD), the album was a fine return to form for the band.

 

"Eufamla" track listing:
1.) I'm Not the Only One
   (Buddy Buie - Ronnie Hammond) - 5:19

Exemplified by the pounding, mid-tempo rocker 'I'm Not the Only One', Barry Bailey's one of rock's most overlooked guitarists.  His playing is always economical, not particularly showy, but always effective and I've always loved the tone he gets out of his guitars and on the opener he showcases his classy style on two solos.  A remake of a tune off their earlier "Truth In an Altered Structure", I always liked the original version of the tune, but this one's mighty fine and the harmony vocals are killer.  Give it the edge in a head-to-head competition.  "The album opens with a new version of this song from the 1989 album Truth… A slightly faster pace and more powerful presentation make this a much better version, featuring Hammond's vocals and Bailey's guitar work."  rating: **** stars

2.) Who You Gonna Run To   (Buddy Buie - J.R. Cobb - Robert Nix) - 3:36

Originally recorded for "Third Annual Pipe Dreams", the remake of 'Who You Gonna Run To' was given a slightly harder blues-rock edge.  Interestingly, this time around I'd give the nod to the earlier version.  "Another song gets a new rendering, but this time it's an early classic from 1974's Third Annual… With state of the art production work and a driving, up tempo approach, the song is brought to life again-what once was old is new again."    rating: *** stars

3.) Dreamy Alabama   (Buddy Buie - J.R. Cobb - Ronnie Hammond) - 4:35

After two ARS remakes, 'Dreamy Alabama' introduced the first new composition.  Musically it started out as a smooth and glistening lesson in Alabama geography.  Classic ARS with one of Bailey's prettiest solos.   "The first new song on the album is a classic. A slower tune in a style ARS had used to classic effect on multiple songs previously, the lyrics reflect on a pastoral Southern setting and related memories, brought alive by a great Hammond vocal, lovely musical support and pristine production."  rating: **** stars

4.) Nothing's As Bad As It Seems   (Buddy Buie - J.R. Cobb - Ronnie Hammond) - 3:22

The first minor disappointment, the faux Carribbean beat and greet card lyrics sounded like a castoff Jimmy Buffett tune.   I can live without this one ..."This mid-paced song extends some themes from the song before it in a musical presentation nicely compliments the lyrics. "Ups and downs, highs and lows…what it all means a higher power knows…"   rating: ** stars

5.) When   (Buddy Buie - Dean Daughtry) - 4:39

Another beautiful and radio-ready ballad, 'When' showcased one of Bailey's prettiest solos.  

Another beautiful, slower paced song that features great guitar solos by Bailey and yearning vocals by Hammond asking an eternal question-"I know love is the answer, the question is..." More great ARS.  rating: *** stars

6.) You AIn't Seen Nothing Yet  (Buddy Buie - J.R. Cobb - McKibben)-4:21

A jazzy blues-tinged number, 'You Ain't Seen Nothing Yet' seemed a bit too lounge act-ish for the band's own good, but the track was saved from complete dismisal by the sterling title track chorus.   "Featuring an arresting keyboard intro, this song of hope rolls at an easy pace behind Hammond's lyrical musings and Bailey's guitar explorations. A unique tune and another classic."   rating: *** stars

7.) Fine Day (The Day You Come Back To Me)   (Buddy Buie - J.R. Cobb - Ronnie Hammond) - 3:49

Yeah, it definitely sounded old school, even to my ancient ears, but that was meant as a compliment.  A beautiful mid-tempo ballad powered by strumming acoustic guitars, a killer melody, and some simply glistening harmony vocals from the band, its hard to imagine this one didn't garner some airplay.   The band's website described it as: "The great new songs keep coming on this song of celebration over love returned that showcases again the band's great ensemble performance of a fine song."  rating: **** stars

8.) What Happened To Us   (Buddy Buie - Ronnie Hammond) - 3:49

Another ARS remake, the opening chords have always reminded me of another song (wish I could put my finger on it ...).  A pretty and radio-friendly AOR ballad that should have returned the band to the airwaves, though it was a bit too corporate for my ears.  "Another song from "Truth"… that is given new life here. The pace seems to pick up a little with this version, and the lyrical questions of love and loss are more engaging here with a lighter touch."

9.) Unique   (Buddy Buie - J.R. Cobb - Ronnie Hammond) - 3:29

If there was a song on the album that captured the classic ARS sound, then it was the up-tempo, reflective 'Unique'.  Hammond seldom sounded as comfortable and the song had one of those melodies that climbed into your head and simply wouldn't leave.  Killer solo from Bailey.   "The tempo picks up again with this reaffirming song reflecting on one's place in the modern world with solid musical backing. "I'm barely afloat with a hole in my boat up a creek but I ain't that…""    rating: **** stars

10.) How Can You Do This?   (Buddy Buie - J.R. Cobb - Ronnie Hammond) - 4:11

The first time I heard this song it made me hit repeat on the CD player while I sat there and reflected on a part of my life that I hadn't contemplated in a decade.  I've always considered myself to have been blessed and moved on from this painful part of my life, but  I can't think of many songs that have had a similar impact on me.  I think it's autobiographical - I seem  to remember Hammond ran into a series of personal and medical problems that impacted his personal life.  Regardless, it was one of the prettiest things they ever wrote and it's also one of  the ultimate divorce songs ...     "Another slow, beautiful ARS song that in words and music captures the heartbreak of a relationship coming to an end."  rating: **** stars

11.) What's Up Wid That? (instrumental)   (Steve Stone - Buddy Buie - Ronnie Hammond - Dean Daughtry) - 3:07

ARS gets funky ...  yeah it was a throwaway instrumental, but mindless fun.   "The album closes with an instrumental-the first recorded by ARS since their Dog Days album of 1975. It leaves one wishing they had done this more often, as the virtuoso playing and energy of the performance show to great effect a band that has been playing for over 25 years and hasn't lost a thing."   rating: *** stars

  

 

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