Band members Related acts
- Terrence Boylan (aka Terry Boylan) -- vocals, guitar
- Jeff Baxter -- guitar
- Arnold Belnick -- violin
- Ben Benay -- guitar
- Larry Carlton -- guitar
- Chevy Chase -- keyboards, percussion
- Don Felder -- guitar
- Victor Feldman -- percussion
- Gary Foster --- sax, flute
- Jim Gordon -- drums
- Jay Grayson -- guitar
- Ed Greene -- drums
- Paul Harris -- keyboards
- Don Henley -- backing vocals
- John Holbrook -- bass
- David Kemper -- drums
- Russ Kunkle -- bass
- Joy Lyle -- violin
- Don Palmer -- violin
- Michael Pocorao -- bass
- Will McFarland -- guitar, bass
- Michael Omartian -- keyboards
- Emil Richards -- percussion
- Timothy B. Schmit (aka Timothy B. Schmidt) -- backing vocals
- Illke Talvi -- violin
- Jai Winding -- keyboards
- Dennis Whitted -- drums
- The PreTeens
Rating: 3 stars ***
Country/State: Buffalo, New York
Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+
Comments: original inner sleeve
Catalog ID: 6349
The lone Appletree Theater LP has been a long standing personal favorite and even though I've owned a couple of Terence Boylan solo albums for years, for some odd reason I never made the connection between the two ... So much for my in-depth knowledge of 1960s and 1970s popular music ...
Released in 1980, the self-produced "Suzy" was Terence Boylan's third solo studio album and like the first two, this one disappeared without a trace. That was a major shame since about half of the album was thoroughly enjoyable; especially if you grew up during that timeframe and were a product of that special Southern California "yacht rock" sound that dominated mid-1970s airwaves. Backed by an all-star cast of L.A. sessions players, including Toto's Michael Pocorao, Steely Dan's Jeff Skunk Baxter, and most of The Eagles, the album managed to capture the best of that era without the pretentiousness that marred so much of that timeframe. Boylan was blessed with a great voice, a knack for crafting catchy melodies (check out the single 'Tell Me), and a knack for razor sharp lyrics (long time buddies Walter Becker and Donald Fagan would have been proud of a song like 'College Life'). I hate to compare him to other acts, but imagine a more commercial, less sensitive version of Jackson Browne and you'd at least have a place to start. A longtime friend of Browne, Boylan even looked a bit like an older, more world weary Browne. Anyhow, it made for a great album to play spot-the-influence with 'Shake Your Fiorucci' offering up an especially nice version of the game with nods to The Rolling Stones and Derek & the Dominos. Had side two contained a couple of up tempo rockers, you'd be talking about this one in the same breath as those better known late-1970s Southern California based acts ...
"Suzy" track listing:
1.) Suzy (Terence Boylan) - 2:51 rating: *** stars
Opening up with some nice jangle rocker guitar (courtesy of Will McFarland), the mid tempo rocker 'Suzy' sound very much like a Jackson Browne track. Dark, intense, catchy, and very commercial - Boylan sounded uncannily like Browne on this one.
2.) Shake Your Fiorucci (Terence Boylan) - 2:31 rating: **** stars
Okay, I had no idea what a Fiorucci was ...turns out it's a reference to a high end Italian fashion designer. In this case I think Boylan may been referring to Fiorucci as a maker of blue jeans. Regardless, the result was a scathing and funny stab at the hip and happenin' disco crowd. This time out Boylan sounded like Bryan Ferry with some hysterical nods to The Rolling Stones and Derek and the Dominos.
3.) College Life (Terence Boylan) - 4:40 rating: **** stars
Attending Bard College in the late '60s Boylan actually spent time with Donald Fagen and Walter Becker. They participated on his debut album. Their influences were clearly long standing given the song sounded so much like an early Steely Dan song. Complete with catchy melody, hard to forget chorus, and take-no-prisoners lyric, 'College Life' has always been one of my favorite performances. Hard to imagine this one was not tapped as a single at a time when The Dan was all over the airwaves.
4.) Dump It In a River (Terence Boylan) - 4:06 rating: **** stars
The first couple of times I heard 'Dump It In a River' I wasn't even sure Boylan was the singer ... his voice sounded so much deeper and rawer. Musically it was almost a slice of Americana roots music with a very dark and ominous feel - the lyric perhaps being advice to dump an unwanted child in a river. I'll admit the disturbing lyric has always been a mystery to me. Will McFarlane contributed the stunning acoustic guitar.
5.) $50 an Hour (Terence Boylan) - 2:51 rating: **** stars
No idea what the title referred to ... Another bouncy, commercial melody with caustic lyrics seemingly decrying modern commercialism that would have sounded great on top-40 radio. 'Course the nasty word ensured that this was never going to get on radio play lists. Kind of a Warren Zevon flavor here.
6.) Roll Your Own (Terence Boylan) - 2:48 rating: *** stars
Side one's most radio friendly offering, 'Roll Your Own' was a pretty "yacht rock' styled mid tempo ballad highlighting a nod to T.S. Eliot (remember Mr. Boylan was a product of Bard College) and McFarlane's fantastic lead guitar. Shame the song faded out just as McFarlane's was really starting to play ...
A strong candidate for the yacht rock catalog, 'Did She Finally Get To You' was a pretty enough atmospheric ballad, but sounded a bit over-polished ... kind of like one of those late-1970s Toto, Christopher Cross, or Michael McDonald-era Doobie Brothers songs that were almost more product than music. Perhaps nothing more than coincidence, but Toto bassist Michael Pocorao played on the track with Eagles Don Henley and Timothy B. Schmidt providing background vocals. The track was tapped as a promotional single:
-1980's 'Did She Finally Get You' b/w 'Did She Finally Get You' (Asylum catalog number E-47028)
2.) Tell Me (Terence Boylan) - 3:53 rating: *** stars
Opening up with tinkling electric piano, the ballad 'Tell Me' sounded like something Stephen Bishop, or Christopher Cross might have recorded (yeah I'll admit Boylan's voice was way better than those two contemporaries). Very late-1970s vibe which meant it was soulless, but radio friendly. Nice chorus and harmony vocals from Timothy B. Schmidt with Steely Dan guitarist Skunk Baxter featured, though his contributions were all but invisible. As a creature of '70s radio, I'll admit this one is a hidden pleasure. The track was tapped for a quick disappearing single:
- 1980's 'Tell Me' b/w 'Going Home' (Asylum catalog number E-46631)
3.) Ice and Snow (Terence Boylan) - 3:20 rating: *** stars
With inspiration apparently drawn from H. Scott Fitzgerald' story of the same name, the jazzy chords that opened 'Ice and Snow' sounded like an "Aja" outtake crossed with something from Al Stewart. Great if you liked Steely Dan-styled jazz and Stewart-styled narratives. Not so much if you weren't a big fan of the two acts... The ornate orchestration sounded a bit out of place on this one.
4.) Going Home (Terence Boylan) - 3:23 rating: ** stars
His voice was way smoother than Michael McDonald's, but 'Going Home' had the same adult contemporary feel that plagues so much of the former's work. A very bland mid-tempo rocker. Eagle Don Felder provided the brief guitar solos.
5.) End of the World (Terence Boylan) - 3:09 rating: * star
A dull, plodding ballad, 'End of the World' sounded like a bad Jackson Browne, or J.D Souther track. Totally forgettable effort.
6.) Miso Soup (Terence Boylan) - 3:52 rating: *** stars
I enjoy 'weird', but 'Miso Soup' was even strange for my tastes. I hate to keep going back to Steely Dan comparisons, but complete with kids chorus, Japanese flavors, and some Chevy Chase keyboards (I kid you not), this sounded like the most jazzy sections of "Aja" on steroids.
For anyone interested, Boylan has a web presence at: http://www.terenceboylan.com
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